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Karabiners and Connectors

Karabiners and Connectors

Caving connectors are generally one of two types, either Maillons, or Karabiners.

Maillon Rapides have a screw thread connection, which makes them very strong (stronger than a karabiner of the same size) and unlikely to come undone, which makes them ideal for use in rigging pitches, where the pitch head will not be checked before you go back up the rope. They come in many different shapes and sizes, but the most common are the long oval maillon used for rigging, and the semi circular maillon that you will need to secure your harness and hold your SRT kit securely.

Karabiners are much faster to use, and are much better for use as the connector on your cowstails and for attaching various bits of SRT kit to the central maillon. We stock a variety of karabiners in steel and alloy forms with different types of gates.

Steel karabiners are heavier than alloy, but are much more resistant to wear. If you want a karabiner to belay ladder and lifeline pitches using an italian hitch, or as a braking krab to use with your descender, go for steel.

The type of gate your karabiner has will affect how you want to use it. Snap gates are light and quick to use, but can open if badly positioned. Screw gates are slightly slower to use if you do up the gate (if you don't, it's essentially a snapgate), but will not open easily. We like the reassuringly named Petzl OK with its red indicator to tell you that you haven't fastened the gate. If you think that you might not be able to see your karabiner during use, go for a screwgate!

The shape is important too, Oval krabs are good as general connectors, but really come into their own when using pulleys. The symmetrical shape of the krab will allow the pulley to hang straight. D shaped krabs are good as general connectors, but if you're going to be attaching lots of things to one krab, or belaying using an italian hitch you'll appreciate the larger HMS karabiners.

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Petzl Freino


Twist-lock karabiner that incorporates an integral braking system for improving friction on descenders and belay devices. Works extremely well with the Grigri when using slimmer ropes such as the Beal Booster, which can normally be a struggle.

£36.50 inc. VAT £32.22 inc. VAT

Petzl Omni

From £21.24 inc. VAT

Raumer Handy


A snapgate carabiner in AISI 304 stainless steel, used in combination with caving descenders (pulley or figure of 8) on a single rope.Weight: 135g R = 12kN (including the twisted ring)

£25.99 inc. VAT £23.29 inc. VAT