The Ultimate Guide to Hiking Clips: Types, Uses, and How to Choose the Right One

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Hiking is a fun and exciting activity that allows you to explore the outdoors and take in the beauty of nature. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, having the right gear is essential for a successful and safe trip. One of the most important pieces of gear is the hiking clip. In this article, we will discuss the different types of hiking clips, their uses, and how to choose the right one for your needs.

What is a hiking clip?

A hiking clip, also known as a carabiner, is a metal loop with a spring-loaded gate used for securing ropes, slings, and other climbing equipment. Hiking clips come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are an essential part of any hiker’s gear. They are used to attach gear to a backpack, secure a rope to a rock, or clip onto a belay device.

Types of hiking clips


Carabiners are the most common type of hiking clip and come in two main varieties: locking and non-locking.

Locking carabiners

Locking carabiners have a mechanism that locks the gate in place, preventing accidental opening. They are best used in situations where safety is paramount, such as when belaying or rappelling.

Non-locking carabiners

Non-locking carabiners do not have a locking mechanism and are used in situations where speed and ease of use are important, such as attaching gear to a backpack.

Wiregate carabiners

Wiregate carabiners are a type of carabiner that use a wire gate instead of a solid gate. They are lighter than traditional carabiners and are less likely to freeze shut in cold temperatures.

Snap hooks

Snap hooks are similar to carabiners but have a spring-loaded gate that snaps shut when released. They are commonly used to attach gear to a backpack.


Figure-8s are a type of hiking clip that are used for rappelling. They are shaped like a figure eight and are used to create a friction knot that slows the descent.


Quickdraws are a type of carabiner that are used to attach a rope to a bolt or anchor point. They consist of two carabiners connected by a piece of webbing.

Uses of hiking clips

Hiking clips have a variety of uses, including:

  • Attaching gear to a backpack
  • Securing a rope to a rock
  • Belaying or rappelling
  • Clipping onto a belay device
  • Anchoring a tent or tarp

How to choose the right hiking clip

When choosing a hiking clip, there are several factors to consider:


The strength of a hiking clip is measured in kilonewtons (kN). The higher the kN rating, the stronger the clip. For most hiking applications, a strength rating of 20 kN or higher is sufficient.

Gate type

Gate type refers to the mechanism used to open and close the gate of a hiking clip. There are two main types of gate: solid gate and wire gate. Solid gate carabiners have a traditional gate that opens and closes by swinging the gate open. Wire gate carabiners use a wire gate that snaps shut when released. Wire gate carabiners are lighter than solid gate carabiners and less likely to freeze shut in cold temperatures. However, solid gate carabiners are generally more durable and less likely to snag on gear. The choice of gate type ultimately depends on personal preference and intended use.


The weight of a hiking clip is an important consideration for climbers and hikers, as it can affect the overall weight of their gear and impact their mobility. Hiking clips can range in weight from as little as 20 grams to over 100 grams, depending on their size, material, and design. Lighter carabiners are generally more desirable for climbers and hikers who are carrying a lot of gear and need to keep their overall weight down. However, it’s important to strike a balance between weight and durability, as a carabiner that is too lightweight may not be as strong or reliable as a heavier one. Ultimately, the weight of a hiking clip should be chosen based on individual needs and preferences.


The size of a hiking clip is another important factor to consider when choosing a carabiner for climbing or hiking. Carabiners come in various sizes, ranging from small, lightweight models that are ideal for clipping gear to a harness, to larger models that are better suited for use with ropes or for belaying.

The size of a carabiner can also impact its strength and weight. Larger carabiners generally have a higher weight capacity and may be more durable, but they can also be heavier and bulkier to carry. Smaller carabiners, on the other hand, are lighter and more compact, but may not be as strong as larger models.

The size of a hiking clip should be chosen based on the intended use and personal preference. Climbers and hikers who need to carry a lot of gear may prefer larger carabiners that can support heavier loads, while those who value weight savings may opt for smaller, lightweight models. It’s important to choose a carabiner that is the right size for the job at hand and that meets the necessary strength requirements for safe use.


The price of a hiking clip can vary greatly depending on the brand, material, size, and features of the carabiner. Basic models can be purchased for as little as a few dollars, while high-end models with advanced features can cost upwards of $50 or more.

When considering the price of a hiking clip, it’s important to weigh the cost against the benefits of the carabiner. Cheaper carabiners may be suitable for basic use, such as clipping gear to a harness, but may not be as durable or reliable as more expensive models. Higher-end carabiners may offer additional features such as lightweight construction, easy handling, and improved durability, which may be worth the extra cost for serious climbers and hikers.

Ultimately, the price of a hiking clip should be considered in relation to its quality and intended use. It’s important to choose a carabiner that is well-made and reliable, regardless of its cost.


In conclusion, a hiking clip, or carabiner, is an essential piece of gear for climbers and hikers. When choosing a carabiner, it’s important to consider factors such as gate type, weight, size, and price. Solid gate and wire gate carabiners both have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on personal preference and intended use. The weight and size of a carabiner should be chosen based on individual needs and preferences, while the price should be considered in relation to the carabiner’s quality and intended use. Ultimately, choosing the right hiking clip can help ensure a safe and enjoyable climbing or hiking experience.

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