Walk into any climbing shop and you’ll be presented with a wide array of carabiners, loads of sizes, loads of shapes, loads of colours and a range of prices.
What ever carabiner you choose to buy please make sure that it is a type that is rated for climbing/caving and that it is suitable for job you will be asking it to do. A carabiner suitable for climbing will have its strength rating forged, stamped or etched on it. It should also conform to the relevant PPE standard (EN 12275, the standard for mountaineering connectors), this again should be present on the carabiner.
There are some really super light carabiners available out there that are great for climbing but could be too easily damaged/compromised whilst on the river. In instances where hauling, belaying or security are required locking carabiners are best. I carry four locking carabiners as part of my kit, but also have a couple of non-locking carabiners in my boat for clipping gear into that can be called into service if required.
This post has been rattling round my head for the last few months as I have debated on whether to put it out. A conversation with a couple of fellow paddlers has prompted me to make the post.
First things first the risk of being snagged or caught up in a strainer or similar is something that all paddlers need to think about and although the risk is minimal the risk still exists. Any kit that you wear has the potential of being snagged and all steps should be made to keep loops of tape, laces etc tucked away and out of danger. However I sometimes find that it is necessary or advantageous to have some pieces of kit on the outside of my PFD rather than in a pocket.
During the late 80’s and early 90’s the Cow Tail seemed a pretty common accessory to have attached to your rescue PFD. Over the years they seem to have fallen out of favour. May be this is a genuine change in focus of use or may be it’s because they are now an extra that needs to be paid for?