Black Diamond Magnetron VaporLock Review

magnetron-vaporlock-2When the Magnetron concept came out, I thought it was a cool idea, but that the carabiners it was available on (RockLock & GridLock) were either way bigger than anything I use on a regular basis, or a functionality I wasn’t interested in. And so I waited, knowing Black Diamond would likely adapt the technology to something smaller and more versatile. This year, they’ve taken the popular VaporLock, and added the Magnetron gate, and to top it off, they did so without adding any weight.

This spring I was fortunate to spend two weeks in Red Rocks, climbing long trad routes. The Magnetron VaporLock was a constant companion on every climb, and quickly became the first thing I reached for when setting up the master point on an anchor. When you are on big climbs, every bit of efficiency counts and while it might not seem like a whole lot, the one handed operation of the Magnetron felt a lot quicker than using a standard locker.

I always try to look for what could be improved in the gear I use, maybe the spots where the design team missed something, but in all honesty there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this carabiner. It’s not too heavy, it’s not too small, it feels good in your hands. The only complaint might be that it costs $13 more than the standard VaporLock ($27.95 versus $14.95), but since you’ll likely only want a couple, I don’t think that’s too big of a deal. Also, I never had a problem with the gate binding with dirt and grime, though I’ve heard it can be an issue with snow and ice.

While the concept of a carabiner that performs like a locker but that can be manipulated one handed is not unique to the Magnetron, the VaporLock is currently the best iteration of this idea that I’ve seen so far.

Retail is $27.95, more info and tech specs available here.

Disclaimer: Wait! Before you go handing over your credit card number, ask yourself, do you really need to buy more new stuff? If so, this product is worth a look. In the spirit of full disclosure, it was provided to for the purpose of reviewing. Don’t worry, though, our integrity can’t be bought!

One Response to Black Diamond Magnetron VaporLock Review

  1. I’ve used the Magnetron GridLock a bunch and also really like it although I’m not as big of a fan of the GridLock except for certain applications. The Vapor version looks sweet. I did have an issue one day with the magnets not closing well. I was in some kind of dirt that was magnetic enough that it was getting picked up and stuck by the magnets. Kinda funny but pretty easy to spot and fix.

    Mike July 14, 2014 at 2:29 pm
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