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What Quickdraws Do Trad Climbers Use?

What Quickdraws Do Trad Climbers Use?

Trad climbing gear has some overlap with sport climbing and in this case, quickdraws are relatively similar to sport climbing but there are some details that will influence what you purchase for your rack.

Trad draws are lighter than typical quickdraws. The dogbone (nylon material between the two carabiners) is thinner than your sport climbing quickdraw and is sometimes replaced with a sling. Wire gate carabiners are used, however, there are some light-weight solid gate carabiners available.

Since trad climbers have to carry up a rack of gear that includes nuts and cams, using lighter weight quickdraws can make the climbing experience more enjoyable and can significantly decrease the weight around your waist or chest. 

Table of Contents:

Trad Quickdraws

Trad quickdraws are made with a thin dogbone (the nylon material between each carabiner) and typically have wire gate carabiners instead of solid gate biners. 

Since the dogbone is thinner, it usually takes up a little less space on your waist, which leaves more room for more cams or nuts if you need them.

When to use trad quickdraws

It’s ideal to use trad quickdraws as often as the route continues to go up and down in a straight line. It is often that a route will go to the side, at which point an alpine draw should be used instead.

Use trad draws instead of alpine draws because trad draws have an extra piece of rubber on one end of the dogbone (called a rubber container) that helps the carabiner stay in position. 

Keeping the draw in position will help decrease the chance biners (climbers talk for ‘carabiner’) from working their way off your gear while you are climbing. It’ll also help remind you which carabiner is the rope side and which carabiner is the gear side.

Even though the gear isn’t as rough as a bolt, the carabiner rubbing against the edge of the gear can cause wear on the carabiner. Any ware on the carabiner, if rubbed against the rope can damage the rope and thus, keeping the gear side separate from the rope side will help your rope last longer.

How many trad quickdraws should you carry?

Climbing routes usually require between 10-12 quickdraws. However, draws vary on how often you place gear and how long the route is.

Most guidebooks will provide recommendations but if you are newer to trad climbing, you’ll likely need more as you are more likely to place gear more often.

How much do trad quickdraws cost?

Trad quickdraws cost between $11-$30. The variation in cost is usually related to the weight and the nose-design of the carabiner.

Some wire gate carabiners have a specialized nose design for where the wire gate closes that prevent the rope from getting caught on it when being removed. For these specialized noses, you’ll frequently see a $10-$15 difference.

Can you make your own trad quickdraws?

Though you can purchase everything to make your own trad quickdraws yourself, you’ll usually spend $5-$10 more per draw by making it yourself. With that being the case, it is usually recommended to purchase the draw pre-made and then replace the biners or the dogbone down the road if you need a replacement or have the funds to upgrade them.

How much do Trad Quickdraws weigh?

DMM Alpha Trad Quickdraw Mad Rock Concorde Express Quickdraw Cypher Firefly II Quickdraw
Weight 2.7 oz 3.06 oz 2.61 oz

Trad draws typically weigh between 2.5oz and 3.5oz. Most of the weight is related to the carabiner’s size as some have a wider opening than the smaller and more expensive carabiners.

What is the difference between Alpine and Trad Quickdraws?

The main differences between the two are what hold the two carabiners together. Alpine draws have a sling where trad draws have thin dogbones and a rubber container on one end. It is ideal to have both trad and alpine draws with you while you are climbing because it is likely that you’ll have a need for both as you are climbing.

Alpine Quickdraws

Alpine quickdraws is a term to categorize draws that have replaced the nylon bone with a sling. The benefit of using a sling instead of the nylon bone is that you can extend your draw.

Extending your draws is an important process if your route doesn’t go straight up and down. By extending your draws with a sling when you are moving sideways, your rope can be more straight up and down and decrease dangers related to falling on gear.

You can purchase wire gates and slings separately but you will usually save money by purchasing an alpine quickdraw in a set.

When to use alpine quickdraws

Since the benefit of alpine draws is that you can extend your draw, it should be used to extend your draws when you think the route will move sideways, otherwise, it is best to use your typical trad climbing quickdraw.

How many alpine quickdraws should you carry?

Having between 2-4 alpine draws on you while you climb should cover most routes twists and turns. However, the number you carry with you is dependent on the route. 

Many climbing guidebooks will show you the typical route and you can see how much the climb goes to the side and back so you can usually estimate how many you will need from that before you hop on the route

However, it is always ideal to have a couple more just in case you have to climb a different way than what is intended.

How much do alpine quickdraws cost?

Alpine quickdraw’s average cost is $20/draw. Most draws, however, are sold in packs of 3 or more with only a few brands that sell them individually.

Variations on cost are usually related to weight and the extension length.

Can you make your own alpine quickdraws?

Alpine quickdraws are just wire gate carabiners held together with a sling so it is possible to make your own.

It usually costs between $8-$30 for the sling (depending on the length) and carabiners cost between $6-$15. This means that if you make your own, it’ll cost you between $20-$60 each.

With this being the case, you usually get a longer length for cheaper if you purchase them pre-made. Though you can replace parts of the draws instead of getting brand new ones down the road..

How much do alpine quickdraws weigh?

Trango Phase Alpine Draw Black Diamond MiniWire Alpine Quickdraw Cypher Ceres II Alpine Quickdraw
Weight 2.8 oz 2.29 oz 2.68 oz

Alpine quickdraws weigh between 2.3-3.0 oz. Typically, the weight influences the cost of the draw, and the lighter the draw, the more expensive it is.

Table Comparing Common Trad and Alpine Quickdraws

Since there are so many brands and quickdraw options for both trad and alpine draws, I’ve created this table comparing some of the most common brands and options available in the states.

Trango Phase Alpine Draw – 4-Pack Black Diamond MiniWire Alpine Quickdraw – 3 Pack Cypher Ceres II Alpine Quickdraw1-pack DMM Alpha Trad Quickdraw – 6-Pack Mad Rock Concorde Express Quickdraw Set – 6-Pack Cypher Firefly II Quickdraw – 6 Pack
Weight 2.8 oz 2.29oz 2.68 oz 2.7 oz 3.06 oz 2.61
Carabiner Wiregate Wiregate Wiregate Wiregate Wiregate Wiregate
dogbone Sling Sling Sling Dog Bone Dog Bone Dog Bone
Sling Length 60cm 60cm 60cm NA NA NA
Link for more details Backcountry
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