Friday, November 20, 2009
Nite Ize S Biner
Nite Ize is probably best known for many years of providing aftermarket accessories for Maglite flashlights. They've built a solid reputation for innovative products since their beginnings around 1989. I remember seeing their headband device that converts a mini Maglite into a headlamp, more or less. They now even make LED upgrade kits for your durable but dim oldschool Maglites check this out.
Nite Ize makes a great non-locking, minimal load bearing dual-gated carabiner they call the "S Biner", obviously due to its shape. Our very own Crime.Wav; aka Joel had his housekey and a bottle opener attached to a metal S Biner many months ago when we hung out. I'd seen them before, but that was the first time I'd gotten to mess around with one, and really think about the practical applications. I was initially turned off by how wiry and light weight they are, however, now that I've had my own keys on a light blue plastic version for awhile now, the minimal weight is my favorite part! I'd always been a devotee of real mountain/rock climbing carabiners for attaching stuff to bags and packs, or even for linking my keyring to a beltloop. I'd become frustrated though in the last few years because although there are tons of super strong and light aluminum carabiners available at stores like REI, they tend to clink and make lots of noise against your keys, and are generally just a tad too big for my liking.
I've become partial to the plastic S Biner, the #4 size, of which you can judge its dimensions by looking at the pic where I've got it hooked to a Nalgene 32 oz. bottle. The gates are thin stainless steel and spring loaded, and the 'plastic' material seems to be a high strength polymer which feels very similar to DuPont's Zytel, or many other "glass filled nylon" materials that are used in manufacture of things like car interior parts and tactical knife handles. My blue #4 plastic S Biner has ridden on my belt, belt loop, or pocket daily for many months and I like the speed and convenience of just being able to grab it in one smooth motion and slide either end through a beltloop or a pack strap. You can also fasten things like split-ring key rings to the center plastic bar, and it's completely secure, there's nowhere for that item to slide off, since either end is blocked by the stainless gates. Last year, around Thanksgiving, we had a lengthy power outage where I live. I hung an S Biner from a bungee cord off of a hook in the ceiling, and slid 2 snap chemlight (glowsticks) onto the S Biner and created a makeshift hanging lantern. It actually worked very well, Just one S Biner, one Tactical Tailor plastic ended bungee cable, and 2 Omni Glow green light sticks. Pretty cool.
I especially like the lightweight plastic S Biners for my water bottles, as when the bottle is empty, you can simply clip it onto your pack or even a belt if you're out and about, your bottle is out of the way, but at the ready if you want to refill it, and most of the larger size S Biners do have some minor load bearing capability. The #4 that I like can hold about 25 lbs, which isn't bad for such a light and simple device, so even the tiny S Biners should easily hold the weight of a 32 oz. water bottle. I was thinking about other uses, and you could even use them as zipper pulls, or thread a smaller size through the holes in a double zippered duffel bag to keep the zipper from opening.
Nite Ize is an innovative company in the same vein as say, Camelbak or Guyot Designs. Companies along these lines make simple, high quality products that make certain aspects of life just a little bit easier. Nite Ize makes and distributes a wide range of neat gadgets in a ton of different categories. They can be found at warehouse sporting goods stores and high end outdoor shops like REI. I feel that Nite Ize products are an exceptional value as well, for instance, the #4 plastic S Biners I'm so fond of, only cost about $2.75 USD on average at my local REI store. Oh, I should also mention that for all of us gear-heads, they make a wide array of ballistic nylon pouches and holsters for tools, phones and other gadgets as well. :)
Here's a rundown of the dimensions and weight capacity of each S Biner size:
(this information is only for the METAL S-Biners, not the plastic body ones that I'm using. The max load on the plastic #4 is 25 lbs, which is still pretty good, and definitely plenty to hold a full water bottle or even a heavy keyring. The all-metal S Biners are not much more expensive than the plastic series, it's just a matter of your preference and intended use. I opted for plastic because they're so light, and I like the tactile feel better in my hand.)
* #1: 1.56 x 0.56 in (4 x 1.4 cm) - 5 lb (2.3 kg)*
* #2: 2.00 x 0.88 in (5 x 2.2 cm) - 10 lb (4.5 kg)*
* #3: 2.63 x 1.13 in (6.7 x 2.9 cm) - 25 lb (11 kg)*
* #4: 3.50 x 1.50 in (8.9 x 3.8 cm) - 75 lb (33 kg)*
* #5: 4.38 x 1.94 in (11.1 x 3.3 cm) - 100 lb (45 kg)*