I never really had any use for carabiners prior to my service in the Marine Corps. During my enlistment, I attended the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center where we learned several methods of rappelling, cliff assaults, and general wilderness survival. We were all issued several carabiners for the course. Carabiners soon became very convenient to clip gear to the outside of my ruck, clip my ruck to a tension line while crossing streams, tying a swiss seat and using a carabiner to clip into the line and the list goes on.
After leaving the military I don’t recall really having a use for them anymore. I still have the two I used at the Mountain Warfare Training Center (man are they heavy), but never used them. Once in a while, I would get them out and reminisce about the good ole times. Fast forward several years as I got back into shooting, backpacking, hiking and general preparedness. With a different mindset, I now see many uses for a carabiner on a daily basis. Let take a look at a few.
EDC Bag – I always keep one on my daily carry pack for whatever reason may come up. I’ve used it to clip my water bottle too or my daughters cross country running bag so that I can remain hands-free.
Dog Leash – The clip that came on the end of my dog’s leash eventually failed and broke. I now have a Black Diamond Neutrino carabiner on the end.
Hasty Rappelling – I generally have a 25′ length of 1″ tubular nylon in the bottom of my day pack when hiking. With a carabiner, I can quickly set up a hasty rappel if I need to get down a steep incline quickly in the event of some type of emergency. This also gives me the option of using the 25′ tubular nylon as a run for my dog if we stop on the trail for a break when hiking.
Improvised Tourniquet – Yes you can use a carabiner as part of an improvised tourniquet. Take a look at the article HERE to learn how to do that. That carabiner on your keyring just became a life saving device!
Improvised door barricade – With a carabiner and a length of rope or cordage you can barricade yourself in a room if the door is an outward opening door. This may come in handy if you’re a school teacher, faculty member, or even a student. This is also described in Clint Emerson’s new 100 Deadly Skills Survival Edition book.
Improvised Seat belt – Again using a carabiner and length of rope or a strap you can create a improvised seat belt for use on a train, subway or any other mode of public transportation where there may not be seat belts. Could save you life some day.
You’re only limited by your imagination as to what you can do with a carabiner. They are not just for climbing and rappelling. They come in handy for everyday uses if you think outside the box. I personally stay away from the cheap carabiners sold at the checkouts of hardware stores. For EDC purposes I recommend the Black Diamond Neutrino. It’s a lightweight, low profile, climbing rated carabiner.