As I and other writers have illustrated in previous reviews, Petzl is one of the premier gear manufacturers for climbers, mountaineers, and adventure seekers. The company was founded by the late pioneer Fernand Petzl who manufactured his own technical gear in order to explore some of the deepest known cave systems in the world. Today, the Petzl company is one of the most trusted manufacturers for outdoors adventurers and workers in vertical environments thanks to decades of Fernand Petzl’s innovations.

The carabiner is one of the simplest yet most important tools for technical environments. From an improvised tourniquet to a door barricade, the carabiner is also a great tactical or versatile everyday-carry (EDC) tool to have in your go-bag (you can read the Loadout Room article on why the carabiner is a go-bag essential for more insight). Regardless of why you carry a carabiner or what you intend to use it for, it makes sense to seek and use the best one available.


Material: Aluminum
Certifications: CE EN 12275, UIAA
Major axis strength: 23 kN
Minor axis strength: 9 kN
Open gate strength: 7 kN
Gate opening: 20mm
Locking system: Twist-lock
MSRP: $18.95

Specifications courtesy of Petzl

Petzl Sm’D RL Twist-Lock Carabiner: A step above all other carabiners

Petzl has found a way to improve the carabiner for a variety of different users. The Sm’D RL Carabiner is an asymmetric D-shaped carabiner which is available with a screw-lock or twist-lock mechanism. As their respective names imply, you have to manually screw open/close the screw-lock while the twist-lock is a spring-loaded locking mechanism that you simply just twist to open. The weakest part of the carabiner is its gate opening and is always susceptible to accidental openings. A locking carabiner prevents those accidental openings but can be inconvenient to use if it involves manually screwing the gate open or closed. This is why the twist-lock mechanism featured on the Sm’D RL is a superior design as it offers a more secure carabiner coupled with the efficiency of use.

Petzl Sm’D RL Twist-Lock Carabiner: A step above all other carabiners

The D-shape carabiners are the most common design used by most adventurers because of its superior ergonomics as well as it being one of the strongest shapes available. The twist-lock mechanism on the Sm’D RL is edged and textured to allow users to quickly unlock the carabiner in a safe manner even when wearing gloves. While the Sm’D is certified and rated for climbing, this is a versatile lightweight carabiner that can serve many purposes. Whether you need a carabiner for climbing or to carry in your go-bag, the Sm’D is one of the best designs available on the market.

All photos courtesy of the author, Matt Jin