A carabiner or karabiner is a specialized type of shackle a metal loop with a spring-loaded gate used to quickly and reversibly connect components, most notably in safety-critical systems. The word is a shortened form of Karabinerhaken. Carabiners are widely used in rope-intensive activities such as climbing, arboriculture, caving, sailing, hot air ballooning, rope rescue, construction, industrial rope work, window cleaning, whitewater rescuing, and acrobatics. They are predominantly made from both steel and aluminium. Those used in sports tend to be of a lighter weight than those used in commercial applications and rope rescue.
The word carabiner entered English some time around 1915, during World War I. The word ultimately has its roots in the German word Karabinerhaken, meaning “carbine hook”. A hook used to connect a soldier's carbine (a type of rifle) to a strap. In English, the word was shortened to a carabiner. Carabiners perform a variety of climbing tasks, including attaching a climber to a rope, attaching a climbing rope to a harness or gear such as a cam (SLCD) or climbing nut, attaching a climber to a safety anchor, and attaching a climber to a rope for abseiling.
Carabiners are commonly used in rope-intensive activities such as climbing, fall protection, tree care, caving, sailing, hot air ballooning, rope rescue, construction, industrial ropework, windows, whitewater rescue, and stunts. They consist mainly of steel and aluminum.
They consist mainly of both steel and aluminium. Those used in sports tend to be lighter than those used for commercial applications and rope rescue.
Often known as carabiners or mini-bins, carabiner-style key rings and other lightweight clips of a similar style and design have also become popular. Most carry a “not for climbing” or similar warning, due to the lack of stress testing and safety standards in manufacturing.
While any metal link with a spring lock is technically a carabiner, strict usage in the climbing community expressly refers only to those devices that have been manufactured and tested to carry loads in safety-critical systems such as rock and mountain climbing for which generally designed is 20 kN or more.