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Keep Your EDC Conveniently Secure with These Carabiner Keychains

Derived from climbing equipment, these everyday carry accessories are an outstanding addition to any loadout.

collage of three carabiner keychains
Amazon, Trayvax, The James Brand

The concept of everyday carry hinges on a few factors: usefulness, versatility and expedience. But the latter factor can actually impact your loadout's value, as the speediness with which you can access your tools can deeply impact their value. A smart EDC enthusiast knows that you can't (and shouldn't) ever compromise security in the name of quickness. However, with a carabiner keychain, you can have your proverbial cake and eat it too.

If you're looking for a way to make accessing your keys, keychain tools, and other accessories a good deal more convenient while still keeping them all safe and secure, swapping out your old keychain for a rock climbing-inspired carabiner could be in your best interests. But not any run-of-the-mill option will do, which is why we've wrangled together a roundup of well-designed, high-quality carabiner keychains that are actually worth your hard-earned cash.

What Is a Keychain Carabiner?

Though they vary in size, shape, design, and more, there are a few consistencies between carabiners that will help you pick one out of a lineup every time. For starters, they're almost always comprised of two parts: a hook/loop-shaped body and a gate (an opening, usually attached by a hinge on one side and often spring-loaded). Traditionally, these devices are used for climbing and the gate opens to accept a climbing rope while the body serves to attach that rope to either a climber, a piece of equipment, or even a rock wall.

In everyday carry usage, however, these are typically used to attach your keys and keychain accessories to your person or a pack or bag. They can help keep your keys and keychain accessories organized and secure, even if you don't have a pocket in which to stash them, and they can actually free up room in your pockets for other gear (like a folding knife).

A Brief History of Carabiners

The history of carabiners is kind of strange. Most people know these devices as essential pieces of climbing equipment, but this specific application dates back to the early 1900s when a famous climber by the name of Otto "Rambo" Herzog saw a fire brigade wearing clips to secure their gear. This fellow then had the bright idea to repurpose these clips for their most common purpose, to be used as a rock climbing aid. Interestingly, the overall concept dates back even further, to the 1600s, at which time French soldiers (known as carabineers) used similar clips to secure their guns. Yes, that means that carabiners were actually used for purposes more closely related to EDC (everyday carry) than their seemingly traditional use in the outdoor world.

Up through today, this is still the most common usage for carabiners. However, over the last few decades, a number of intrepid designers have repurposed them yet again to somewhat return them to their original usage: as clips to secure gear to one's person. Nowadays, these devices are typical fare in the world of everyday carry and they differ slightly from gun clips — although there is some cross-pollination between the two (that is to say: gun clips are sometimes used as an alternative to EDC carabiner keychains, as can be seen in Defy's application).

How We Tested

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collage of carabiner keychains
Gear Patrol Staff

There are several important factors to consider when choosing the right keychain carabiner for you. And we were careful to pay attention to each one while integrating these into our own everyday carry, including weight, size, ease of use, security, durability of the gate, and even (of course) style. Our testers spent weeks using these carabiners out in the real world to determine the viability of each based on the aforementioned factors.

Best for the Urban Adventurer
The James Brand The Mehlville Carabiner
Best Budget Carabiner
Nite Ize Size-1 S-Biner
Best for Beer Drinkers
Leatherman Carabiner Accessory
Best for Knife Fanatics
CRKT Compano Carabiner
Best for Minimalists
Best for Design Lovers
OrbitKey Key Clip Carabiner
Best for DIY Enthusiasts
Civivi Polymorph Titanium Carabiner Multi-Tool
Now 12% off
Best for Lovers of Brutalist Design
Handgrey H4 Carabiner
Best for the Technophile
Nomad Lightning Carabiner
Most Durable
Dango Carabiner & Shackle
Best for a Bit of Flash
Trayvax Carabiner
Best Tiny Carabiner Keychain
Tibitdeer Titanium Key Chain
Now 30% off
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