Opinions on zodiac gear sling (double loop sling) or similar styles


Original Post
David Fogel · · Lake Forest, CA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 515

Any opinions on the Black diamond zodiac gear sling? (Or similar style gear slings) I know it's for racking a lot of gear on long routes, yet seems like it would be nice to have in terms of organization, equal sided weight, balance, and clutter reduction. Sometimes the loops of my harness are rather full, and such a gear sling offers more room on the sides and it also has a couple small loops up on the chest. Usually what I do is "X" two shoulder length nylon slings to balance weight out instead of a padded gear sling with all weight to one side...

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128

I own one and use it on big walls but that's it. For anything free climbing orientated I use a single sling over the shoulder.

Politically Correct Ball · · From WA to AZ · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Metolius D sling is better for free climbing. You can slip out of it and change shoulders which is essential in dihedrals. 

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 200
David Fogel wrote:

Any opinions on the Black diamond zodiac gear sling? (Or similar style gear slings) I know it's for racking a lot of gear on long routes, yet seems like it would be nice to have in terms of organization, equal sided weight, balance, and clutter reduction. Sometimes the loops of my harness are rather full, and such a gear sling offers more room on the sides and it also has a couple small loops up on the chest. Usually what I do is "X" two shoulder length nylon slings to balance weight out instead of a padded gear sling with all weight to one side...

If you like a double gear sling this will be a good one but their use in dihedrals may require re-racking.

Harness gear loops are fine for draws etc but I am old school (read old) and still prefer a single shoulder sling for trad climbing that can be swung around front to access the stuff racked in the back. I hate needing a piece that is near the back of my harness and I think the single sling is better for gear protected free climbing.

I have climbed with 2 "single" gear slings on aid routes, but in that situation the above is an improvement, imo. For free climbing just one plus the harness gear loops for extra stuff works for me.

Matt Westlake · · Durham, NC · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 528

The comment about being able to swing around a single sling is spot on. For that I like the Met D sling as well. Never needed any more than the main 4 subdivided loops and can add the single separate loop if needed (although that often turns out to be more of a PITA than it's worth if you need to shift it around). I've since just moved on to harnesses with big gear loops, like the wide stiff arc'teryx variety and they are plenty big enough for most things. 

Regardless, if you do go with one of these be wary on steep stuff. A friend of mine tried this out for the first time on an overhanging route and in the midst of the business had a terrible time reaching all the right size cams that had slid to the back... perhaps if it was subdivided it would keep things in place better? I think there are some threads on this subject where folks have customized to this effect. The other thing I remember about this is that the pocket is super tiny so maybe you can just get a bar/gel and keys in but not much else. Pants/jacket pockets may be just as good. 

Politically Correct Ball · · From WA to AZ · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

I prefer the D-sling for steep stuff, but I do wear it tighter than most. 

A regular sling for steep stuff sucks ass. 

David Fogel · · Lake Forest, CA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 515

Thanks for the responses, lots of good info. I appreciate it!

GDavis · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 10

If it's too much gear to wear on your harness, it's too much gear to take free climbing.*  

A single shoulder sling is great if you are strong and climb overhanging/steep routes but suck if you are like me and stuck doing low angle crawls. Steep climbs you just need to have some shoulder flexibility pretty easy to reach and grab a piece below but no fun having it get caught on sh*t on slabs, etc (well, I'm short, so...)

I've done 200+ foot pitches that I had to place a ton of gear on and have yet to 'need' a shoulder sling - usually if I have a shoulder sling it's because I'm swapping pitches and just throwing gear on a sling between my partner and I. Climb with less and less and be more free it's way more fun than being burdoned with packs, rope hooks, radios etc. 

*excepting long offwidths where you got like 10 fist plus sized peices

Billcoe · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 630


My thoughts:

Meh: - BD Zodiac and Mammut

OK - Misty Mountain - hands down the best one for solo climbing. Shit, probably the only one for solo climbing on my list. These guys make great product, but this isn't as adaptable to quick big climber/small climber change over on a wall like the Metolius and Fish. Changing the size is less than "meh", it just sucks. 

Better: - Metolius, these guys make good stuff. It has a bonus little pocket for small water, keys and a bar. It rides high enough that chimneying isn't too bad. I have this version, I've seen one where there is a bunch of little loops and stuff won't slide back, but I don't like that config. Love the pocket for long routes. I carryed mine up Epinephrine once and it didn't make we want to commit suicide, so not too bad. Usually just clip stuff to my harness on that route.

Best: - Fish Products. The reasons are that it will accommodate a fella 6'7" and transfer directly right over to a climber 1 foot smaller with no adjustments. Fast one clip buckle. It's very well done. It's also the most comfortable once you start clipping weight onto it that's something you'll appreciate. Depending what you want it for, the Metolius and the Fish could easily swap the better/best positions. I wouldn't take this up Epi. though. 

http://fishproducts.com/catalog/big_wall.html


King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 200

Very worthy vid and absolutely no quibbles with how Beth racks for trad. You may tweak it some for yourself, but plenty of good tips.


Alex Kowalcyk · · La Conner, WA · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 50

I've stopped using those Metolius padded gear slings because the padded section never stays put  and it's annoying. Instead, use a single shoulder-length sling for a gear sling, the wider nylon type not the skinny Dyneema.

Long trad climbs swinging leads with a  partner or off-widths and chimneys that requiring switching sides: rack on single sling over the shoulder.

Overhanging climbs: rack gear on harness, otherwise you can't access it when you're upside down and it's hanging behind you.

Mostly free climbs with some aid: single gear-sling.

Mostly aid climbs: double gear-sling

Politically Correct Ball · · From WA to AZ · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0
Alex Kowalcyk wrote:

I've stopped using those Metolius padded gear slings because the padded section never stays put

Sounds like you're using a regular gear sling and not the 'D' sling

Tom Stryker · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 245

I bought one about 12 years ago and I love it. I cut off all the extra loops so I just use the two main ones, and the little pocket in back for a prussic loop, my knife, and a route description if needed. I climbed for twenty years prior with regular gear slings, one at first, then two later, the second one was for draws as I was still using a swami at that point, but really did not like the feeling of the crossed slings. The Zodiac is far more comfortable. 

I have never liked, nor gotten used to racking on my harness, other than draws. I rack regular sized cams on my right as I always did, and stoppers and small cams on my left. Draws and alpine draws, being much lighter, go on my harness. The only "doubles"  I carry are in small cams, which are actually a mix of Aliens and C3's.

Later on I bought a Bullet pack from BD, and in my case it interfaces perfectly with the Zodiac. 

Mister Awesomeness · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

I use the bd one at times and love it. No complaints.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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