TEST SERIES BY SAM STAMEY
February 20, 2009
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT
samstamey at yahoo dot com
Santa Rosa, CA
6' 0" (1.83 m)
170 lb (77.00 kg)
Backpacking background: I started backpacking two years ago with my wife and two children (ages 8 and 10 at the time). We have been car camping for 20+ years.
Most of our backpacking has been three season camping in the Sierras, 6000 -12,000 ft (1800 m - 3658 m) and on the Northern California Coast.
We mostly do a combination of car camping and backpacking.
Our family recently switched from one 4 person tent to using two 2 person tents. I usually carry most of the weight and my internal frame pack weighs between 40-50 lb (18-22 kg).
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Nite Ize
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.niteize.com
MSRP: US $2.00
Listed Size: 1 9/16 in x 9/16 in (4 cm x 1.4 cm)
Measured Size: 1 9/16 in x 9/16 in (4 cm x 1.4 cm)
Measured Weight: .18 oz (5 g)
Load Limit: 5 lb (2.3 kg)
MSRP: US $2.25
Listed Size: 2 in x 7/8 in (5 cm x 2.2 cm)
Measured Size: 2 in x 7/8 in (5 cm x 2.2 cm)
Measured Weight: .25 oz (7 g)
Load Limit: 10 lb (4.5 kg)
MSRP: US $3.00
Listed Size: 3 1/2 in x 1 1/2 in (8.9 cm x 3.8 cm)
Measured Size: 3 1/2 in x 1 1/2 in (9 cm x 4 cm)
Measured Weight: 1.3 oz (38 g)
Load Limit: 5 lb (2.3 kg)
Figure 9 Large with rope
MSRP: US $7.00
Fits rope sizes: 1/8 in - 3/8 in (3 mm - 9 mm)
Measured Weight: 1.06 oz (30 g) With rope that came with it: 2.5 oz (70 g)
Load Limit: 150 lbs (67.5 kg)
Figure 9 Small (4 pack) with rope
MSRP: US $8.00
Fits rope sizes: 1/16 in - 3/16 in (2 mm - 5 mm)
Measured Weight: .18 oz (5 g) With all 4 and rope that came with it: 1.38 oz (39 g)
Load Limit: 50 lbs (22.5 kg)
I am testing 3 sizes of the S-Biner and two sizes of the Figure 9 rope tightener.
The packages for both are simple but include everything I needed to know about the product including sizes, weights, and the amount of weight I can safely use with the products.
On the inside of the package for the Figure 9 are the instructions for use as well as warnings on weight limits and limited use.
The inside of the package for the S-Biners includes warnings that they should not be used for climbing.
Both products are very simple pieces of equipment. The S-Biners look like an "S" hook but with clips that move to cover the openings so that the hook cannot accidentally fall off.
The Figure 9 has no moving parts, is made from one piece of material with the instructions printed on the product. My two test examples came with rope to use with the products.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Instructions are very, very simple for the S-Biners:
Clip the S-biner of your choice to whatever you want to clip it to and then clip the other side to what ever you want it clipped to. It is that easy.
The Figure 9 takes slightly more instructions the first time but is still very easy to use. The instructions that came with the Figure 9 are on the inside of the package and are simple to follow.
The product is very intuitive to use and the instructions are also etched right on the product itself so you do not need to pack the instructions into the backwoods. It also makes if very easy for me to hand someone a Figure 9 and ask them to use it. All they need to do is look at the product and follow the simple instructions. I feel that this was a brilliant move on Nite Ize part.
TRYING THEM OUT
My first time trying the S-Biner was very uneventful. I took it out of the package, clipped it on my backpack, clipped my hat on to the other side and was finished with my first test - very simple and satisfying to use. The product works as advertised.
I thought that the Figure 9 would take a bit more of a learning curve but I found out I was wrong. I took the Figure 9 out of the package and followed the clearly printed instructions. I was able to follow the instructions the first time through and was successful in tightening a rope without any knots. I then set the instructions aside and followed the simple instructions that are printed on the product and was able to duplicate the process without trouble.
Weight and size - Is the product as light as claimed. Size and pack ability are important for these types of accessories.
Durability - How does the product hold up for two months, six months, and more while hiking and backpacking? Can it handle everyday use for extended periods of time?
Cleaning - How does the Nite Ize S-Biners and Figure 9s hold up after cleaning? Will they rust or be damaged by water?
Versatility - One of the exciting things about these products is the different ways that I can use them. Can I use them in various ways as easily as it looks on the manufacture's website?
Size - Are the different sizes important? Do they hold more weight or bigger ropes?
Nite Ize has produced two simple products for securing items and tightening ropes for various uses both in the back county and around town.
Both the S-Biner and the Figure 9 products are easy to use, low maintenance and affordable. I will use these products both on and off the trail for attaching and securing various items over the test period.
This concludes my initial report and I will follow up with a long term report in about two months.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I tested the Nite Ize products in various locations and conditions including Yosemite National Park, my home town of Santa Rosa CA. and the Sonoma Coast on the Pacific Ocean. Weather conditions have been as low as 20 F (-6.6 C) and as high as 50 F (10 C). I have used the products in the snow, rain, fog, and wind. The altitude ranged from sea level to 7000 ft (2134 m).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I found that I did not have much use over the long term testing for the Figure 9 products. The first few weeks of the test I used them as a clothesline, securing my tent and rain fly and for tying down a tarp on my truck. This was all done in or around my yard.
I found that the products worked very well holding the rope and did not slip at all. They were very easy to use and it was great that the instructions were printed right on the product.
After the initial testing in the yard I carried them around in my backpack and daypack so that I could test them wherever I went.
I used the small Figure 9's to keep the rain fly secure on my tent on camping trips. They worked great for securing the fly and it was very easy to take the slack out of the line by using the figure 9's. While setting up my tent the second night I was too tired to go to my backpack and get the figure 9's so I tied the rain fly down using the string that came with the fly and found that it was just as easy to tie without the figure 9's and I didn't need to go to my backpack and get them. The figure 9's did do a better job at getting the slack out of the line then I did by hand.
I tried to use the figure 9's whenever I set up the tent but I found that I was looking for them longer than it would take to tie the string by hand.
I also used both the large and small figure 9's for hanging clotheslines for drying clothes. I used the big Figure 9's for hanging a line around my kitchen setup and then I hung a tarp over it to block wind and dirt from getting into my kitchen. I now keep some of the string and two of the small Figure 9's in my kitchen for hanging as a clothesline to hang my kitchen towels on.
I had no trouble finding use for the S-biners on the other hand. I used them for connecting keys, knifes, compasses, whistles, hats, gloves, water bottles, and anything else with a hole or loop on it to my backpack.
They worked great and were light enough that I did not notice that they were on my backpack. I left one or two connected to my backpack and found it very easy to clip my hat on or off with one hand. The clip keeps my items secure and I have not had any incidents where something has fallen off of an S-biner.
I used the large S-biner to secure ropes and cords that I store in a loop. Once the rope is connected to the S-biner I can take it and clip it on the rack of my truck or a hook in my garage. I also use the large S-biner to clip onto my dog's leash and then onto my backpack loop or my pants belt loop when I want hands free dog walking. Once we get to the coffee shop I take the S-biner off of my pants and clip her leash to a pole outside the coffee shop. The S-biner has never failed to keep my dog securely attached to the pole.
Overall I would say both of the products, the S-biner and the Figure 9's, are well made and do what they are advertised to do and do it well. I like the simplicity of both the products and the fact that they are very light and small.
I feel that the instructions printed on the Figure 9's are a brilliant idea. I found if I did not use the Figure 9's for a week or two I would forget how the ropes were supposed to be placed. I quick look at the instructions etched in the products and I could use them as intended. The Figure 9's did not slip or break during the testing.
The S-Biners are simple to use, are very handy for everyday use and did not fail to hold what I clipped onto them. They don't need instructions and are light enough to carry everyday without notice.
I will continue to use the S-biners daily for clipping knives and keys to my backpack. I find them very useful and they are so easy to use.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
I will keep two of the small Figure 9's and some of the string in my backpacking kitchen for hanging a towel drying line.
I don't think that I will carry anymore of the Figure 9's on my backpacking trips because I find it almost as easy to tie adjustable knots for my rain fly and I do not have to store and find the Figure 9's when I need them. I will put them in my car camping supplies because I imagine I will continue to use them for hanging clotheslines and for setting up tarps around my kitchen.
This concludes my testing of the Nite Ize S-Biners and Figure 9 products. I would like to thank Nite Ize and BackPackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these products.
Read more reviews of Nite Ize gear
Read more gear reviews by Sam Stamey