The general consensus about carabiners is that they exist chiefly as a climbing tool. History, however, dictates otherwise. In fact, the idea behind the climbing carabiner – envisioned by legendary mountaineering maven Otto Herzog – was not an idea that came to him out of thin air. He based the tool on wearable oblong clips he saw on a group of firefighters. Even the word carabiner – which comes from the German karabinerhaken – translates literally to “carabineer’s hook.” A carabineer, for reference, is a type of soldier that used a clip-on gun strap on their carbine rifles. So, the original use of carabiners is actually more closely related to everyday carry than most people think. They’re used, in short, to clip on gear.
Nowadays, carabiners are an excellent method by which EDC enthusiasts can carry an array of tools and gear whilst keeping their pockets free of unnecessary bulk. They come in all shapes and sizes, materials and stylistic applications. There are, however, a number that stand out amongst the crowd as truly noteworthy options. We’ve gathered those 12 together in this collection of the 12 best EDC carabiner keychains.
Nite Ize SlideLock Carabiner Keychain
Though it may be simple and cheap, this stainless steel offering from Nite Ize is undeniably an effective and clever means by which you carry your keys. The dual-gate s-shape structure allows for both easy access to your keyring – if you need to take it off the chain for any reason – and isolation of your keys – so you won’t accidentally drop them off the carabiner when clipping it to a belt loop or to the outside of your hiking backpack.
Leatherman Carabiner Keychain
From the brand that pioneered the folding multi-tool as we know it today, this simple-format stainless steel carabiner can safely and securely haul your keys, tools, and even that keychain flashlight with ease. But it also has a few alternative functions. For starters, it comes with a built-in bottle opener. And there’s a hex driver slot, too. While this certainly isn’t going to replace that old Leatherman Wave you’re carrying around, it’s definitely still a worthy carabiner.
Iron and Glory Deluxe Carabiner Keychain
If you like the idea of carrying around some handy tools – like a knife, a saw, and a flashlight, but you just don’t think you can manage it in your pocket, then this may very well be the carabiner keychain for you. It has all three aforementioned tools built into its construction. The knife and saw are built from stainless steel and the flashlight features an LED emitter. You can even have this carabiner engraved with three letters, free of charge, if you purchase one.
Nomad Lightning Carabiner Keychain
At this point, everyone understands the pains of being without a charger when your phone is nearly dead. Well, if you’re rocking Nomad’s lightning carabiner keychain, you don’t have to fret. Featuring a slick design that incorporates a hideaway lightning cable (sorry non-iPhone users) and USB connector, this handy high-tech EDC lets you charge your phone anywhere there’s a USB power port. And since it’s made of an engineering grade polycarbonate from Bayer and high-grade steel, you don’t have to worry about it being too delicate for everyday use.
KeyBiner Carabiner Keychain
What we love about the KeyBiner is that it combines the easy carry of a carabiner with the organization of a key organizer. That means that, when you load it up with your normal array of keys, you don’t have to worry about them jingling around all the time. They even took it a step further and made sure to design it without any sharp edges, so you don’t have to worry about snagging it on your clothes. And, best of all, it also doubles as a bottle opener, screwdriver, hex wrench and more. So whether you need to crack open your favorite beer or just tighten some screws, this carabiner keychain has got you covered.
Handgrey Bauhaus C50 Carabiner Keychain
As you might be able to tell from the name, this carabiner was designed to follow the principles of the Bauhaus design movement. For those who are unfamiliar, the driving tenet behind Bauhaus is that there is no distinction between form and function. As such, this carabiner is both minimalist and inclusive in its design. It is crafted from a single piece of squared titanium with the gate spring built into the body. That means there are no hinges or separate pieces to break. Yet it still features a classic carabiner design and, therefore, has all of the traditional benefits.
Oakley Metal Works Carabiner Keychain
While they are certainly most famous for their sunglasses, eyewear is not Oakley’s sole focus (in fact, it’s not even how they started). Illustrating their versatility as a brand is this, their carabiner keychain. With a design that closely resembles that of a climbing carabiner, this keychain features a forged gate with a screw lock to ensure a secure closure. It also has a built-in bottle opener and a separate keyring hole, so your keys won’t ever fall off just because the gate is open. Don’t be fooled by the style, however, as this is in no way intended for rock climbing.
Ti2 Halo Carabiner Keychain
This carabiner keychain, which we assume was named for its resemblance to the tech in the video game series of the same name, is a masterful collaborative effort between superb designers Mike Bond and Jesper Voxnaes. It comes in a number of different construction materials – including titanium, zirconium, bronze, copper, and stainless steel – and also has a few handy tools built into its form. For instance, the hole at the top is actually a hex wrench, the tip at the base can be used as a pry bar or screwdriver, and the gate doubles as a bottle opener.
Handgrey H1 Titanium Carabiner Keychain
Intended as a counterpoint to the brand’s Bauhaus line, this one was designed with pure functionality in mind. It’s constructed from EDM wire cut squared grade 5 titanium and features a simple two-piece configuration. The big benefit of this carabiner is its key-capturing design. You see, the main upper portion of the clip is ideal for hanging on belt loops or attaching to a MOLLE backpack, whereas the secondary lower portion will keep your keychain separate and secure – so as to stop them from coming loose and falling off.
Handgrey HG Titanium Carabiner Keychain
Not entirely dissimilar to the H1 above, this keychain is built from super sturdy and corrosion-resistant grade 5 squared titanium. It also has a separate keyring space to keep your keychain items apart from whatever it is you’re attaching this carabiner to. But the best part of this incredibly durable 2-piece accessory is that it has a built-in bottle opener. And since it’s made of titanium, it’s going to be nearly indestructible through normal usage.
Ti2 Whar-Biner Keychain Carabiner
Crafted from either titanium, bronze, or zirconium – this well-designed option packs a chisel, pry bar, screwdriver, box cutter, and bottle opener into its construction. And it’s so well built, your keys will probably break before this carabiner does. You can even get it in a number of different finishes including anodized purple, green, and either the American or the Texas flag.
Anso Knives Titanium Carabiner Keychain
Designed and CNC-milled in Denmark by master industrial designer Jens Anso, this accessory takes everything that works well about a classic keychain carabiner and improves upon it. For starters, it’s made from incredibly light and durable titanium. It also features a bead-blasted, anodized, and stonewashed finish. And it incorporates a number of alternative functions – like a pry bar, screwdriver, and bottle opener – that make it more of a multi-tool than just a straight keychain.
The History Of Carabiners
Looking to learn more about how these EDC tools came to be? Check out this article on our sister site to learn the whole history of carabiners