Survival Gear Review: RockD Auto Lock Carabiner

Survival Carabiner

During my time in the Army, I served in both the infantry and Special Forces and had to hump (carry) all of my gear over some hellacious long distances and across various rugged environments with extremes in temperatures.   


By Bama Bull, a reader of SurvivalCache.com

One of the things I learned is that your gear has to be rugged enough to withstand a lot of abuse and the weather conditions where you use it.  The other key issue is weight – which can and will have an impact on survival and mission accomplishment.  I learned a long time ago that 60 pounds of lightweight gear is still 60 pounds.  So anywhere I can cut weight or bulk – I do.  When I went looking for a carabiner for my bug out bag, I wanted something strong yet light and built to last.

RockD Auto Lock

Here is a quality piece of gear that you can safely bet your life on.  The RockD Auto Lock is a D shaped carabiner with a spring loadedrock exotica rockd review barrel locking sleeve with a “locked” indicator.  The locking sleeve adds to the strength rating, stops the gate from accidentally opening, and prevents gate failure (opening and pulling apart) during a shock or force event.  It weights approximately 2.9 ounces (81 grams) and has an incredible weight to safety ratings.  True certified carabiners have a kiloNewton (kN) rating stamped on its spine.  A kN (a combination of weight with gravity, not static weight or mass) is a unit of force measure equal to about 225 pounds (actually 224.808), which is how much force it can withstand to absorb a shock or force before failure – such as generated by a person falling from a height.

WARNING: I give this warning to everyone:  “Do NOT use any carabiner or other types of climbing gear for a life support function that doesn’t have a certified kN rating!  Watch out for cheap knock-off carabiners!”

The Rock Exotica carabiners are well constructed from quality materials with high kN ratings and extensive safety testing.  The RockD carabiner has a kN rating of 29 (6,520 lbs. or 2,957 kilos) along the spine when locked and has been tested to half of its rated strength at 3,250 lbs.  An incredible safety load before it reaches a failure point.

This does not mean carabiners with lower kN numbers are inferior – they are safe and can be used.  However, if you need to be absolutely sure and lives are on the line, then go with the best.  Would you buy the cheapest, lowest rated bullet-proof vest to take to firefight?

The RockD Auto Lock is a little larger than most carabiners and has a full 1-inch wide gate opening – which allows you to connect it tosurvival carabiner larger sized anchor points and to thicker ropes and cables.  Most other carabiners only have about a 5/8th of an inch gate opening.  I personally like the larger size of the RockD since it allows one-hand operation and ease of connecting to anchor points.  My RockD is large enough to allow me to clip the handle on my dog’s retractable leash to my pack or my pack to hard points in different vehicles.

Carabiners are not just for climbing, but can have multifunctional uses – such as connecting cables or tow lines to vehicle, or a quick connect for attaching gearing together, or securing gear to a hard point.

For my protection and that of my family members, I would put my trust in the quality of the Rock Exotica product line.  They may cost a little more, but this is not an area I would go cheap and scrimp on.  Safety is not something to take short cuts with.  You know the Rock Exotica products are good… They’re USA made in Utah!

RockD Auto Lock available @ Forge Survival Supply $16.99 (Click Here)
Available @ Amazon $17.95 (Click Here)

Photos by: Bama Bull

Below – please share what you use your Survival Carabiner for!!

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Prepper August 27, 2012 at 9:37 pm

This is a pretty good review by Bama Bull. There are a few points that I would like to emphasize, from both a common sense point of view, and from the point of view of another guy with some training and experience (US Army Mountain Warfare School, Afghanistan Campus of the School of Hard Knocks).

First: use mountaineering gear… for mountaineering. Now I use snap-links all the time for hooking my stuff together. What I am talking about is using your mountaineering rated static (or god forbid, dynamic) line to tow your beater out of a ditch. The same goes for the metal gear as well. If you gotta do it for some reason, fine. Just don't trust your life on it again… EVER!

Second, I've said this before somewhere and it has been said many times here, "ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain." Places to cut weight when you've got to hump something will save you misery.

Third is if it's going to get carried, it better get used. I carry a stainless steel D-ring that weighs 14.5 oz. Why… because if I'm going to dangle buddy in a SKED litter and two attendants on class 5 terrain and lower them, I'm going to anchor them with something rated to 65 kN. Heavy it is, but I have put five on one of those things and felt alright with the safety margin. I have a lot of other equipment, but I always have one 65 kN `biener.

So lastly, I have done the math on this item and I'll show my work.

29 kN rating + great functioning + only 2.9 oz + $17 or $18 = a great deal on a D-Ring!

Not a game changer to my setup, but it looks like it's worth the investment.

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bob leeper August 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm

i prefer a carabiner to hav the screw on locking device. no failure due to opening.. a bit heavier, but well worth the safety factor

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Surf Rescue August 30, 2012 at 9:34 am

100% agreement with Dr. Prepper. If you do want to use safety gear for holding your pack to a hard point in a vehicle, make a little pruisik loop out of some 550 cord and girth hitch it to the hard point. Clip your D-ring to the pruisik and you can worry about the metal on metal issue a bit less.

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Dr. Prepper September 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Good point Surf. Metal-on-metal wear is a killer of good gear.

You also reminded me of a couple "what if" discussions I was involved with. During a "business trip" in the 'Stan, we had issues getting certain bits of gear including break-away rings. These little loops were made of plastic and held a decent constant force, but with a shock load they broke. This was handy to get your tags lines free when the SKED litter or basket reached the bird hovering over head.

We never had to use this (Army supply always left us "hungry" but never "starving" when it came to material) but we devised a way to use 550 cord guts. We experimented a little with tying loops of one and two strands of 550 guts to produce a functional alternative. We settled on two loops of two strands one bigger than the other with the smaller using a square knot and the larger using a figure eight. The loop with the square knot would break with about 50 pounds of force and the one with the figure eight would break at about 90 pounds (both shock loads, +/- 15 pounds). We had them set up that way as a level of safety with the "Joe-ingenuity" gear.

Just something for the mental cargo pocket.

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KansasScout September 5, 2012 at 10:41 am

I know there's been tons of improvements even since the 1980s when I last did any repelling. I just want to know if this O-ring I found among some items that once belonged to my late Uncle and my late Grandfather. My Uncle was a graduate of West Point and served with the Army in Vietnam as an advisor with the ARVAN airborne and my Grandfather was a Marine in WW-2. This gear was a mix of 1940s and 1950s-60s packs and such. Among the packs was a coil of hemp rope with an O-Ring and a pair of leather gloves hanging from it. The O-Ring is stamped with a US on one side of the solid length and an S over a 64 on the obverse side. I wonder just what the S 64 code means and if the O-Ring is still usable.

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Janina Sandoval November 12, 2012 at 1:27 am

Had to travel to Australia for a conveyancing in Melbourne and I saw a lot of these carabiners along the street, they look robust but I didn't know they turned out to be cheap knock-offs. I was feeling a little bit "McGyver-y" at that time since I needed to forcefully open the entrance of a house we were showing. Mental note.

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Shielyn Martinez February 27, 2013 at 11:20 am

I love this site! Specially the "survival knife." I own a Smith and Wesson extreme ops assisted knife in my collection, and I just feel bare when I step outside without any of them. I guess that's what I meant by "survival." Gonna buy an auto-lock carabiner soon. Hope to read more from you!

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Seddik August 7, 2013 at 9:08 am

Great stuff man i am really looking forward to buy RockD Auto Lock i' am currently trying to save some cash for it

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