Nite Ize Figure 9 carabiner makes knots unnecessary

The "Nite Ize Figure 9 Carabiner" looks a bit precarious: a toothed hook holds the loose end of a rope in place, making lashing as simple as a couple of quick loops. But Timothy Lord, writing for Cool Tools, has found the $5 bits handy for lots of jobs, including hauling a kayak around on his car.
Thus far, I have used the devices only with standard-issue parachute cord, but they're sized to work with a range of small-diameter ropes. Though the tying system looks suspiciously wimpy, I've found it is as robust as promised. I ordered the Figure 9s to replace the mesh netting that came with the roof-rack basket on my car. Not only do these make a decent replacement (i.e. riding around with a kayak strapped to my car this summer), but tying one more knot under the car is something I'm glad to skip.
Not for climbing! It says so right on the aluminum clip. Nite Ize Figure 9 Carabiner []
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16 Responses to Nite Ize Figure 9 carabiner makes knots unnecessary

  1. Halloween Jack says:

    Nite Ize are great. Their Flashlight Friend is one of the best toys that I’ve ever had, and at the same time is absurdly practical.

  2. The Lizardman says:

    @3 I suspect I am missing some humor but the idea is to not tie knots. Most people tie horrible knots (improper ties, wrong knot for the situation, etc) and knots weaken the rope, devices like this are a better option and easier for most people to use. Tangentally, basic knot tying should be a required course of study in elementary schools. It is amazing how often I see situations where the knowledge of a half-hitch would have been invaluable.

  3. crimeshark says:

    OK. I’m missing something. These are intended for duties like lashing cargo to a car roof and holding it there at 65 MPH but not for climbing? Anybody else but me a little shocked that the stated design parameters for this device do not include saving own your ass while climbing, but do include risking somebody else’s while driving?

  4. prunk says:

    I can see this crimp connection being very good for tension. My background is rock climbing. I also set up safety riggs for construction loads. Like I said, good in tension bad in cyclical loading. In terms of holding things down the cycles probably never vary enough to actually loosen to the point of instability. If however your cable was able to completely slack and then back into tension i could see the rope sliding through. Which is why knots are the only way to go. They may take some time but they account for a fixed position. A knot designed to take a load in one direction can still hold it’s position under nominal loads in any other direction.

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  6. Kieran O'Neill says:

    Friction never ceases to amaze me.

    Lol, what with the “Welcome, Douglas Rushkoff” thread on BB proper, at first glance I misread “Nite Ize” for “Nitzer Ebb“…

  7. Jake0748 says:

    “Not for climbing! It says so right on the aluminum clip.”

    How long before the first Darwin Award winner uses them for climbing?

  8. CaseyE says:

    Helpless? Feeling impotent? Amaze your friends–learn to tie a knot!

  9. Chinpokomon says:

    I saw these in the store when I got back from BM and wondered about their viability.

    I happen to know how to tie knots, well more to the point I used to know how to tie knots VERY well. I designated myself official knot tier when I saw others trying to use square knots. I managed to get the taut-line mostly correct, and while I could have made it possibly more secure, I remembered enough to secure our parachute in the white-out conditions and the knots didn’t budge an inch due to the storms.

    Back to the point, I saw these figure 9 ‘biners and thought they looked pretty slick. We could have used them in the same way I used the taut-line. As mentioned by others, they have a couple different configurations and therefore can be used either mid-rope or at the end for a loop. The biggest drawback was the gauge rope. We were using what amounted to climbing rope, and there is no way these devices would have worked with the diameter ropes we had. I know they make larger devices, but the cost goes up appreciably. For simple tie-downs, they may work, but I’m more comfortable with the security of the “come-along” tiedowns made out of nylon webbing, if I’m carrying a significant load.

    I don’t believe you are gaining much in “knot” strength. As pointed out, the cleats will essentially chew your rope, but in other areas you are still placing a pinching pressure on the sides of the cord. This bends and pinch points are what weaken the rope, and you aren’t avoiding that with these devices. I would be curious how they rank, but there is no way that the cords are still as strong.

    If you’re idea of a secure knot, is the thing you put on your shoe, these are probably well suited for you for some purposes. For me, I’ll probably stick with well tied knots or other hardware.

  10. The Lizardman says:

    @9 There is a big difference in situational forces and stresses faced for climbing v tying down a load. Again pointing to my original reference of how people often pick the wrong knots and/or tie them wrong / poorly

    As for the rope wear/strength with these v knots, I wasn’t aware of the teeth, I hadn’t checked them out that closely and took a quick guess that were smooth and worked similar to some wraps / knots used with rigging hardware. It would be nice to see some tests done to compare this v various knots but ultimately I think the ease of use will win out for most users who would otherwise likely botch the knot

  11. treeswing says:


    I agree with how you’re comin at this, and it looks like you used the appropriate amount of over-engineering. To a certain extant, though, I think you are missing the point. A) Tying and untying knots takes time and skill, especially when under pressure from heavy winds. I know when it was screaming I could whip these on and off as I needed and tighten them as well. Tightening isn’t a problem with 3 half hitches, but adding or moving them is much more difficult(Yes, I know and love knots, but not for what I designed). B) It’s merely a review of the product. I know they work really well since they withstood the playa in this years’ crap. I’m happy I used them and will again. They have a lot of uses and they are now in my rigging kit for good.

    btw – Essentially, our Quanset hut was covered with something the size of a parachute. I used 3/8″ Euro-braid 150# test for most of the tie-downs with some add-ons of 550# parachute cord when the storms hit. No real problems. “Burly” isn’t always better than proper design :) Hope you give em a try. They have the added bonus of you not always having to be there to tie proper knots!

    See you on the Playa…

  12. Marshall says:

    Nite Ize makes some nifty little pieces of hardware. I’ve been using their S-biners for a while and I love them. These Figure 9 carabiners work pretty well, too.

  13. El Mariachi says:

    What’s wrong with ratchet straps?

  14. Thinkerer says:

    These things (in conjunction with their S-clips) are absolutely great — I use them for cheapo barber haulers and vangs on my sailboat.

    The only hitch (sic) is that they have several different configurations, most of which are both printed on the `biner and included on a little instruction pamphlet, which guarantees you’ll do it wrong in a pinch, per #6.

  15. treeswing says:

    I took a chance using these on a completely untested quonset hut I built for Burningman this year. I used about a dozen total for the guy-ropes and tensioners. None of them budged an inch in the 50mph winds during each of the whiteouts(most were the small ones even), and believe me, I was nervous about them especially after dodging a flying carport(set on puree!).

    The arguement about knots weakening the rope doesn’t really apply here, the toothed part most likely wears the rope as much or more than a knot. Moral = Check your rope!

    • Joel Johnson says:

      @Treeswing: That’s high praise! The dust storms this year were killer. I nearly checked out with my rope at one point it got so bad. (I spent a good 10 minutes looking at the top of my dome wondering if it’d support my weight. But then things got a lot better!)

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