Chances are, you have seen more than a few people carrying around a carabiner. They are not conspicuous and take up very little room. However, carrying one has not gone mainstream for some reason, despite its many uses.

I carry a carabiner everywhere I go. The tool is incredibly useful and unobtrusive to my everyday activities. However, many people may ask the question “Why should I carry a carabiner every day?” A carabiner has many versatile applications in everyday life. It can be used as a key chain, as a makeshift belt, an improvised handle, or for generally attaching an item to yourself or your EDC pack. In a pinch, it can be used as a pulley system. If your life is on the line, it even has self-defense applications as brass knuckles.

With so many versatile applications, it’s a wonder that more people don’t use this tool. Let’s go over why an EDC carabiner is essential to your kit.

1. Carabiner Key Chain

carabiner mix and match key chain

The first and most applicable usage of a carabiner is as a key chain. You absolutely can use a true “key ring” to bind all of your keys together. However, it can be annoying to remove a key from a key ring. Not only is it annoying to do, but it’s not exactly the easiest. Using your fingernail to pry up that little piece of metal, and heaven forbid you have any kind of oil or lotion on your hand. You’re probably wondering when this situation may come in handy.

Recently, my girlfriend and I returned home from running errands. Shortly after hitting the driveway, I realized I was almost out of tobacco. However, she needed to get in the house to feed the dogs and let them out.

Now, with a regular key chain, I’d have to shut down my vehicle, wait for her to unlock the door, return the key to me and then be on my way. Let’s be honest that would be faster than trying to pry my house key off of the ring. Not to mention, I’d still have to shut off the truck to accomplish this.

However, I have a few key rings bound together on my carabiner. I quickly removed the ring with the house key and was on my way. Which brings me to my next point, which is organizing keys.

Organizing Keys On Your Carabiner

Mix and match key sets are a breeze with a carabiner. My parents are divorced, and my mother lives about a half hour north of me. My father lives about 2 hours south of me. It doesn’t make sense for me to carry around sets of keys to both of their houses. I also have a motorcycle for fair weather days and a truck for hauling things and daily driving. Not to mention my own house keys, and building keys I need for when I coach baseball.

I’ve organized my keychain so I can quickly detach my coaching keys, and my truck key when I go riding on my motorcycle. I don’t need a bunch of extra keys scratching up my gas tank on the bike. Similarly, I can easily throw my Dad’s house key onto my carabiner when I head down to his place on the weekend. Also, I can conveniently carry my keys and free up pocket space by attaching my carabiner key chain to my belt loop. The convenience a carabiner offers as a key ring is unrivaled.

2. Using A Carabiner To Attach Items

Another simple but effective use of a carabiner is to attach items to something larger. Carabiners were originally a tool used for climbing, so it makes sense that they could be used to hold things. However, barring any hiking excursions into the woods, how is a carabiner useful in everyday life?

Here’s a scenario for the animal lovers out there. Ever needed a free hand while walking your dog, but had to hold onto their leash? Why not use your carabiner to tether your dog to your belt loop while you clean up after them.

Also, if you’re out at a campsite and don’t want to constantly have a handle on their leash, you can use a carabiner to tether your pet to a tree or post.

If you don’t have a pet, chances are tethering your personal items to your pack or a nearby structure will make things much more convenient for you. You can use a carabiner to attach your water bottle to your pack. Don’t feel like wearing your EDC hat, that’s fine. Use the fitment loop and attach to your belt loop.

Going camping, use a couple of carabiners to attach your sleeping bag to the bottom of your day pack.

At the swimming pool, keep your backpack dry and off the pavement by clipping the top strap to the chain link fence. This also makes it super simple to access the items in your pack without bending over, because the carabiner is holding the pack for you.

Ladies, getting tired of carrying your purse? Attach it to your husbands EDC pack, or to a stroller to lighten the load on your shoulders.

3. The Carabiner Belt

Using your carabiner as a belt is only meant as a temporary solution. I obviously don’t recommend this on a regular basis. Should your belt break while you’re out working, and you need to keep your pants up, simply run the carabiner through the front two belt loops. This will cinch the front of your pants closer. Wear your shirt untucked in a casual environment to keep the carabiner hidden. At a more formal event? Use your jacket to cover up, or pull out your shirt part ways so it folds over to conceal.

4. Simple Pulley

Moving on, you’ve got the carabiner block and tackle. Many people carry paracord in their EDC packs or on their person as a paracord bracelet. Combine this with your carabiner, and you’ve got a simple pulley system. All you need to do is find a way to hook your carabiner above an item. Then use the paracord to hoist the item up. Use caution, and make sure your carabiner is rated to hold the amount of weight you are trying to lift.

Also, if you have enough cord and a second carabiner, you can add a pulley to decrease the amount of force needed to lift the item. Once again, make sure they biners are rated to carry the load you are trying to lift.

5. Makeshift Handle

Ever tried pulling something, and it very inconveniently did not have a handle? If you can find a point to attach (or make one) you can run your carabiner through it to make a handle.

One great example is when you are raking leaves. I remember every fall, my family would help my grandmother clear her lawn by raking up leaves into piles. We’d transfer those over to a tarp. It would have been nice to run a carabiner through the grommets on the tarp to make a handle to drag with. Since all we had to do was transfer them to the curb to be vacuumed up.

6. EDC Carabiner Brass Knuckles

While I don’t advocate you heading to your local fight club equipped with your carabiner, in a life or death situation, having any kind of weapon is better than none at all. You’ll need to make sure the version you get is large enough to fit your entire hand through. Also, this is the last resort as carabiners were never meant to be used as a weapon. You could potentially break your hand if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Along those lines, you could use your carabiner as a glass breaker in dire straights. Use a hammer fist strike with the smaller end of the carabiner when making contact with the glass. While not pointed, it should be hard enough to accomplish the task. You also don’t have to worry about your hand slipping down as your hand is completely surrounded by the carabiner.

Parting Shots

Whether it’s simply for the convenience, or because of it’s life-saving applications, I highly recommend an EDC carabiner. I’ve used my carabiner for every situation I have described in this article (except the stroller example, I don’t have kids). I’ve even used my personal at the gym when the equipment is missing its’ carabiner. In all likelihood, you’ll probably find uses I haven’t yet. If you do, please post them in the comments.

The first step is committing to carry one with you every day. I’ve made my case, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.