Ice axes are a reliable tool for people who explore cold temperature landscapes and icy terrain. But always carrying your ice axe in hand can get tiring and is potentially dangerous. Instead, you should use an ice ax leash to tether your tool to your body safely.
A top rated leash for ice axes will feature a strong cord, secure hardware, and have a functional design. By using an ice tools leash, mountaineers can reduce the risk of losing their technical tool from an accidental fall or drop. Plus, it ensures that it stays right where you need it – at hand.
With all the ice axe leashes available, you can easily get lost in the designs and have a hard time determining the best ice axe leash design. But our guide tells you exactly what to look for in a quality ice ax leash.
How To Choose The Best Ice Axe Leash – Buying Guide
Whether you want to go snowshoe hiking or conquer the ice, finding a quality ice axe leash can be difficult if you don’t know how to look. You will need to consider a few different details when you are looking to buy a top rated leash for ice axes. A quality leash will be made of durable materials and have solid construction. It also needs to be comfortable, so you feel confident when you are climbing a mountain. Finally, additional features can enhance a design and make them stand out from the crowd. Our buying guide seeks to provide you with all the information you need to find the best ice ax leash.
The material of a leash is an important consideration because you want the leash to be durable, reliable, lightweight, and long-lasting. The material of a leash can determine whether you are investing in a quality design or a cheap knockoff. Not all ice axe leashes are made the same, and different brands feature different materials in their design. To help you determine which model is the best ice axe leash, we’ll review the most common materials that you’ll see on the market.
Nylon is a common and affordable material that is frequently seen being used as the primary material of an ice ax leash. Nylon is a durable material that is both flexible and stretchy. The fluidity of nylon means that mountaineers have an unrestricted natural movement, which can be important for reaching your next holding position. Nylon ice axe leashes are often adjustable too. With an adjustable leash, you can extend your reach or keep your mountaineering axe tucked close for a compact carry. The only downside to nylon is that it retains water and takes longer to dry. When you’re working around ice and snow, your leash is bound to get wet. You’ll have to decide whether the additional weight of absorbed water will dampen your performance.
However, nylon sometimes is blended with polyester to increase its durability and quality. By adding polyester, nylon retains full flexibility but becomes stronger and more resistant to damage. But the balance of nylon and polyester may not be equal. The balance of the two materials can vary by design, which can affect the durability. Blends of the two with more polyester tend to be stronger.
An alternative to nylon is often webbing which may or may not be combined with a stretch cord. Webbing is better than nylon in the aspect of weight and water retention. Webbing won’t retain water like nylon, which saves a little bit of weight for the mountaineer. Sometimes webbing is made into a sleeve or case that encompasses a stretchy cord, which makes the leash adjustable in length. The stretch of the cord is also unique because it reduces bulk material and ensures that your leash always stays taut and out of the way.
Finally, climbing rope is another material that may be featured in the construction of an ice ax leash. The climbing rope does not have a lot of stretch, but it is incredibly durable and rugged. The rope will be resistant to tears and wear, which makes it great for use throughout the winters on the mountain.
Other materials that may be highlighted in the design are metal. Often metal like steel or aluminum may be used as a supportive band around a section of the leash or in the clips used to attach with your mountaineering axe. While the metal will be kept to a minimum, for weight-conscious climbers, remember that aluminum is lighter than steel, but still retains full durability.
No matter what material you choose, you want to be sure that you like your leash. Consider the factors of weight, flexibility, and strength when you are evaluating the material of a leash. A top rated leash for ice axes will always use quality material to ensure a durable construction.
The durability of a design is often related to the materials used to construct the leash. But other factors like construction, accessories, and price can also influence whether a leash is durable. As we’ve mentioned, there are a lot of different materials used by different brands in their leash designs. With blended and non-blended materials, the varying strength of a design can determine how durable it is. Nylon is strong, but it is more durable when blended with polyester. Webbing is as strong as nylon and has the edge of retaining less water. Climbing rope is exceptionally durable, but it doesn’t have a lot of stretch or flexibility like nylon.
But be aware that even if the material is listed as durable, it may fail in its performance. The quality of the material can also affect the overall durability of the design. Lower-quality material will quickly break versus quality material, which should last longer. A top rated leash for ice axes will be made of quality materials to ensure its durability. Additionally, when designs use steel or aluminum in the bands or clips, you may be wondering which metal is more durable. Both aluminum and stainless steel are incredibly durable materials, and sometimes there isn’t a clear winner. It will depend on the design of the leash and how the metal is used to determine how durable a leash is.
Leashes that have a minimalistic design tend to be more durable because they have fewer independent pieces that are prone to breaking. Even the most expensive axe slings with all the fine details, may not be as durable as a more straightforward design. Finally, price isn’t always a factor of durability.
Most people associate higher prices with better quality and therefore, increased durability. While the price of a leash can sometimes indicate the durability, it isn’t always a reliable measurement. Instead of the price showing durability, look at the design of a leash. If you are having trouble determining what makes a good design, canvas some of the ice axe leash reviews. Many reviewers will comment on the durability of the design and state whether they believe the leash to be a worthwhile investment. The more you research the durability of ice axe leashes, the more likely you will find a quality product that will be long-lasting. A durable leash can undoubtedly enhance your performance on the mountain.
Ease of Use
Nothing would be more frustrating than getting your hands on a new ice ax leash but learning that you struggle to use it. The best leash for ice axe tools should be easy and comfortable to use when you’re on vertical and flat surfaces. The ease of use should be determined by how comfortable the leash is to use and what features it has to make it more functional. Often, comfort and functionality go hand in hand.
Features that make axe slings more comfortable and functional to use are the wrist strap, the length of the leash, and the material of the leash. Wrist straps that have a generous amount of room or are adjustable tend to be the most comfortable to use. Ideally, an adjustable wrist strap will let you determine how tight the strap is and how secure it is too. But an adjustable leash can also be quickly released. For climbers who need to switch hands, a quick pull of the strap can realize it and allow it to be easily transferred to the other wrist.
The length of the leash can also determine whether climbers are comfortable and have maneuverability. Longer leashes have an extensive reach and can let the mountaineer move their axe as they see fit, but it can also leave a lot of extra line that can get in the way. Stretch leashes are an easy answer to this problem because they keep the line taut and out of the way. They also ensure that you can comfortably move your axe a full arm’s length away.
Finally, the material of the leash is an important factor in comfort and functionality. Quality material will never irritate your skin and should be strong enough to easily support the weight of the axe. Material like nylon is lightweight, but it also functions well because it is flexible. The flexibility ensures your leash is comfortable to use and functional for technical skills used on the mountain.
For beginners and experts, having an easy to use leash can be essential to conquering the mountain. Leashes that come with too many parts or features can be challenging to use and operate, especially when you are using mittens or gloves. For beginner mountaineers, a simple leash design can mean the difference between learning important skills and giving up due to frustration.
Mountaineers are often looking at the value of their tools. Some people think that a higher price means better value and others are shopping with an affordable budget. As we’ve mentioned, the value of your ice tool leash may not always indicate whether it is a quality design. There are expensive leashes that have disappointing ice axe leash reviews because they break easily or have a poor design. Instead of relying on only the value of a leash, consider all the other factors that can determine whether it is high quality or low quality.
Different ice axe leashes may have various features that are based on the brand and manufacturer of the design. Additional features may include second lines, clips, carabiners, and loops. The features of design can enhance the durability, functionality, comfort, and ease of use. We consider the most useful features to be the clips and loops because they can affect how you secure your axe to the leash.
Another great feature is a spring feature. The spring feature allows for adjustability on the mountain and lets you choose how to use your axe. But spring features often require more maintenance and may be difficult for beginners to use. Additionally, some axes have a spring feature, and others don’t. It will be up to you to decide whether or not you need or want a spring feature in your leash design.
Sometimes features may not be considered the most important for a design, but for ice axe leashes the features can certainly enhance your performance on the mountain. When you’re looking at all the different products, you should consider the differences in features between models and determine which will best suit your needs. It will be entirely up to each mountaineer’s preference as to what features their leash includes or doesn’t include.
But be cautious of too many features. While features can undoubtedly make a design better, they can also hinder the comfort and functionality of the leash. A leash should balance the features and calculate them into the design to make them highly functional and worthwhile to the mountaineer. Sometimes too many features can be overwhelming or make your leash challenging to use. For help with determining how well features function, read ice axe leash reviews for guidance.
Q: Why do I need an ax leash?
Q: How to maintain my leash?
Q: Are axe leashes safe?
Q: Should I purchase a leash that holds two axes?
Q: Should I worry about a leash that uses metal in the design?
Q: What type of leash should a beginner use?
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Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced mountaineer, an ice ax makes conquering a mountain easier and could potentially save your life. Whether you use it to scale a vertical cliff, cross a frozen lake or stream, or even as avalanche safety gear, your ax will become a reliable companion. To ensure that you never lose your companion, you should use a top rated leash for ice axes. A leash will secure the axe to your body so that it is always ready to be deployed. The best ice axe leash will be durable, functional, comfortable, flexible, and long-lasting. The leash should have features that enhance your time on the mountain and make it a worthwhile investment.
With our list and buying guide, you’ve seen the top designs on the market and learned all the information you need to find a quality ice ax leash. We’ve broken down all the information you need and made your shopping experience more convenient. With the many tested and approved designs on our list, you’re guaranteed to find an ice ax leash that you feel confident using. With your safety ensured, you can focus on the task at hand and traverse the vertical trails.
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Do you own one of the ice axe leashes that made it onto our list? Has it saved you from losing your ax on the mountain? Let us know how your ice ax leash has enhanced your safety on the mountain in the comments section below.