I was going through the inventory on our website and came across the figure 9 carabiner, I had seen them previously in catalogues, but hadn’t really ever looked at them with any interest.
At roughly the same time one of our forum members (Thank you “SafetyDude”) started a thread about this neat gadget that he found at a local home improvement store.
Between his description of this gadget, and my curiosity, I decided that this thing might have some use.
My first thought of what it might be useful for was setting up a tarp shelter, so I got one and tried it out. Here are the results.
Did I mention that it’s spring in KY? I realize that the setting isn’t very “Wilderness”, but I enjoy the beauty of nature in many forms. Back to the task at hand, the figure 9 comes with clearly written and illustrated instructions that detail three ways of using it.
I will probably find more ways to mis-apply this thing, and I’m sure you can too. It’s rated for 150 lbs. I think this applies to a vertical load. I don’t intend to ever try that figure for accuracy, the packaging also clearly says “Do not Use for Climbing!” which (I hope) is obvious.
That aside the figure 9 is very handy for rigging tarp shelters. I tried it with a diamond shelter, and the lean-to configuration above. Using it allowed me to provide a ridge-line and to tension the tarp.
As you can see (check out how bowed out the tarp is) there was a pretty stiff breeze blowing, and after I got everything rigged, the figure 9 held quite well. Providing tension to the lines with it is simple and easy.
I used nylon tape here to make a better contrast in the picture, you can use cordage from 1/8” to 3/8” with the figure 9, paracord works well with it.
Here is another picture of the same configuration above. It’s oriented 180 degrees opposite the other knot. What I found was that the shelter set up, time wise, consisted of 10 minutes of positioning the tarp and anchoring the lines and about 10 seconds of bringing everything to the correct tension with the figure 9.
Oh, as a side note when you use stakes to fasten down the corners of your tarp on a windy day, make them about 12-18 inches long and angle them against the tension on the tarp.
My stakes were angled, but they should have been longer and possibly thicker, oh well live and learn.
Conclusion: For my money, figure 9 is hard to beat.
True, you can use knots to do the same thing, and I recommend knowing how to use both.
But for quick and easy, you can’t beat the figure 9.
Check it out and grab one today!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 15, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.