At High Tail Hikes, our focus is on crafting high quality, durable adventure gear. We utilize both solid brass and aircraft grade, anodized aluminum autolocking carabiner hardware for our leashes and long lines. Here, we review these two hardware options, breaking down the pros and cons of each. Hopefully this will help you to decide which hardware option is best for you. Enjoy!
Solid Brass Hardware
Solid Brass is just that - brass all the way through to its core. Solid brass is an alloy (a mix of elements) and is typically made from a combination of copper and zinc. Brass has more “stretch” than other metals - meaning that it will flex rather than crack or break under pressure, making it an ideal choice for weight bearing hardware. Brass is also completely rust proof and highly resistant to corrosion, making it perfect for dogs who spend a lot of time at the beach or in water. Brass will develop a natural patina on its surface over time and exposure to the elements, but it can be cleaned and polished to restore its color and shine (see our blog post about how to care for your brass hardware).
Bolt Snap vs. Scissor Snap
If you've chosen to go with brass hardware, you'll have two choices: Bolt Snap or Scissor Snap. Here we break down the differences between the two!
Bolt Snaps are the standard style snap that you see on most leashes on the market. They have a spring mechanism inside, and a button that moves up and down to open and close a snap gate to attach the leash to your dog’s harness or collar. Bolt snaps are easy to use, quick to get on and off (handy if you’re swapping out leashes for long lines), strong, and durable. There are a couple of possible downsides to a bolt snap. First, the metal spring inside the clasp can get sticky over time (especially if exposed to a lot of salt water). To prevent this, we recommend rinsing your clasp in fresh water after a trip to the beach or a messy, muddy hike. If the spring does get sticky, rinse it well, then add a couple drops of WD-40 or another penetrating oil and move the button up and down several times to get it moving smoothly again. Finally, it is rare, but possible, that a bolt snap can open inadvertently while in use, most likely from the snap gate button getting caught on a piece of hardware or during a vigorous rolling session. Our best advice is to ensure that the gate is completely closed after you hook the snap to the D-ring on the harness or collar. Consider a Safety Strap as a back up, especially if your dog likes to do a lot of rolling!
Scissor Snaps (also called Trigger or Lobster Snaps) work a little differently. Similar to scissors, there are two separate components that are connected via a lever at the bottom, and you can open or close the clasp using a tab at the bottom. The advantage of a Scissor Snap is that it does not have a spring inside, so is less likely to get sticky. If you live on the coast and/or visit the beach a lot, this may be an important consideration. Since the tab at the bottom is larger than the button on a bolt snap, some find the scissor snap easier to open when wearing gloves or if you have mobility issues or stiffness in your hands. Similar to a bolt snap, it’s possible (thought extremely unlikely) that the gate opening lever could inadvertently be pushed down, causing the gate to open while in use.
A final difference between the two clasps is how quickly they release. With a bolt snap, when you press the button to open the gate, you have to then move the clasp hook up and over the D-ring to get it off. With a scissor snap, because of its design, the clasp will releases immediately when you open the gate. This is a minor difference, but something you may want to consider.
Above (Left to Right): Medium Bolt Snap, Medium Scissor Snap, Large Bolt Snap, Large Scissor Snap
Sport Autolocking Carabiners
Your other option for hardware is to choose an autolocking "Sport" carabiner. Our autlocking carabiners are made from extremely strong, lightweight, aviation grade anodized aluminum, with a load strength of 400 kg. These carabiners are autolocking, meaning that when you close the carabiner gate, a lock automatically swivels into place, ensuring that the carabiner will not come unclipped while in use. Our Sport option is the best option to use for peace of mind that your hardware will not come unclipped while in use. The aluminum is rust proof, long lasting, and very lightweight for its size.
Our Sport Carabiners, while very light, are a little bit longer and bulkier than our brass snaps. This may be something to take into consideration if you have a very small or short dog that you are walking on a collar or a front clip harness. If you are walking your dog on a back clip harness, this shouldn't be an issue.
One other consideration is that due to the autolocking mechanism, our Sport carabiners can be a little tricky to open and close with one hand or if you are wearing gloves, as you have to spin the lock open and then press the lever to open it. It's doable with one hand, but can take some getting used to, and is not quite as quick and easy as our brass clips.
That's it - we hope this is helpful! More questions? Just contact us, we’d love to help!