You would assume it could be rather difficult to talk in depth about what is essentially two bits of plastic that fit together. Fortunately, the Gram Counter Grip Clips offer much more than they would appear with a multitude of uses.

Made of molded plastic and weighing a mere 5 grams the Grip Clips, as the name might suggest, simply join (or grip to) either side of a piece of fabric to provide a secure point in which to attach a guyline, cordage, stake a peg, etc. To tie it down to a few functions is difficult as the more you use the Grip Clips the more versatile you realise they are.

What you receive is the Grip Clip itself, but a bit more work needs to be done to make it functional. The outer ring needs a bit of cordage adding with a simple couple of knots either side to secure in place. You can add a guyline straight to this, but we preferred to add a simple loop in which more options can be added afterwards. We then placed the Grip Clip into a small bag along with a dyneema guyline and lightweight stake which comes to a total weight of 17 grams. The reason we have added a dyneema line is that it is very strong and won’t become brittle in freezing conditions. Essentially this little set up accompanies our repair kit, which joins us on all of our expeditions so needs to be functional no matter what the current conditions may be. The guyline/cordage should ideally also be bright in colour and reflective. No one wants an unfortunate stumble over a guyline, especially a guyline that will be in an uncommon location that you are not used to.

To use the Grip Clip simply follow these instructions:

  • Make sure the material you wish to attach the Grip Clip to is not taught. This may require the removal of a peg/stake to slacken the material.
  • Separate the two parts of the Grip Clip. Place the inner piece underneath the fabric to the location you wish to attach a guyline.
  • Take the outer piece and with a twist and push the inner should come through the outer and then lock back into place. Gram Counter gear call it a “two part 'button' fastening”, which becomes more apparent when practicing the technique.
  • The fabric should be evenly distributed and with a short pull will feel strong and secure.
  • Now you are ready to attach an additional guyline, cordage, stake, carabiner, etc.

For us, the most common usage of the Grip Clip is whilst using tarps. A tarp is a very versatile item and can be made to suit all environments with just a bit of creative thinking and practice. Quite often it falls that one of the sewn in attachment points isn’t always in the correct place where you would like it to be. Many solutions have been used to combat this issue including carrying a marble or using a smooth rock found by a watercourse. Both do the job, but none are as simple or as safe to use when compared to the Grip Clip. No tools are needed, and no marks or damage will be left after use.

Another common use is combating the issues raised when considering modern lightweight tents. Producers often save weight by reducing the amount of guylines added to tents. They may function perfectly when the wind follows the same direction throughout the night, but this isn’t the case very often, resulting in an unwanted slap to the face from the sidewall. The Grip Clip can be applied quickly and easily to combat this problem without the need to re-pitch. If I feel an area of a shelter is of concern, we often now add a Grip Clip prior to pitching.

The more you spend time with the Grip Clip the more useful you find they become. Creative thinking will get you a long way and we have used the Grip Clips for much more than we initially thought we would. A few handy uses for example are: Creating hanging points in tarps. For this you utilise both sides of the Grip Clip as the inner section can act as hanging point, useful for a headtorch or tools you may need close to hand; The outer part can also be tied off as an additional guyline to stop your tarp from sagging due to the added weight; Another use is airing out a bivvy bag in the forest. If concerned you may damage it hanging over a branch, simply attach a Grip Clip to one end and let it hang free from any snagging areas.

We like simple designs, especially ones that have little working parts so are less likely to fail in use. The Grip Clips fall perfectly into this category and at a working weight of 17 grams including stake and cordage we carry two as part of our kit. This said, there could be a slight improvement. A carry case or small bag is needed as when not attached to fabric they don’t stay together so maybe a future design with some kind of locking function when not in use could be handy. It would also be great to see them available in a variety of sizes to accommodate different fabrics and functions.

Our Verdict

Grip Clips offer a quick and simple solution to providing extra support, temporary repairs, or problem solving whilst out in the wilderness. Like a fire striker or a whistle, the Grip Clip is one of those items you carry with you everywhere to be relied upon no matter the altitude, temperature or location. They’re limited only to the user’s creativity and we can see them over several years gaining a lot of popularity for an abundance of jobs in all outdoor activities.

Cairngorm Treks is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...