Austere Manufacturing 1″ Pin Ladder Lock: First Look
Building on the 3/4″ ladder lock buckle Austere Manufacturing released this spring, the new 1″ Pin Ladder Lock is compatible with any gear that uses 1″ webbing. We got our hands on a couple of buckles for today’s release. Find our first look here…
Washington-based Austere Manufacturing is on a mission to replace all failure-prone plastic buckles with fancy, ultra-reliable CNC machined alternatives. Austere’s founder Uriel Eisen launched the brand in 2021 with a trusty cam buckle, and since then, we’ve started to see them appear on bikepacking bags and other equipment we love. Earlier this year, they launched their new Pin Ladder Lock buckle, replacing standard plastic ladder locks with a beautifully machined body and your choice of stainless steel or titanium pins.
The first Pin Ladder Lock was designed for 3/4″ webbing, but according to Uriel, they were inundated with requests for a 1″ version as soon as it was released. Uriel explains, “We made the 1″ version of the Pin Ladder Lock because it turns out that a lot of gear is designed with 1″ webbing. Interestingly, this is mostly because there is a perception that any heavy-duty application needs 1″ webbing. As it turns out, this is actually due to the buckles, as most 1″ buckles are built much stronger. And 3/4″ webbing is super strong, holding hundreds of pounds. This heavy-duty gear is often appealing to the same folks who are interested in their gear lasting.”
The 1″ Pin Ladder Lock is, of course, designed for 1″ webbing. It’s 1.26″ wide by 1.08″ long, weighs 10.2 grams or 11.9 grams (depending on the pin material), and is machined from solid billet aluminum. The pins either come installed if you have access to a sewing machine or half installed to retrofit it to an existing bag without doing any sewing. Austere recommends using quality parallel jaw pliers (like those from Knipex) to set the pin once the buckle is in place. You can read more about the design and functionality of the 3/4″ Pin Ladder Lock, which offers all the same features as the larger 1″ version, here.
With some help from Walt and Dan at Tumbleweed Bikes headquarters in Boise, I clipped out the standard plastic ladder lock buckles on my Rockgeist Big Dumpling hip pack and replaced them with the Austere Pin Ladder Locks. I found the install to be a little less awkward than the 3/4″ version, which is not a huge surprise. We didn’t have large enough Knipex pliers on hand, so we used a smooth-sided bench vice to press the pins into place with no issues. The pins fall into place with very little force, but I’ve found that a little extra push is needed to have them perfectly seated. When it’s done right, a tiny ring of the pin falls off the from the side the pin is being pushed into, letting you know the job is complete.
I’ve been out on a couple of rides since installing the buckles, but everything from my original review of the 3/4″ version remains true. They hold the tension of the webbing tight, they don’t loosen, and when adjusting the length of the buckle or in this case the compression straps on the sides of my hip pack, they don’t dump all the webbing immediately like plastic buckles tend to do. Plus, the black/orange buckles match up perfectly with the Rockgeist tag on the hip pack, which is just dumb luck.
- Durable and lightweight
- Beautifully machined in the US with a high-quality Cerakote finish
- Better control and bite versus plastic buckles
- Won’t slip
- Easier to install and adjust compared to 3/4″ version
- Overkill for most applications
- Pressing the pins into place is a little awkward without the right tools
- The pins can’t be removed and reinstalled once in place
The 1″ Pin Ladder Locks cost $24 with stainless steel pins and $28 with titanium. They’re being offered in black, orange, light blue, and ranger green, and they’re available today from AustereManufacturing.com.
Make sure to dig into these related articles for more info...
Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.