Carabiner Keychain Mod: Stop Dropping Your Keys




Introduction: Carabiner Keychain Mod: Stop Dropping Your Keys

I used to keep my keys on a standard carabiner, which I could clip to my belt loop.  Most of the time, that worked fine.  But every so often, when I unclipped the carabiner from my belt loop, one of the key rings would slip off without me noticing.  I had spare keys, so such events were really just a minor nuisance.  Then, I got a car with an (exorbitantly priced) keyless entry remote.

One day the inevitable happened, I reached for my keys and the ring with the remote was gone.  Staving off the panic, I assured myself that it would turn up.  Luckily, the lawn service at my apartment came across it a couple days later... after they ran it over with a riding lawnmower.

Staring at the mangled corpse of my absurdly costly key fob, I resolved to solve my key loss problem once and for all.  With the simple hack I describe here, I haven't lost a key since!  (Though I have yet to replace the remote.)

This project was made proudly at the i3 Detroit hackerspace.

Step 1: Supplies

You'll need:
* An s-biner (two-sided carabiner)
* A key ring
* Some heat shrink tubing
* A heat gun
* Your keys

Step 2: Attach Key Ring

I like to add a single key ring to the carabiner that all of my other key rings will attach to.  This is actually optional, but it makes it somewhat easier to add/remove keyrings.

Step 3: Place Heat Shrink Tubing

Cut a length of heat shrink tubing and slide it onto the body of the carabiner.  Then close the clip, and slide it back up over the clip.

Step 4: Apply Heat

Heat up the tubing with the heat gun.  The tubing will begin shrinking and forming to the shape of the underlying clip.  Make sure to apply heat to all parts of the tubing until it stops shrinking.

Step 5: Finished!

Now you can attach your key rings to the ring on the carabiner, and it is physically impossible for them to fall off!  Of course, this won't prevent you from misplacing the whole thing.



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    40 Discussions

    NiteIze brand makes a double-carabiner with a little locking piece for the bottom one. It looked neat, but didn't make it one day. Weak spring!

    I put my regular old fashioned D type carabiner clip over a heavy duty belt. It won't tear out a belt loop that way. I am looking for better quality carabiners now, though.

    Word of warning if you have an older car with some wear, extra weight on your ignition lock can keep you from starting your car. Yes, no joke in some cases that heavy EDC will prevent you from starting your car, I learned this the hard way. Consider making copies and a good well hidden magnetic case on the car is the way to go. If you have power locks it is not if but when you lock your keys in the car. If the electronic fob cost is ridiculous then think about a trunk key if you can enter via the back seats. Also when you purchase a new car make sure you get a 2nd st of keys as part of the deal.

    lots of good ideas here. thanks everyone! wish I had read this before I lost my toyota keys and remote on a hike....too expensive to replace.

    Bad idea hooking any of these devices to your belt loop to hold your keys. They can come off and they do. I lost my keys and a nifty spyderco knife. Never again will I trust a carbiner, snap link or anything like that to secure my keys

    Comment in this instructable are ase valuable as the instructable. Great guys!

    I solved this problem years ago when I was working in Coney Island (the last thing you want is to loose your keys while the rides are in motion).

    Head down to your local hardware store and ask for O'Kay's KeySafe. This belt clip has a spring release and once your keys are on it they are there when you need them. I have never lost a set of keys using these and they last for years. Multiple sizes too!

    Not exactly DIY, but it works.


    Great idea but is only a quick fix : 1 the shrink sleeve will not last long, 2 you can still ripe the belt loop off your pants.
    I love "S biners" and I keep two on my pack with vinyl tubing ( from pet shop ) to holds them closed, but a better way to handle the key on belt problem is to get a "RAINE" "key ring holder With flap", and a welded SS ring ( pick the size you need from the hardware store)...remove the small plastic key clip from the flap and slide the SS ring onto the double Velcro belt loop, If you use a closed loop biner , or a "round eye snap" you will never loose your keys and still have them on your hip and the flap keep the keys from ripping and dirtying your pants.
    NEVER USE CHEEP ALUMINUM BINERS. !.... My key's are my job so I never go cheep, I have four friends that have made this set-up and we all love it.

    2 replies

    Sounds heavy duty! I love the flap on that Raine key holder. I have noticed my pants wearing out from my keys.

    The heat shrink held up surprisingly well on my last carabiner. I had it for about 9 months before the clip broke, and the heat shrink was still going strong. I'll bet your method would last years though.

    Here is some fast shots of the mod.and the keys and biner. I am making one for a friends are not to good but I am not at home with a good cam and lighting.


    You know - If you were to just heat it until it was a little tight over the s-curve but still able to slip over the wider clip, you could have kind of a "slip-lock"...

    Slide it down to lock it so things don't come loose accidentally.

    I have one of these s-biners and keep my little swiss army knife on it.

    It's great since I can clip the knife off when I want to use it without all the keys and junk attached, but sometimes it twists around and comes unclipped in my pocket!

    This would certainly remedy that!

    Great idea and nice writeup!

    1 reply

    Thanks! Some other commenters have used flexible vinyl tubing to achieve the same effect.

    You know most auto insurance companies replace "lost" keys for free without affecting your deductible.

    1 reply

    I couldn't live without my s-biners. Never had a problem with it. I love that I can hook it to my purse, dog lead, jacket buttons, tshirt neckline...just about anything. Never lost any keys off them but this is a good idea.

    1 reply

    Thanks! I definitely prefer them over the regular ones, although the clips do wear out and break eventually.

    Useful hack. This gives me an idea though. Instead of rendering half of the S-biner useless why don't you try to drill a small hole on the flat spine of a regular carabiner and add your traditional extra ring there?

    1 reply

    I've had one of these for 15 years and have never ever lost it.

    Only downside is I jangle if I run, but never losing a master key... priceless.

    1 reply

    That looks pretty handy actually, and I wouldn't have to clip/unclip my keys as often.

    I've used S-biners for a while now for both my personal and work key's.
    I have encountered the problems where the s-biner slips out of the belt loop as well. (esp when loaded down with key's and large key rings)

    anyway, for my fix, i used some stretchy electrical wire jacket. so that i could slide it over the open gate portion with enough overlap so my keys wouldn't come out again, but if I needed to take they key ring off, i just had to slide the sleeve down to open the "gate" .... it might take some tough fingernails to slide it off.. and some time to find the right size and strength and flexible wire covering.. but my keys have not come off for over 3 years now!