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Totem vs. Fixe Aliens
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By chrisIerickson
From Salt Lake, UT
Jul 19, 2012

Just thought I'd pass along a few thoughts.

I bought a full set of the Totem Aliens last fall, and just added to it the 2 smallest sizes from Fixe (on sale at Mountain Gear for the next couple of weeks for the same price as the Totem ones) to fill in the low end.

My thoughts?

The totem version seems to be better made IMO. The entire unit just seems more finished. The cam wires on the Totems seems more durable than the wire on the Fixes. The action is also smoother on the Totems.

So, if you are looking at aliens, look at the totems. They cost less, and feel great. They also ship from inside the US so they get there pretty fast.


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By Josh Kornish
Jul 19, 2012
The Roach

Thanks for the review. Good to know.

I'm definitely interested in picking some up


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By T.C.
From Whittier, NC
Jul 19, 2012

Where is the best place to buy the Totems? I'll buy some right now.

TC


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By Guy H.
From Fort Collins CO
Jul 19, 2012
Crux roof on Freeway...

chrisIerickson wrote:
The cam wires on the Totems seems more durable than the wire on the Fixes. The action is also smoother on the Totems.


You should compare the same size cams instead of comparing the small Fixe cams .vs the larger Totem cams. I would imagine that the action is smoother and the wires are fatter on larger sizes for any brand of cam.

I personally haven't handled any Totem cams, so I can't comment on them.


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By JLP
From The Internet
Jul 19, 2012

When you hold them side by side and use them for a bit, it's pretty obvious and a no-brainer. They took the Alien design, kept what works and fixed the problems. That was their goal, and the guy doing it isn't confused by manufacturing, design and quality control like CCH was.

It's just a matter of time before this spreads, just like it took a long time for Aliens catch on in the first place.

Totem was just too much of an unknown, everyone fears the new and different, etc - even though it is commonly acknowledged that, at their best, Aliens are fragile pieces of crap that just happen to stick to the rock well. I would like to see Totem come out with more sizes. I expect Fixe to be selling fewer and fewer of Totem's sizes.


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By mattm
From TX
Jul 19, 2012
Grande Grotto

T.C. wrote:
Where is the best place to buy the Totems? I'll buy some right now. TC

You order them direct from their online site. They only sell direct.


Totem Cam Site


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By Mark Mueller
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jul 19, 2012
Great quality rock on this one!

i really wish there was a blue basic cam :/


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By mattm
From TX
Jul 19, 2012
Grande Grotto

Mark Mueller wrote:
i really wish there was a blue basic cam :/


They're currently working on it according to their latest blog post. They're even doing INTERNAL springs which will make it even better. I'm holding out for that and a Blue/Green Hybrid.
Blue Totem Basic


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By chrisIerickson
From Salt Lake, UT
Jul 19, 2012

I bought mine directly from Totem. Fast shipping.

Good call on comparing the same size...unfortunately I don't have them in the same sizes.

One notable difference is the axle-ends. On the totem cams, they shaved off 1/4-1/8 of an inch on each side making it way better for shallow placements. This is the same on the Fixe green/yellow/red. I've attached a picture showing the blue Fixe and a Green Totem for reference...

Fixe and Totem alien SxS
Fixe and Totem alien SxS


I also have one of the standard (non-basic) Totem cams in a ~#1 camalot size. Pretty cool but I've actually started to not like it as much because it is SO flexible I have trouble placing it the way I want to.

FWIW, both of my lead falls in the past 8 months have been caught by my Totem basic cams -- once on the yellow and once on a green. The lobes are slightly dented on the ones that caught me (you can see if you look closely at the picture), but they are still in excellent shape. One of the falls was in a downward flaring crack and it held very nicely.

All of the standard "Aliens rock" stuff applies -- my friend was leading on my rack and couldnt' stop raving about how awesome the aliens were (we jut call em aliens even though they're Totem). They are narrow, place wonderfully etc.


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By Burghschred
From Bend, OR
Jul 19, 2012

+1 for Totem Basics.

I agree with most comments above, the action is slightly smoother on the yellow/red compared to the gray which are similar in size. They both work great, the Totems look like they will stand up to more use. Some pics:

Yellow/red Totem Basic on the left (red lobes showing), gray FIXE alien on the right.
Yellow/red Totem Basic on the left (red lobes showing), gray FIXE alien on the right.


Grey FIXE on the left, red/yellow Totem Basic on the right.
Grey FIXE on the left, red/yellow Totem Basic on the right.


Left to right: Gray FIXE Alien, Green Totem Basic, Blue Totem
Left to right: Gray FIXE Alien, Green Totem Basic, Blue Totem


Green basic, blue totem, yellow mastercam, gray fixe, yellow/red basic
Green basic, blue totem, yellow mastercam, gray fixe, yellow/red basic


Cams.
Cams.


Gray FIXE alien, yellow Totem cam.
Gray FIXE alien, yellow Totem cam.


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By Eric and Lucie
From Boulder, CO
Jul 19, 2012

chrisIerickson wrote:
One notable difference is the axle-ends. On the totem cams, they shaved off 1/4-1/8 of an inch on each side making it way better for shallow placements


This is one of their best design features, I think, compared to the old Aliens (and the Fixe Alines, which are 100% identical to the old ones).

I own several sets of the old Aliens, and so far two Totems. The Totems are an improvement over the old. Smoother, and as Chris pointed out, narrower. My only question is how durable the flexible trigger cables are going to be... too early to tell.

Totem's buying experience is top notch. Quick, easy on-line order from their Spanish site, and the cams get delivered within 3-5 days from Oregon. And they even reply to their e-mail if you have questions!

Cannot wait for the blue and black sizes!


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By siwel
Jul 25, 2012

I LOVE my Basic Cams. Played with the Fixe aliens in Desert Rock Sports, they didn't feel nearly as smooth. Basic Cams look more like a finished product.


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By NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Aug 27, 2012

I have all three "iterations" even thought they are different sizes (so slight different designs).

Black CCH
Blue Fixe
Yellow Totem

Totem is WAYYY smoother than either.

Out of all the sheath designs I think that the original metal interior with nylon outside has the potential for being the longest lasting. The thicker threads on the fixe sheath was def a good call for durability.

The decision to go with the wire rope instead of solid wires I think it great since I've found those metal wires are easily bent.


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By Superclimber
Nov 26, 2012

Is the GRAY FIXE size pretty much covered between the RED and Yellow TOTEM BASIC sizes? It seems like Totem tried to tweak the yellow and red a bit in an effort to render the gray unnecessary.


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By Peter Hurtgen
From Fort Collins, CO
Jan 19, 2013
at the rap from yellow spur

how much for the aliens?


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By NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Jan 19, 2013

Peter Hurtgen wrote:
how much for the aliens?


$80 for Fixe Aliens
$70 for Totem Basics


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By Kenny Thompson
From woodfords, california
Jan 19, 2013
gorge

Hoping to get out and try my new Totem cams tomorrow. I recieved mine in like three days that's pretty good service


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By siwel
Jan 19, 2013

Chris Miller wrote:
Is the GRAY FIXE size pretty much covered between the RED and Yellow TOTEM BASIC sizes? It seems like Totem tried to tweak the yellow and red a bit in an effort to render the gray unnecessary.

Yes, To my knowledge that is why totems and aliens of the same colour don't entirely match up in size.


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By Superclimber
Jan 21, 2013

I ended up getting the green, yellow, and red Basics to double up on small cam sizes. The 3 cams cover the sizes without any gap. Since I already have and I am happy with Master Cams, to me it made sense to get 3 Basics instead of 4 Aliens to cover the sizes.

I placed all three of them this weekend. No falls, but I bounced on them a bit. I'm happy with them because the sizes are a bit different from the Master Cams so they compliment each other nicely. Also, I felt confident climbing above the placements. Finally, I really like the giant thumb loops and slightly enlarged slings, it might help prevent walking.


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By Robbie Brown
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 30, 2013
Jumping across the mace gap with a PBR

Better than aliens!


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By Marc H
From Lafayette, CO
Jun 30, 2013
The Cathedral Spires in RMNP, left to right: Stiletto, Sharkstooth, Forbidden Tower, Petit Grepon, The Saber, The Foil, The Moon & The Jackknife.

Robbie Brown wrote:
Better than aliens!


And CCH's Aliens are better than Jardine's original camming devices. Just a little perspective for ya.


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By SexPanther aka Kiedis
Jun 30, 2013
Thumbtastic

Alien sex toys.....wash em before you use em, ladies.

I think I'm going to try the totem (not the Basics, the weird, 2-lobes-are-legit-ones) cams. Already got money put aside for a full set of the Fixes but I'm going to get the others, too. Benefits of union membership....

Psyched to try these oddball spaniard cams. Wonder if all the anti-Fixe drama is in any way justified. My guess is, not. It's rad Kevin took the time to get this going again, we are spoiled fucking children, one and all, for bitching about niggling details on these. Layton would have killed for a set back in the day, probably would have done the Nose in fifteen minutes with a modern rack. Times change, the pink kleenexes remain a constant. Wah. Wah, wah.


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By Robbie Brown
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 30, 2013
Jumping across the mace gap with a PBR

Hey mark, this is an alien vs totem forum topic. I love my cch aliens and my fixe aliens so don't get me wrong. I have all 3 types of alien and after a lot of use decided that Totem has created a cam that is far tougher and more confidence inspiring. C3's and mastercams are far more modern then aliens but not nearly as good in my opinion! Thats Just a little of my perspective for you.


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By NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Jul 2, 2013

SirChips-A-Lot wrote:
Alien sex toys.....wash em before you use em, ladies. I think I'm going to try the totem (not the Basics, the weird, 2-lobes-are-legit-ones) cams. Already got money put aside for a full set of the Fixes but I'm going to get the others, too. Benefits of union membership.... Psyched to try these oddball spaniard cams. Wonder if all the anti-Fixe drama is in any way justified. My guess is, not. It's rad Kevin took the time to get this going again, we are spoiled fucking children, one and all, for bitching about niggling details on these. Layton would have killed for a set back in the day, probably would have done the Nose in fifteen minutes with a modern rack. Times change, the pink kleenexes remain a constant. Wah. Wah, wah.


1."Loadable on just two lobes, to exploit shallow or flared cracks where one or two outer lobes cannot establish rock contact. To load just two lobes, connect a carabiner at a point where the sling is supported (see figure). Do not use Totem Cam in this way to protect against a fall. This reduces its stability and halves its strength. Placements involving only half of the lobes can help to support body weight in some aid climbing situations.
Learn more about loading just two lobes.

2. We should all be ashamed of wanting to get the most for our hard earned money then I guess.

3. FixeUSA was not who bought the rights, they just are importers.


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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Jul 2, 2013
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!

SirChips-A-Lot wrote:
Layton would have killed for a set back in the day, probably would have done the Nose in fifteen minutes with a modern rack.


From what I read in articles, the last several years of his life, he still preferred pitons.


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By SexPanther aka Kiedis
Jul 2, 2013
Thumbtastic

^^^Fair enough, so does every other eighty year old man I climb with, including a guy who put up the Naked Edge with Senor Kor for a little geriatric name-dropping.

I was making a point about spoiled Emo-boomers and expectations of getting everything with no effort. Swoosh! Over the heads...

Edit: My boy said he put up the edge but according to this site he's off base. I know he climbed a bunch with LK bitd but you know how memories get after your ten billionth beer and eight decades...I'll high five him for still putting up new routes, getting out there, and getting laid into his eighties. I'll trade a couple sets of Aliens for that status...


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