Mistake to trade BD cams for WC or Metolius?


Original Post
Jeff Tang · · Bridgeport, CT · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 13

Hi, all.

I'm building my first trad rack, and I'm trying to figure out what cams I'd like. I bought some BD Camalot C4s and X4s (not a full set, just a few sizes) on sale, with the idea that I could always sell them if I don't like them. I've kept them new with tags.

I bought a used Metolius Master Cam and Super Cam, and I have to say that I like the feel and perceived build and design quality. The BD does not impress me. The Camalot feels like something made to meet a standard, rather than exceed one like the Metolius products.

So I'd like to trade a few of my BDs for some used WC Flexible Friends (Tech or Helium) and a few more Master Cams (Ultralight nor not, doesn't matter to me) so I can try them out for a while. I figure worst case, I can use them as fillers for my rack. Hopefully I'll be able to make an informed decision on which cam to finish off my rack with, and hopefully get a good used set of them rather than dropping tons of money on all new.

But am I going to regret this? All the serious trad climbers I talk to in this area (Connecticut, USA) tell me that Camalots are the way to go, and look at me like I'm suggesting something both perverted and stupid when I mention this idea.

Tom Sherman · · Bristol, RI · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 81

i'd give the same $$$ for gently used cams as I would NWT so why don't you go climb on them

Daniel Kaye · · Boston, ma · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 327

All cams these days are pretty good. There are pros and cons, but a lot of it is nitpicking. I would highly recommend trying them out on the rock before you decided weather you do or don't like them. A majority of people are impressed with the BD stuff.

http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/topics/climbing/best-climbing-cams

Jeff Tang · · Bridgeport, CT · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 13

I've actually got some doubles, including 2 #4s, so I figured I could trade out the doubles and climb on my .75 and #2. Good suggestion!

dindolino32 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 10

Totems

Kirtis Courkamp · · Golden · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 309

I'm with you I've climbed for several years on bd C'4 cams but Metolius ul master cams are in mind better lighter and give me confidence. However its hard to take bd cams out of your rack especially the .75-4. I climb with on set of ul master cams and one set of bd cams they go well together. 

it seems strange you don't like a cam if you bought it and haven't used it, how are you supposed to actually know if you really don't like it.  Use it and see how you really like them then make up your mind. It took me months and hundreds of pitches before i was sold on Metolius Ul cams. 

Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 95

Double axle cams like the BDs have a wider expansion range.  Now, in the small sizes, that isn't that big a deal.  I have a Frankerrack with losts of BDs and DMMs, plus some Aliens and Mets in the smaller sizes.  

I don't know why you would be unimpressed with the BD build quality.  Fine, they are not as shiny and they don't have the placement guides on the lobes, but they are not cheaply built.

All that said, get what you like, and get the stuff you feel comfortable placing.  But don't go out and lock yourself into hard and fast opinions without a fair bit of exerience in placing the gear. 

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,500

If you don't like BD, don't use them. I always tell people to handle a bunch of different cams before they buy, and then buy the ones they like the best. 

Nothing worse than spending a ton of money on gear you don't like. Good luck making your trade. 

walmongr · · Gilbert AZ · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 50

I usually carry different racks depending on style of rock. Mix of master U.L and Camelot U.L  and C3's. Master cams are great in narrow or pin scared rock and wider cams are much better in  deep  parallel splitter stuff.  Go to the shop and handle as many as you can a build a rack around where you climb the most 

Robin S · · OR · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 10

I have a mixed rack of BD, Metolius, and a few other brands (yes, totems). While it's nice to have the range of the double axel cams in the bigger sizes, I really prefer the feel and flexibility of the master cams to the C4s. Furthermore, I've had an absolutely stellar customer service experience with Metolius when I had some cams resling (short story is it was fast, very cheap, and they did more work than they needed to and the cams looked amazing). 

Many people like the C4s for all sorts of valid reasons, and that includes me. However, when I'm buying a cam (that isn't a totem) in anything smaller than an inch, I'm generally going to pick up a Master Cam (prefer the old non-ULs but the ULs are great too). 

Jeff Tang · · Bridgeport, CT · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 13
Robin S wrote:

I have a mixed rack of BD, Metolius, and a few other brands (yes, totems). While it's nice to have the range of the double axel cams in the bigger sizes, I really prefer the feel and flexibility of the master cams to the C4s. Furthermore, I've had an absolutely stellar customer service experience with Metolius when I had some cams resling (short story is it was fast, very cheap, and they did more work than they needed to and the cams looked amazing). 

Many people like the C4s for all sorts of valid reasons, and that includes me. However, when I'm buying a cam (that isn't a totem) in anything smaller than an inch, I'm generally going to pick up a Master Cam (prefer the old non-ULs but the ULs are great too). 

Why do you prefer the non-ULs to the ULs? 

Khoi · · Vancouver, BC · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 0
Jeff Tang wrote:

Why do you prefer the non-ULs to the ULs? 

Maybe he likes having the thumb loop?

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165
Jeff Tang wrote:

Why do you prefer the non-ULs to the ULs? 

Standard will have a longer life than ULs? If they made ULs but the same thumb loop as a normal C4 I would probably buy them over the standard but with the textile in the thumb loop I have trust issues on it going bad and I can't even really check the chord either to see how it is doing. Does anyone know if BD ever gave any official word on the cams life? I think alot of dyneema that you buy they say you should replace after like 10 years even if unused. So if they have it in the thumb loop after 10 years that means it should be retired and I don't know if BD offers a way to replace it which means their life will be alot shorter than normal C4.

I personally like normal C4 the best for normal cam. For smaller size cams I can't say I have a favorite, all the types I have used have things I like and dislike about them.

Jcburgart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 15

Just be comfortable with whatever rack you choose, know lots of people will be familiar with BD sizing, and if it matters, BD is now a publicly traded company while Metolius is still outside the realm of stock investors and quarterly goals

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165

nm I finally found the official word on ULs is 3-5 years before you need to retire them and a max of 10 year life. So I would never touch them they are a waste of money if they are only expected to last 3-5 years with average use.

Quoting the instruction manual for ULs:

The maximum lifespan of a Black Diamond Ultralight Camalot is up to 10 years from the
date of manufacture (even if unused and properly stored). With normal use and proper
care, the typical lifespan of an Ultralight Camalot is three to five years. The actual lifespan
of your gear can be longer or shorter depending on how frequently you use it and on the
conditions of its use.
• Damaged gear must be retired and destroyed to prevent future use.
• Factors that reduce the lifespan of climbing gear: Falls, abrasion, wear, and prolonged
exposure to sunlight, salt water/air or harsh environments.
• If you have any doubts about the dependability of your gear, retire it.
• Webbing may be replaced by sending your Ultralight Camalot to the Black Diamond
Warranty Center, and Wire Replacement Kits are available for the Ultralight Camalot.
Check the Black Diamond website for details (www.blackdiamondequipment.com).

Khoi · · Vancouver, BC · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 0
ViperScale wrote:

Standard will have a longer life than ULs? If they made ULs but the same thumb loop as a normal C4 I would probably buy them over the standard but with the textile in the thumb loop I have trust issues on it going bad and I can't even really check the chord either to see how it is doing. Does anyone know if BD ever gave any official word on the cams life? I think alot of dyneema that you buy they say you should replace after like 10 years even if unused. So if they have it in the thumb loop after 10 years that means it should be retired and I don't know if BD offers a way to replace it which means their life will be alot shorter than normal C4.

I personally like normal C4 the best for normal cam. For smaller size cams I can't say I have a favorite, all the types I have used have things I like and dislike about them.

I think Robin was referring to Mastercams, not Camalots

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165
Khoi wrote:

I think Robin was referring to Mastercams, not Camalots

Yea I think you are right I just reread. O well still reasons I would not touch UL BD cams.

Here is an image of the change between the old and new ones. (right one being the original and the left one being the new ULs)

Jeff Tang · · Bridgeport, CT · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 13
ViperScale wrote:

Yea I think you are right I just reread. O well still reasons I would not touch UL BD cams.

Here is an image of the change between the old and new ones. (right one being the original and the left one being the new ULs)


I know the Metolius UL Mastercam loops are replaceable. The fact that the BD UL ones are NOT is part of the reason I'm disliking them more as time goes on. They're basically disposable. Not the kind of equipment I want to be investing that kind of money in. Not the kind of philosophy I want to be investing that kind of money in. 

JaredG · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 0

Yeah the new master cams are pretty sweet, but I've really learned to love a good thumb loop.

Based on what I've seen on the forums, BD cams seem to have a slightly higher resale value so I would hesitate to trade 1-for-1 with other brands.

Jeff Tang · · Bridgeport, CT · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 13
JaredG wrote:

Yeah the new master cams are pretty sweet, but I've really learned to love a good thumb loop.

Based on what I've seen on the forums, BD cams seem to have a slightly higher resale value so I would hesitate to trade 1-for-1 with other brands.

I wasn't  planning on a 1 for 1 trade   

Robin S · · OR · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 10

I prefer the non ULs because of they're lifespan and the thumb loop. I don't own any of the UL C4s because as someone mentioned, they're lifespan is shorter and it's hard to say whether a loop/stem replacement will be an option. If I did more alpine rock I might have a different pov, but for what I do, the ULs don't make as much sense. 

Edit/addition: the most important thing is that you're comfortable with your gear, whatever it is. Doesn't matter who makes it as long as you trust it and are the most comfortable with it. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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