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Friend vrs camalot


Original Post
Kevin Shoemaker · · Vancouver, WA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 20

Which is better and why ive used camalots alot but not so much friends.

sambo2591 · · Columbia Md · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 60

I bought a set of .5-3 about a month ago and like them as they can go with the C4's pretty well as a  double rack. Some things I have noticed are:

The extendable slings on the friends are nice, but not long enough to be the full extension most of the time.
The friends all feel lighter, although I have not checked the actual stats to confirm, but that can be really nice if its something that concerns you.
The individual lobes are all wider on the friends for more friction.  
They seem to fit slightly different placements that the C4's will. I believe the heads are a little wider on the friends, so that could be why they fit slightly different in some areas.
I personally like the way the trigger feels on the friends more than the C4. The triggers are bent a little more and it feels better to grab onto.

As to which is better, I think they are equal, just different. If you can find a cheap set they are worth looking into. Like I mentioned, I've only had my set for about a month but I don't have any complaints.

Jay Eggleston · · Denver · Joined Feb 2003 · Points: 18,703

The new Friends are lighter than C4s.  They are between the Ultralights and regular C4s.  I used to like that the Friends were slightly different in size but, now they are not.  It was good to have them as slightly different sized cams from C4s,  now not so much.

grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

That is like asking what is better - a ford or a chevy?

For the camalot vs friend debate it comes down to personal preference and there is no right or wrong answer. My rack is 90% BD so I buy more BDs because I know the colors and sizes and I have grown accustomed to them. Sambo who posted above has lots of comments with "I feel like" or "I believe" and "They seem". None of this is concrete and not worth anything in a hard comparison. There are about 1000 threads on here comparing cams so I recommend searching through those for more beta on this. 

Just know that BD C4s are the gold standard for cams. 

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 877
grog m aka Greg McKee wrote:
Just know that BD C4s are the gold standard for cams. 

Was. 

New WC cams are
Lighter. ✔️
Stronger ✔️
Extendable sling ✔️
Better quality ✔️
Never took their manufacturing to China and back ✔️
Same colors✔️
Same great thumb loop ✔️
Better triggers ✔️
There’s a new gold standard now. 
Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 135
grog m aka Greg McKee wrote: 
Just know that BD C4s are the gold standard for cams. 

I don't know if they are the gold standard more than they are just the 800 pound gorilla of climbing gear.

I like my BD C4s and X4s, but I also have a frankenrack with a number of DMMs, some Metoleus and a few Aliens.  I have never placed one of the New Friends, but I have played with them in the store and would buy one.  With the double axle, I would buy them interchangibly with either the BDs or DMMs, basically looking for the best deal on the size I wanted.  They are even colored like both the BDs and DMMs, so racking is simpler.
Doug Lintz · · Kearney, NE · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 1,140
grog m aka Greg McKee wrote: That is like asking what is better - a ford or a chevy?

For the camalot vs friend debate it comes down to personal preference and there is no right or wrong answer. My rack is 90% BD so I buy more BDs because I know the colors and sizes and I have grown accustomed to them. Sambo who posted above has lots of comments with "I feel like" or "I believe" and "They seem". None of this is concrete and not worth anything in a hard comparison. There are about 1000 threads on here comparing cams so I recommend searching through those for more beta on this.

Just know, I believe and feel like BD C4s are the gold standard for cams. 

In keeping with the rest of your post.

Keith W · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2015 · Points: 90

I think used alongside the C4s, the friends are awesome. Double up with the friends, and you have a super versatile rack. After coming back from the creek, I can say the friends area  little larger. The gold friend fit well where a #2 C4 would be pretty tipped. I say get both.

Mark Roberts · · Vancouver, BC · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 1,043
Greg D wrote:

Was. 

New WC cams are
Lighter. ✔️
Stronger ✔️
Extendable sling ✔️
Better quality ✔️
Never took their manufacturing to China and back ✔️
Same colors✔️
Same great thumb loop ✔️
Better triggers ✔️
There’s a new gold standard now. 

The misleading quality of this post really rings like you have a financial incentive to change the narrative.


Lighter: Yes, absolutely. However if you're looking for light cams I'd suggest going Metolius - that's where you're getting the real weight savings.

Stronger: This is completely false. The only size in which they are even equal is the 0.5 Camalot size, in all larger sizes BD has 2kN of holding power on the WC cams. Not to mention you lose 2 additional kN of holding power on the WC Friends if you extend it.

Extendable Sling: Yes, WC cams have an extendable Dyneema sling. However, based on the durability of Dyneema this may turn out to be a cost rather than a benefit.

Better Quality: This is a subjective, empty statement.

Never took their manufacturing to China and back: I can't tell if this point is jingoistic or racist. Chinese people can actually make gear, and it's not like WC makes their stuff in the US.

Same Colours/Same Great Thumb Loop: ...as Black Diamond? Black Diamond C4s always were the same colour and had the same thumb loop as Black Diamond C4s, so these aren't arguments for superiority.

Better Triggers: k

I don't really have a horse in this race, but the reason I'm not planning to switch to WC any time soon pertains to two factors: Price (BD is much cheaper) and Durability. People are still walking around using old Black Diamond Camalots and they are still solid and dependable. They're absolute tanks. It may turn out that the WC New Friends are similarly durable, but it's a gamble I don't have to make with buying a new BD cam. On the lightweight vs. durability spectrum, I'm more interested in a slightly heavier cam that I know will stick around.
Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 877
Mark Roberts wrote:

The misleading quality of this post really rings like you have a financial incentive to change the narrative.

Oh, if only this were true.



Lighter: Yes, absolutely. However if you're looking for light cams I'd suggest going Metolius - that's where you're getting the real weight savings.
I don't like metolius, never have, no matter how light.  


Stronger: This is completely false. The only size in which they are even equal is the 0.5 Camalot size, in all larger sizes BD has 2kN of holding power on the WC cams. Not to mention you lose 2 additional kN of holding power on the WC Friends if you extend it.
Well, sort of right, sort of wrong.  Regarding the lobes themselves, I speculate the WC are stronger based on the design and wall thickness.  You can make your own judgement.  Rated strength?  You are correct.  Holding power, not so much.  WC uses a smaller cam angle, which give them greater holding power.  In an identical placement, I'd favor whipping onto a slightly beefier lobe with a smaller cam angle.  But, I've taken plenty of falls on BD.  


Extendable Sling: Yes, WC cams have an extendable Dyneema sling. However, based on the durability of Dyneema this may turn out to be a cost rather than a benefit.
Speculative.  But, after a year on the WC, I have found the extendable sling quite useful.  


Better Quality: This is a subjective, empty statement.
WC and DMM are known for some of the highest manufacturing quality anywhere.  But, this is up to you.


Never took their manufacturing to China and back: I can't tell if this point is jingoistic or racist. Chinese people can actually make gear, 
Oh, the racist comment.  That's so 2010. Everyone else knows what I meant.

and it's not like WC makes their stuff in the US.
Is that a racist statement?  WC has had their own manufacturing facilities for decades.  They didn't move it "offshore" to save a buck like BD did.  Sure, some high quality products come out of China, some junk, too.  


Same Colours/Same Great Thumb Loop: ...as Black Diamond? Black Diamond C4s always were the same colour and had the same thumb loop as Black Diamond C4s, so these aren't arguments for superiority.
This just supports an easy transition.  So, you are correct.  Same colors don't make them superior.


Better Triggers: k

Yep, subjective.  Pick them up side by side.  Make your own judgment.  


I don't really have a horse in this race, but the reason I'm not planning to switch to WC any time soon pertains to two factors: Price (BD is much cheaper) 
I don't scour the internet looking for the best deal.  I support my local shops by buying from them.  BD and WC are very close in price in the local shops.
and Durability. 
Speculative on your part.  But, I would put money on the WC in the long run.  There are plenty of friends around that are quite old, too.
People are still walking around using old Black Diamond Camalots and they are still solid and dependable. They're absolute tanks. It may turn out that the WC New Friends are similarly durable, but it's a gamble I don't have to make with buying a new BD cam. On the lightweight vs. durability spectrum, I'm more interested in a slightly heavier cam that I know will stick around.

I don't care what cams you use.  I was just sharing my experience, some facts, some opinions.  Take what you like, leave the rest. 

Climb on!
Ryan Swanson · · Pepedidnothingwrong, freejg · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 50
Mark Roberts wrote:




Never took their manufacturing to China and back: I can't tell if this point is jingoistic or racist. Chinese people can actually make gear, and it's not like WC makes their stuff in the US.

I am suspect of anything made with plastic or heat treated metal made in China. The entire country is built (pun unintentionally intended) around cutting costs in every way, shape, and form.  Quality control is rarely high on their priority list.
rusty pitoune · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 765

+1 for new friends.


Better Triggers: k
Yep, subjective.  Pick them up side by side.  Make your own judgment.  
 the spring is more stout than the bd, and the triggers aren't so wide.
Andrewww · · Concord, NH · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 625

Well to get back from the thread drift, I will say that the new friends are really great cams and, as far as I’m concerned, much better than C4’s. They tick all the boxes for what people want for the most part.

They are almost as light in the hand as an ultralight C4, has them both on my harness yesterday, but they don’t have the limited lifespan like the ultralights. 

They have a thumbloop which seems to be very important to some, I don’t care either way, I have owned dragons for years so I’m used to the lack of a thumbloop.

The extendable sling isn’t quite as long as the dragon, but it does give you the ability to adjust length to get a biner that might be loaded on an edge off said edge. 
The lobes are grippy like the lobes on Dragon 2’s and inspire confidence when you place them.  
I’m interested in long term longevity, and I’ll find out in years to come. C4’s are long lasting for sure, as are Dragons, so if these last the same, they are contender for one of the best cams.  

Xan Calonne · · Joshua Tree, Ca · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 35

I am a big fan of the new Friends for all of the reasons people have already mentioned. I will say that one thing I have noticed (user error?..) is that the Friends seem harder to clean than the BD cams. I initially attributed this to the non-anodized lobes being stickier, but someone above mentioned they may be slightly bigger than the equivalent C4's (which I used for years and still use), so maybe I am over camming them more frequently? This observation does not change my opinion on the cams at all, and I still reach for them first, but since we're picking nits...

grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70
Greg D wrote:

Was. 

New WC cams are
Lighter. ✔️
Stronger ✔️
Extendable sling ✔️
Better quality ✔️
Never took their manufacturing to China and back ✔️
Same colors✔️
Same great thumb loop ✔️
Better triggers ✔️
There’s a new gold standard now. 

Stronger? Incorrect.

Extendable sling? Drawback for some. Not necessarily an improvement. Extending the sling a few inches does nothing for me. I always put draws on cams anyway.

Better quality? By what metric? Incorrect.

Never moved manufacturing? So what?

Same colors? Lol no you are grasping.

Same great thumb loop? Opinion.

Better triggers? Opinion.

New standard now? Lol nope. I am sure if we had sales numbers we would see more BD's in use than Friends.

Literally the ONLY valid comparison you stated was lighter.
greggrylls · · Salt Lake City · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 162
grog m aka Greg McKee wrote:

Stronger? Incorrect.

Extendable sling? Drawback for some. Not necessarily an improvement. Extending the sling a few inches does nothing for me. I always put draws on cams anyway.

Better quality? By what metric? Incorrect.

Never moved manufacturing? So what?

Same colors? Lol no you are grasping.

Same great thumb loop? Opinion.

Better triggers? Opinion.

New standard now? Lol nope. I am sure if we had sales numbers we would see more BD's in use than Friends.

Literally the ONLY valid comparison you stated was lighter.

Man, that's like your opinion man

Ryan Swanson · · Pepedidnothingwrong, freejg · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 50
grog m aka Greg McKee wrote:


 I am sure if we had sales numbers we would see more BD's in use than Friends.

More people drink bud light than your local craft brew too.  I guess piss water must be better.

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 877
grog m aka Greg McKee wrote:

Stronger? Incorrect.

Extendable sling? Drawback for some. Not necessarily an improvement. Extending the sling a few inches does nothing for me. I always put draws on cams anyway.

Better quality? By what metric? Incorrect.

Never moved manufacturing? So what?

Same colors? Lol no you are grasping.

Same great thumb loop? Opinion.

Better triggers? Opinion.

New standard now? Lol nope. I am sure if we had sales numbers we would see more BD's in use than Friends.

Literally the ONLY valid comparison you stated was lighter.

 I already clarified some of my facts and opinions in my second post.  But I guess you felt the need to puff up your chest anyway by stating your opinions. And I don’t know why everyone so hell-bent on opinions. Isn’t that what the OP is asking for? Hello? 

jg fox · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5
Ryan Swanson wrote:

I am suspect of anything made with plastic or heat treated metal made in China. The entire country is built (pun unintentionally intended) around cutting costs in every way, shape, and form.  Quality control is rarely high on their priority list.

This.  China's metallurgy industry has been suspect since Mao's time.

Peter J · · Davis, CA · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 125

Friend vs. C4, who wins?
Totem. Totem wins.

Mike Slavens · · Houston, TX · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 35
Greg D wrote:

Was. 

Gold standard is a term for the bar/standard that everyone else is measured against.  Its the most recognizable of the good designs, not necessarily that it is the absolute best.  In that regard BD's are clearly the gold standard in cams.  1) Guide books (most notably Indian Creek) are switching or have switched to using Camalot sizes in the gear descriptions, no longer crack size or Friend size.  2) Most MP.com cam discussions are comparing some cam against the BD (Totems vs. BD, Dragon's vs. BD, etc.) case in point this thread.  3) WC moved towards the BD design, not the other way around. 4) BD's current Camelot design have just been around a lot longer than most other current designs (Yes I know original friends came out way before Camelots, I'm talking about current gen C4 Camelot design vs. current gen Friend/Totem/Dragon/etc. design).  5) I thought I saw a statistic that Camelots have more market share than all other cams combined.  That could be made up but take a walk around any cliff at Indian Creek and its hard to argue.

Yes the BD design can be, and arguably has been, improved upon. And some of their gold standard designation definitely comes from marketing (ie recognizable). However even their own Camelot Ultra Lights are measured up against the regular C4 Camelot design.  

I'd argue Aliens, the old ones before Fixe and before the manufacturing issues, are the gold standard designation in terms of small/micro cams and took that designation from BD.  Camelot X4's, the black Totem, C3's, Metolious TCU's all seem to be compared to the original Aliens.  Aliens have a feverish cult following and I've seen more than a few route descriptions reference needing a green Alien.  But everything say from a #.75 up, BD is the gold standard.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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