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Rebuilding my trad rack...if you were starting over, what cams?


Original Post
Jeffo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 260

I am rebuilding my trad rack after selling all my lead gear in 2016.  

Even thought I’ve never owned them (previous rack consisted of Camelot’s, X4s, Metolius cams) i’m Eyeing up the DMM Dragons.  I love the idea of the extendable sling on these.

If you were starting over, what would YOU buy?

Thanks!

Timothy Carlson · · Flagstaff, AZ · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

Inb4 someone mentions totems.

The wild country friends are nice. 

Colonel Mustard · · Sacramento, CA · Joined Sep 2005 · Points: 1,186

Trips in the totes, braw.

Jeffo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 260

I actually owned and sold a full set of totes.  Black to orange!  They were cool.  But they were huge!  

Most of my climbing will be done at the gunks FYI.

Travis S · · Texas · Joined Jul 2018 · Points: 10

I have the Dragons and my climbing partner and I tend to prefer them to C4's, they really grip the rock well and the extendable sling can be convenient. I Do like the idea of the new wild country friends, thumb loop and extendable sling, however, I haven't gotten the chance to try them out. Also have never climbed with Totems but I suppose if money is no object just go ahead and buy yourself a quadruple rack of them...

Jeffo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 260

I wish Money was No Object.  But alas, that is not the case.  

Alex Zucca · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 280
For 1 and up:
The extendable sling on the dragons can be annoying because it only pulls 1 way. More often than not I find myself picking the wrong loop and the bar-tack gets stuck.
The extendable sling on the wild country is kind of useless because it only extends like 3", versus the 6" or so that the dragons do.
BD doesnt have extendable slings, so I would go with Dragons in the end.

For 0.75 and 0.5:
I'd go with BD X4 because of the narrow head size, and its dual axle.

For under 0.5:
Dual axle doesn't really add anything at this small of a size.
Aliens are better than X4s and the old Metolius thumb loops because they have extendable long slings.
DMM is coming out with dragonflys, which are similar to aliens, but the slings don't look as long and extendable.

For Baby Size:
BD C3s green, purple, and grey. No competition.

Sure, this amounts to a Frankenrack, but it is the best overall.
Todd the Tangler · · Golden, CO · Joined May 2014 · Points: 50

The .5 and .75 X4's are the floppiest, most annoying, most useless cams ever.

Anyways, that's just how I feel... But seriously, don't buy those...

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,410

Micro: Dragonflies
Small: Totems
Medium: Friends
Large: 2019 BD c4s.

Taylor Lapeyre · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 179
  • DMM Wallnuts
  • BD Offset Stoppers
  • BD Oz Alpine Draws
  • 0.1-0.5: Totems
  • 0.75-4: The new BD C4s
  • GriGri + Reverso
  • 7mm 18ft cordellete
Malcolm Daly · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 380

I’m a huge fan of the new Wild Country cams. In addition to all of the above, WC fixed the overlap problem that BD created when they eliminated the 3.5 and 4.5 Camalot. When they went from the C2 to the C3 they reduce the overlap between the #1, #2 and the #3. If you’ve climbed the Incredible Hand Crack recently you’ll recall the frustration you had at the crux because, just as the #2 (Gold C4) was starting to tip out, you found that the #3 (Blue C4) would not yet fit. Damnit! The WC friends will get you through this tough spot and many more.

Personally, I find that thumb loops are critical. I know this is a “should I wear briefs or a thong” question but it actually matters. The thumb loops allow you to clip in short which Metolius Mastercams and Dragons don’t let you do.

The WC Friends are slightly lighter than the new C4s.

The thumb loop allows you to do the ultimate trad hack. Cut off the manufacturer’s sling (Ack!) and sew in a 24” or 18” sling. This will alow you to rig your chosen cams with an extendible sling, built in! Think of all the weigh and time that’s going to save. Wow! This hack won’t help you much in Indian Creek, where it is relatively useless, but it is gold in the alpine, in Eldorado or anywhere else that protection wanders. Luke at Runnout Customs Designs will do this for you.

Climb Safe,
Mal - I choose the thong - Daly

Zacks · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 65
Taylor Lapeyre wrote
  • 0.1-0.5: Totems

How is this .1-.5?  I assume the ".1-.5" is referencing BD sizes, the black totem is the same size as a red c3 or blue Metolius, so just a hair under a BD.3  

The .1-.2 size is a little tricky right now.  The Metolius cams are ok in these sizes, but have hard metal and low strength ratings.  X4s aren't great in these sizes, they can umbrella (no cam stops) personally they've never felt as good to me (I've always felt great on the x4s .3-.5) So basically wait for the dragonflys for the micro sizes (or I also like c3s but discontinued now...)

I dunno maybe totems are great, i'm sure the black totem is magic, but they just don't hit the micro sizes (if only they went just 1 size smaller) but much bigger than that and i'm usually pretty happy with the lighter smaller things on the market

love mastercams in finger sizes (yellow to red is awesome)
Taylor Lapeyre · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 179
Zacks wrote:

How is this .1-.5?  I assume the ".1-.5" is referencing BD sizes, the black totem is the same size as a red c3 or blue Metolius, so just a hair under a BD.3  

The .1-.2 size is a little tricky right now.  The Metolius cams are ok in these sizes, but have hard metal and low strength ratings.  X4s aren't great in these sizes, they can umbrella (no cam stops) personally they've never felt as good to me (I've always felt great on the x4s .3-.5) So basically wait for the dragonflys for the micro sizes (or I also like c3s but discontinued now...)

I dunno maybe totems are great, i'm sure the black totem is magic, but they just don't hit the micro sizes (if only they went just 1 size smaller) but much bigger than that and i'm usually pretty happy with the lighter smaller things on the market

love mastercams in finger sizes (yellow to red is awesome)

No you're right! I just put "0.1-0.5" to indicate "all the smallest sizes." If I was gonna bring along smaller cams than the black totem (I probably would not), I would bring the 0.1 and 0.2 X4s.

Colonel Mustard · · Sacramento, CA · Joined Sep 2005 · Points: 1,186
Jeffo wrote: I actually owned and sold a full set of totes.  Black to orange!  They were cool.  But they were huge!  

Most of my climbing will be done at the gunks FYI.

That’s not trips in the totes, brodelay. 

greggrylls · · Salt Lake City · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 177
Zacks wrote:

How is this .1-.5?  I assume the ".1-.5" is referencing BD sizes, the black totem is the same size as a red c3 or blue Metolius, so just a hair under a BD.3  

The .1-.2 size is a little tricky right now.  The Metolius cams are ok in these sizes, but have hard metal and low strength ratings.  X4s aren't great in these sizes, they can umbrella (no cam stops) personally they've never felt as good to me (I've always felt great on the x4s .3-.5) So basically wait for the dragonflys for the micro sizes (or I also like c3s but discontinued now...)

I dunno maybe totems are great, i'm sure the black totem is magic, but they just don't hit the micro sizes (if only they went just 1 size smaller) but much bigger than that and i'm usually pretty happy with the lighter smaller things on the market

love mastercams in finger sizes (yellow to red is awesome)
Good comment on micro cams.  I'm curious how the new dragonflys will be.   I love metolius cams and have personally used X4s,C3's, Aliens, and metolius.  
I think the reality with micro cams is none truly shine in the .1-.2 size in my opinion.  With cams that small they all feel pretty toy like to me.  

I like having different brands in this size can help with getting the right fit and playing on the strengths of certain makes.
JaredG · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 0

It seems like BD C4s (and to a certain extent, X4s) have the most robust used market on here (assuming you're in the states).  Probably the most bang-for-buck way to go.

Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10
Jeffo wrote: 

Most of my climbing will be done at the gunks FYI.
TriCams!!!  Particularly triples of the pink.
Nate Ball · · Portland, OR · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 9,512

DMM makes the best standard nuts. Their offsets and micro-nuts are awesome too. Wild Country nuts are also good I hear.

The gold standard of larger cams remains Black Diamond's C4's. I would highly recommend sizes 0.5 - 3. Bigger sizes are necessary as you climb more. I actually do not own anything bigger than a 4 because I've found that a second 4 is more useful than a 5. DMM Dragons are also popular and differ from BD C4's as has already been described. Wild Country Friends seem to be exactly the same as BD C4's but lighter (but not as light as the C4 Ultralight). I'd be a little concerned about getting repairs for DMM and WC since they do not have as much customer support presence here in the States, whereas BD has been absolutely stellar in this department.

The small cam market is rather messy. BD X4's are solid and have a thumb loop. Metolius made their Mastercams ultralight, which erased the thumb loop, which is why I've moved away from them. The Power Cams are nice if you're looking to save weight on a double rack. There are, of course, the Totems, which I haven't used but seem kinda gimmicky. Fixe Aliens get a bad rap and are stupid expensive.

gumbie gene · · NJ · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0
Nate Ball wrote: DMM makes the best standard nuts. Their offsets and micro-nuts are awesome too. Wild Country nuts are also good I hear.

The gold standard of larger cams remains Black Diamond's C4's. I would highly recommend sizes 0.5 - 3. Bigger sizes are necessary as you climb more. I actually do not own anything bigger than a 4 because I've found that a second 4 is more useful than a 5. DMM Dragons are also popular and differ from BD C4's as has already been described. Wild Country Friends seem to be exactly the same as BD C4's but lighter (but not as light as the C4 Ultralight). I'd be a little concerned about getting repairs for DMM and WC since they do not have as much customer support presence here in the States, whereas BD has been absolutely stellar in this department.

The small cam market is rather messy. BD X4's are solid and have a thumb loop. Metolius made their Mastercams ultralight, which erased the thumb loop, which is why I've moved away from them. The Power Cams are nice if you're looking to save weight on a double rack. There are, of course, the Totems, which I haven't used but seem kinda gimmicky. Fixe Aliens get a bad rap and are stupid expensive.

I actually never minded not having a thumb loop so I like the metolius UL Mastercams but just personal preference... 

However, I really don't find the totems gimmicky. 

I find them absolutely bomber in almost every placement they fit including irregular placements. If you haven't used them yet, I really suggest that you do give them a try especially in the smaller ranges up to a .5 if you can grab some from some friends and rack them for a day.

Dr Strangelove · · Bend, OR · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 30

I had to start over as well after getting everything stolen. I went with Wild Country friends this time. I like them more than c4s. It's kind of nice bc now I'm rebuying knowing exactly what I like. 

Ma Ja · · Red River Gorge · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 22
Jaren Watson wrote: Micro: Dragonflies
Small: Totems
Medium: Friends
Large: 2019 BD c4s.

That'd be my list, except I'd get Dragonflys/Totems/Dragons as my single rack and Friends/C4s as my doubles. Totems have officially saved me from certain death, and I trust them more than any other cam I've used. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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