• Poll (Updated): What are the best small camming devices?


    If you are the type to watch reruns of Friends (and I’d never say that you were, or that I am for that matter; this is purely hypothetical), you might find yourself thinking, “Damn, this show looks dated already.”  Well, like the show Friends the bulk of my friends date back to the late 90s, and I can tell you they are looking rough and a bit dated, like they just stumbled in after an all nighter following a Pearl Jam concert. Not only are the cams all old models by now, most of the wires are all jacked so the cam heads are askew, and I’ve got a few that pump me out just trying to pull the trigger (OK, so maybe I just need a bit of cam oil on these). But when I think about how many pairs of shoes and harnesses I’ve gone through since I bought my rack over 10 years ago, it makes me worry just a bit that I’ve never updated my cams once in that time.

    Since I’m in grad school, I’m going to start replacing pieces one at a time (hey, what else are birthdays good for? Or maybe I should get married so I can put cams on the registry). But I’m having a hard time deciding what small cams to go with though. I’m totally sold on Camalots for my large cams, and in the past I’ve used Metolious TCUs for the small ranges. But there are a few compelling options out there now.  I like my TCUs, but I do have one DMM Dragon cam I bought on a whim years ago and I have to say the thing has become my go-to piece for finger sized cracks over the Metolious every time. So I’m willing to consider options other than the TCUs I’ve used for years.

    So rather than surf the internet for info I figured, why not take a poll and see what the masses think? Vote for your favorite small cams, and if needed, justify your rationale in the comments below (or include a cam I left out)!

    UPDATE: Poll now includes Master Cams!


    What are the best small cams?

    View Results

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    Matt Paden

    Matt currently lives in Boone, NC, where he’s attending graduate school at Appalachian State. In a foolish gamble, he assumed he’d have more time to climb by going back to school instead of working a full time job. He sorely lost that bet. Still, he finds some time to climb and is slowly but surely bouncing back from a shoulder injury that buggered him in 2009. Matt has been climbing since 1995 and he is one of the founders of Cruxn.com.

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Discussion 12 Responses

  1. July 1, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I’ve got the set of C3s, and they’re great, but the flexibility and slimmed down design of aliens cannot be beat.  I’ve got a few of them in the small sizes and their thin, flexible stems make them a pleasure to plunge.

    • July 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm

      A pleasure to plunge, eh? Yeah, the Aliens’ flexibility is a definite plus for all of the horizontal placements here in NC. I just head the the company Fixe bought the right to make Aliens, so seems like they’ll be getting a second life.

  2. July 1, 2011 at 9:48 am

    What, no love for master cams :-P

    • July 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm

      Patrick, yer right, that was an oversight. I’ve added them to the list, and after handling some of my friend’s Master Cams this weekend (don’t let your mind go in the gutter there), I think they’re pretty sweet.

      • July 5, 2011 at 7:46 am

        Watch out for the purple and smaller master cams.  The trigger is actually bigger than the cam and can get stuck in the rock.  First day out I kinked my purple master cam on Welcome to Watuaga’s corner when I lowered off and it became a directional.

        • July 5, 2011 at 10:20 am

          Thanks for the heads up, Tom. I wonder if the C3s have this problem, since it seems like they also have a fairly big trigger. Other than that, how do you like the Master Cams?

          • July 5, 2011 at 10:52 am

            Master cams are great!  They are heavier than the TCU’s and becomes noticeable in the larger sizes.  I just like the compact nature of the TCU’s and the fact that you can pull the trigger with one finger.  I have the TCU’s from blue to red, and black and purple master cam.  I have the purple master cam because that is all LGO had when I bought it.  I also have the C3′s as a compliment to the TCU sizes.  Red and Green C3′s would probably be the only ones I would buy if I had to do it again.  Red C3 is essentially the same size as green alien.

  3. July 1, 2011 at 9:57 am

    The Aliens are pretty much the same sizes as the C3′s.  So its actually a really good idea to get the TCU/Master cams along with the C3s.  The sizes of Metolius and BD are almost perfectly in between.  So if you carry a set of both there are no gaps.  As far as a stand alone set, I like the Metolius a little bit better (especially purple), but nothing is as good as that red C3.

  4. July 5, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Cool, thanks for all the beta Tom!

  5. July 6, 2011 at 5:00 am

    My buddy took a bad fall on a green C3 and blew the thing apart (brand new) – so you gotta be careful on all of them.  I have a photo sequence of it.  If I get a chance, I’ll post it.

  6. July 9, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Seeing a picture of broken trad gear makes me sick to my stomach-  comparable to putting my head into a chunk of necrotizing fasciitis.

  7. October 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Wired Bliss TCU’s.

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