The Gigajul would be in my bag if I hadn't just invested in two DMM Pivots
Yes, this was my pick of the show, I'm looking forward to testing it out, especially as piece of mind with seconds who aren't always paying attention...
That bivy bag looks interesting, though pricy, which is unsurprising because specialist sleeping equipment doesnt have a huge target audience (can't think why).
Don't know about that crevasse rescue system. Looks a bit gimicky to me, and pulley systems are super simple to set up once you've got your head round them. Just got to practice. The system doesnt resolve the biggest potential problem, which is setting an anchor.
New ME bag looks good for more general use, and the Dragonfly cams look good too.
The Beal crevasse system I guess is 'their' version of the Petzl RAD system which also looks interesting.
I'd really like to see a review of one of these 'systems' from someone who lives and works in the Alps. I see a few folk take it out, and the promo video makes it look slick but it would be interesting to get a guides (or aspirant) opinion/perspective please UKC .
(can't wait for the dragonfly!)
To UKC staff:
Any change of a micro-cam group test once the dragonflies hit the market?
Would be very interesting to see how all of the various micro-cams on the market perform against each other and what the pros and cons of each are.
Shame it's set up on the stand wrong - details schmeetails.
Funnily enough we were meant to do one this year, but postponed it due to the absence of the Totem Basic (none being made until 2019) and the development of the Dragonfly (which won't be able until Spring '19 either).
Having used pretty much every micro-cam on the market this is a review I am very much looking forward to writing! Furthermore, after years of having limited choice and availability it seems like something has happened and now we have loads, so watch this space...
Excellent, looking forward to it!
Can you be more specific on what the differences are between the Ogre and the Tupilak rucksacks?
Saying 'Taking all the features we love about the Tupilak and trickling them down to a model that will retail for about half the price, the Ogre is a really refined technical mountain pack at a more mass market budget.' is vague at best.
Surely it can't have ALL the features and cost half as much, can it? I'll be really pissed off if they came up with a pack the same as the Tupilak at half the money one month after I just bought one.
Thanks for asking: I should obviously have written 'many' rather than 'all' (now amended) - blame post show fatigue
There'll be more details in the video we shot on the stand, which will be out in the next few days
no problem at all; it's understandable
looking forward to the video. I really like my Tupilak rucksack but, having went for the 45 liter, I was also looking for something smaller for walking days and another Tupilak would be just too much money. If the Ogre is similar enough and cheaper, it could be the one.
> Would be very interesting to see how all of the various micro-cams on the market perform against each other and what the pros and cons of each are.
Call me a cynic, but I suspect you'd have to be a massive cam nerd to discern any meaningful difference. Pros will be "It matches my existing gear which is all DMM anyway and I like to be consistent" or possibly, "I haven't yet bought any microcams and I like these because they're new".
Cons, probably "These are a bit more expensive than these other microcams which are identical in almost every respect".
Cynical, I know. I just found the unbridled enthusiasm for this product on another thread quite amusing.
Having played with these at the show they look excellent and will be very good value at £65 per unit.
For me the only disadvantage is they went for their own colour doing rather than sticking with the standard CCH colour scheme, favoured by Totem and Fixe.
> For me the only disadvantage is they went for their own colour doing rather than sticking with the standard CCH colour scheme, favoured by Totem and Fixe.
Well, that's kind of what I mean. I'm sure the UKC Group Test will go into more detail than branding, price and colour scheme - but I'd put money on those three things accounting for far more sales than cam angle and alloy composition.
Do you know if the lobes on the Dragonfly are made of a soft alloy similar to totem basics/aliens?
The do look good!
I think that would actually be a pro for me...
Off the top of my head, just to give you a flavour, here's a brief overview:
Pros - soft alloy heads, super flexible
Cons - maybe a little too flexible in the larger sizes, unavailable until 2019
Wild Country Zero
Pros - lightweight
Cons - trigger mechanism prone to seizing, not the most durable, discontinued
Pros - soft alloy heads, extendable sling, and actually available
Cons - production quality is variable
Pros - narrow head units, often fit where nothing else does
Cons - less stable due to the absence of a fourth camming unit, a little stiff, soon to be discontinued
Pros - larger range than your average micro-cam
Cons - harder alloy used on camming units, slightly heavier
Pros - wide range of sizes available, plus they're actually available
Cons - harder alloy used on the camming units, prone to seizing up
I could probably go on, but that'll be enough for now - not least because I've a load of following up to do post OutDoor!
Like I said. "A massive cam nerd".
... And yes, I'll give you four things - Brand, Price, Color Scheme and also Actually being able to buy the things.
Yes, although now you ask I can't remember the exact grade - 6082 perhaps? I didn't actually attend the meeting, so just rushed on to fondle them before being whisked away to another appointment.
Thankfully we interviewed Darren - the designer of the Dragonfly - on stand and we'll be publishing the video within the next week or so, sure he'll go into such details so watch this space.
Finally, interesting point re: colours. Initially I was quite annoyed they hadn't followed Alien's suit, but then neither have Metolius or Black Diamond, so I guess it's not that much of a suit - it just happens to be what I like/use. I'm pretty confident that I could adapt to new colours within a week of using them, although the kudos of the Black Alien will be lost a little compared to a Green Dragonfly (the latter sounds much nicer and friendlier compared to my associations with a dark and foreboding extraterrestrial).
Haha, I'll take that
Yes, it's amazing how many aren't actually available. Guessing most brands don't retire off the money they make from micro cams, which is probably why most are putting R&D towards higher margin items such as rock shoes (which must seem blissfully simply by comparison and retail for twice as much - how does that even work!?!).
> Haha, I'll take that
> Yes, it's amazing how many aren't actually available. Guessing most brands don't retire off the money they make from micro cams, which is probably why most are putting R&D towards higher margin items such as rock shoes (which must seem blissfully simply by comparison and retail for twice as much - how does that even work!?!).
You can add massive cams to that... and as for not making enough money out of hardware, as far as I can work out it 's because people really really like clothes rather than things that actually save your life. And rucksacks. As far as I'm concerned, nearly nothing in hardware changes... a tweek here or there and that's it. And I include my meagre contributions in that...
Clothes tend to have higher base margin and bigger volume of turnover, but you also generally lose margin by having to dump stock for next seasons colours, and sell off left over XS and XXL. Whereas you'd often get a deal as a retailer at 50% to take a load of clothing, this was much rarer for hardware. Sales volume might be low for hardware, but the margins hold true and will be a steady earner.
Shoes are expensive because generally most are hand made in Italy, you're basically buying an artisan product! Attempts to make an easily assembled mass-produced shoe haven't been that successful other than for the rental market e.g. 5.10 Stonemaster Rental shoe, with its one piece moulded sole unit. The problem here is the upfront costs for moulding are high, so if your product doesn't sell you're in trouble, whereas for std shoes you just change the patterns for cutting fabric and rubber to change the shoe model.
I guess I'm more alluding to the disparity in technology required from either market. Hardware, just like shoes requires substantial investment in tooling, even for a lowly carabiner, it has a long prototyping and testing phase. Lets be honest here, clothing, especially "leisure" clothing is low technology, easy to prototype (lots of people have the skills), requires no testing, no certification, far less real quality control, weighs less so is cheaper to transport and sells in vast quantities. If you take all those factors, hardware should be double what it is - just look at what a bike hub costs - shimano are churning them out ten to the dozen and can still sell them for a decent wedge. And it seems to me that plenty of people are prepared to pay a lot of money for a pack or waterproof which is quite likely to be utterly foobared in a few years time, whilst rack, which lasts more or less as long as you dare to use it, doesn't receive the same treatment. Maybe I'm exageratting, but if software wasn't lucrative, how come just about every hardware company holds a range?
> Yes, it's amazing how many aren't actually available. Guessing most brands don't retire off the money they make from micro cams, . . .
Because they're only really needed for E1 and above, and because most climbers only lead up to S/VS? Whereas mid-size cams are very useful from Diffs to VS?
I think we're getting at the same point here...
You're mainly correct, although W.L Gore might beg to differ if you look at their certification requirements; it's non-trivial. Manufacture is a form of investment, you ideally want a mix of steady low risk items and higher risk but bigger potential dividend items, making both does that nicely. Most manufacturers also try and get you to buy in across the different segments by offering a discount if you range clothing and hardware, which can be a way of getting you stock stuff you might otherwise not, so there's an extra incentive there too.
Oh come off it! Are you seriously telling me that manufacturing Gore jackets is any where near as complex as bringing new hardware to the market? Sure gore has tight self imposed regulations, and that is a pain for the manufacturer, but the point is that once that manufacturer has been certified it's not like they need to keep getting every single product they put out in every size tested and certified. They don't have to subject their stock to batch testing, they are unlikely to be hit by a liability case if something goes wrong and recalls are not nearly as common or complex.
Gore tex is in essence not much different than when it first came to market. Sure it's laminated to different fabrics and the waterproof substrates have changed their chemistry etc, but for that investment they are selling miles and miles of the stuff. The numbers in hardware are trivial by comparison. The numbers of Gore Jackets sold per year at significant cost is ridiculous. All you have to do is walk around ISPO and Outdoor to realise that clothing IS the outdoor market. At outdoor show technical hardware is 1-2 halls at most, clothing goes on for mile after mile, with the split being even more accentuated at ISPO.
Technical hardware is by it's nature risk embodied - you get one product wrong and you're stuffed - just look at WC Helium Friends - they lost the market extremely rapidly and are now probably 4th, maybe even 5th in the world... clothing companies make mistakes all the time, it just doesn't make as much of a difference because their risk is super diverse and their revenue stream is more secure. Otherwise you wouldn't have the range of jobs available including things like colourway consultants, which make absolutely zero difference to the products function, only to it's aesthetics, cost and marketability!
How small does a cam need to be to be micro ? What about the black and blue non basic Totem?
Cons......Sell out as soon as in stock, look a bit funky!
For one I would certainly read any micro cam review with great interest.
Well done DMM, certainly looking forward to seeing how they feel in the hand.
Of course I'm not saying it's the same. I'm fully aware of the process behind making PPE, I used to do production batch testing and QA for it as a job. What I am saying is that making clothing isn't necessarily just a case of knocking stuff out and watching the cash roll in as you seem to imply. Being such a competitive market, the amount of product testing becomes considerable to play the game and win, especially if you are in the mountaineering market as opposed to the general outdoors one. That in itself is a double edged sword, in that specialist clothing brands who branch out to take advantage of the bigger market can lose their cachet and be seen as selling out, and risk losing their original market. At least for a hardware manufacturer you can make work at height equipment or quietly manufacture for other brands and not lose your main market.
Back to the original thread subject, can't wait to try the new DMM cams out.
That’s a really good question actually.
When we originally planned on writing the review ‘micro’ cams were somewhat thin on the ground, so we were planning on involving some of the larger models such as the Totem Black and Blue, as well as the various 0 and 00 models by DMM and BD.
Obviously Totem have their own set of unique pros, including an ability to hold where nothing else can, which is set back by the fact they don’t quite have the range of the others. With the equivalent DMM and BD models, the pro is that they’re really sturdy and will probably outlast any micro, but lack the flexibility and narrow heads of a true micro.
So, with all that said and done - should we include them within the review (or at least mention them?).
> So, with all that said and done - should we include them within the review (or at least mention them?).
Yes, there is definite overlap and its worth more than a cursory mention, especially for people yet to use small/microcams and considering spending some money on some smaller cams.
Can you include some objective testing in the micro cam review? It would be really interesting to pay Jim Titt (other engineers are available) to pull test cams in a standard crack. Yes I'm aware it's not as simple as that but it would so refreshing to have some data rather than the usual speculation or fence-sitting.
Leaving aside more important factors like colour, availablity and which sponsored hero has the most instagram followers, choice is mostly determined by your preferred compromise of cam lobe material and cam angle.
X4s: harder metal, higher cam angle = better durability, better range, worse grip.
Alien derivatives: softer metal, higher cam angle = worse durability, better range, better grip.
Dragonflys, WC Zeros, and Metolius: harder metal, lower cam angle = better durability, smaller range, better grip.
Grip trumps everything for me, which rules out X4s, but if you're only climbing "splitters" with perfect cam placements they might be your best choice.
> Can you include some objective testing in the micro cam review? It would be really interesting to pay Jim Titt (other engineers are available) to pull test cams in a standard crack. Yes I'm aware it's not as simple as that but it would so refreshing to have some data rather than the usual speculation or fence-sitting.
Yes! That would be amazing!
In fact, can you just pay him to do tests and provide data for every review of any product?
I wonder how many of the people that bash x4s have actually used them... I've lobbed on them down to the small red in a number of different rock types (slate, granite, rhyolite, dolerite and greywacke) and I've not any shift or rip.
The alien style cams do have a grippier feel when placing them, but is that just a perception (I'm not suggesting it is, just asking the question)?
I have fallen a lot on Alien type cams and they deal with big awkward swinging falls in shallow pockets that a stiffer lobed cam would probobly pop on due to walking. I have also fallen on X4's without any issues but nothing major. Have also had a freind ground fall on the red X4 but its imposible to say if another cam type would have worked better.
Please include Ballnuts and any other slide nuts still available.
> How small does a cam need to be to be micro ?
It probably depends how old you are - anything smaller than the smallest cam available when you started climbing. So anything smaller than a Friend 1 for me - I'm trying to think my way out of this mindset because the word "micro" in my head suggests at least partly psychological protection to me!)
For most then that’s anything below a friend 0 or 00.
In answer to Rob’s question; absolutely include Totems and any other cam 00 or below.
Totem con...wider head width, we need facts and figures! It’s 2mm at most!
Lots of X4 knocking going on, fact or fiction?
I think we need the article!
Is it just me, Beal's rescue rope is incorrectly threaded round the yellow pulley?
A mate of mine bought the Petzl crevasse rescue system a few years ago, and we were able to get him off the ground on the climbing frame in the park with it, but he has so far failed to fall down any crevasses.
I'm pretty certain my friend Dave got another mutual friend out of a crevasse in Alaska using the Petzl system. It sounds like it was all rather traumatic but the kit worked and everyone skied home in one piece. He rates it highly as a result.
During the first lockdown, twelve-year-old Tom was content with local walks, some climbing and watching videos on YouTube. As the days he passed and it was clear that lockdown was not going to end quickly he decided he needed a project - his own version of The Bob Graham...