In the climbing world weight is everything, we’ll do anything to reduce the load we carry vertically. So for this review I’ve chosen a company that is on the front lines of heavier does not mean more secure, the stylishly blue company, C.A.M.P.
C.A.M.P., the Italians, is an outdoor and safety equipment company, the outdoor component focusing on sport climbing, mountaineering and everything in between. They were founded in 1889 in Northern Italy and still call it home for their base of operations. C.A.M.P. stands for Concezione Articoli Montagna Premana which translates to Conception of Articles for Mountaineering Made in Premana.
They are known for their lightweight equipment and the principle that one shouldn’t be limited by their gear. They have a well worded mission statement about it on their website, check it out, it’s very poetic actually, it gives you the feeling they really care about rack size and other inhibitions to adventuring. They understand why we go out into the mountains or into faces and what those journeys mean to us, so they try to assist without being felt and that’s what I love in gear, the fact their motto follows mine is icing on the cake if you will.
Yet for some reason C.A.M.P. gets overlooked in the (rock) climbing world, its seen as beginner gear and nobody really trusts it on their rack.
Maybe it’s the minimalist look that makes it look or seem cheap and untrustworthy, or maybe it’s that the climbing world is saturated with Pataguchi and BD gear to the point C.A.M.P. gear seems to get looked down on.
Maybe it’s just an American thing.
You’ll buy it, but it might not be your main piece of gear or even your first back-up. In fact most times someone hands me a bail biner it’s a C.A.M.P. locker, no one cares about C.A.M.P. equipment on their rack and I rarely see them utilized at anchors. The gym and crag get covered in so much BD gear one might get the impression they are the only climbing brand. There are other companies that are “in” but C.A.M.P. keeps it real in price and style. With that said, they can be first mistaken as keychain carabiners, but I readily use them in a variety of situations.
I mainly purchase C.A.M.P. carabiners (Orbit) as back-up, throw away, bail, whatever carabiners just to add to my rack, just in case. They become something for those situations when you wish you had an extra carabiner for backup or anchor building, that reliable piece of equipment that you know you won’t use for anything else so it’s always there when you need it.
And I use C.A.M.P. carabiners because they are cheap, maybe one of the cheapest and most reliable non-locking carabiners on the market and they’re on sale a lot. I’ve picked up three Orbit carabiners for ten dollars once. And for that reason I have no problem leaving one or two of them to the crag gods to assist in an escape. Two of them (the Orbits) are being used as a spare alpine draw, and the other, another Orbit is my main carabiner for connecting to anchors or what my prussick attaches to. They’re light, small and I’m willing to replace it sooner because of the price.
The Orbit carabiners I would recommend any day, they are a wire gate non-locking carabiner with 22kN vertical strength and 7kN strength when cross loaded, 8kN when the gate is open. It matches up to any other.
There is a range of non-locking carabiners offered by C.A.M.P. sized up from the Orbit which is one of their cheapest and comes in a variety of different styles including bent gates and locking. From there they get lighter, mostly retaining a similar design, some more sleek than others.
C.A.M.P.s locking carabiners are just the same as their non-lockers, small and light and many of the non-lockers have locking counter parts. These I’ll throw on any anchor and call it bomber. They are equally as great for direct connecting and long climbs because of their small size. The HMS Lock is what I work with as my number 3 locking carabiner in my line-up, an added benefit of its small size is that I’ll always bring it and a buddy always ends up needing a spare locker.
Their lockers come in all sorts of shapes from oval to belay style to D rings; some also come in compact versions.
C.A.M.P. also sells quick links which I think should always be carried on a rack for anchor repairs and just as a general safety tool (alongside a small crescent wrench). They come in 8- and 10-millimeter sizes and a variety of sizes and only cost a few bucks.
Colorful and a little more than webbing it’s perfect for beginning climbing instead of that BD harness you see everyone wearing at the gym. Two leg loops and two gear loops, a belay loop and that’s all, plus green and red that pop every time you throw a high leg. It can fit a wide range of sizes from skinny kids to larger adults. And for roughly $50 you get exactly that, light and easily compacted, versatile and simple. Now it has become my backup harness it always comes to the gym with me and has been up more than a few sport climbs (six bolts).
And that’s it, I carry their lockers and non-lockers, harnesses and ice axes I think C.A.M.P. is a solid company that deserves more investment and recognition here in the States and maybe worldwide. They aim for light and fast and achieve it without sacrificing durability, they’re a cheaper alternative to the major brands and they’re Italian, you know they put style into their designs.