Hello everyone. Recently, a Ukrainian company who manufactures climbing equipment sent me a set of six 1axle cams of their own. I have been climbing with them during the past few weeks and have some views on them.
Firstly, here is how the cams are described on the gear4rocks website:
The single cable and integrated sling of the gear4rocks single axle cams make them an agile protection option. The robust sleek sheathed single cable construction is super strong, allows for a smooth pull and has a clean shape.
strong single cable design
small and agile
sleek sheathed cable allows for smooth pull
holds location well
30 day money back guarantee
Available in sets of 6 or individually.
Notice that we use thick hardened steel axles with nyloc nuts, NOT ultra-light rivets or proprietary shoulder bolts. What do you want stopping your next fall? The trend of trading strength and safety for light, flimsy, sexy looking gear is not a trend gear4rocks will ever follow. We like to keep our gear serviceable and strong.
Here is a comparison between the range of Wild Country technical cams and gear4rocks 1 axles cams:
The strengths of the cams vary greatly, but there are a few trends. The Wild Country cams’ strength remains the same, despite the size of the cam. The gear4rocks cams’ strength increases as the cams get larger up to a massive 18kN, which is very good for a cam. Notice the number 2 cams by both Wild Country and gear4rocks and how similar they are in terms of weight and open/close. However, the slight weight difference by use of stronger metals and parts increases the strength of the gear4rocks cam by a massive 4kN!! The smaller gear4rocks cams are less strong however, down to 10kN, which is where I would prefer a WC cam. Wild Country also repeat their colors which can become confusing to the climber on trad climbs, while this is a trend that gear4rocks avoid. We all know those few seconds can count on a difficult trad climb.
See also the comparison with Black Diamond C4 Camalots:
Notice the BD cam number 1 and gear4rocks cam 3 and their similarities in weight and open/close. Again, a few changes to the parts and the gear4rocks cam shoots up by 4kN. And that’s what you want isn’t it? Strong, reliable gear, and best of all, gear that’s cheap! “We like to keep our gear…strong.” This is definitely achieved. Similar to Wild Country, BD's cams are stronger towards the smaller sizes again, so here I would prefer them if I had a choice.
So how good are they?
First and foremost, these cams feel great in your hand. They are slightly heavier than the majority of other cams produced by different companies. When they are placed in a crack, they feel incredibly secure and inspire confidence. Because they feel so secure, I am not afraid to climb above them. They also do not have a tendency to walk out of their placement, where other big name cams would.
They are also extremely flexible. I managed to bend the stem of the cam so much that the lobes were touching the thumb loop. This means that the cams are great for horizontal placements. My favourites are the number 3 green cam, and the largest number 5 cam.
The axles on the cams are secured by nyloc nuts, which make the cams easy to fix or repair with kits.
The largest cam has holes in the lobes to reduce the weight as much as possible without reducing the strength of the cam.
The cam lobes fit very well in the rock which in turn inspires confidence.
They are also color-coded, which means that after a while you recognise the cams and this saves time on a climb.
However, there are some drawbacks. It is sometimes difficult to pull the trigger on these cams, which again can waste precious seconds on a difficult climb. The trigger can be stiff, which can put stress on already tired fingers. The thumb loop can be uncomfortable and awkward to use on some cams also.
Also, one of the cams arrived with two of the lobes incorrectly positioned on the axle. The little stem thingy that prevents the lobes closing too far was the wrong way round. I notified gear4rocks about the problem and they said that they had inspected the cam twice before sending it to me, however unfortunately the cam was damaged in the post.
However, due to the nuts used in the manufacture of these cams made it very, very easy to fix the problem. The cam is now functioning properly and fully and has taken 4 falls (as far as I can remember) since I fixed it.
Cheap (only $40 per cam)
Feel great in your hand
Average greater strength than other cams
Simple (no complicated parts or opening)
Very easy to work/fix
Overall, these cams do what they are supposed to do. They fit well in the rock and do not walk out. They feel great in your hand and inspire confidence. Their flexibility allows them to be placed in horizontal and even in upside placements, where other cams would not be suitable. They may look slightly like toys however they do not act like that at all. And to sum it up – they are even cheap! The only downside is that they are generally heavier than other cams, but still, a little heavier but a lot stronger! As gear4rocks promise, these cams are “functional, serviceable, affordable and safe…not pretty or trendy”. Lastly, I would recommend these cams to anyone who is looking to build a trad rack inexpensively, or who doesn’t mind that extra weight. All in all, these cams do what they are meant to do, and they do it well.
Review by Thomas Clark - Original review location at mountainproject.com