Most of you read my Gear4Rocks Plastic Nuts review published a few months ago. Gear4Rocks graciously sent me an entire set of their CE certified camming units called links cams to review.
First, the stuff from the website:
The CE certified gear4rocks links cams are flexible, quick, and hold their positions. The minimalist design cuts down on weight and provides for easy inspection. The multicable construction builds in redundancy. Color coated bands over swages allow for quick recognition of size.
• CE certified
• very light
• minimalist and redundant design
• easy to inspect and service
• very flexible
• holds location well
• color coded
• 30 day money back guarantee
The raw stats:
I’ve put about 20 pitches in on them so far at Eldorado canyon and Indian creek, and have come away with a few impressions.
First of all, and foremost, as cams they are great. They plug in just fine, hold their position without walking and look trucker. When I had an even mix of both BD and gear4rocks on my rack Sunday at eldo I found myself reaching for both alternately. My favorite gear4rocks cams were the smallest, the number 1 size, and the second biggest, the number 4.
The number 1 seemed to be a good answer for the oddities encountered around the .3, and .4 BD sizes where neither seems to fit well. The number 4 was perfect for the many hand cracks at Indian Creek this past week.
The flexible stem allows the pull direction to always be along the long axis of the cable, making them great for horizontal placements.
This flexible stem can even allow an upside placement, as shown below. I would feel more comfortable falling on the gear4rocks cam in this orientation, than I would a similar sized BD, given the differences in the stiffness of the stems.
Just some more flexi-goodness.
However there are some drawbacks to the simple design of the links cams. The clip in point is too small, and doesn’t easily allow multiple biners. I like to rack with one biner, then extend with another biner on a tripled sling. You can see this crowding in the preceding pictures.
While this is only a big deal because of my racking method, sometimes those extra seconds can really count on a hard lead.
Also the top of the loop isn’t as ergonomic as the thumb loop on a camalot or mastercam. Hey, you get what you pay for. The clip in point is structural, not for keeping my fat-ass thumb down while placing.
The last potential issue with this cam design is illustrated below:
The trigger wires on the green gear4rocks cam are too long. The trigger bar hits the swage before the cam is completely closed. You have to conduct some twisting trickery to get the cam to fully compress. I contacted gear4rocks about this problem and they suggested they have fixed this design flaw and it is an isolated case. None of the other cams experience this issue.
Above is a fully closed green cam, accomplished by twisting the trigger bar. I myself fixed the problem by crimping the trigger wires.
Lastly, it may just be me, but I have a propensity for trying to overcam the %&*# out of these cams. I think I am still trying to get the sizes down. I think the color coding does me in, because I see purple and think .5 camalot, which is exactly why my gear4rocks purple cam is stuck on Anasazi in Indian Creek. My friends who also climbed with these cams didn’t have that issue.
Cheap ($33 a cam!)
Well, it’s a cheap, simple cam!
All in all, these cams deliver what they promise. They stay in place, are strong, flexible and easy to service(you could take one apart, replace a piece, and put it back together). The engineer within me loves this last part because I am so sick of trying to fix that friggin’ trigger wire on the purple C3! They aren’t as fancy as brand-name cams in that they feel a little awkward and don’t accommodate my obsessive quirks. I would recommend them to someone trying to build a basic rack inexpensively, or as doubles(triples,quadruples) for the creek.