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Camp Tricam Evo Review

Overview

If you are looking for a piece of climbing protection more versatile than any other on the market, the CAMP Tricam Evo is it. These will go in cracks, whether horizontal or vertical, constrictions, pin scars, and they especially come into their own in pockets, where nothing else goes. A must have as part of your trad rack!

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Features and benefits

 

  • 3 different placements
  • Nylon sling
  • Same strength whichever way its placed
  • Different shape head
  • Lighter for 2 smaller sizes
  • Stiffer sling

 

The CAMP tri-cam, is one of the most underused pieces of climbing protection in the UK.  For the non-believers, it feels like a mythical creature, all you know is from hear-say, and not quite sure what it looks like.  For all the others who have experienced them, its like Marmite.  They either love them or hate them.  Once you know how to use it, you will be a convert.

 

The Tricam

Invented by Greg Lowe in 1973, and can be used as passive and active protection.  The name ‘Tri-cam’ comes from its camming action, and the three points it touches on the rock when placed.  It is one of the most versatile pieces of rock climbing protection.  They are very well suited to pockets, awkward or narrow cracks, even parallel cracks, pods, and pin scars. These can be placed either horizontal or vertical, as active protection.

 

 

Or just like a nut placement, placed passively and jammed in a narrowing/constricting crack.

Another placement?

And yes, the Camp Tri cam Evo has another placement.  Another passive placement, just like an offset nut.  Camp have changed the shaped slightly from the original tri cam.  They have thickened the metal in places, and cut the holding pin flush with the side of the tri cam.  So, these can be placed sideways, without interfering with its construction.

 

Placing them

They take a little more practice to place well, especially actively.  But when they go in, they feel secure.  Actively placed, you place the tri cam and give it a quick pull to seat it.  Compared to cams, when placed well, they are less likely to walk, as long as they are seated well.  Due to their narrow heads, they are able to fit where cams cannot, i.e. pin scars, shallow cracks, or pockets.

 

 

Removing Tricams

Once placed well, it will take some gentle persuading to remove them.  Unlike removing a nut, or hex which can be done with a little more vigour.  The removal of a tri cam can be a delicate procedure, especially when placed actively.  It’s in the subtle details of the placement.  Be precise and gentle, and sometimes two hands are needed, and definitely a nut key.  So, if you are seconding, you have the comfort of sitting on a tight rope.  One of the reasons a second can find it frustrating to follow a climb which has well-placed tri cams in them.  On a personal note, if my life hangs on the balance of a well-placed tri cam, when leading, I don’t care that the second needs two hands to remove them.  Personally, I have never had a problem removing a tri-cam, and nor did my climbing partner who came with me for this review.  Look, he’s even smiling…

Rock types to use tricams

For this review I used the tri-cams on 4 different rock types.

  • Rhyolite in Llanberis in North Wales
  • Quartzite on the Gogarth sea-cliffs
  • Limestone in the Wye Valley and Avon Gorge
  • Gritstone in the Peak District

 

In all 4 areas I managed to place tri-cams, where nothing else would go.  They are a great addition to my trad rack, and would not leave the house without them.

 

Weight

If we were to compare tri-cams with cams, not that these are a replacement.  Lets say where a cam can be placed, a tri cam can be placed (actively).  If we were to compare the weight of either, you could carry at least 2 tri-cams for every cam.

In some case, nearly three.  What’s not to like.

 

What sizes do they come in?

The Camp Tri-cam comes in a variety of sizes.  From .125 all the way up to size 7.  The Camp Tri cam Evo comes in 4 sizes, from 0.25 up to 1.5.  All very useful sizes.

 

The most commonly used sizes are black, pink, red, brown and blue (the blue size does not come in the Evo set, and cannot be placed as a chock sideways). Or size 0.25 up to size 2.  These equate Black Diamond Camalot size 0.3 up to size 1.

 

Sling

The Camp Tri cam Evo comes with a nylon sling.  If you are an avid winter, mixed and/or alpine climber, your kit is likely to get wet and/or covered in snow/ice.   You have the option of purchasing a set of tri-cams with Dyneema slings (only sizes 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0), although you will have to forfeit the option of one of its passive placements in exchange (see table above).  The benefit of Dyneema is that it has a greater performance on strength when wet.

 

As a winter climber, I never leave without a set of CAMP tri-cams.  In iced-up cracks, the sharp point bites through the ice, making your placements more secure.

 

Benefit of new sling

The sling of the Camp tri cam Evo has also been made a little stiffer, to make one-handed placements a little easier.  Personally, I have never had an issue with that.  I do know other climbers who have used shrink wrap plastic around the sling of the tri cam (the ones used around the end of ropes) to give that extra stiffness to place the just-out-of-reach placements a little easier.

 

 

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Versatile piece of gear
  • Goes where nothing else goes
  • 3 different placements
  • Suited to lots of different rock types
  • Stiffer sling for one-handed placements

 

Cons

  • Can be tricky to clean (just need a little more practice, and be gentle)

 

Conclusion

Personally, I think the CAMP tri-cam is an invaluable piece of trad climbing protection, and certainly worth investing in.  Suited to all types of different rock, and will make those awkward placements so much easier.  I have a set with me when trad climbing, winter or alpine climbing.  They are cheap, lightweight and very versatile. A must-have on your rack.

 

I mean, what else was I going to place there.

We tried a nut and cam, but they just didn’t sit well, so tri cam it is.

Tried a cam, but lobes were uneven, so tri cam fitted perfectly.

Do I need to say more!