Kurt Johnson

Kurt Johnson

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Kurt Johnson

Kurt Johnson wrote a review of on May 19, 2012

3 5

I just handled some of the newer Photon Wire biners, and CAMP seems to have addressed some of the design flaws and quality control issues people have commented on in various reviews. Thankfully, the sharp edge where the wire gate is anchored to the biner is no longer sharp, and the gate action is no longer "floppy" as it was on many units. Unfortunately, they overcompensated with the gate action, and what used to be that perfect balance between too loose and too stiff on most Photons is now a uniform too stiff. At least it doesn't vary from unit to unit as it did in the past, but in fixing the gate action on the Photon, CAMP did away with the one thing besides weight that made it a truly great carabiner. I would now recommend the Photon, but unfortunately, it falls short of it's potential.

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Kurt Johnson

Kurt Johnson wrote a review of on February 23, 2012

1 5

I'm trying REALLY hard to like these biners, but after being given one at a climbing slide show (CAMP carabiners and quickdraws were both given and raffled to audience members) I'm disappointed that they're plagued by design flaws.

First, I have to second James' review when he mentioned that the wire gate is "loose, bordering on floppy." This concern is compounded by the fact that the nose is slim and unshrouded, inviting the slightest slip across the rock to open it with ease.

Second, the part of the wire gate that's anchored to the carabiner (I'm sure there's a name for it, but it looks like the head of a pin) is so sharp that it can literally cut your finger, not to mention slings. In fact, in a couple reviews I read about the Nano (which suffers from the same problem), one reviewer mentioned that it cut his finger while checking it out at a store, and another reviewer said it tore up his doubled Spectra slings.

It's mindboggling that a company as reputable as CAMP would produce such a product. And it's not just the Photon Wire Gate and the Nano; the Orbit Twist Lock and the Photon Express Quickdraws have serious issues as well (see those reviews for further info).

Having said all that, my first experience with CAMP biners was the Photon Screw Gate which I fell in love with. It hits that sweet spot of full size and light weight perfectly, which enticed me to further explore what CAMP had to offer. I then graduated to the Photon Express Quickdraws which I recently ordered but haven't yet used (see review). After replacing the dogbones with skinnier ones I'm overall happy with them (the action of the bent wire gates is much better than the straight wire gate of the one I reviewed here), but still concerned with the potential danger of the original setup. At the same time I also ordered a couple Orbit Twist Locks (again, see review) which due to numerous sharp edges should never go near ropes, slings or skin.

Needless to say, I won't be buying another CAMP biner or quickdraw unless I check them out in person. And even then, I question their quality in general. With all these design flaws, I can't help but wonder if they're really as solid as they're rated.

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Kurt Johnson

Kurt Johnson wrote a review of on February 22, 2012

2 5

I just ordered 2 sets of these and while there's something to be said about the lightness and design of the biners themselves (both the wiregate and the keylock), I'm disappointed by the way they work with the dogbones in the quickdraw setup. The narrow end of the wiregate (bottom) biner doesn't fit well with the tight end of the dogbone, and therefore easily shifts so that the biner ends up being loaded diagonally instead of hanging straight down. And not only that, but it seems likely that it could easily end up in the horizontal position, the nylon loop sliding over the wire gate itself, thereby cross loading the biner in the event of a fall. I haven't taken them out on the rock yet, so I don't know for sure if this would actually happpen, but it looks possible. I tried replacing the standard nylon dogbone with a skinny spectra one and it solved the problem, but now I've got to replace them all at considerable expense. The only reason I'm not too upset is because I got them on sale, but I'm still a bit annoyed that I have to pay to fix their design flaw.

Speaking of design flaws, one end of the wire gate where it's attached to the biner (which looks like the head of a pin) is so sharp it can cut your finger if you press hard enough. I've seen this on certain BD and Omega Pacific biners, but never as bad as the Photon. One reviewer said it tore up his doubled slings which is inexcusable. It seems to me that as long as you only use it with dogbones you shouldn't have a problem, but it still makes me a bit nervous.

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Kurt Johnson

Kurt Johnson wrote a review of on February 22, 2012

1 5

I just ordered 2 which arrived today and I wish I had read the first review before I did. The edges really are sharp, which is not only inexcusable but unbelievable. The previous reviewer wasn't kidding when he said you can cut yourself with this biner. It probably wouldn't happen through casual handling, but you wouldn't have to work too hard to make it happen. And who knows what it might do to nylon? I'm not going to take that chance; I plan on returning them as soon as I can. Why a company as reputable as CAMP would produce such a thing is beyond me. I'm not sure if they were designed that way, or if someone at their factory in China fell asleep at the deburring machine.

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Kurt Johnson

Kurt Johnson wrote an answer about on July 31, 2008

I was hoping for that, too. I'm looking to get one or the other, and don't know yet which one. I've swung the venom like an ice tool, and it felt nice, but I've never actully held a cosmi'tec in my hand. They weigh more or less the same (the cosmi'tec is a hair lighter) and the venom has a rubber grip and a replaceable pick. I'm probably going to get the Petzl because I prefer no grip when plunging the shaft in hard snow.

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