Deling R.wrote a review of CAMP USA Race 290 Crampon on June 26, 2018
Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
They are good crampons for mellow terrain or step ladders. But for more technical mountaineering, you'll want something that fits more securely.
I have owned them for a few seasons now and have climbed probably about a dozen volcanoes in them in the summer and a few times in winter and spring. My boots are Dynafit TLT 6, size 25/25.5. Even though the mondo size of the boot is in the medium range, the BSL of the boot is only 277 mm, very short compared to other touring boots. The front welt of the boot is also very shallow, compared to other AT boots.
The first issue I encountered was that the front bail doesn’t contour the front of the boot. I have seen others complain about the same issue (check out https://www.wildsnow.com/6008/camp-gear-review-crampons/). I noticed the issue after a couple of climbs on moderate terrain and adjusted the curve of the bail with a vise and a pair of plyers. That fix improved the security of the crampons somewhat. I climbed a couple more seasons in them but never felt super secure. Finally during the last two climbs on Mt Hood in Oregon, one of the front bails started slipping off of the boot. The other one had a little play but was staying on the boot all the time. It was super annoying and could be dangerous. I had to keep an eye on the crampon all the time. When I got home yesterday, I inspected the crampons. The length was properly adjusted. The nubbins at the back of the heel pieces were already right at the heels of the boots. If I shorten the crampons one hole further, The nubbins would be under the heels, although I’d still be able to pull the pins into the boots. So I broke off the nubbins and shortened the crampons. I haven’t used them in the snow yet. But they do feel much more secure when I was playing around on a piece of plywood, although now it’s very hard to get the pins into the boots. And I’m sure this is not how they intend the crampons to be used and I’m sure the warranty is now voided . BTW, the two side nubbins seem to be too far apart for a boot this small. They would fit better for boots with wider heels. I have always wondered why crampons are all one-size-fit-all.
To be fair, this is a minimalist boot with a small sole (not compatible with frame bindings). My guess is that Atomic Backland would have the same problems. And I am probably using these crampons beyond the scope of what they are designed for. Although it was not technical ice terrain, but I was climbing 45-50 degree hard snow. I’m not complaining about these crampons. I’m simply letting you know about the limitations if you are unaware of. I understand the difficulty when it comes to designing a crampon to be compatible with thousands of boots out there. During my experiment, I tried mixing a heel piece from an XLC nano and it worked very well. The levers at the back seem to work better than the pins. I don’t want to use XLC nano with these boots though because the toe pieces are too big. I just ordered a pair of tour 350 and plan to use at least the heel units. They are not going to be as lightweight and low profile but hopefully more secure.