Whether you’re an experienced rock climber or a beginner, having the right gear is essential for a safe and successful climb.

One of the most critical pieces of equipment for any climber is their set of climbing cams.

These devices are designed to be placed into cracks or crevices in the rock face, providing a secure anchor point for the climber’s rope.

With so many different brands and models on the market, it can take time to determine which climbing cams are the best for your needs.

This blog post will explore the best climbing cams available this year.

We’ll take a closer look at their features, benefits, and drawbacks, helping you decide which cams suit your climbing style and preferences.

We’ll also provide expert advice on adequately using and maintaining your climbing cams to ensure maximum safety and longevity.

What Are the Best Climbing Cams This Year
What Are the Best Climbing Cams This Year?

List of the Best Climbing Cams This Year

In the past decade, there have been a few advancements in climbing gear that have improved the way climbers climb, and today, we are going to look at five of the best climbing cams to buy this year.

1. Black Diamond Camalot Ultralight

The Black Diamond Camalot Ultralight is one of the best products that belong to the Camalot C4s. We like this Camelot as it comes with 25% less weight compared to other models.

At first, we doubted this Camelot’s ability to hold up firmly compared to its predecessors. However, after testing it ourselves, we were amazed by its performance.

For many years, the Block Diamond Camelot Ultralight has overperformed. It has been used to climb some of the roughest terrains, exposed to harsh elements, and still comes out strong.

Whether you intend to climb a big wall or planning to get started on climbing, these lightweight cams will serve you excellently.

At first, due to the lightweight of this Camelot, you might be tempted to think that they won’t serve. But that idea will change as soon as you give them a shot. 

However, it is vital to note that while these are the best products on this list, they do have some downsides. For instance, the range ends at number 4, which means if you are looking for something super large and heavier, you might want to try something else.

It is true to state that there are instances where weight is required; in that case, you might want to substitute these Camelots with something else. Also, compared to the regular C4 Camelots, these cost a good amount of change.

According to Black Diamond, you need to stop using these products after five years since some parts of them might degrade faster, thereby putting your safety in danger.

Otherwise, these cams are the best for anyone looking for something lightweight and highly durable.

Black Diamond Camalot Ultralight Pros:

  • Excellent Range
  • Ergonomic thumb loop
  • Light hand-sized cams

Black Diamond Camalot Ultralight Cons:

  • A bit expensive, but it is worth each dollar

2. Black Diamond Camalot Z4

The Black Diamond Camalot Z4 received created a buzz during its release due to its RigidFlex stem design. Each of its stems comes with dual, twisted cables that are highly flexible in all directions.

It also boasts an excellent trigger mechanism that improves its overall rigidity when pulled. Due to its design, the cam enables users to enjoy a highly flexible stem when the unit is placed and pulled.

This feature reduces the possibility of walking. While ensuring that you get the rigidity, you need to place and also remove the cam easily.

Compared to its predecessors, the Black Diamond Camalot Z4 is way lighter and comes with a narrower head that enables narrow placement. Besides that, it comes with the green O as its new addition. 

Due to the remarkable improvements, the product has super smooth trigger functions and is easier to use than other models. When doing the free climbing, according to our review, these are the smallest cams you can ever find on the market.

We are convinced that they are the best of any small cams available in the market at the time of writing this review.

To be honest, this item does not work as advertised, but the truth is that it works pretty perfectly in smaller sizes with less weighty heads.

You will find that the larger sizes tend to be quite wobbly and are not as comfortable to use. Also, compared to other products in the same category, these tend to be a little heavier but are easy to handle when doing free climbing.

Black Diamond Camalot Z4 Pros:

  • Narrow head width that fits perfectly in shallow placements
  • Unit smaller than any other cam
  • Rigid and flexible stem designed for both worlds
  • Easier quick placement

Black Diamond Camalot Z4 Cons:

  • These climbing cams are light, but there are lighter cams

3. Wild Country Zero Friend

If you are looking for a strong steel cable that can serve you for a very long time, then you are talking about the Wild Country Zero Friend.

According to our experts, this cam comes with a range of features, and its size makes it the best choice for free climbing.

Whether you are a novice climber or a seasoned one, you will use this safely due to its enhanced flexibility. One of the reasons this might be your ideal choice of a climbing cam is that it comes with a flexistem that is encased in flexible armored metal plates.

The cam boasts an innovative design that makes it stand out from the crowd in terms of functionality and easy placement. It bends perfectly to accommodate a downward pull even in a horizontal placement.

The Wild Country Zero Friend has an easy-grab ergonomic thumb loop to ensure that you achieve a guided trigger with minimal flex.

Regardless of the nature of the wall you are trying to climb, this best climbing cam is made of a strong material that can withstand any type of rough handling. 

The minimal flex helps you achieve a high level of accuracy during placement. To aid climbers, the thumb loop is a boon, which means it provides an easy place to clip fifis, daisies, or etriers. 

The product has an extendable Dyneema sewn sling to provide additional flexibility when free climbing. It also means that users can quickly reduce the number of quickdraws on their racks, thereby leading to improved performance.

The fact that it is semi-rigid means that it will always stay open for ease of access. We tested this product for an extended duration and on different types of walls, and its level of performance blew our minds.

Wild Country Zero Friend Pros:

  • Highly durable
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Highly flexible

Wild Country Zero Friend Cons:

  • Only fairly affordable

4. DMM Dragonfly Cam

We believe that DMM Dragonfly Cam is the smallest camming device you can ever find on the market.

Therefore, it is the best choice if you are looking for something smaller and easy to handle. Thankfully, the product comes in up to six sizes; you are free to choose what best suits your needs.

They are also available in a range of colors, just in case this is something that matters to you. The smallest ones are tiny and come with powers tested at 6kN, which is an excellent upgrade compared to what used to be there before.

Besides being super small, we were happy that these items are very easy to use, and they come with additional features that place them ahead of other products in the same category.

Besides working perfectly for climbing, these products can also be used as extras in the air climber’s rack.

Our findings suggest that the DMM Dragonfly cam is quite similar to the design used in the CCH Alien cams, only that they come with impressive improvements to keep you safer and confident when doing what you love the most.

The products have been in the market for at least 15 years, but they keep coming with modifications that are needed by both novice and seasoned climbers.

The products are also lightweight and easy to handle. The improved level of flexibility means you will get perfect placement and easy removal when climbing any type of wall.

They are the best for free climbing and stick to the same color scheme as their Black Diamond cam counterparts. While they are also durable, you are strongly encouraged to retire them after five years of consistent use.

DMM Dragonfly Cam Pros:

  • Smallest cam you can ever find
  • Amazing strength
  • Extendable sling
  • Highly flexible stem

DMM Dragonfly Cam Cons:

  • Smaller cam range
  • Action is not smooth enough

5. Totem Climbing Ca

These are perfect game changers as they come with all your climbing needs and ensure that you get the best experience doing what you love the most.

The fact that they are lightweight and easy to handle makes them an excellent choice for aid climbing.

The Totem Climbing Cams are unique in every sense of the word, and besides having so many features, you will enjoy enhanced flexibility when using them.

Users can only load one side of the unit while only engaging two lobes at a time. This means that you will get much stronger and more reliable placement in holes or flares that are too flare to let in all four lobes. 

Since each end of this best climbing cam is loaded independently, each of the sizes can be used as offsets, which is something you might not find from other products in the same category.

Compared to the BD Camalots, these have narrower heads, and their stems can move quite flexibly. This feature makes them an ideal choice for narrow horizontal placements.

Though most users feel that they are great for aid climbing, from what we found, these Camalots are equally great for free climbing.

The only thing we didn’t like about these products is that they are quite expensive, so an average person might have to dig deeper into their pockets to afford them.

They are also bulkier compared to their predecessors. In some cases, when stuck, they can be very hard to extract.

With that in mind, if you are a huge fan of wall climbing, or are looking to become one, then your rack won’t be complete unless you have a set or two of the Totem Cams.

Totem Climbing Cam Pros:

  • Available in hand and finger sizes
  • Works in offset and parallel placements
  • Each side can be independently loaded

Totem Climbing Cam Cons:

  • Hard to remove when stuck

Best Climbing Cams FAQ

How do different types of climbing cams, such as passive vs. active, impact their performance and suitability for different types of climbing?

What factors should climbers consider when selecting the best climbing cams for their needs, such as size, weight, durability, and ease of use?

Climbers should consider the following factors when selecting the best climbing cams for their needs:

  1. Size: Climbing cams come in different sizes, and it is essential to match the size of the cam to the size of the crack or placement. The wrong size cam can result in an insecure placement.
  2. Weight: The weight of the cam is a crucial factor, especially for multi-pitch climbs, where climbers need to carry several cams. Lightweight cams can help reduce the weight of the rack and make the climb more manageable.
  3. Durability: Climbing cams must be durable to withstand the rigors of climbing. Look for cams made of high-quality materials that are designed to withstand wear and tear.
  4. Ease of use: Climbing cams should be easy to place and remove from the rock’s surface.

How do climbing cams compare to other types of protection, such as nuts, hexes, and tricams, and in what situations are they most effective?

Climbing cams are a type of active protection that can be placed in cracks and other features of rock to protect climbers in case of a fall.

They are generally considered to be more versatile than other types of protection, such as nuts, hexes, and tricams, as they can fit into a wider range of crack sizes and shapes.

Cams work by using spring-loaded lobes that expand and contract to fit the shape of the crack.

This makes them particularly effective in parallel-sided cracks or irregularly shaped cracks where other types of protection may not fit as well.

They can also be useful in flared cracks or as a backup to other types of protection.

What are some common mistakes that climbers make when using climbing cams, and how can they avoid these errors to ensure their safety and success on the rock?

Some common mistakes that climbers make when using climbing cams include:

  1. Placing cams in poor quality rock or in cracks that are too shallow or flared.
  2. Not properly testing the placement of the cam before weighing it.
  3. Placing cams too close together or in a straight line, which can compromise their holding power.
  4. Not properly extending the sling or quickdraw attached to the cam, which can cause the cam to walk or shift.
  5. Improperly racking or organizing cams leads to difficulty in selecting the right size or type.

To avoid these errors and ensure safety while climbing, climbers should:

Choose solid rock and cracks that are well-suited to the size and shape of the cam being used.

What are metal cams in climbing?

An SLCD (spring-loaded camming device) is a piece of mountaineering or rock climbing protection equipment.

Metal cams in climbing are devices used to hold onto parts of rocks when climbing walls.

They let you climb vertical and diagonal walls with ease.

How do rock climbing cams work?

Rock climbing cams come with four or three curved pieces of aluminum, which are also known as cam lobes.

These lobes retract and become narrower when the spring-loaded trigger wire is pulled.

This lets you place the unit inside a crack so that you get to climb a wall with ease.

How to use cams while climbing?

When climbing, you are supposed to use the springs to widen and narrow the lobes.

Before you place them, the lobes should be wide so that when you place and pull the spring, they retract and achieve a strong grip on the parts of the wall.

How to use cams and nuts for rock climbing?

Before you begin using, you are supposed to spot a nice constriction, grab the rack of nuts and test some of them that are highly likely to fit.

After you have found the best fit, you want to give it a gentle downward tug so that it is set in place.

You will then remove the nut from the carabiner and then extend it to the sling before clipping it to your rope.

To Summarize: The Best Climbing Cams for This Year

It is vital to note that the best climbing camalots are not so easy to find.

As such, trusting our review might not be easy for you.

However, the one reason you should trust this piece is that we have tested these products ourselves and used our findings to create this review.

Black Diamond Camalot Ultralight is the best product overall since it comes with enough features, is easy to use, and, best of all, is highly durable.

While the rest are equally outstanding, Black Diamond Camalot is affordable and very much flexible.

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