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Advanced Basecamp Arc, $15 C.A.M.P. Shell, $15
Summary: The Arc/Shell (identical models available from different sources) delivers reasonable fall catching, but comes up short in the rope feeding and
department. The unit’s lock-off is very abrupt, so it binds up too easily when you’re feeding rope and rappelling, which is disconcerting. Also, the tube is very short and its walls are thin, so overheating and durability are major issues.
Pros: Catches well.
Cons: Locks off too easily when feeding rope and rappelling. Overheats quickly. Thin walls.
Overall grade: C+
Advanced Basecamp: (888) 902-5462,www.advancedbasecamp.com
C.A.M.P.: (303) 465-9429,www.camp-usa.com
Climb Axe Big Air, $11 Kong/Advanced Basecamp Chuy, $15
Summary: For such a small device, the Big Air/Chuy (identical models available from different sources) delivers big performance, providing a solid balance between catching falls, feeding out rope, and rappelling. The tube is offset, with moderately deep high-friction grooves on one side, and shallow lower-friction grooves on the other. The flexible keeper cable withstood kinking better than most models with stiffer cables. The inner part of the tube has burly ribs for keeping rope strands separate, which helps reduce friction on your cord, but makes for more difficult feeding with 11mm ropes.
Pros: Versatile. Flexible keeper cable.
Cons: Difficult feeding with thick ropes.
Overall grade: B+
Kong/Advanced Basecamp: (888) 902-5462,www.advancedbasecamp.com
Climb Axe: (503) 236-9552,www.climbaxe.com