[Ed. Unfortunately, in the time since we tested the Revo, the retail release of the device has been delayed. The new release date has not yet been announced.]
“This became my go-to belay device the very first time I used it,” said one tester. “After several months with it, I can’t imagine going back to the complicated techniques required by the devices I’d been using before.”
The Wild Country Revo is the first belay device in the past 20 years that’s truly revolutionary thanks to a reliable and foolproof operation. Eschewing the cam function employed by most assisted-braking belay devices, the Revo stops the rope much like how a seatbelt works. The rope runs around a wheel in the device. When the wheel spins fast enough, centripetal force sends a physical stop inside the device outward, which catches and locks the device. The result is a belay device that’s nearly impossible to lock when feeding out slack, but catches almost instantly during a fall. It’s bi-directional, too, so there’s no wrong direction to load the rope in the device (a common cause of accidents with other devices). And it’s symmetrical, so it operates the same for right- and left-handed belayers. Because the Revo doesn’t work via friction, it accepts ropes from 8.5mm to 11mm and feels just as smooth on both ends of the fat-skinny spectrum. The other big safety feature is the fact that the locking mechanism cannot be overriden: If your belayer panics and squeezes down on the device, it will still catch the fall. Of course, none of this would matter if the device wasn’t intuitive and easy to use, and the Revo is both. Operating like a standard tube-style device, the Revo does not need to be touched at all when belaying, so the belayer can keep both hands fully on the rope at all times. Our testers tried to find flaws in the Revo’s design, and they came up short.