Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Do you have that one partner who continues to cling to their tube-style device because belay-assist devices are “too expensive”? That excuse is out the window with the sleek, fast-feeding, price-point Birdie (reviewed in issue No. 371). I’ve been battering mine for months. At 7.4 oz, it’s a little heavier than the Grigri, but the all-metal Birdie hasn’t worn out, and continues to feed and take in rope as ably as on day one. (The Birdie works with cords from 8.5 to 10.5mm.)The Birdie has a reaassuring heft in the hand and an extended lowering lever whose only ding is that it can heat up on long, single-rope rappels. MSRP: $75