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Reviews by gothcopter (3)

Master Cam (Manufacturer link) popular Average Rating = 3.36/5 Average Rating : 3.36/5

In: Gear: Essential Equipment: Protection: Active

Good, but disappointing 3 out of 5 stars

Review by: gothcopter, 2008-05-27

I really love Metolius' gear, so I was very excited when I heard about the Master Cam. It seemed like a perfect complement to my TCUs. I bought a #1 as a test, and started carrying it in place of my green Alien.

Whereas the Aliens have a reputation for being well-designed and poorly-manufactured, I suspect the Master Cam will eventually have the reputation of being poorly-designed and well-manufactured. To achieve a narrow overall head width, they made the lobes very thin. With tiny cams, surface area counts... especially if rock quality is less than perfect. I trust my TCUs more than I trust these things.

The other problem for me is stem flexibility. Compared to Aliens, these things might as well be Forged Friends. And I'm not too eager to find out how reusable one would be after taking a big fall onto it in a horizontal placement.

Final verdict: While the Master Cam is a well-built and functional piece of equipment, there are better products out there. I would invest in TCUs and/or Aliens instead.

EDIT: Having now put some more miles on my Master Cam, I feel I should relent a little in my criticism. My little, blue guinea pig has held up rather well so far. I took my first fall on it -- in a shallow, horizontal placement that was pretty much the ideal scenario to damage the cam. The little cables that connect the trigger bar to the trigger assembly were positioned right at the edge of the crack. While the bottom-most cable was slightly crimped during the fall (a 15-footer with about 40 feet of rope out), and the thumb loop is now somewhat elongated, the cam is otherwise unscathed. I still think the thing could have been better designed, but it's holding together nicely so far.

Link Cam 0.5 Average Rating = 4.45/5 Average Rating : 4.45/5

In: Gear: Essential Equipment: Protection: Active

Loyal convert 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: gothcopter, 2008-05-27

I was skeptical about the Link Cam for a long while. I finally got the #2 on sale, and it's the first piece of new gear in years that I've really gotten excited about.

It's a well-built piece of equipment, and the radical expansion range makes it very versatile and useful. I no longer leave the ground without it (except for sport routes). I have yet to fall on it, but I have every confidence it will perform as expected.

I do wish there was a greater variety in sizes. The #1 size is pretty useless to me. I'd rather see them make an "offwidth killer" -- maybe something that would cover from a #3 - #5 Camalot. That would be freakin' awesome.

Vertigo 40 (Manufacturer link) Average Rating = 5.00/5 Average Rating : 5.00/5

In: Gear: Hiking and Camping: Backpacks: Backpacking Packs

Review 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: gothcopter, 2004-12-05

This pack is awesome. Inside the main compartment, the gear loops, daisy chain and slit pockets keep all my gear so organized it's downright pretty. The pack is hydration-compatible, or you can just clip a Nalgene onto one of the gear loops on the hip belt. The integrated (and detachable) rope tarp quickly disappears into its own little custom pocket inside the pack. This keeps the dirt off all your other goodies.

What really surprised me most about this pack was the suspension system. While this is billed as a "day at the crag" pack, it has more of a "week at the crag" suspension system. The suspension is completely and easily adjustable on the run, and the mesh backpanel keeps you dry in summer. I have never felt wobbly while scrambling in this pack, and I've never felt sore after using it.

The pack is well-constructed from quality, durable materials. Not to mention all the little things: color-coded rope tie-ins in the pack and on the tarp, emergency whistle built into the chest harness buckle, inside zippered access to the front pocket. If I had designed my own pack for a weekend at the crag, this pack would be twice as good as that. I guess that says it all.