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C4 .5 or Mastercam equivalent?
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By Joel A
Oct 18, 2011
Hi, I'm going to build a rack, I'll be buying some C4s (.75-3) and I'm not sure if I should get the .5 with the order I'm placing, or hold off and get the Mastercam equivalent when I get smaller cams down the line.

Is either cam better overall at this size? Do they perform differently on different rock types at this size?

Thanks.

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By ParkerKempf
From atlanta, GA
Oct 18, 2011
sweet belay on El Cap Spire, Salathe Wall El Capitan
i have pretty extensive experience with both cams. i think the .5 camalot is a better choice. here are some reasons why

the mastercams tend to "mank" and not bend back easily if fallen on in weird positions (after well over 200 pitches of bigwall/aid my BD's are rock solid, and i have put 2 mastercams completely out of service and tweeked and tweeked back many more), if mastercams get wet they dry out and get crusty as junk and will not work and need to be lubed excessively (when caught on a wall in a storm all my mastercams were out of service the rest of the climb, but my BD's were good to go), also, the axle of a mastercam can pivot downward so when the cam is placed in a horizontal, you can end up with the bottom 2 lobes overcammed and the upper two tipped out (not super commmon, but alot of beginners do it, i've seen it 5 or 6 times)

my BD .5 has never had any of the above problems....period. it also has a wider expansion range than the mastercam. it goes smaller but gets just as big.

the only thing i can think of that gives mastercams a noticeable advantage is that the mastercam is narrower thus easier to fit in pinscars. i believe it also weighs a tiny bit less (couple of grams?).

haven't noticed any difference in rock type.used em both in soft desert sandstone and bullet-hard granite. they both hold fine. the BD is just a substantially better piece of equipment.

go with the BD

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Oct 18, 2011
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.
I'm a fan of the Master Cams from 00 all the way to 6. I have size 2 through 5. If I'm not mistaken, the #4 is the size closest to the .5 C4. This, IMHO, is where Master Cams begin to excel a little more over the Camalots. It could just be a perception thing, but when I'm placing a small cam, I like the bite of Master Cam, particularly the #1 and #2 over the .3 and .4 C4. I have no real evidence of them holding better; they just seem to inspire more confidence. It could be that the spring in the Master Cams seem a little more stiff than the Camalots in the same range. I've fallen on a #2 Master Cam once and have never fallen on a C4 smaller than a .75; so I'm a little biased I suppose. As far as different rock types, I haven't had that much experience. I've climbed on quartzite and the hard sandstone at NRG and both seemed to place solidly at both places. You may want to get some more in depth beta from people that have climbed on them in the softer venues out west. The .5 Camalot is a good, sturdy cam to be sure. You can't go wrong getting one. If I had it to do all over again, I might choose doubles (in the sizes that I have doubles in) to be both Master Cams instead of one Master and one Camalot. I just proofread this post and it offers not one shred of technical information that would influence anyone one way or the other lol. Go with your gut I guess.

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By DrApnea
From Wenatchee, WA
Oct 18, 2011
I have triples in both, 0.5 BD C4, (1st gen, 2nd gen, C4) purple, and metolius #3 orange (u stem, master cam x2) and carry them on a regular basis. I always, for some reason, go for any of the BD purple first well before thinking of the metolius in that size. I am not brand loyal, and anything smaller I will always go for the metolius first. 0.5 seems to be the tipping point, but at the purple BD size, my thoughts are they are close in range, but BD with a 2 axle design covers a little bit more. Besides, when you get to a crack that can fit both sized cam, why not go with the one with a larger (double axle) range since a crystal or other irregularity can alter the placement to make one not fit. Besides, at 0.5 and above, cracks generally will fit both with no problem anyway (unless you are stuffing it into a tight boxed out pin scar and mm count for width). My point which is not grounded in science but the thought is that likely either will work fine... But on a side note, I have a BD Ustem 0.5 or Metolius #3 for a good price if you want them.

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By Joel A
Oct 18, 2011
Parkerkempf - Thanks, good to know that the range of the .5 is bigger. Actually your feedback makes me rethink mastercams in general. What do you use for smaller cams?

muttonface - no worries, any impressions are useful, thanks.

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By Joel A
Oct 18, 2011
DrApnea - Cool, I'm feeling good about the C4. Maybe overthinking things, but at $50 apiece, I just didn't wanna make an unconsidered choice.

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By DrApnea
From Wenatchee, WA
Oct 18, 2011
revised my post as shown above.

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By DrApnea
From Wenatchee, WA
Oct 18, 2011
where are you living at. You can pick up used gear (solid but used) at a good price in most climbing towns. If you are around SLC you can borrow both sizes from me and buy the one you want after playing around with them.

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By Eric Hamer
From Tucson
Oct 18, 2011
Aint nothin like a chihuahua with a backpack. Someone's got to carry the beer
I realize that you did not ask about these but the .5 and .75 omega pacific link cams have come in handy for me. I have just started trad climbing and when you find a good place these cams are really bomber. They have a great range. That being said they are expensive pieces but do complement other pieces in the similiar range.

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By Joel A
Oct 18, 2011
DrApnea wrote:
where are you living at. You can pick up used gear (solid but used) at a good price in most climbing towns. If you are around SLC you can borrow both sizes from me and buy the one you want after playing around with them.



I'm in CT. Nearest climbing town is New Paltz, after that it's New Hampshire. I found a deal online where I can get 5 C4s new for $200 (after rebates). I just wasn't sure if the .5 was worth buying, or if I should just go with .75-3. But thanks for the offer!

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By Pete Spri
Oct 19, 2011
One set of metolius, one set of BD. Done.

Why double up on the same brand when you can get sets that cover different sizes? Hate to break it to you "BD only" crew but having just 2 sets of BD in the desert (not to mention other places) is worse than 1 set of BD and 1 set of metolius or WC. The advantage of two sets is that when one brand of cam is tipping out, the other sinks perfectly. Range is irrelevant and will not make up for it in this situation.

That being said, the flexibility of the Red Mastercam vastly outperforms .5 BD in shallow cracks. I'd go Red mastercam first, then .5 BD for your double. It's not that the .5 is bad... it's not, and you'll use it a lot if you get it, it's just that Red Mastercams down to 00 deal with more situations than the .5 will.

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By caughtinside
From Oakland CA
Oct 19, 2011
Spri wrote:
One set of metolius, one set of BD. Done. Why double up on the same brand when you can get sets that cover different sizes? Hate to break it to you "BD only" crew but having just 2 sets of BD in the desert (not to mention other places) is worse than 1 set of BD and 1 set of metolius or WC. The advantage of two sets is that when one brand of cam is tipping out, the other sinks perfectly. Range is irrelevant and will not make up for it in this situation. That being said, the flexibility of the Red Mastercam vastly outperforms .5 BD in shallow cracks. I'd go Red mastercam first, then .5 BD for your double. It's not that the .5 is bad... it's not, and you'll use it a lot if you get it, it's just that Red Mastercams down to 00 deal with more situations than the .5 will.


What a bunch of malarkey. If you're in the desert and you only have two sets of cams you're probably already screwed, doesn't matter what brands you've got. I'd say pick your brands in the small, medium and large sizes and stick to them. Other brands/sizes come in handy when you need lots of pieces, but those situations work themselves out.

And of course the best piece in that size in most situations is the Red Alien.

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By Pete Spri
Oct 19, 2011
caughtinside wrote:
If you're in the desert and you only have two sets of cams you're probably already screwed, doesn't matter what brands you've got.

Makes me wonder if you've done much climbing in the desert besides the creek.

To the point, which perhaps you missed, variety and choice wins out in my book.

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By coreylee
From Sacramento, CA
Oct 19, 2011
In this size BD makes the best cam on the market in my opinion. However, I have both BD and Mastercams on my rack. I like to use the Mastercams for aiding and horizontal cracks because they seem more flexible. Once again, my opinion. Have fun and good luck.

Also, if you are looking to go smaller at some point, which you should, check out totem cams. Never used them but love aliens!

totemcams.com/content/index.ph...

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By caughtinside
From Oakland CA
Oct 19, 2011
Spri wrote:
Makes me wonder if you've done much climbing in the desert besides the creek. To the point, which perhaps you missed, variety and choice wins out in my book.


Well, the desert is a big place...

My opinion is that if you're climbing cracks that aren't uniform enough to require a big rack your normal double set of the same brand is adequate. The crack is changing size, so you're going to see very few of those spots where the #2 friend shines and the green or red camalot kinda sucks. And if you do see one, the changing nature of the crack will allow you to use one of your camalots either a little above or a little below that #2 friend spot.

And if you've got your one and the other, how do you know which one to place and which to save? No benefit to it in my book. Do what you like and what works for you of course but I think the double set of the same stuff is easier to organize and also have partners easily recognize the sizes.

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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Oct 19, 2011
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012
the #3 mastercam and the .5 complement each other well, if it's slightly tight for the C4 the mastercam slots right in and vice versa. get both. sales make the hurt on the wallet less.

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By Joel A
Oct 19, 2011
I'll be getting my C4s pretty cheap through Moosejaw. 15% off, plus a $21 BD gift card with a $200 BD total purchase, plus Moosejaw reward points. So if I buy 4 C4s at 15% off for just over $200 bucks, I basically get the 5th cam for $10. It's like $220 for 5 cams, .5-3. Pretty good. (If you happen to be spending that much on BD products at once).

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By TheIceManCometh
From Albany, NY
Oct 19, 2011
Chiller Pillar, Adirondacks
Previously I climbed with a set of BD C4s (0.5 to 4) and a set of WC Tech Friends (1/2 through 3 1/2), and recently sold the Tech Friends and instead got doubles of the C4s for the following reasons:

a) The OCD part of me couldn't handle the different color schemes. I'd reach for the red biner and red sling cam and get the 0.5 Friend instead of the #1 C4.

b) I found I was reaching for the C4s more often (and didn't like how the Friends were much more likely to get tipped out).

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By ZANE
From Cleveland, OH
Oct 19, 2011
Can anyone verify the non-water resistant aspect of mastercams that parkerkempf pointed out? I have a 2 and 3 mastercam and I love them. I haven't climbed in a storm or rain with them yet though, and that really sketched me out.

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Oct 19, 2011
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.
bmanka wrote:
I'll be getting my C4s pretty cheap through Moosejaw. 15% off, plus a $21 BD gift card with a $200 BD total purchase, plus Moosejaw reward points. So if I buy 4 C4s at 15% off for just over $200 bucks, I basically get the 5th cam for $10. It's like $220 for 5 cams, .5-3. Pretty good. (If you happen to be spending that much on BD products at once).


Sounds like a fantastical deal to me. Now... if only I had the discipline to save that much money. You sir, are a bargain-finding Jedi.

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By ParkerKempf
From atlanta, GA
Oct 19, 2011
sweet belay on El Cap Spire, Salathe Wall El Capitan
I carry mainly bd, totem and alien for cams under 1" (.5 bd or smaller)

(I dont really like C3's for a slew of reasons. PM me if you are curious.)

Totem cams so far have outperformed everything else i carry. However mine have probably only seen 50 or so pitches so I can't speak fully for they're durability. But they so far have been way worth the price tag. I have a full set and they are super flexible but don't kink or bend when triggered (like bigger mastercams or old aliens) they are lightweight; fit and HOLD in awkward flared pods and pinscars, have almost the same range as a bd, and for some reason I don't know (lobe shape?) I have yet to get one stuck. They look bulky but after a fall or 2 they streamline on your harness.
As for super small cams aliens are really nice and TCU's are too (kinda funny I don't like the master yet advocate TCU's, but w/e)

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By Evan Sanders
From Westminster, CO
Oct 19, 2011
Flaming Pumpkin
Purple Totem cam in that size is the best you can get. Far better than C4s or mastercams.

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By coreylee
From Sacramento, CA
Oct 19, 2011
Recently i climbed the diamond, the route was dripping and it snowed. When I was on the route we used both bd and mastercams. During and after the climb i noticed no sticking on either of the cams, both were unaffected.

Once again, my personal experience.

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By Joel A
Oct 19, 2011
Evan Sanders wrote:
Purple Totem cam in that size is the best you can get. Far better than C4s or mastercams.


I am curious about Totems now. I'll be looking at them when it's time to add smaller cams.

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By Joel A
Oct 19, 2011
muttonface wrote:
Sounds like a fantastical deal to me. Now... if only I had the discipline to save that much money. You sir, are a bargain-finding Jedi.


Lol, thanks. Though surely there's a threshold beyond which time spent bargain-finding steadily negates the bargain...

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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Oct 20, 2011
muttonface wrote:
Sounds like a fantastical deal to me. Now... if only I had the discipline to save that much money. You sir, are a bargain-finding Jedi.


I am the same way. I am a cheap bastard, I never buy gear any more than 20% off. I just make enough to spend full price.
So my bragging experience...
One of the gear shops here locally just got bought out and moved up town so the new owner was selling the out the gear for less stuff to move later. so I picked up a No. 4 and 6 metelios master cam and No 4 TCU for 72 bucks for the three. So um that 40% off, yeah buddy!

Oh and to the OP

get what you like, I like to carry sized of each mteloius and BD cams. Bd work really well is some placements and forthe narrower I like metolius cams.... but its really personal pref IMHO

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