Used & Abused Review: DMM DRAGAN CAMS

By Australian Geographic Adventure 9 June 2011
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USED BY: Regular Australian Geographic Adventure contributor Rich Crowder

WITH DOZENS OF CAMMING units on the market for rockclimbing, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. To many new climbers a cam is a cam. They all do the same thing: catch falls and save lives. The DMM Dragon cams are new on the market and if you are a budding trad climber they are worth a look.

The Dragon cam is a double-axle design that seems to address many of the previous complaints of other dual axles: the perfect 13.75° camming angle, weight, stem twisting and the lack of an extendable sling. The most clever innovation is the anodised aluminum thumb grip. I was a skeptic at first because of my experience with other mono-point thumb-grip designs but the Dragon’s is quite large, cupped and easy to use. I often found myself placing the protection with the thumb grip against my palm which was very comfortable and natural.

This original thumb-grip design allows for my second-favourite feature, the 8mm dyneema sling. The sling is able to extend out to 25cm, which allowed me to reduce the number of quickdraws I carried. However, I did find two minor drawbacks. When pulling the double-loop sling out to extend, the section with the bar-tack stitching occasionally got stuck if the wrong strand was pulled. Secondly, because of the multiple strands, it made it difficult when racking multiple Dragons on a single carabiner.

The double-axle design is not a new invention, but DMM took advantage when the patent expired and one upped the competition with the addition of using hot-forged lobes, to make the cams super strong but also very light. The Dragons felt small and that is always positive when hauling up a cumbersome rack on a crux pitch. As a lightweight camming unit with a relatively large range and great holding power, they’re a great cornerstone for any climber’s collection.

Priced from $149.95 and you can find them here