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Mammut Smart Belay Device Review

   

Belay Device

  • Currently 3.6/5
Overall avg rating 3.6 of 5 based on 5 reviews. Most recent review: June 4, 2014
Street Price:   Varies from $21 - $43 | Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  great value, lightweight, compact
Cons:  lowering and lead belaying not the smoothest
Best Uses:  Gym, Cragging
User Rating:     
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 (4.5 of 5) based on 4 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (4/4) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Mammut
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ February 16, 2010  
Overview
The Mammut Smart is the lightest and lowest price auto-locking belay device on the market. It is also recommended by the manufacturer for use with cords smaller than those for a GriGri or Cinch (see more about that below). It is low profile, has a simple design and worked especially well for toproping. We also liked it for belaying the leader, but many testers would repeatedly short-rope us during clips.

The Smart is a great value for an auto-locking belay device. The $30 price is less than one-third the cost of a Petzl GriGri and half the cost of the Trango Cinch. Its also one-fifth the weight of those two devices. The Smart takes some getting used to and we found many people had a hard time feeding rope fast to a leader. However, once we got the hang of it, it worked fine on ropes down to 8.9mm and up to 10.5mm a range the Trango Cinch and Petzl GriGri are officially not recommended for. Like any device, the Smart can be mastered for smooth belaying/rappelling, but it takes more work to get used to than other products reviewed. The Cinch and GriGri still handle better. But the Smart is a great value option and we loved the lightweight package.

Check out our complete belay device review to see how this compared to others.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
The Mammut Smart is very light, very compact and a real value. For a day at the gym or crags, this device is a great, auto-locking belay device alternative to the standard belay device such as the Black Diamond ATC XP, which does not lock up. It is the same weight as most manual belay devices, meaning that you hardly notice it on the side of your harness.

Dislikes
The Smart took some getting used to. It has a tendency to lock up when throwing rope out fast to a leader. It was also one of our least favorite devices to lower with. For everyday lead belaying and lowering it works, but not nearly as smoothly as most other devices. Additionally, it does not work as an auto-block device, which the Cinch or GriGri do.

This device is recommended by its maker for much skinier ropes than the GriGri or Cinch. However, we found that the GriGri and Cinch actually locked up better on really a skinny rope than the Smart. So it just goes to show you that the "manufacturer-recommended rope diameter" only means so much. Read our the GriGri and Cinch reviews for a more detailed discussion on manufacturer recommended rope diameters.

Best Application
Belaying in the gym? Hitting the crags for a day of leading and TRing? Looking for a great auto-locking device but dont want to spend the extra cash for a Trango Cinch of Petzl Gri Gri? The Smart is a great low-cost alternative to other auto-locking devices and works on ropes from 8.9mm to 10.5mm.

Personal Stories
We took the Smart cragging in The Valley. It worked especially great for TRing. It would auto-lock off with ease, so we didnt get as worn out controlling the rope. When we handed the device to a friend to belay us, often we were short roped. It was not intuitive at first.

Chris Mac is curious to see how this works for short-fixing on big wall speed ascents. He is used to not bringing a GriGri or Cinch because they are too heavy to lead with. But the Smart is so light that it might be worth leading with and then self-belaying with while short fixing (not sure if the manufacturer recommends this).

Value
A price of $30 for the Smart auto-locking device is a great deal. It is far less than the Petzl GriGri and Trango Cinch. It is not as versatile as the previously mentioned devices, but is great for the climber on a budget.

Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 4, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.5)

100% of 4 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 33%  (1)
4 star: 33%  (1)
3 star: 33%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 4 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Jun 4, 2014 - 05:48am
Pesho · Climber · Bulgaria
I dont know why the product gets so many mixed reviews..This is a true 5 star product! I've never come across a device which makes it so easy to give rope while also offering autoblock! Takes a while to get used to lowering ppl but it is the same with a grigri. the Smart is super light, no moving parts, very trustworthy. Super safe product. I dont see myself switching to a different one any time soon.

No other device can match the smart for indoors and outdoors single pitch toprope and lead belay.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Mar 17, 2011 - 03:06pm
 
motta.rr · Climber · Rio de Janeiro
I just would like to add that the mammut has made an alpine version of the smart belay device that works prety much like de reverso but with the assisted break.
I would like to se a review of this device. Because I haven't purchased it yet and would like to know supertopo opnion.
Rodrigo Motta
climber from Rio de Janeiro

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 3, 2010 - 03:11pm
RobA · Climber · Alta, UT
Ive used this a hand full of times for real outside belaying and its ok at best. I short roped my leader a few times but lowering is very smooth. It locked up pretty good with a 9.4 metolius rope and my partner had no problem catching me when with that one time i fell aiding…

but this thing really shines in the gym. ive belayed 100's of time with it in the gym when i belay for parties and stuff. it is very smooth to take in and lower. its very useful when someone is working their way up a climb and i've had no problem holding anyone while they are shaking out.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Jan 4, 2010 - 10:38am
 
Dave Furman · Climber · Vermont
Full disclosure--I work for Mammut. The below is an email I sent to Supertopo when I saw the review, which I believe is somewhat misleading in its treatment of the Smart belay device. I use a Smart myself, and I do recommend it to friends--one of the faults that the testers found with the device was that after locking, a very thin rope will "creep" out of the device slowly. This is actually an intentional part of the design of the device--it may not be a feature that everyone is familiar with, but I think it's important for people to be aware that this feature has a function that we believe is important and beneficial for many climbers.

Hello Supertopo folks,
Just got this, the reviews look great—thanks very much for including Mammut products.
I do have one point to make about one of our products featured in the review however, the Mammut Smart belay device. I felt the point was important enough to be worth sending you a note, please let me know if you have any questions.

One of the main differences between the Smart belay device and others is with skinny ropes, which really were the design focus of this device. Although the function is a bit more familiar to most people with larger diameter ropes that provide a more positive braking feel it is with really thin cords that the real benefits come out. This device is INTENDED to slip with skinny ropes—it will lock after a bit of slip (and then slowly creep with really thin ropes), but this is in order to assist in providing both a predictable and easily controllable stop with a very thin rope that is not dependant on how new or slippery the rope is, but also providing a high degree of dynamism in the belay system in order to minimize the impact felt by climber, belayer and rope—the thin ropes that are in vogue simply last longer with a dynamic belay that cannot be easily achieved with any of the autolocking devices. Since this device is intended to slip some, and also because the positive lockup is dependant on the free movement of the device, we would prefer that this not be lumped in with autolocking devices such as the Gri-gri and Cinch—it really is in a different class somewhere between manual belay devices and the autolocking devices…I've been calling it a semi-autolocking device, or an "assisted" belay device.

Thanks for a great review, and if we can help with any future product reviews please don't hesitate to contact me.
Dave



Dave Furman

Hardgoods Category Manager

Mammut Sports Group, USA and Canada

135 Northside Dr.

Shelburne, VT 05482

USA

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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The Smart is the lightest weight auto-locking belay device tested.
Credit: Mammut website
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