Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $17
Pros: Light, compact, inexpensive, smooth handling.
Cons: No major ones.
Best Uses: Single to multipitch cragging, alpine, ice, intro to climbing.
Manufacturer: Wild Country
Wild Country packs more features into the VC Pro 2 for $17 than competitors give you in their base model manual belay device. The VC Pro 2 is a great, compact, belay/rappel device and earns the medal as our Best Buy. If if you are looking for a device with more lowering control with thin ropes, consider the ATC XP or if you want a device with more friction when rappelling, consider the BRD. But if you are looking to get the most competitively-priced, durable/versatile manual belay device on the market, the VC Pro 2 is it.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The VC Pro 2 is one of the most affordable manual devices tested and it still scores highly. It is light, compact, and provides excellent friction with its friction grooves. A standout feature of the VC Pro 2, in addition to its slim price tag, is the generous width of the tube stock used. This means that rap after rap this device stands up to more abuse without getting sharp edges than do other devices.
The VC Pro 2 packs in friction groove features at a great price. Its thick tube stock enables more rappel mileage. It handles much like the Black Diamond ATC XP but is lighter and more compact. It was in a close match with the ATC XP for being the best manual locking device for lead belaying.
There are no major gripes. Other devices might be better in particular applications. For example, the BRD was better for rappelling and lowering and the Black Diamond ATC XP was slightly preferred for lead belaying. But the differences were subtle.
Also, the VC Pro's teeth eventually wear out, not quite as fast as the Verso or Petzl Reverso 3, but we noticed them wearing down after a few months. This is not a huge issue, but it means that if you rappel and lower a ton you will notice wear fairly quickly and have to decide if you are okay or want to replace it.
This is an all-around device that all climbers need whether they are just starting to climb or are experts. Even if you generally prefer an auto-locking device like the Cinch or Petzl GriGri, you will need a device like this for rappelling with two ropes.
Chris Van Leuven says, "I took the VC PRO 2 up and down multi-pitch slabs in Yosemite. Pitches were long and each rappel was made with two 60-meter ropes. The VC Pro II never hung up when I was quickly throwing rope out to the leader. And, the VC Pro II had great friction control when rapping."
At $17 the VC Pro 2 is incredibly well priced. It is $2 to $13 less than comparative devices that we tested. If you buy it in a specially priced package with the Wild Country Synergy, it is probably the best value for a belay device/locking biner combo.
— Chris Van Leuven, Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: January 28, 2013
Credit: Wild Country website
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