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Petzl Mini Traxion Review

   

Hauling & Pulley Systems

  • Currently 4.7/5
Overall avg rating 4.7 of 5 based on 10 reviews. Most recent review: June 27, 2012
Street Price:   $85
Pros:  light, easy to use, convenient
Cons:  expensive, small diameter pulley
Best Uses:  big wall climbing, aid climbing, self belay on a toprope
User Rating:     
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 (4.6 of 5) based on 9 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (6/6) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Petzl
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ June 27, 2012  
Overview
The Petzl Mini Traxion, this is the best and lightest hauling device for hauling small loads after the Petzl Micro Traxion. The Micro Traxion is an improvement on the Mini Traxion as it is lighter, smaller and more efficient at hauling. It is a little more expensive but worth it.

Most of the review below is about how the Mini Traxion performs as a big waul hauler. To read about how it performs when solo toproping, read our article
The Best Progress Capture Pulley or Ascender for Solo Self Belay Toproping.

The Mini Traxion's invention created a self-belay revolution. When it first came out big wall climbers were psyched to get a hauling device in such a small package. But over time the device gained even more acceptance for self-belaying both on big walls and the crags.

If you want the best bang for your buck for hauling, get the Rock Exotica Waul Hauler. If you are going to do a lot of walls and have some cash, then get the Petzl Pro Traxion and this one.

View our complete Hauling Device Review to see how this product compared to others.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
This hauling device is small, compact, and durable. I have used it on a bunch of big walls and never managed to wear down the teeth in any noticeable way. This is the lightest big wall hauler we know of. Since I like all things light, I now use this for almost all my big wall ascents. One great thing about this device is you can haul with just one ascender (you don't need an extra one to catch the rope). I just attach one Petzl Ascension and you are good to go.

Non Big Wall Applications
This climbing pulley helped revolutionize Yosemite big wall free climbing. Free climbers used to beg and bribe their friends for tedious job of belaying for hours on end while they worked out the crux moves. The Mini Traxion let them go solo. Now, climbers will hike to the top of wall, rappel down, fix lines, and then work moves while on self-belay with a Mini Traxion. Only after they have the moves dialed will they come back with a belayer for the redpoint. This is how most hard big wall first free ascents and many repeats are now done.

In addition, this device is very handy at the crag. Can't find a partner? No problem, just fix a climbing rope from the top of the crag and self belay. It is true that self belaying is not new and there have been many devices out for years. But the Mini Traxion started a revolution because it is so lightweight, compact, simple, and easy to use. I have used this a lot when I just want to go get a quick workout at my local crag and don't want to track down a partner.

As mentioned in the intro to this review, we now prefer the Micro Traxion over the Mini Traxion.

Here is a SuperTopo Forum Thread about using the Mini Traxion

WARNING: Self-belaying is much different than belaying with a partner. There are many more things that can go wrong. So make sure you study the Petzl web site on how to use this device and also get expert instruction.

Dislikes
This device uses a very small diameter pulley: the smaller and lighter Micro Traxion has a bigger pulley. If your load is under 75 pounds, this device works great. However, if your load is over 75 pounds, you will wish you had a bigger pulley like that on the Pro Traxion or Waul Hauler. If you are just doing a few big walls, this device is expensive. Lastly, because of the big diameter clip in point, you need to make sure you have a special pear or oval-shaped locking carabiner like the Petzl Attache or Petzl OK.

Best Application
I bring this on any wall that that I'm on for two nights or less. If I am going to be on a wall any longer, I'll bring a device with a bigger pulley like the Rock Exotica Waul Hauler or Petzl Pro Traxion.

Value
At $85, this device is expensive. If you are going to use it a ton, then the price doesn't matter so much. However, if you are not sure how many walls you are going to climb or how much you will use it at the crag, you might want to try it out first.

Other Versions
The Petzl Pro Traxion is a bigger version of this pulley. The Micro Traxion is the smaller and better version of this pulley.

Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 27, 2012
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.6)

100% of 6 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
9 Total Ratings
5 star: 78%  (7)
4 star: 11%  (1)
3 star: 11%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 9 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Feb 10, 2010 - 02:12pm
Brian · Climber · California
The Minitraxion is a great piece of gear with multiple uses. It excels as a lightweight locking pulley for shorter walls, or wall on which you go light. However, as others have pointed out, it really shines as a toprope self-belay device. It is important to note that the Minitraxion comes with a notch that allows you to lock the device "open." This is quite useful when using the Minitraxion as a pulley, but potentially dangerous when using it as a self-belay. Like many others (not all) I've seen, I use two of these devices when self-belaying. I also recommend modifying one of the two devices by using a Dremmel tool to grind off the notch that locks the device open (keep one unmodified for use as a wall pulley). This modification is worth the piece of mind, as I've looked down at the top of a pitch and found my un-modified Minitraxion locked open, after I triple checked it before starting the pitch. Having one device that cannot lock open is worth it. I also recommend rigging the top of the two Minitraxions in such a way that it does not drag below the climber, which could result in a 'fall' onto the device. If you take a piece of shock cord and make a loop, you can then girth hitch the cord through the hole in the Minitraxion and wear it over your shoulder bandoleer style. The tension of the shock cord pulls the Minitraxion up, so that when you fall it is already engaged and the 'fall' is more like sitting down when on a relatively tight TR, rather than a short fall onto the (toothed) device. I think this is another useful 'mod' because the Minitraxion can theoretically shred the sheath of your rope at relatively low forces.

Regarding other comments, I never have to use two hands to manage the device(s) I set them on the rope and forget about it. It helps to have the lower end tied off to a belay (if you are, for example, working a pitch up on a wall) or lightly weighted (if you are climbing off the ground). However, this is not a two had mandatory device like TRing with a GriGri.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 15, 2010 - 12:30pm
harpo · Climber · South Lake Tahoe
I use two mini T's for self belay but have not used them enough to commet.

A couple of questions:

Dirka, can you go into more detail on using these to simul-climb? How do they compare to a Tibloc for that purpose? Can you refer me to a thread or other reference about that?

Brian, can you describe in more detail the notch you grind off to keep it from locking open?

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Feb 23, 2010 - 09:45am
 
HMS · Climber
In addition to the last review:

Please be aware the device might unlock by accident. Always use a backup. Accidental unlocking by pulling/pushing the red 'trigger' into the notch might have led to a lethal accident recently (exact cause of unlocking needs to be confirmed).
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   Jan 18, 2010 - 09:40am
Bullarolas · Climber · Barcelona
Been using. Small and light, but not manageable with only one hand.
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   Jan 17, 2010 - 11:54am
Rankin · Climber · Greensboro, North Carolina
I used a thread here on the Taco to refine my Mini Traxion set-up, which really has made it a pleasure to use. I have experienced zero rope wear from falling and almost never use a backup. If you are using a thicker rope on overhanging terrain it doesn't feed as well. I'd be curious to compare the Mini Traxion to the Microcender, which I've never used.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 28, 2009 - 04:10pm
Dirka · Climber · SF
Fun, easy, simul Sierra Climbing.- Like a charm.
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   Nov 28, 2009 - 12:20am
jfailing · Climber · Lone Pine
Been using this for top-rope solo for a few months now. It's great! Of course there are a few things to keep in mind when using it for this. They're probably all mentioned in that thread, but here is what I've found:

It works the best if you're climbing a straight line - a little sketchy if your climb zigzags all over the place or if there is potential for a big pendulum. Also, it can be a little weird on overhanging routes - it doesn't feed as normally as it would on vertical or slab. Last, it kinda seems possible for the red tab to get pushed somehow and disengage the cam… I'm not sure if there are any documented cases of this, but it's kind of a freaky thought.

I've used it for hauling only once, it was about a 50-60 pound load. The mini trax worked great - like buttah!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 27, 2009 - 08:15pm
locker · Climber · CO


Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 27, 2009 - 03:19am
karodrinker · Climber · San Jose, CA
Just recently started self belaying. Such a cool experience. The device works great on walls too if loads are light. Good buy.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Petzl Mini Traxion
Credit: Petzl.com
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