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Hands-on Gear Review
Rock Exotica Waul Hauler Review
Cons: durability, cam retraction, load restricitons
Chris McNamara says he has hauled more loads with this than any other device and has always been happy with it. It is lightweight (for its pulley size), compact, and costs $80 less than its main competitor, the Petzl Pro Traxion. When this device first came out over a decade ago it revolutionized hauling. Suddenly you didn't need to spend time setting up a system with a pulley, extra ascender, and extra weight. Even better, this device freed up another ascender, which meant you could easily use the "space haul" method. It made such a big impact on the market that we have to be careful not to call all big big wall hauling devices "waul haulers"(Just like most of us ask for a Kleenex when we are supposed to say "facial tissue"). A decade ago this was unquestionably the best hauling device. Today it has stiff competition from the Petzl Pro Traxion and Petzl Mini Traxion.
For most big wall applications it is hard to beat this device for the money. If you are going to climb a ton of walls, are not on a budget, and want the sleekest device, get Pro Traxion. If you are just going to do some short walls and want a device that also doubles as a toprope self-belay device, get the Mini Traxion. But if you have a budget and want an all-around good hauling device, get the Waul Hauler.
RELATED: Our complete review of hauling & pulley systems
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
What is nice about this device is how simple it is. There is never any question as to what side to orient the rope (as compared to the Mini Traxion and Pro Traxion that are less intuitive at first). It also has a nice-sized pulley that provides an efficient hauling for most loads you will encounter on a big wall. It is lighter than the Pro Traxion by about 30 grams. One great thing about Rock Exotica is their warranty. They are a small company based in the Utah and you can call them up and actually talk to the people who make the products. When we called and asked about their warranty, they said there was no official warranty period and they had repaired products as much as 10 years old. So that gives you confidence when buying from them.
After 15-plus walls, the teeth on the clamp start to wear down. At that point, if you are hauling large (more than 100 pounds) the load will start slipping back a little. Then gradually over time it will slip a lot. Rock Exotica gave us an over-the-phone quote of $15 to replace the cam. The Waul Hauler says the max load you can use is 190 pounds whereas you can use up to 560 pounds with the Pro Traxion. This is not an issue for most wall climbers because they won't be climbing 15-plus walls and won't be hauling more than 190 pounds. But if you climb a ton of walls and take really heavy loads, you might want a more durable option such as the Pro Traxion. Also, while the way that you take the cam on and off the rope is more intuitive than with the Pro Traxion, it is also a little harder to operate with your fingers the keeper cable for the pin makes operation less smooth).
One dislike is the fact that this item is hard to find. Few retailers carry it. But you can buy it directly from Rock Exotica.
This has a medium-sized pulley that is optimal for loads in the 75-150 lb. range, which is what most big wall climbers deal with. It is ideal for walls such as the Zodiac, Nose, or any other climb that takes 2-4 nights.
You can't beat the value of this device. It costs $80 less than its main competition, the Petzl Pro Traxion. According to Rock Exotica this price won't last forever. When they run out of parts for the current model they will probably update the device and up the price.
— Chris McNamara
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Most recent review: April 22, 2010
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