First Look Gear Review

Fish Double Whammy Portaledge Review

   

Portaledge

  • Currently 3.8/5
Overall avg rating 3.8 of 5 based on 3 reviews. Most recent review: February 7, 2014
Street Price:   $829 (with fly)
User Rating:     
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 (5.0 of 5) based on 2 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (2/2) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Fish
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ February 7, 2014  
Overview
This is the lightest and least expensive portaledge on the market. It is also the longest selling portaledge, having made its debut on Yosemite's big walls in the mid 80s. The ledges are made to order by Russ Walling, an experienced Yosemite big wall climber. The ledge is smaller than both Metolius Bomb Shelter Double Portaledge and Black Diamond Cliff Cabana Double Portaledge and also much much lighter (half the weight of the BD). This is the only ledge light enough that we would consider hauling it on a lower angle, one to two-night route. There is a FAQ page about Fish ledges here and a video of taking apart the ledge here

This ledge is sold with a rain fly and comes with a very durable ledge bag made of 28oz haul bag fabric. When you add in the cost of the rainfly, the $829 price of the Fish double ledge is $120 less than the Black Diamond Cliff Cabana with a simple fly and $296 cheaper than the Metolius Bomb Shelter with its fly. However, we can't yet say how well the included Fish 5-season Fly compares to the Metolius/Mountain Hardwear and Black Diamond flys. We're hoping those of you who've had experience with the Fish and Metolius ledge/fly combinations will share with the rest of us.

We haven't tested it hands-on ourselves, so we are looking for OutdoorGearLab users to provide review commentary from actual big wall experience. Post up!


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Chris McNamara

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: February 7, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (5.0)

100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 67%  (2)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 33%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Feb 7, 2010 - 03:46pm
xtrmecat · Climber · Kalispell, Montanagonia
I have spent quite a few nights in this ledge, and cannot find an excuse not to take it along on even the smaller overnight walls. It is a breeze to set up, needs no spreader bar to dig into you back, and also never needs the tension adjusted to sleep tight. I found it to be comfortable enough over a natural ledge to sleep on, I bring it on even the longest of approaches. I am not a spring chicken anymore, and a good nights rest is important to me.

Upon arival, the fly needed the seams sealed to finish, and only once to dry assemble on the ground showed me all I would need to assemble in part or as a whole, in the dark, in all conditions by the very worst. I also do most of my wallin in winter so the fly is not just a nicety, but absolutey essential. I trust the workmanship enough that although untried, I have confidence in the materials and workmanship to weather out a storm, and could feel good making a decision to do that. It is BOMBER.

Also not too many moons ago, I was weighing in at a dainty 270, and with the double whammy without the center divider deployed, was very comfy as a super single on a couple solo walls. It has lots of daisys on the support stucture to stow a ton of gear, and adjusts in a flash when totally worn the heck out at the end of a big day, as the sliders are positive and hold well. I always worried about the ledge being able to support me without the center divider up, and no spreader bar, but sag is minimal to non existant, and now I am considerably lighter and it is smooth sailing when single out now, not that it ever was more than a paranoid thought on my part.

I did spend a night or two with a little bitty partner on the other half, and although you know when he breathes or wiggles, it was a tighter night but very doable. I am not the least bit sorry for the purchase, and am proud to own a product made by a climber, in the USA, of quality goods. I would have paid more glady, but did not need to to get what I consider the best ledge out there. I did look around before the purchase, and read tons of opinions, and still think I made the right move.

If something happened to my ledge and I had to get another, price being no object, I would still opt for the cheapest, and best quality ledge out there. It would still be the double whammy, even though most of my climbing is solo. Did I mention it sets up and tears down very easily?

Bob

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Feb 11, 2010 - 11:05am
BriGuy · Climber · black hills
I bought a used DW about 3 years ago that was in great condition. After more than a dozen walls it has held up well and I'm actually pretty psyched about this ledge.

The bed fabric is quite durable and is in great condition for the amount of use on it. No problems with the stitching or sagging.

There has been some wear on the 6 adjusting straps near the buckles but this is expected. The top adjusting buckle is burly; if the straps start to slip (most likely they will), then you can push in on the teeth of the top buckle to get more bite into the nylon strap. The bottom adjusting buckle is plastic and kind of crappy, IMO. The bottom straps slip regularly and wrap tight around the plastic buckle, making it useless, so you just have to adjust tension from the top buckles most of the time, which really isn't that big of a deal either.

All the tubing is connected with shock cord. I just replaced mine with a slightly larger diameter cord. Also, there are 4 connectors on the corners; the wall side corners wear much faster, I moved these to the air side---I also rotated some of the bars thinking it may help with wear and tear down the road. I like the fact that I can replace/move parts of the ledge myself. I also like the fact that if needed, I can send something in for replacement or get new straps, bars, bedding fabric, etc. from Russ.

There are separate 3 sewn loops to connect to your clip in locking biner, as opposed to other ledges where all the straps are sewn into 1 main powerpoint. Being able to unclip the straps is helpful for untangling messes and I like this about the Fish ledge.

Being so light and compact, this makes for a nice solo rig and is extra roomy. On the downside, it's a little tight for 2. I'm 6', 160 lbs and 2 people of this size or similar work fine. If both people are over 200 lbs this ledge may be a little cramped and lightweight if spending multiple nights on the wall.

Setup/takedown has usually been quick and easy. However, connecting the last bar for setup and taking out the first bar for takedown can be difficult. The trick is twisting motions of the individual bars and frame to help secure connections.

The small diameter bars are convenient for flagging the ledge. I usually clip 3 larger lockers to the frame and to the haul rope, 2 on the ends and 1 in the middle.

I have used the fly several times during rain and it has worked fine, but I have not been in a big storm or high winds with it so I can not comment.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Fish Double Whammy Portaledge
Fish Double Whammy Portaledge
Credit: FishProducts.com
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