Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $103 - $138 | Compare prices at 8 resellers
Pros: Smooth hauling, durable, strong.
Cons: Expensive, need special biner.
Best Uses: Big wall climbing, aid climbing.
The Petzl Pro Traxion is one of the most convenient devices for hauling medium to large big wall loads. It is strong and durable and has the benefit of not needing to be taken off the anchor to be used.
If you are not on a budget and are going to haul more than 100 pounds and less than 200, get this hauling device. If you are just going to do some small walls and want a device that doubles as a toprope self-belay device, get the Petzl Micro Traxion. If you are on a tight budget and don't plan on hauling more than 190 pounds, get the Rock Exotica Waul Hauler. If you are hauling more than 200 pounds, use a big pulley with an ascender like the CMI RP 101 Pulley w/ Petzl Ascension.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The New Petzl Pro Traxion First Glance Review
The new version of the Petzl Pro Traxion just arrived and straight out of the box there were many "Ohh Ahh" moments. At first glance you will notice that the new Pro Traxion has a much improved lock and release mechanism to open the gold swing arm. The push button is now replaced by a large black plastic plate with a large yellow toggle trigger. The toggle trigger can be pushed upwards (which exposes a red tab below it, indicating it is unlocked and able to swing open). The device is also slightly shorter (~0.75") but slightly fatter and thicker.
My first thoughts about the durability of the plastic on the exterior is that it is the same material you find on the outside edge of the new GriGri 2, a device most are acquainted with. Never In my experience has that piece of plastic broken or been the cause of problems, so I have faith this piece on the Pro Traxion will be equally durable. The toggle trigger is the second thing I notice right away and one of the major changes between the old and new models.
The toggle trigger is a very nice update that greatly increased the ease of use. One major update with the new Pro Traxion is the addition of a slot that the axle will seat into when under load. This prevents the device from being able to open while weighted. Petzl reports that with the new Pro Traxion it is no longer mandatory to clip the bottom hole while hauling unless using the device on a moveable anchor where there is a risk of it rubbing against the rock or being damaged, or if the device is being installed out of sight. Remember, on the old Pro Traxion it is mandatory that you clip the bottom hole whenever loading the device.
In all, the toggle trigger is a much better design for opening and locking the device closed. The trigger makes the new device substantially easier to use.
In addition to the change in the locking mechanism, the new model features a much improved junction between the axle of the pulley and the gold swing arm. The pulley axle has a grooved post that seats into a long channel on the gold swing arm.
This prevents the gold swing arm from being able to be forced to bend open. This was an issue with the old model, if the bottom clip in hole was unclipped, in certain situations the rope could ride up the edge of the pulley and "jump" from the pulley, forcing the gate to bend open and the rope would then fall off the device.
The new model has an updated cam mechanism, cam-lock and release. The new design resembles a scaled up Micro-Traxion. The cam has a much smaller push tab on it so pushing the cam into the locked position is slightly more difficult. This creates some minor hassle when trying to disengage the cam to lower a bag just a few inches, then re-engaging and continuing with the haul (this is a trick I often use to bump a heavy haul bag past a small roof). Once the cam is locked open, the device now has a push button on the top that will release the cam causing it to spring back into the locked and engaged position.
In general the changes all seem like great upgrade from the previous model. The ease of use is increased with the toggle trigger style opening system, the size feels smaller despite the increase to its girth and it is 20 grams lighter. The new caming mechanism is safer and helps to prevent failure.
Another addition to the new model wall hauler is a small black plastic plate situated below the pulley. Petzl reports that this prevents improper loading of the device in an upside down position. It also helps to clarify at a glance where to load the rope without any confusion. Further use of the new Pro Traxion has shown that it is a superior device, the ease of use is much greater and the fact that it is 20 grams lighter is always a welcome treat!
This hauling device is very strong and dependable. We have never heard of anyone wearing down the cam teeth on this Petzl pulley. The fact that you can attach and detach the hauling rope without removing it from the anchor is handy. The operation of the pulley is great. 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 Ascender and you are good to go.
There are no major gripes with this climbing pulley but we have some minor ones. 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.
One safety issue with this device is you need to really be careful about properly attaching the device to the climbing rope, engaging the clamp, and clipping a biner through the bottom holes for safety. There was a fatal accident in Zion where the device was not properly engaged and led to events that caused a rope to break.
This is best suited for any wall that will take more than one night and your load is more than 100 pounds. While this can handle loads up to 560 pounds, above 200 pounds you should use a pulley that is 3 inches or bigger. If your load is less than 100 pounds, go with the Petzl Mini Traxion.
The Petzl Pro Traxion is really expensive compared to the Waul Hauler. If you are going to do a ton of walls, it is worth it. The good news is that the device is so durable that you could possibly resell it for a decent amount of money. However, keep in mind that many people feel you should not resell used climbing gear.
Petzl Micro Traxion
— Chris McNamara
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Most recent review: April 18, 2015
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