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Camp Matik Review

Ideal for safety conscious crag climbers and those after a more comfortable catch.
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Price:  $200 List | $149.91 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Gradual camming action, anti-panic lowering handle, easier for lefties
Cons:  Expensive! Heavy, not quite as smooth as a GriGri
Manufacturer:   Camp USA
By Andy Wellman & Jack Cramer  ⋅  Feb 21, 2020
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 17
  • Catch and Bite - 30% 9
  • Lowering and Rappelling - 30% 7
  • Feeding Slack - 20% 6
  • Weight and Bulk - 10% 3
  • Auto Block - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Matik is an active assisted braking device from Camp that costs double that of some similar devices. The Matik's friction surfaces are all made of cast stainless steel, and this contributes to our opinion that it's the most durable device out there. Also, unlike other mechanical-assisted locking models, it boasts a gradual camming action that produces a dynamic catch and can reportedly reduce impact forces by as much as 40%. The lowering mechanism also includes an anti-panic system that automatically stops the rope if the belayer pulls the handle too hard or loses control. We like the Matik most for inexperienced belayers or safety conscious craggers. Due to its weight and bulk, we think the Matik shines more for single pitch cragging and in the gym, and we would certainly hesitate to haul it along on longer mountain missions.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Camp Matik is a mechanical assisted locking belay device with an anti-panic feature on the lever. It's suitable for ropes in the 8.6 - 10.2 mm range. Like most active assist braking devices, it has its own unique method of usage, which requires learning and some practice before it is safe to belay with. In this case, the cam is held open by a trigger that you depress with your index (trigger) finger while pulling out slack. To get a full tutorial, check out this video.

Performance Comparison


A Camp Matik relaxing after a hard day's work.
A Camp Matik relaxing after a hard day's work.

Catch/Bite


For years one big concern about mechanical assisted braking devices was that the static arrest of the rope increased impact forces on climber, belayer, and gear. The Matik claims to solve this issue with a gradual camming action. In our tests, a couple more inches of rope passed through the Matik in a catch than with the other assisted braking devices. Theoretically, this should decrease impact forces, but we hesitate to say whether this will make a significant difference in real-world applications, as rope elongation and dynamic belaying techniques already go a long way to reducing impact forces in the case of a fall. How much the couple inches of slip through the device adds to these factors probably cannot be quantified. The Matik is approved for rope diameters from 8.6 to 10.2 mm, with Camp claiming 8.6 to 9.6 mm as ideal.

Rigging a Matik confused some of our GriGri minded testers. There's no side plate to release  just feed a bight through the fixed slot and loop it around the rotating cam. Clipping it all to a biner keeps the cam and rope from releasing.
Rigging a Matik confused some of our GriGri minded testers. There's no side plate to release, just feed a bight through the fixed slot and loop it around the rotating cam. Clipping it all to a biner keeps the cam and rope from releasing.

Lowering/Rappelling


The Matik has a lowering lever with an anti-panic mechanism designed to prevent belayers from lowering climbers too fast. If you pull the lever back too far, the cam locks and the lever must be released before you can begin lowering again. This does add some margin of safety by preventing injuries that can result when an inexperienced belayer pulls aggressively and drops their partner to the ground.

For our experienced testers, though, this feature created some frustration. To lower a climber efficiently, the lever must stay within a narrow range that differs depending on rope diameter, stiffness, and friction. Finding this sweet spot can be tricky at first, or in some high friction circumstances, completely impossible. In those cases, the cam can be depressed with your index finger to manually lower a climber. This creates its own panic problems and is painful on your finger. The sweet spot range on the Matik felt slightly narrower than we found with other active assist devices that also share this feature.

Feeding Slack


Rope feeds smoothly through the Matik at low speeds. To feed slack to a leader quickly, you have to depress a tab at the bottom of the cam, pistol grip-like, using your thumb and forefinger. The motion is not dramatically different from that required with a GriGri except the primary force is applied with the index finger rather than the thumb. The position of the tab allows it to be gripped left or right-handed which makes it easier for southpaws to learn. It's a little harder than the GriGri to feed a big pull quickly because there's more resistance through the device.

The Pistol-Grip Position: to feed slack with the Camp Matik you use your index finger and thumb to squeeze this black trigger on the bottom. Be sure to read the Camp Matik manual carefully to learn how to properly belay with it.
The Pistol-Grip Position: to feed slack with the Camp Matik you use your index finger and thumb to squeeze this black trigger on the bottom. Be sure to read the Camp Matik manual carefully to learn how to properly belay with it.

Weight/Bulk


The Matik weighs 9.7 ounces, making it the second heaviest belay device we tested. It's also the second-largest and is by no means what we would describe as small. The stiffest competition in active assisted braking devices is the Petzl GriGri, which weighs 38% less and is the same width but an inch shorter in length.

The Edelrid Eddy (black) and the Camp Matik (blue) both boast the largest number of safety features. The Matik is smaller and substantially lighter (9.7 vs 13.0 oz).
The Edelrid Eddy (black) and the Camp Matik (blue) both boast the largest number of safety features. The Matik is smaller and substantially lighter (9.7 vs 13.0 oz).

Auto-block (resistance belaying a second)


The Matik placed in the middle of the field for resistance when belaying a follower directly off an anchor. It's actual resistance numbers, though were closer to the lower end. By this, we mean the Matik could save you some energy compared to the tube style auto-block devices but will use slightly more than the other single strand assisted locking models.

A correctly rigged Camp Matik.
A correctly rigged Camp Matik.

Value


The biggest problem with the Matik is the price. This legitimate challenger costs twice as much as the GriGri. However, for the extra money, we believe you receive a product that is better made and will last longer, improving its value.

Conclusion


The Matik impressed us with its sturdy construction and combination of safety features. Its anti-panic lowering lever and gradual camming action are sure to prevent some real-world injuries, though these benefits do come with drawbacks. It weighs 9.7 ounces and is not quite as smooth as the GriGri. Also, we suspect the price tag will be a dealbreaker for many shoppers. Until that price comes down, the Matik is best suited for users whose sole concern is safety.

Video




Andy Wellman & Jack Cramer