Hands-on Gear Review

Camp Matik Review

Price:  $200 List | $129.97 at Backcountry
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
Bottom line:  Ideal for safety conscious crag climbers and those after a more comfortable catch.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Style:  active assisted braking
Recommended Rope Diameter:  8.6 mm - 10.2 mm
Weight (oz):  9.7 oz.
Manufacturer:   Camp USA

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Our Verdict

The Matik is a new assisted locking design from Camp whose greatest claim to fame so far seems to be its price, $200. That's awfully steep for a belay device and nearly ten times the cost of the Best Buy winning Black Diamond ATC XP. However, you're getting a pretty sophisticated piece of machinery. The Matik's friction surfaces are all made of cast stainless steel and this contributes to our opion that it's the most durable device out there. In addition, 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. Despite these innovative features, we still prefer the Petzl GriGri 2 because it's lighter (6.1 vs 9.7 oz), smaller, and handles smoother. The Matik deserves praise though and we recommend it to climbers focused on maximum safety.



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Our Analysis and Test Results


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Review by:
Jack Cramer

Last Updated:
Sunday
January 31, 2016

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The Camp Matik is a mechanical assisted locking belay device with an anti-panic feature on the lever.

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 mechancial 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 without a drop tower or a physics degree, we hesitate to say whether this will make a significant difference in real world applications. 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


Both the Matik and Edelrid Eddy include lowering levers with anti-panic mechanisms 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 safety by preventing the 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. In order 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 kinda painful on your finger. The sweet spot range on the Matik felt slightly narrower than the Eddy. However, with time our belayers were able to adjust to this range and lower their partners with a smoothness near that of a Petzl GriGri 2.

Feeding Slack


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.
Rope feeds smoothly through the Camp Matik at low speeds. In order 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 2 except the primary force is applied with the index finger rather than 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, however than the GriGri2 to feed a big pull quickly because there's more resistance through the device.

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.

Weight/Bulk


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).
The Matik weighs 9.7 ounces making it the second heaviest belay device tested. It's also the second largest, trailing only the Edelrid Eddy in both aspects. The stiffest competition in active assisted braking devices is the Petzl GriGri 2, which weighs 38% less and is the same width but an inch shorter in length.

Durability


One benefit of the Matik's heavy construction is durability. All the parts that come in contact with the rope are made from cast stainless steel that should hold up to friction much better than aluminum. Unlike the plastic lowering levers on other assisted braking options, the Matik's is entirely metal. With a belay device as new as this one it's hard to make any definite conclusions about durability. At this point it's been on the market for about a year and there aren't a ton of user reviews for our editors to analyze. Nevertheless, after six months of testing we're impressed and we believe it's likely to last longer than any of the other devices we tried.

Best Applications


We like the Matik most for inexperienced belayers or safety conscious craggers. The anti-panic mechanism on the lowering lever definitely helps prevent all-too-common injuries from getting lowered too quickly. Experienced climbers may appreciate the claimed reduced impact forces from a gradual camming action that lets a little rope slip through in a catch.

Value


The biggest problem with the Matik is price. At $200, this legitimate challenger to the GriGri costs twice as much. However, for the extra money we believe you receive a product that is better made and will last longer, improving its value.

Conclusion


The sun setting on central Oregon and our 2016 belay device review.
The sun setting on central Oregon and our 2016 belay device review.
The Camp 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 come with drawbacks. It's heavy, 9.7 oz, and not quite as smooth as the GriGri 2. In addition, we suspect the $200 price tag will be a deal breaker for many shoppers. Until that price comes down, the Matik is best suited for users whose sole concern is safety.

Video



Jack Cramer

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Most recent review: January 31, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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