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Wild Country Technical Friend Review

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Price:  $75 List | $48.71 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Solid construction, Fairly Light
Cons:  Walks a bit, small range, Short Sling
Manufacturer:   Wild Country
By Robert Beno ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 3, 2011
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69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Flared cracks - 15% 6
  • Horizontal Cracks - 10% 6
  • Tight placements - 15% 6
  • Walking - 15% 7
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Aid Climbing - 5% 8
  • Free Climbing - 10% 6
  • compactness_lightweight - 15% 8

The Skinny

New Wild Country Friend Cam
The Technical Friend has been replaced by the new Double-Axle Friend Cam. It looks like a dramatic improvement over the outdated single-axle Technical Friend. The review below is for the old Friend.

Based on the original Friend, Wild Country's Technical Friends features solid construction and a classic design. These cams have been around forever and just work. We like the feel of these and the solidity of the units once in a good placement. Wild Country's Friends feel like a piece of equipment, not a toy, engendering a serious mindset in the climber and leading ultimately to safer more productive climbing. In addition to the solid construction of these units we found that these cams are among the lightest that we tested making them a good option for adventures where weight is a crucial aspect of your planning. All positives aside, we found that these cams only performed marginally in some of our tests and frankly, we are thankful for the re-vamp of design with Wild Country's new Helium Friends (review forthcoming). The Technical friends don't have a very good range making it mandatory to carry more pieces. Additionally the sling on these cams is the shortest of all that we tested making it impossible to eschew a long sling on all but the most straight up and down cracks. Overall, these cams are a solid little piece of equipment that will treat you well and get the job done, but we much prefer the increased range, and design features of Black Diamond Camalot. For an extendable sling check out DMM Dragon Cam.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Likes


Wild Country's Technical Friends are the classic SLCD and though are now replaced by the slick looking, completely redesigned Helium Friends, are still out there and are a decent option for your camming needs.

One thing that we really like about the Technical friend is that it just feels, and looks bomber. No gimmicks here, these units look and perform like a piece of equipment, not a toy. Once in a solid placement, these cams inspire you to push yourself with confidence above that last piece.

Though not the lightest that we tested, these cams won't be weighing you down. They are among the lighter cams on the market, and with the advent of the Helium Friends, there might be a new winner for lightest cam out there.

Dislikes


One of the biggest drawbacks we found with the Technical Friend is that its sling is really short: just under 4 inches. The units also have short stems making it virtually necessary to extend the placement in all but the most laser-cut, straight up and down cracks to prevent walking.

Owing to the short sling, these cams walk more than their competitors. We also found that the walking occasionally contributed to the cam getting stuck, or wedged into a strange placement making it difficult to clean.

Additionally, the range on these cams is among the lowest of all the cams that we tested making it necessary to carry more cams if you're building your rack completely of Friends. On that note, Wild Country has reduced the number of cams in its line-up with the Helium Friends (by increasing the range and the overlap of ranges between units) creating a lighter overall rack.

Best Application


Trad Climbing in routes that don't wander and have fairly straightforward placements. Sling long to avoid walking.

Other Versions


Wild Country New Friends
Wild Country New Friends
  • Cost — Not Yet Announced
  • A superbly redesigned member of the Wild Country cam family
  • Replaces 'Helium Friends' and 'Technical Friends'
  • Technical Friends in size 5 + 6 still available
  • Double axle design with thumb loop for easy placement


Robert Beno