Hands-on Gear Review

Petzl Micro Traxion Review

Petzl's New Micro Traxion
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $110 List | $78.75 at Amazon
Pros:  Lightweight, small, smooth.
Cons:  Expensive.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Petzl

Our Verdict

The Micro Traxion is Petzl's smaller, sleeker, sexier Mini Traxion. As with the Petzl Mini Traxion, the Micro Traxion is designed to be a progress capture pulley for hauling on big walls, rescue applications, and any other scenario where a progress capture pulley could be useful. The biggest changes from the Mini Traxion are that they boosted the efficiency of the pulley from 71 percent to 91 percent by introducing a sealed bearing, reduced the weight/bulk by 50 percent, and the rope clamp can be locked in the open position with the simple press of a button. Though we didn't test this, it is also touted to work on icy and muddy ropes, where the Mini Traxion can't.

Petzl's Micro Traxion has essentially all of the great features of the Mini Traxion, at half the size/weight. The jury is still out as to how the Micro will hold up over time as we haven't had enough time to put it to the test fully, but we are initially impressed with its overall form and function; pretty slick little device.

To see how the Mini Traxion compared against other solo top rope self-belay devices, see our article The Best Progress Capture Pulley or Ascender for Solo Self Belay Toproping.

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Robert Beno and Chris McNamara

Last Updated:
June 23, 2012


Self-belay Solo Climbing

WARNING: Petzl has released this Self Belay Solo Climbing Introduction in which they give a lot of warnings on how to properly use their devices when self-belaying.
Comparing the pulleys on the Petzl Mini Traxion (left) and Micro Traxion (right). The Mini pulley has more volume but the Micro actually has the bigger sheave and is a much more efficient pulley.
Comparing the pulleys on the Petzl Mini Traxion (left) and Micro Traxion (right). The Mini pulley has more volume but the Micro actually has the bigger sheave and is a much more efficient pulley.
We ordered a Mini Traxion from a local gear shop and they accidentally sent us a Micro. I can't say I'm disappointed. In a solo top rope setup rig, the Micro is pretty darn cool. The rope feeds through it very smoothly and we never had any trouble with the device failing. It is extremely small and manageable, straightforward to set up, and the button that locks the rope clamp in place makes it super easy to change into "rappel mode." We found that we didn't even have to remove the Micro from the rope. Just clip into your anchor, lock the rope clamp in the open position, set up your rappel device above the Micro, and rappel. The Micro will slide down the rope easy as pie, and you'll be on your next lap in a matter of moments. First session with this little guy I was able to get in about 20 routes (40-50ft) in a four-hour session.

We initially had some trepidation about the ease with which the clamp can be locked in the open position (we thought that the simple button would allow for the clamp to be inadvertently locked open, creating all kinds of dangerous scenarios from free falling haul bags to free falling solo top-ropers). But after spending some time with the device we think that it would be very difficult to get the clamp in the lock position without meaning to. In order for the clamp to be locked open, you have to depress the button and lift the clamp into the locking position, then release the button. A mistaken locked-open clamp never happened to us, and we can't think of any way that it could. What we did find out about the button is that it is way, way easier to use than the lever, push, tweak action you have to bust out on the Mini Traxion.

One drawback is (as with the Mini Traxion), once the Micro is weighted, there's essentially no hope of loosening the clamp. If you get stuck hanging on the Micro half-way up, you better have a way of escaping the device. Another downside is the price tag: at $95 the Micro Traxion's weight savings will cost you $10 more than the similar, though slightly heftier, Mini Traxion.

Hauling on a Big Wall

The Micro Traxion is our new favorite hauling device. It used to be a hard call between the Mini Traxion and Pro Traxion with a 80-150 pound load. But now we would definitely go with the Micro Traxion. Since we rarely climb with loads more than 150 lb (and encourage you to do the same), the Micro Traxion is what we use 90 percent of the time on a big wall.
Robert Beno and Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: February 4, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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Average Customer Rating:   
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100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 67%  (2)
4 star: 33%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 4 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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Feb 4, 2013 - 12:16pm
Rhodo-Router · Climber · the secret topout on the Chockstone Chimney
Yeah, me too! Send one along posthaste. Better yet, send two!

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   Feb 4, 2013 - 11:29am
Bones · Climber · Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hello for the past six months than in the rescue NGOs which use the Micro Traxion belong. Mainly as a personal equipment, I mean that if by chance one should separate the group has the tools to make a minimal rescue, or at least anchored with the victim until they reach your classmates.
We used to rescue the Petzl Pro Traxion, and as I said before is more for personal use or as a backup to the recommend Pro Both teams are efficient, reliable, lightweight and comfortable to carry.
In Argentina we are few groups that use it, but I've tested in the field and trust my life to him.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

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   Jun 29, 2012 - 02:25am
Hummerchine · Climber · East Wenatchee, WA
I have been using TWO Micro Traxions for solo-toproping since early spring, replacing my TWO Mini Traxions used previously. They are certainly much smaller and lighter, super trick in fact. My first thought using them was I wasn't sure, they don't seem to glide quite as smooth on the rope…simply because they are so small, the side plates rub a tiny bit. It's a very minor difference, seems as though they would slide best on a small diameter rope…if anyone were to trust that. But then I discovered a big advantage when I am trying something really hard and am falling/hanging a lot. The Mini's tend to get sort of stuck to the rope if I fall, and when I begin climbing again don't want to release. I can whack one with my hand and they release just fine, but if I am trying moves at or beyond my limit that is not exactly practical. The Micros release just fine, which seems like an advantage to me. I am considering using a primary Micro backed up with a Mini. I have also used a two rope system, which seems safer still.

I do not recommend anyone solo-toprope, just wanted to give my personal opinion of this device. Petzl has some excellent information and advice on their website, do a search on it for "solo belay". They point out the hazards of using one device and the hazards of using one rope, along with many other potential issues. I repeat, I do not recommend any of this…solo-climbing of any type is extremely dangerous (as in you could get severely injured or die…people have). If you chose to take these risks, please seriously consider the risks, study the information on Petzl's site, get expert instruction, and decide for yourself if you are willing to partake in something so dangerous. My opinion is just that; I am merely stating what I have found and am doing, this does not mean anyone should be following in my footsteps.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Apr 11, 2012 - 09:46pm
"Pass the Pitons" Pete · Climber · Ontario, Canada, eh?
"We" have tried it? WHO is "We"?! Why don't you give it to someone who actually climbs big walls and hauls stuff? [HINT]

The Petzl Pro-Traxion has always been, and continues to be, a colossal piece of junk. It is absolutely unsuitable for hauling large loads. It has failed on me, and I have met knott one but two parties at the base of El Cap who bailed because their P.O.S. Pro-Trax failed on them. Total crap it is.

The Mini-Trax, au contraire, is not a bad piece of gear. Its drawback has been its inefficient pulley.

The Micro-Trax appears to have solved this problem, with an apparent whopping increase in the efficiency of the pulley.

For moderate loads, as mentioned above, it may well do the job. However I remain skeptical that such a tiny pulley can compare to the Wall Rats' Hauling Device of Choice - the Kong Block-Roll. Ask me if you need one.

I would like to try this Micro-Trax. Please send one my way.


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