CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lighter than other sport draws, good price point
Cons: Wiregates can snag on gear, bottom positioner is bulky
Manufacturer: CAMP USA
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS has two wiregate carabiners on a 16 mm wide sling. Among comparably priced affordable draws, they perform the best. These would make an excellent choice for newer climbers buying their first rack of draws who don't want to spend double what they have to, and while they are ideal for sport climbing, will also perform admirably on long multi-pitch routes or in the alpine. Their full-sized carabiners are far easier to clip than the tiny carabiners that come with most super lightweight options, considerably lighter than most mid-range draws. You can also buy them with dual keylock carabiners, or with a key locking carabiner on top and a wiregate on the bottom.
Ease of Clipping
The carabiners on this quickdraw are noticeably larger than the carabiners found on most lightweight wiregate quickdraws. This makes them far easier to clip, and much more suitable for use while sport climbing.
What we really loved is the super large gate opening, with a measured clearance of 27mm, the tops for any carabiners in this review. High gate clearance makes for easy clippability, and the rope easily drops through the slightly angled gates, falling into the deep basket with ease. While they weren't the absolute best for this purpose, there is nothing to complain about when clipping these draws.
Ease of Unclipping
The wiregate carabiners on this model have unprotected notches, which makes it more likely that they'll get caught up on any manner of things when unclipping, be it the bolt, rope, or your gear. Proper technique and experience can help mitigate that, but it's something to keep in mind for new climbers or those who climb on steep terrain.
That said, the exposed notches on these carabiners are designed in such a way that the notch is recessed into the nose. This means that while there is still an exposed hook, it was easier to quickly slide them off of a bolt with less of a chance of getting hung up than with some other wiregates.
These draws come in two different sling lengths — 11cm and 18cm. We tested the shorter 11cm length, which is standard for a sport draw (and the same size that the 6-pack comes in), and found that a single draw weighed 3.1 ounces. That puts it almost an ounce lighter than many of the sport climbing-specific draws in this review, but nearly an ounce heavier than the ultra-lightweight alpine draws.
This middle of the road weight does have some advantages for people who climb a variety of styles. If you want something that won't weigh you down when trad climbing, but is easier to grab than a thin 10 mm sling, this is a good option. At the same time, racking up with a whole harness of these draws for a sport climbing onsight attempt will not feel nearly as laborious as with a 4.0 ounce draw. Their happy medium weight makes these draws versatile, in much the same manner that the Petzl Ange Finesse are, but without the high price tag.
The carabiners on this draw are of average size and work well for most hands. They are quite a bit bigger than those found on lightweight draws, making them much easier to handle in all situations.
That said, we aren't big fans of the exterior positioner, which CAMP calls the "Karstop Evo" (hence the KS in the name). It's a combo exterior/interior piece of rubber that is sewn into the bottom of the dogbone. It eliminates any user error issues, but also makes it impossible to replace if it wears out or tears. It also doesn't protect the bottom sewn loop, which other exterior positioners do, and the whole rig is slightly on the bulky side. The positives with this design are that they allow for more movement of the carabiner while still keeping it oriented correctly when catching a fall.
Ease of Grabbing
The sling on the Orbit Wire is 16mm wide, which is nicer to grab than a thin 10mm sling, but nowhere near as good as the wide 25mm slings found on the highest performing draws for this metric.
This quickdraw presents solid value, and comes in a six-pack for a little bit of extra savings. It gives you considerable savings over some of the high-end sport-specific draws, without much loss in performance, especially if you prefer to clip wiregates on the bottom. We have noticed, however, that over time the gates on CAMP draws have a propensity to get stuck open, or at least sticky, which can sometimes be fixed with a solid cleaning and re-lubing with cam lube, but not always. If you toss your gear in the dirt a lot, don't expect these to last as long as many of the other draws we've reviewed, which may lower the overall value a bit.
There's a lot to like about the CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS: it's lightweight, affordable, and a good all-around draw for those who like to do a little bit of everything. While not a standout for us in any one application, this would be a good choice for a climbing generalist, and notable for its solid value.
— Cam McKenzie Ring