The CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS is an excellent all-around quickdraw that wins our Best Buy award due to its combination of reliable performance and low cost. It's reasonably priced and lightweight and comes in a six-pack for additional savings. We like it because the double large wiregate carabiners are easy to clip, the sling is relatively easy to grab, and the keeper allows the bottom carabiner to move a bit while also keeping it perfectly in line for optimized clipping and proper loading. Perhaps the best thing that can be said is it outperforms the competition when it comes to affordably priced draws, although it isn't the absolute most economical. For even more savings, our Best Buy for lightweight and alpine climbing is the Cypher Firefly II.
CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS Review
Cons: Wiregates can snag on gear, bottom positioner is bulky
Manufacturer: CAMP USA
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CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS
|Price||$13.95 at Amazon||$18.00 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Lighter than other sport draws, good price point||Snappy clipping action, wide sling is easy to grab, light for a sport quickdraw||Easy to clip, deep basket, cool "hood wire" around the notch for snag-free unclipping||Great clipping, wide sling for easy grabbing, keylocking gates don't snag||Easy to clip, durable construction, large size works well with gloves|
|Cons||Wiregates can snag on gear, bottom positioner is bulky||Expensive, still a little heavy for trad climbing||Heavy, expensive||Heavy, expensive||Heavy, dogbone is on the thin side and not easy to grab|
|Bottom Line||An inexpensive entry-level draw for all-around climbers.||The best overall draw for sport specific climbers.||A great quickdraw for sport climbers who prefer wiregates on the clipping end but don't want it to snag on anything.||A fantastic option for sport climbing.||A great all-around draw for those with large hands or who wear gloves.|
|Rating Categories||Orbit Wire Express KS||Petzl Spirit Express||LiveWire||DMM Alpha Sport Quickdraw||Petzl Djinn Axess|
|Ease Of Clipping (25%)|
|Ease Of Unclipping (25%)|
|Ease Of Handling (15%)|
|Ease Of Grabbing (15%)|
|Specs||Orbit Wire Express...||Petzl Spirit Express||LiveWire||DMM Alpha Sport...||Petzl Djinn Axess|
|Weight (ounces)||3.1 oz||3.2 oz||4 oz||3.9 oz||4 oz|
|Gate opening bottom carabiner (mm)||27 mm||25 mm||24 mm||25 mm||27 mm|
|Width of sling (mm)||16 mm||25 mm||27 mm||25 mm||16 mm|
|Manufacturer Warranty||3 year||3 year||1 year||1 year||3 year|
|Non-snagging Top Biner||no||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Non-snagging Bottom Biner||no||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Forging method||not disclosed||cold||hot||hot||cold|
|Unique features||double wiregate carabiners||Sling is wider at the bottom to facilitate grabbing, stiff sling||Large and ergonomic carabiners good for larger hands, hood over bottom wiregate to prevent snags||Dual keylock carabiners, wide sling||Large carabiners good for big hands or gloves, easy to clip|
|Available sling lengths||11 cm, 18 cm||12 cm, 17 cm||12 cm||12 cm, 18 cm, 25 cm||12 cm, 17 cm|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS has two wiregate carabiners on a 16 mm wide sling. They retail for a low $14 per draw, and among comparably priced affordable draws, 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, and they are considerably lighter, by almost half an ounce, than the similar Black Diamond FreeWire Quickdraws, which ultimately proved to be the main difference between the two. 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, such as the Black Diamond Oz Quickdraws, or the similarly priced Trango Phase 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. Only the Petzl Djinn Axess, which feature far larger carabiners, can claim to have the same high level of clearance. The rope easily drops through the slightly angled gates, and fall 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, rather than sticking out of the nose, like we found on the Metolius Inferno II Quickdraws. 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 other wiregates. If you like wiregates but hate notches, check out the Diamond LiveWire, which has a unique "hood" around the notch to prevent snagging.
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 such as the DMM Alpha Sport. 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.
Ease of Handling
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 one found on our Editors' Choice winner, the Petzl Spirit Express.
The very comparable Black Diamond FreeWire has a slightly wider 18 mm sling, so if you're debating between the two but want something that is slightly easier to grab, consider choosing the FreeWire instead, but know that they come with a not insignificant weight penalty.
The CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS is a great entry-level draw for those looking to save some money on their gear. It's also a good option for people that like to climb a variety of styles and are looking for an all-around option. We liked using this no-frills draw on sport climbs long and short, and think that it is one of the more versatile options you can buy.
This quickdraw retails for $14, and come in a six-pack for $75. It gives you considerable savings over some of the high-end sport-specific draws, which is why we awarded it our Best Buy award for the best value. While you shouldn't expect the performance of a top-end sport draw, you surely won't be disappointed with how much money you saved.
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 exceptional value.
— Cam McKenzie Ring