The CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS is a good all-around quickdraw that came close to winning our Best Buy award. It's reasonably priced and lightweight, and comes in a six-pack for additional savings. Updated in 2017, we're starting to see a lot of these out at the crag on new climbers' harnesses. Ultimately, we preferred the Black Diamond FreeWire for our Best Buy award, thanks to an easier to grab sling and better handling. For even more savings, our Best Buy Lightweight, the Cypher Firefly II, retails for only $11.50!
CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS Review
Cons: Wiregates can snag on gear, bottom positioner is bulky
Manufacturer: CAMP USA
#9 of 13
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS has two wiregate carabiners on a 16 mm sling. It is also available with dual keylock carabiners, and with a keylock carabiner on top and a wiregate on the bottom.
Ease of Clipping
The carabiners on this quickdraw did not stand out in any way when it came to clipping. We typically noticed when something was difficult to clip, and when it was particularly easy, but most models fell in the middle — there's only so much variation to gate tension and design after all. However, when making a reachy clip into a bolt, the top carabiner was a little floppy in its sling which made it a little more challenging to clip (you definitely want some play in the top carabiner, but not too much either).
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. If you like wiregates but hate notches, check out the Diamond LiveWire, which has a special "hood" around the notch to prevent snagging.
The size we tested weighs 3.1 ounces. That puts it almost an ounce lighter than many of the sport climbing-specific draws in this review, but 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. If you're looking to go as light as possible, check out our Top Pick for Lightweight, the Black Diamond Oz, which weighs only 2.2 ounces.
Ease of Handling
The carabiners on this draw are a decent size and work well for most hands, however, we weren'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. That eliminates any user error issues, but also makes it impossible to replace if it wears out or tears. It also doesn't really protect the bottom sewn loop, which other exterior positioners do, and the whole thing is on the bulky side.
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 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, go with the FreeWire instead.
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.
This quickdraw retails for $14 per, and come in a six-pack for $75. It gives you considerable savings over some of the high-end sport-specific draws but doesn't perform quite as well as them either.
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.
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Most recent review: April 19, 2018
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