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CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS Review

An inexpensive entry-level draw for all-around climbers
CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS
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Price:  $14 List | $13.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lighter than other sport draws, good price point
Cons:  Wiregates can snag on gear, bottom positioner is bulky
Manufacturer:   CAMP USA
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 19, 2018
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 14
  • Ease of Clipping - 25% 8
  • Ease of Unclipping - 25% 5
  • Portability - 20% 7
  • Handling - 15% 7
  • Ease of Grabbing - 15% 6

Our Verdict

The CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS is an excellent all-around quickdraw 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. It is a versatile choice that is great for newer climbers that want to save some money buying a whole set, or for those who climb a variety of styles and want a lightweight all around option.

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Pros Lighter than other sport draws, good price pointEasy to clip, durable construction, large size works well with glovesVisually pleasing, affordable, easy to unclip keylocking top binerLightweight, inexpensiveInexpensive
Cons Wiregates can snag on gear, bottom positioner is bulkyHeavy, dogbone is on the thin side and not easy to grabTight gate springs require slightly more effort than others to clip, 18mm sling adequate but not perfect for grabbingNotch in wiregate can snag, thin sling is hard to grabNarrow sling, exposed notch can snag on gear, wide profile
Bottom Line An inexpensive entry-level draw for all-around climbersA great all-around draw for those with large hands or who wear glovesA cool looking and functional quickdraw at a moderate price pointAn inexpensive and lightweight quickdraw that's a good option for trad climbers or those on a budgetIf you're buying everything all at once and need to save some $$, the price on these can't be beat
Rating Categories CAMP USA Orbit Wire... Petzl Djinn Axess Black Diamond HotFo... Cypher Firefly II Mad Rock Concorde
Ease Of Clipping (25%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Ease Of Unclipping (25%)
5.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
Portability (20%)
7.0
4.0
5.0
8.0
7.0
Handling (15%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
Ease Of Grabbing (15%)
6.0
6.0
7.0
4.0
3.0
Specs CAMP USA Orbit Wire... Petzl Djinn Axess Black Diamond HotFo... Cypher Firefly II Mad Rock Concorde
Weight (ounces) 3.1 oz 4 oz 3.5 oz 2.6 oz 3 oz
Gate opening bottom carabiner (mm) 27 mm 27 mm 27 mm 25 mm 25 mm
Width of sling (mm) 16 mm 16 mm 18 mm 10 mm 10 mm
Sling Material Polyester Polyester Polyester Dyneema Dyneema
Manufacturer Warranty 3 year 3 year 1 year At Cypher's discretion Limited lifetime warranty
Non-Snagging Top Biner No Yes Yes No No
Non-Snagging Bottom Biner No Yes No No No
Forging method Not disclosed Cold Hot Hot Warm
Unique features Double wiregate carabiners Large carabiners good for big hands or gloves, easy to clip Visual patterning designed to easily catch the eye while climbing Double wiregates with a rubber keeper on the lower biner Double bent wiregate biners
Available sling lengths 11 cm, 18 cm 12 cm, 17 cm 12 cm, 16 cm 11 cm, 16 cm 10 cm

Our Analysis and Test Results

New Colors
For 2020, Camp USA has updated the Orbit Wire Express KS with an all new color scheme, different than the ones shown in this review. As far as we can tell, the quickdraws themselves remain the same.

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.

Performance Comparison


The newly redesigned Orbit Wire Express is starting to turn up at...
The newly redesigned Orbit Wire Express is starting to turn up at crags near you. This draw is relatively lightweight and inexpensive, and a good option for those just getting into the sport.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

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.

The carabiners had decent clipping action and we didn't notice that...
The carabiners had decent clipping action and we didn't notice that it was more difficult to clip than other wiregate models.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

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.

The notch can snag on the bolt if you're not careful. Thankfully...
The notch can snag on the bolt if you're not careful. Thankfully these carabiners are full-sized, and the gate opening is large as well, giving you more play to get it off easily.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

Portability


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.

Not as light as a trad draw, not as heavy as a sport, this one is...
Not as light as a trad draw, not as heavy as a sport, this one is right in the middle and a good option for people who like to do a little of everything. Here Brendan's clipping small wires on a mixed route in Red Rock.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

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.

The Karstop Evo positioner is bulky, and the dual interior/exterior...
The Karstop Evo positioner is bulky, and the dual interior/exterior design means you can't replace it if it tears.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

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.

The sling on this draw is in the middle of the pack as well - not...
The sling on this draw is in the middle of the pack as well - not the thinnest or hardest to grab, but not the widest or easiest either.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

Value


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.

If you're floating up a steep sport route one day and fiddling with...
If you're floating up a steep sport route one day and fiddling with wires ten pitches off the deck the next, you may appreciate the versatility of the Orbit Wire.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

Conclusion


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