The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

CAMP USA Orbit Wire Express KS Review

An inexpensive entry-level draw for all-around climbers.
Best Buy Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $14 List | $13.95 at Amazon
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
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
66
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

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.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price $13.95 at Amazon$23.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$25.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$26.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$16.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
66
100
0
84
100
0
80
100
0
80
100
0
74
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Lighter than other sport draws, good price pointSnappy clipping action, wide sling is easy to grab, light for a sport quickdrawEasy to clip, deep basket, cool "hood wire" around the notch for snag-free unclippingGreat clipping, wide sling for easy grabbing, keylocking gates don't snagEasy to clip, durable construction, large size works well with gloves
Cons Wiregates can snag on gear, bottom positioner is bulkyExpensive, still a little heavy for trad climbingHeavy, expensiveHeavy, expensiveHeavy, 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%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
Ease Of Unclipping (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
Portability (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
4
10
0
4
Ease Of Handling (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Ease Of Grabbing (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
6
Awards (%)
10
0
0
10
0
0
10
0
0
10
0
0
10
0
0
MSRP (%)
10
0
0
10
0
0
10
0
0
10
0
0
10
0
0
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
Sling Material Polyester Nylon Polyester Nylon Polyester
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.

Performance Comparison


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.
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.

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.

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

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.

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.
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.

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 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.

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.
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.

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.

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

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 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.
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.

Best Applications


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.

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.
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.

Value


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.

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 exceptional value.


Cam McKenzie Ring