Camp’s Tricams (right) are slightly more suited to regular camming use and easier to handle. These are by far the cheapest way to protect parallel sided cracks.
When SLCDs were first sold in climbing shops they revolutionised the trad climbing scene.
In recent years, increasingly durable light aluminium alloys have seen all designs of cam get lighter, removing the main advantage of the U-stem, and only the DMM 4CU is now in mainstream manufacture.
This means that the trigger can be pulled with just one finger and the bottom of the U can be comfortably held with a palm, and led to the development of lighter cams.
However the extra stem does create a wider cam, which limits the width of cracks that it can be used in.
Their major advantage is that the total head width is reduced by approximately a quarter, increasing your placement options. They are also less prone to 'walking' as the cam pivots on the central lobe instead.
After placing a cam, you climb past it pulling the rope to the left and to the right.
The basic design has changed little in thirty years, but refinements have come in the form of size, ergonomics and modern materials.
While all SLCDs sold in the UK meet European safety standards, small design tweaks will change your experience when climbing.
The disadvantage to such designs is that fewer lobes adapt less well to complex crack shapes.
Extendable slings offer two possible sling lengths.
Simple camming devices Most hexes can be used to create a camming action, although they tend to be limited in their range.
They also often require more than one free hand to set them in, and free them from, their cammed position.
Simply put: find an appropriately sized wedge and pull it into the narrowing until it lodges.