The Camp Nano Quickdraw
How light is right?
There have been some major advances in climbing hardware technology in the last five years. Seemingly-impossible weight reductions of crucial items, such as ropes, harnesses and karabiners have been among the most notable of these changes. When DMM's Phantom quickdraw (read the review on planetFear here) arrived back in 2007 at a staggering 57 grams complete, many climbers - myself included - thought that this marked the light-limit for conventional metallic karabiners. The innovative Italian brand Camp then blew our assumptions clean out of the water when they released the Nano in 2008, which weighs in at 53 grams complete. Whilst an incredibly impressive engineering feat in its own right, the extreme minimalism of the Nano also provokes the question: how light is right?
Lets cut straight to the chase: this is not a quickdraw most climbers will have much use for, but an extremely specialist product which will be of benefit only in certain climbing situations. The two most obvious applications for the Nano are ultra-light Alpinism (including Superalpinism in the Greater Ranges) and for light and fast onsight ascents of multipitch routes, where every gram counts. The Nano's very small profile and narrow gate opening mean that it is often rather more difficult to use than a normal quickdraw, and with heavy gloves opening it would be near-impossible. This product really is of interest only to climbers looking to save as much weight as is technically feasible from their rack. For this function alone, it is still an extraordinary piece of kit. I have also found another, niche use for the Nano: I have taken to carrying one or two draws on the back of my gear loops as a 'last draw' to use at the very end of a really long trad or sport single pitch, thus minimising the rack weight where it really counts - at the very top. For these highly specialist uses, the Nano is an absolute gem.
In short, if you're into going fast and light in the Alps or Greater Ranges, or want to develop a superlight Alpine rock climbing rack, or if - like me - you appreciate the benefit of having a draw that weights slightly less than many 'normal' karabiners on the back of your harness for that last gripper clip, then you should buy one of these. If not, then you'd be far better off with a more conventional quickdraw.
The outrageous Camp Nano 'biner weighs in at an ethereal 23 grams.
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