/ ARTICLE: C.A.M.P ..... Italy: Who are on earth are they?

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Many climbers in the UK, though familiar with name C.A.M.P., are unaware of the story behind this long-standing, family-run company which has always been at the forefront of innovation and design in climbing gear.

Ian Smith visited C.A.M.P and reports back: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=1358
JLS on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to UKC Gear:

Anyone actually like camp gear?

To me their compeditors always seem to produce better quaility and/or value for money kit.
philip king - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to JLS:
They’re certainly good value for money, at least over here in Sweden they are. Granted their stuff is not quite as touchy feely as DMM/Black Diamond, but somebody gave me a few of their hex's and they are excellent in use.
220bpm on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to UKC Gear: My first ever winter walking axe was a CAMP. Still in use to this day. Good piece of kit.
The Lemming - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to JLS:

I've got a pair of 12 point crampons, walking axe and helmet from them and I'm more than happy with the kit, especially the crampons. Even though they are pretty basic as in they are not Step-in they will fit onto my 10 year old boots where the front bails have worn away over the years.

For me sometimes function come before aesthetics.
Alex Roddie - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to JLS:
I used a pair of CAMP Ice Rider crampons for about a year and was not thrilled with them. They were good value for money and fairly light, but wore out far more quickly than my Grivel crampons (which are now three years old and still going strong, now being used by my brother).

I have a CAMP helmet which is fine, being a simple lid, and some CAMP pitons which work okay but these are items where design is not that critical anyway: if it works it works.
gingerdave13 - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to The Lemming: i'd agree the crampons are pretty good in a no-nonsense kind of way.

has meant i've been able to loan them out to mates and them not worry about will it/won't it work with my boots.

helmets been ok.. but must admit in retrospect headtorch attachements would have been useful.
The Lemming - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to gingerdave13:
> (In reply to The Lemming) i'd agree the crampons are pretty good in a no-nonsense kind of way.
>
> has meant i've been able to loan them out to mates and them not worry about will it/won't it work with my boots.

Forgot to mention that I do have some Sabertooth crampons but as the need bails on the boots they are quite redundant. A lesson that I learnt while on Anoch Moor a few years ago when I had to strap the crampons to my boots with auxiliary cord.

As you say, they won't win any fashion shows but they sure are sturdy and functional for almost all boot types and don't look all that bad for being 15 years old.
Daniel Armitage - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to JLS: Got tricams for winter and some camp quickdraws, very satisfied so far..
muppetfilter - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to JLS: There stuff always seems to be a poor cousin in terms of inovation and manufacture quality.
DJClarke - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to Alex Roddie: A mate used to have a CAMP helmet too. Call me vain, but it takes a strong character to willingly walk around with a big CAMP sticker on your head. Maybe I'm just unsure of my sexuality.
Alex Roddie - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to DJClarke:
I peeled the stickers off mine. ;=)
SGD - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to Alex Roddie: Yeh I nearly brought one of these but I didn't fancy walking round in a red helmet with 'CAMP - Rockstar' on it.

I have got a single CAMP nut (crag swag) which is about the same as a rock 1 and I use it all the time. It has a more curved shape and seems to bite really well when I can't get a rock or a wallnut to sit.
edg - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to UKC Gear: Carvexs are great. I far prefer using them to WC Hexes.
In reply to JLS: I've been using some of their stuff this summer to review it for UKC. I also used to be a bit snobby about CAMP - when I used to work in gear shops a decade and more ago, their products often weren't as nicely finished as some others, but their modern stuff is just fine. But they always had very keen prices and seem to continue doing that.
merchant of menace on 23 Oct 2008 - cpc1-warw9-0-0-cust362.brhm.cable.ntl.com
In reply to JLS: tricams, oh yes tricams .its a bit like fibre pile clothing or paramo.
once youve tried em you like, but to outsiders they are witchcraft.
ps never used paramo just using as example :-)
Merlin - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to UKC Gear:

I am considering buying a camp jasper CR harness, I want something really light and stripped down.

Anyone had any experience?
cmcteir - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to JLS: Used to have some old camp crampons - forget what they were but they had strap on bindings.

Still use a couple of camp ice screws I got from needlesports a few years back.
petestack - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to muppetfilter:
> (In reply to JLS) There stuff always seems to be a poor cousin in terms of inovation and manufacture quality.

Nothing innovative about Tricams, then? (A brilliant piece of gear that no-one else makes...)

muppetfilter - on 23 Oct 2008
In reply to petestack: A bit like the old rock-n-roller and the dodo.. why bother when camalots are so much better, oh and they dont fall out, are easy to place and to be honest who wants to fall on a tri-cam???
JLS on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to JLS:

Forgot I've got a pair of Ice Rider crampons that work well...
yesbutnobutyesbut - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to UKC Gear: Is this an article or an advert? It's written by someone who works for Allcord the UK Camp distributor!
petestack - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to muppetfilter:
> (In reply to petestack) A bit like the old rock-n-roller and the dodo.. why bother when camalots are so much better, oh and they dont fall out, are easy to place and to be honest who wants to fall on a tri-cam???

FYI, I have both, can place both (it's a myth that Tricams are difficult to place), find them complementary rather than mutually exclusive, haven't seen a well-placed example of either fall out, have no particular preference for falling on either (so TBH who wants to fall on anything?) and am also aware of their value in winter...

But perhaps there's no point trying to explain that to you because you're going to rubbish them anyway?
Justin T - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to petestack:

There's no point engaging in rational debate with someone who:

a) Describes themselves as an "International playboy rope technician"
b) Owns a 1997 VW polo
Erik B - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to UKC Gear: interesting article but certainly doesnt convince me to go out and buy camp gear, might be a nice wee italian village but doesnt instill confidence

ill stick to DMM and BD, price of hardware shouldnt be an issue with climbing gear, whats more important is the quality of finish, innovative design, functionality and safety/quality standards, from experience Camp dont seem to cover all these factors, DMM and BD blow the competition away IMO

Italians are great at making climbing boots, sportscars, audio systems and loudpeakers but anything else im sceptical!
yesbutnobutyesbut - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Erik B:

>
> Italians are great at making climbing boots, sportscars, audio systems and loudpeakers but anything else im sceptical!


Don't forget pizza and pasta!
petellis - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Erik B:
> (In reply to UKC Gear) interesting article but certainly doesnt convince me to go out and buy camp gear, might be a nice wee italian village but doesnt instill confidence
>
> ill stick to DMM and BD,

erm... made in a nice wee english village.... does that instill confidence


> Italians are great at making climbing boots, sportscars, audio systems and loudpeakers but anything else im sceptical!

Italians have always been great engineers, and making and designing climbing gear is engineering.

I'm not quite sure what the idea of the article is either and if i'm going to buy European kit I generally go with petzl becase I like their stuff but C.A.M.P gear generaly looks good and they do seem to be able to think outside the box in a way other manufacturers don't, it leads to some quite wacky looking kit.

Michael Ryan - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to petellis:

The plan is to have several articles on gear manufacturers... including DMM, BD, WC, Scarpa, Petzl etc etc
Erik B - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to petellis: i agree the italians are good engineers, doesnt necessarily mean camp equipment is good though, my opinion is based on past experience of camp gear, maybe their 21st century stuff is good. would be good to get a review of some of their new gear from an impartial source
In reply to Erik B: We've got a few reviews of CAMP stuff lined up by TobyA. Pro nuts, Tricams and some 'biniers too - Nanos maybe, can't remember off the top of my head. Should be up in the next few weeks.

Jack
ads.ukclimbing.com
ERB - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to UKC Gear: I winter climb with two old Camp Woodpecker ice axes not the nicest looking things but they work for me.
muppetfilter - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to petellis:
#>
> erm... made in a nice wee english village.... does that instill confidence

DMM are made in a wee WELSH village and Black Diamond are American.....
Wee Davie - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to petellis:

>Italians have always been great engineers, and making and designing climbing gear is engineering.

Have you heard what FIAT stands for?

F***ing Idiots At Turin

Only joking. Slightly. I drive a Vespa so it had better not hear me dissing Italian engineering.
CAMP reverse the usual adages about Italian design- they make reasonably functional, but not inspirational kit. They are the exact opposite of Alpha Romeo or Maserati...
I have bought Camp hexes in the past and liked them fine but they need to get a bit more imaginative to keep up with DMM.

Davie
Stuart the postie - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Erik B:

They make good pop videos.

Are you around this winter?

Stuart
mike kann - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Erik B: Good engineers? Are you on crack? Yeah they are half good at knock offs but real engineering...hmm... FIAT, Zanussi, Lamborghini... to behonest CAMP are doing pretty well compared to some Italian engineering companies...
Erik B - on 27 Oct 2008
In reply to mike kann: get yerself a pair of zingali loudspeakers then you may change your tune


Postie, Im not sure where i will be this winter, could do with getting out climbing although ill need a good few trips to get back into shape. Ill drop you an email. Looking like a bumper season I reckon..
Philip g on 27 Oct 2008 - 81-208-83-240.fastres.net
In reply to mike kann:


CAMP, whatever is our personal judgement on the single product, has made lots of gear for other companies, including BD (at less, before BD began making most of its hardware in China). Their manufacturing is at high standards, not lower than any other company in the outdoor business.

As far as I know there are no more failures or problems with CAMP climbing hardware than with DMM, BD, Wild Country, Petzl etc.

When I was a boy, my first quickdraw set was CAMP. They were not the most refined, but worked well for years, at less than half the price of Petzl.

There’s a lot of italian engineering in the world. But this has nothing to do with the quality of climbing hardware, which is still the product of a relatively low technology industry. Crampons are not diesel motors or airplanes. I have not ceased considering reliable my Tech Friends because Rover made probably the worst cars in western Europe.

As is well known, Italy has a strong tradition in the climbing gear business. Four of the biggest companies in the world (CAMP, Grivel, Kong, Salewa) are italian (of course, “big” is here always relatively small, we aren’t speaking of IBM or General Motors).

I wonder why a thread on a climbing company has involved national or even nationalistic issues.

PS
I’m not related with CAMP in any way.

mike kann - on 27 Oct 2008
In reply to Philip g: It's odd that you chose to read only the bit which is anti-italian and conclude it is anti-CAMP. CAMP is good honest gear. Not great innovators but their gear is solid for the most part and usually well thought out. As an engineer myself, I have had the misfortune to deal with some of Italy's other engineering companies, and all I'll say is that I wish they met the same standards as CAMP. Kong, CAssin and CAMP have always been bedfellows, sharing design and manufacturing resources, so I suppose you could say they are even bigger inthat sense... Also please bear in mind that my remarks were flippantly made whilst slightly worse for wear. As for being anti-italian, I hardly think so, I lived there for 6 months, my parents live there now, and I actually love the place, including its idiosyncracies...
Philip g on 28 Oct 2008 - 81-208-83-240.fastres.net
In reply to TobyA:

Well, I'm not the official attorney for CAMP. But if I were, I'd say your argument is not the most elegant. About a very sensitive subject. I think in this field (gear failure) suggestions and suspects are hardly to be admitted.

I can just say that in twenty years or so of climbing I've heard and seen several (not many) accidents involving gear failure. CAMP is not in evidence, even if much spreaded in Italy. Therefore, my personal "statistics" is different from yours, but this doesn't imply mine is right and yours is false. Simply, it's not statistics.

Just to be more consequent, I suggest you to stop using pitons, even when you find them on a route. Because they have been almost all produced by CAMP, with different logos, in the last fifteeen years or so.
alasdair19 on 29 Oct 2008
In reply to JLS: i have the ice rider crampons and will buy another pair when i decide their ok for mixed.

Simple and effective. i would have replaced like for like and replaced BD sabretooths but BD decided bells and whistle would be nice and trashed a simple elegant design.

my lass has a CAMP helmet which is literally the only one that fits on her head...

but that said only real men will ever wear/use camp.... and i think that will allways be a problem for them
Alex C on 05 Nov 2008
Lowe Alpine reckon they made the first step-in crampons and modular ice tools. CAMP make some of the stuff Lowe developed, like Ballnuts and Footfangs (the aforementioned step-ins). Is this a source of confusion or is Lowe wrong?

Personally I reckon some CAMP stuff is ok but it's in a different league to the stuff WC, DMM and BD produce and I reckon that the better design and quality is actually worth the extra money. My CAMP pegs got one attempted use then got binned. Ditto the ice screw. Their old hardshell helmets looked alright.

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