Trango Max Cam

This cam changed my views.

I never planned to buy any of the new, apparently over-engineered cams. The complex hinges seem too delicate to be easily placed when the pump and Elvis leg set in and you just need that quick bombproof piece. But with Christmas 2006 came just such a cam; the Trango Max Cam.

The first thing I did, as you subconsciously do, was to slip my thumb into the loop and pull that baby's trigger back. I was surprised, it was smooth. Over the next few months it slowly dawned on me that it had become my favorite piece, it always felt secure when placed, had the biggest range of any cam, and had the ingenious double-looped sling for easy extension, similar to DMM's, but slightly longer (I almost never use the DMM ones without extending them).

Trango's claim that it feels at home in your hand from the first trigger pull seems to hold true. As for holding strength and such like, I haven't taken any huge whippers onto it, but the few small falls I have taken onto it caused no problems.

It doesn't seem to have any tendency to walk, and seems to do so less than many other cams.

All in all I would give this cam a max-sized 9.9 out of 10. The only downside is the low quality of the size tag, which seems to just be a piece of coloured plastic with a number on shoved under the holding sheath.

Another Review by Craig Luebben, Climbing Magazine # 238-April 2005

patent diagram, 55 kbTrango just raised the bar on expansion range with a simple design that must have elicited a "why didn't I think of that!" from every cam designer in the business. Imagine a cam set in a crack. The two middle cam lobes sit on a single axle; the opposing outer lobes ride on independent axles mounted on the center lobes. As the cams retract, the outer axles move closer to the main axle, allowing the cams to further compress; one triple-axle unit covers nearly the expansion range of two double-axle cams, creating a giant overlap between sizes. The huge expansion range also allows Max Cams to operate like hybrid cams in outward- flaring cracks, with the inner cams and outer cams opening to radically different sizes. For their utility and significant raising of the expansion-range bar, the Max Cams earn an Editors' Choice award.

The thumb loop offers gripping security and a place to short clip when aid climbing, and the extendable Spectra sling rounds out the package. Adding texture to the thumb catch and trigger bar would be a welcome addition, and the Max Cams are among the heavier cams. [Trango Note: MaxCams are lighter than C4's SuperCams and LinkCams.] While the choice of great cams has increased drastically this year, these - and the New Camalots -- are the cams that I'll be adding to my rack.

Available in five sizes from tips to stacked hands.

size chart
© Trango


What I heard from several people at the winter Outdoor Retailer show last year was when people looked at the Max Cam for the first time, they were impressed by its simplicity. Seeing what appears to be a normal cam (4 lobes, a trigger, and a stem) that somehow works in a totally new way was impressive to them. There is an unspoken notion that innovation brings with it complexity.

Being able to present them with a product that doesn't look all that different but provides them a leap in expansion range has been my goal all along. I think the problem that the [product name deleted] will face is that people don't trust its level of complexity.

Having said all that, I wish we could emphasize that this cam will feel at home in your hands from the first trigger pull. It is as light and strong as anything else, AND it has an awesome expansion range. You used the word "elegant" on the ad. I'm not sure what people think when they read that. When I read it, I think of all this stuff — how innovation need not add complexity. I guess for me, its one of those rare cases where an enormous amount of engineering (~10 years of development including my Master's Thesis) actually led to a simple solution. That simplicity is what people see when the pull it down for the first time. It's that light bulb going off in people's heads (wow, simple AND better) that we need to convey to everyone who hasn't seen it yet.

Max Reed, December, 2004

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