Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cam Re-sling Review

I recently sent in a all of my cams and tri-cams to have the slings replaced; TCUs went to Metolius, Camalots to Black Diamond, and everything else to Mountain Tools. I just wanted to post a quick review, and my opinion of the service and value offered by each.

Metolius was the hands-down winner in my opinion. They were by far the cheapest, best, fastest and most-efficient of all three companies. If I ever have to buy new cams again, my experience with their sling replacement will be a factor in my decision. They went way above and beyond the call of duty by not just replacing the old slings, but deep-cleaning the TCUs and replacing trigger wires where necessary. They also sewed on labels with the year of service embroidered on them to help forgetful folks like me remember when they were serviced. I would not hesitate to send cams back here, and wish they would offer sling replacement on all brands. The cams looked and functioned like new when they came back in the mail - five stars out of four!
Metolius = Excellence

In my opinion second place goes to Mountain Tools; they did an excellent job with my tri-cams and the three old cams I sent them. They are pricier than Metolius, but they are doing this for profit, and have no other motivation -- unlike Metolius who probably loses a little money on sling replacement, but gains something else by getting to see their gear after extended usage for research purposes. My only beef with Mountain Tools was that the tri-cams did not look stock when I got them back, and I got over that beef quickly when I took them out to the crag and used them - I think the new slings work better than the stock slings. The slings on the three older cams (2 Wired Bliss TCUs and 1 Trango TCU) look great - they did not give the cams themselves the thorough cleaning that Metolius did, but they did not say they were going to either so that is fine. I was totally satisfied with Mountain Tools' work, and turnaround time - I will be sending them more next time.
I think Black Diamond was a distant third. They were by far the slowest turnaround and communication was a bit of a struggle at first. They did a fine job with the slings, but did little else. The highlight of my experience at BD was dealing with Keith Hambrecht (after luckily stumbling upon him - contact me if you want his email), who helped me navigate the process - and it was a process. BD is a big company and I am sure they have a ton of cams coming in for sling replacement, but I thought the length of time, and the lack of transparency was a pain. Ultimately they got my stuff done and back to me in a reasonable amount of time at a reasonable price - so they will probably get my Camalots again next go around - I just hope they can up their game a little in the meantime.
To make a long story short, all three companies did a good job, but Metolius really took it to another level and set the bar exceptionally high for everyone else - I was seriously impressed with them and their work. I will be buying more stuff from them in the future because of the experience.

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