Gear Review: Black Diamond Camalot C4 Cams
MSRP Price: $59.99 – $119.95 (depending on size)
Summary: Durable cams that deserve their reputation of being the industry standard for rock climbers and mountaineers.
Black Diamond describes the Camalots as “the world’s best selling and most-trusted camming device.” Those are bold words, but it’s true. The BD Camalots are a workhorse and an industry standard – recommended for trad, big wall, and alpine climbing. With 10 cams (0.3 to 6) in the C4 series, these durable, strong, consistent, trustworthy cams are sized to fit nearly any crack anywhere in the world.
Wherever you climb, nearly every rack has at least a couple of Black Diamond Camalots. Due to the patented dual-axel cam system technology, the Camalots have a high expansion range, which makes them the go-to gear for trad climbers. An easy-to-operate, slip-free, ergonomic trigger grip allows for smooth movements of the camming device even when you’re pumped. This means they are easy to place, yet provide absolutely solid active protection with only one hand on any type of rock.
Overall the C4s cover a range of 13.8 mm to 195.0 mm. There is some overlap with the X4 cams (0.3 to 0.75). They are called C4s due to the 4 camming lobes. The exact specs for weight, strength, and range of the Camalots from Black Diamond are as followed:
[0.3] 75 g (2.65 oz)
[0.4] 83 g (2.93 oz)
[0.5] 99 g (3.49 oz)
[0.75] 119 g (4.18 oz)
 136 g (4.8 oz)
 155 g (5.47 oz)
 201 g (7.1 oz)
 289 g (10.2 oz)
 380 g (13.4 oz)
 557 g (1 lb 4 oz)
[0.3] 8 kN, 1798 lbf
[0.4] 10 kN, 2248 lbf
[0.5] 12 kN, 2698 lbf
[0.75-6] 14 kN, 3147 lbf
[0.3] 13.8-23.4 mm (0.54-0.92 in)
[0.4] 15.5-26.7 mm (0.61-1.05 in)
[0.5] 19.6-33.5 mm (0.77-1.32 in)
[0.75] 23.9-41.2 mm (0.94-1.62 in)
 30.2-52.1 mm (1.19-2.05 in)
 37.2-64.9 mm (1.46-2.55 in)
 50.7-87.9 mm (2.00-3.46 in)
 66.0-114.7 mm (2.60-4.51 in)
 85.4-148.5 mm (3.36-5.85 in)
 114.1-195.0 mm (4.50-7.68 in)
The Camalots have a flexible, but rigid stem that helps to reduce walking. It means they can be used in both horizontal and vertical cracks. It’s also possible to clip carabiners directly to the cam cable instead of the nylon sling if necessary – making it more versatile than some other cams. As they are solid pieces for the price, it’s not unreasonable to pick up a full set and then double up on certain cam sizes. Most climbers do.
When the Black Diamond Camalots are clipped to your rack, they are easy to select as both the cam lobes and the durable nylon sling are color coded – .3 – Blue, .4 – Grey, .5 – Purple, .75 – Green, 1 – Red, 2 – Yellow, 3 – Blue, 4 – Grey, 5 – Purple, 6 – Green. If you pick up a rack pack of color coded Neutrino Carabiners or Oz Carabiners, you’ll have one sweet package for rock protection.
The Black Diamond Camalot C4s are tested, tried, and true. I have not had any issues with these spring loaded camming devices. Overtime the lobes wear. The trigger wires are replaceable. You can even aid climb with them. There are lighter cams on the market, but nearly every review I’ve ever seen speaks highly of the these cams.
Personally I have doubles of .5 to 4. Mine are paired with Black Diamond Oz carabiners. It’s a bombproof set-up. I bought them and I’m happy about it. I have not experienced any durability issues, yet.
Are they the best cam on the market? Maybe. Are they an industry standard? Definitely. Has ever trad climber placed a BD Camalot? Probably. Every rack has some. Do you?
Learn more about the Black Diamond Camalot C4s on Black Diamond’s Website. The Camalot family also includes the C3 cams, the X4 cams, and the X4 offset cams for smaller placements.
Pick up your Black Diamond Camalots at:
Click the photos below to see more photos of the Black Diamond Camalots: