Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

The Best of the Best from Trango (and GIVEAWAY!)

Brand loyalty starts early...

Brand loyalty starts early…

This week marks one year that I’ve been signed on as an athlete for Trango Extraordinary Climbing Gear, and I must say it’s been a delightful ride!  I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to represent Trango and their affiliates (such as Stonewear Designs and Tenaya) at numerous festivals and demos, provide feedback on products still in the testing phase, as well as meet some really great people.  Oh yeah, and I also got loads of free gear along the way too!  And though I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of the gear I’ve received from Trango, a few products in particular have found their way into the “favorites” category.  So it seemed fitting to celebrate me and Trango’s one-year anniversary with a “Best of the Best,” list.  In other words, if you can only buy one piece of gear from Trango this year, I would strongly recommend it be one of these 5 items.  So here’s the “best of the best,” in no particular order…(And it hopefully goes without saying that this best of the best list is my unbiased opinion, despite the fact that I did not pay for any of this gear.)

CINCH.  For a lot of climbers, the Cinch is their first introduction to Trango.  This innovative product probably gets the prize for “most talked about” piece of gear at the crag.  It’s simple in design, easy to use, and feeds smoothly on a wide variety of rope sizes.  I posted a review on it last summer, and referred to it as “A Belayer’s Best Friend.”  I like it so much better than any other belay device I’ve ever used that between my husband and I we each have one for the crag, and one for the gym, as we don’t ever want to get caught without it! 

No longer are the La Sportiva Miuras my go to shoe on projects.  In fact, they aren’t even in my climbing pack anymore.  They’re stuffed in a box in the garage, while my 3 pairs of Tenayas proudly assume the on deck position in my pack.  Finding the optimal balance between performance and comfort, these shoes are designed to crush your project at the local crag one day, without killing your feet at the top of pitch 8 the next day.  I have 3 pairs and use them all pretty much equally – Tatankas for the steeps, Masais for vertical faces, and Ras for everything in between!  For a detailed run down of my thoughts on each shoe, check out the review I wrote last fall.

CHOCKSTONES When my hubby and I went out to Red Rocks this past November, I think I led 2 pitches in a row on nothing but chockstones.  And on that same trip the Crag-Daddoo managed to finagle a chockstone into a wily constriction that none of his BD Stoppers would fit in!  These guys fit everywhere!  The curved design gives you more versatility in placements, and the stability groove hugs bumps and other imperfections in the rock, wrapping around them for an extremely secure fit.  These nuts utilize an alternating color system (gray and orange) that eliminates the need to fiddle with gear, so that you can find the piece you need when you need it. 

Smooth QD’s and Tatankas in Ten Sleep, WY this past summer


Off-label usage of the Smooth's...

Off-label usage of the Smooth’s…

 SPLITTER CAMS.  These little babies are very cool.  If I’m climbing over gear, you can bet I’m gonna carry up all 5.  The direct-offset cam alignment combines the stability of a 4-camming unit with the narrow head of a 3-camming unit.  This translates to extra peace of mind in shallow, tight placements.  I’ve never tried it, but they are even fully rated when hung off a single pair of lobes (cue scary music!)  Because of the opposing lobes, it’s impossible to over-retract them, decreasing your odds of getting your gear stuck.  The doubled slings provide an extra clip in point, and save a lot of weight since you don’t have to drag up a bunch of extra slings.  The only con I found was that the Splitter Cam’s range is smaller than other small cams, so there’s not as much overlap between pieces.  But that certainly doesn’t make them difficult to place.  In fact, on a recent project the .5 Splitter fit much better than the same size equivalent my friend was using…So if you’re looking to add to your rack, or are starting from scratch, be sure to check out the Splitters!  (I would also recommend the Flex Cams, which offer solid protection, and feature the same alternating color system as the chockstones!)

 SMOOTH QUICKDRAWS.  With a Cragbaby in tow, weight makes a big difference, which means that we often end up leaving the trad rack at home in favor of a handful of quickdraws, so this is probably the piece of gear I’ve gotten the most mileage out of at the crag.  And I must say that these draws are top-notch.  The action is smooth, the dogbone is sturdy and won’t twist, and you can purchase them with any solid/wire gate combination.  I use a straight gate solid for the hanger, and a bent gate solid for the rope end, and was pleasantly surprised at how lightweight that set-up was.  The only drawback is that they only come in one length, but that hasn’t proved to be a big deal.  It’s easy to connect two together to extend a clip at the sport crag, and for gear routes I generally carry a hodge podge of sling lengths anyway, so it’s a non-issue there too.  I liked this piece of gear so much that it was the first product I chose to review for Trango, so for the longer version, click here


The 0.5 Splitter Cam in action!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has put this gear to the test – if you’re a fan (or even if you’re not!) of any of these products, please comment below and let me know what you think!  One lucky commenter will be randomly chosen to win a 5-pack of Smooth Quickdraws!  (You can also gain multiple entries by liking Cragmama and/or Trango on facebook, just let me know that in the comment threads as well!)  Winners will be chosen on Saturday, March 30, at midnight EST.  Meanwhile, I’d like to publicly send a big thank you to Trango for supporting me and my climbing endeavors this past year.  I’m looking forward to another great year…and it’s worth noting that Cragbaby has already taken  command of one of my team shirts, and is anxious to know when Trango will start taking applications again  😉



35 Responses to “The Best of the Best from Trango (and GIVEAWAY!)”

  1. Looks like a lot of sweet gear! I’ve heard many good things about the Cinch…it’s almost cult-like. I would be interested in checking out their shoes too. Maybe I’ll be able to take a look at the ‘Vous this year! Will you be running a booth with them?

    Oh, and of course I liked you and Trango on FB. 😀


  2. Page Lee

    My husband loves his Tenayas!

    I Like Cragmama.
    I Like Trango.


  3. Juneko

    Definitely interested in checking out the Tenaya! I love my miuras. Also ‘like’ cragmama and trango on FB.


  4. Nakos

    Great write up keep em coming. I’ll take a look into some tenayas as well. Just hearing red rocks makes me want to go back so bad!

    cragmama liked
    Trango liked


  5. Eric

    I would love to see a cinch for the weirdos (lefties) in the group.


  6. Man, you sure know how to put gear to the test! Nice work.

    PS – I “Like” you


  7. Yay for giveaways! And Trango always has a special place in my heart…my very first climbing harness was Trango and I was seriously sad to “bench it” when it got way past the too-old-mark. Haven’t tried the Chockstones…would love to!


  8. Joy

    Been wanting to try out the smooth draws – am in the market for some new ones! 🙂


  9. Erica

    Gif – Yes I’ll be at the booth and we’ll be doing a Tenaya demo at least one day, so please stop by and say hi!

    Page – Sweet, on all counts!

    Juneko – Will you be at the Rendezvous? I’d love to fit you in some and let you demo them for the day!

    Nakos – I know….Red rocks!

    Eric – I am not left-handed, but I have a climbing partner who is, and for what it’s worth, he finds the Cinch easier to manage than the grigri…

    Jessica – Thanks 🙂

    Alyssa – It’s always a bittersweet moment when you need to “bench” old gear 🙂

    Joy – Next time we climb together you are welcome to try them out all you want! 🙂


  10. Kristin Troska

    1- awesome. would love to try.
    2- of course I like Cragmama on facebook.
    3- and now I like Trango on facebook too.
    Thanks 🙂


  11. Lia keller

    I love splitter cams. I used a friends set and now I “need” them!


  12. Sam

    I would happily love to.hang Trango draws any day. They’re my favorite to clip when they’re up. Love my cinch like nothing else too.


  13. We totally need to update our draws. They are looking ragged this spring. 🙂

    I already like Cragmama and Trango on FB!


  14. sasha

    a girl can never have too much gear!


  15. Erica

    Kristin, Sam, Kate C, and Sasha – Awesome, best of luck! 🙂

    Lia – Yeah I know what you mean about that concept of “need” when it comes to climbing gear!


  16. Alberto

    I love the “Cinch” especially when you have a not so experienced belayer.


  17. I just sold my set of the old original splitter cams. They were interesting. My favorite Trango product is the Cinch and Equalizer. I cannot go climbing without having those two pieces attached to my harness. I do follow Cragmama and Trango on Facebook. I could always use some more draws 😉


  18. Congrats on your one year anniversary with them. That’s awesome and YAY for giveaways! I haven’t used Trango but would love to try them out and we could certainly use some draws.



  19. I like Cragmama and Trango on Facebook.


  20. Anita

    Hello to Cragmama! Time has flown by since our Athleta sponsorship and I’m so excited to see you super busy. My climbing has taken on a bigger and bigger part of my routine and I’m excited for winter to come to an end so I can get back outside more often. Excited to learn more about Trango especially as a local from CO (love to support local business!). My evolv pontas and 5.10 anasazi’s have been staples for the last 2 years. But I’m taking a look at giving the Tenaya a try!

    Already like your page and Trango!


  21. Brice

    I recently got a pair of Tenaya Inti’s and i love them my next pair of shoes will most likely be another tenaya.


  22. Erica

    Alberto – Indeed.

    Corey – At first I thought the Equalizer was a bit gimmicky, but it truly is a time saver on multipitch!

    Melissa – You can never have too many quickdraws!

    Anita – Yes time has flown by! Glad to see you are still climbing in addition to all of your other flurry of athletic endeavors 🙂 If you like the Anasazis I think you will love the Tenaya Masais – my hubby used to swear by his Anasazis for techy, vertical stuff, but he has now converted and says his Masais perform just as well but are twice as comfy!

    Brice – Sweet, glad you’re enjoying the Inti’s! 🙂


  23. I’ll be honest, I never really gave Trango a big chance. Their trad gear seemed funky and I’d rather grab draws from BD just out of habit. The Cinch has always caught my eye, but I’ve never needed a GriGri or anything mechanical yet. So, never used a piece of their gear.

    That being said, I could very well be in the wrong. I climbed with Evolv shoes for a while, but then I won a pair of Scarpas at the Triple Crown. I got the Feroce’s and haven’t climbed in anything else since. Even had em resoled twice (velcro too) since then.

    Would love a chance to try em out. Liked your page (don’t know why I hadn’t already!) and Trango as well.


  24. Heather

    Always been a fan of the cinch! I love the size and how well the rope flows through the device. I have YET to try any other Trango products.


  25. John Soltys

    Perfect help to get my kids on the wall this Spring.


    • Erica

      Lee – Didn’t I remember you trying (and loving…) Tenaya at the TRC Demo? 😉 If you’re going to the Rendezvous, you’ll be able to demo them on real rock…

      Heather – Amen to the cinch!

      John Soltys – Kudos for getting your kids into climbing!

  26. I haven’t tried much from Trango. I have their Raptor ice tools, which I love. But I’m definitely looking forward to trying more of their gear. I’ve been really, really curious about their cams though….


  27. I also like both Cragmama and Trango on FB too. And congrats on your anniversary!!!


  28. Drew

    Hook me up with some new draws! I wear the tatankas whenever the climbing gets tough and I need some precise footwork on small toes or edges.


  29. PS: I like both Cragmama and Trango on FB!


  30. Shea

    Great review! Keep up the good work here and on Facebook!


  31. Katherine

    I’m definitely in the market for a good pair of shoes – never heard of Tenayas but I’ll have to check them out. I live in flatland Chicago so there is a shortage of good gear shops that would carry them. D’ya think Miguel’s at the Red has them in stock?

    Also would love to begin my own set of quickdraws. Gotta stop relying in the boyfriend for gear!!

    Thanks, Craigmama!!


  32. Cullen Updyke

    Great review, and thanks for the giveaway! I too like Cragmama and Trango on Facebook…


  33. Adam D.

    I could use some quick draws. It would be an honor to win them.


  34. Adam D.

    Oh and I like cragmama on Facebook and don’t forget Trango.


Leave a Comment Life is in the conversation.


Your email will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN