X4 Offset Camalot Review


I’m a big fan of offset cams. When Wild Country introduced a set back in 1999, most people wrote them off as being too specialized, and sadly the company stopped making them. As it turns out, they were just a little too far ahead of their time, as many now agree that not only are offsets great for clean aid climbing, but free climbers are also finding they are an indispensable part of their rack at many trad climbing venues.

When Black Diamond launched the X4 Camalots, it wasn’t hard to guess what was coming next. While they wouldn’t officially comment on it, it was no surprise that a year later the offset versions were released. In talking with Bill Belcourt, Climbing Category Director at Black Diamond, it was actually a fairly simple process to create the offsets, because they were just combining components they already had from the X4’s, no reinvention required.

I got a couple of these units before a two week trip to Red Rocks this spring, and by the end, I realized we had used them on almost every pitch. Some people look at offset cams and think they wont be useful, but the truth is that most cracks are irregular, and we’ve only trained our eyes to look for the less irregular places to put in cams. But once you can place a cam almost anywhere in a crack, so many more options open up. And the flip side to that is that these cams often work where nothing else will. Over the course of our trip, I often found myself a ways out from my last cam, on some nebulous face climbing, with little in the way of options for pro, until I realized I could wiggle in an offset and all was well again.

As noted above, offset cams aren’t new, with both Aliens and Metolius having current versions of them, but in my mind there are two things that sets the X4 Offsets apart:

The double axle expansion range that you are used to in Camalots is, of course, wonderful and super user friendly. But what I found really sets these above the others are the anodized cams. This is something the other brands don’t have, and one that makes it a lot easier to place the cams faster. Instead of having to really look at the unit and decide which lobes are smaller, which can be especially hard in the smaller sizes, you have colors that instantly give you that same information, with no guesswork.


They come in 5 sizes: .1/.2, .2/.3, .3/.4, .4/.5, .5/.75. On most climbs requiring a double set of cams, I’ll bring along one set of offsets, and am always glad that I did.

If you’re curious about offsets but haven’t yet jumped in, get a couple of these and you’ll soon understand what everyone else already knows. For many trad climbing areas, they are an incredibly useful tool that often work where nothing else will.

Retail is $69.95, more info and tech specs available on here.

Disclaimer: Wait! Before you go handing over your credit card number, ask yourself, do you really need to buy more new stuff? If so, this product is worth a look. In the spirit of full disclosure, it was provided to SplitterChoss.com for the purpose of reviewing. Don’t worry, though, our integrity can’t be bought!

5 Responses to X4 Offset Camalot Review

  1. I typically don’t use offset cams very often. Most of the trad I do seems to be easily protectable with normal cams but I’ll say the hb offset nuts that I started using about 14 years ago have been some of the most useful gear I’ve ever found. Seems like I use them 4-1 over normal nuts.

    Jestep May 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm
  2. I’m excited to get my set of BD X4 offsets and I think the anodized heads sound awesome. I’ve been a huge offset cam guy for years with the Aliens. I got a new set of offset Aliens this year and I find myself slightly confused on a regular basis by the largest 3 sizes. It’s so hard to tell them apart and the old Aliens I had were before the gray Alien came on board so my mind is so used to the progression of black-blue-green-yellow-red that it doesn’t quite know what to do with the new gray. Guess it’s just hard to teach an old dog new tricks maybe. Either way, I already love my regular X4s and the anodization on the BD offset X4s sound great.

    Mike May 28, 2014 at 5:25 pm
    • I think you are going to dig them for sure. The anodized cam thing is one of those ideas that is so simple, but so effective!

      BJ Sbarra May 30, 2014 at 12:46 pm
  3. Nice review! These cams sure look good don’t they? I will most likely be picking up a set to round out my rack soon. The dual color slings are a nice touch too. These are works of art!

    camp4climber May 31, 2014 at 11:44 am
  4. Just like the X4 the offsets are fantastically engineered. I work at gearexpress.com and we just had the BD rep come by and give us some juicy details. Like how the lobes in Black Diamonds cams are made with different composites depending on the lobe size. This review gives an accurate account of how sweet these cams are. I like them a lot and they are moving faster off the shelf than the Aliens and the Metolius cams that we have.

    Eric June 5, 2014 at 11:16 am
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