Wild Country Friends
Of all the cams tested, the Wild Country Friends have undergone the most significant changes from previous generations, the obvious being the conversion to two axles and an updated color scheme that matches those of DMM and BD. In fact, Wild Country seems to have gone all out with their upgrades and made all the changes necessary to bring their Friends to the foreground.
The Friends have thumb loops, perfect for you aid climbers out there reaching high for your next placement, and for those of us prone to grabbing cams in moments of stress. Wild Country has also made the 18mm sling extendable—it is seven inches when fully extended, but this equates to approximately nine inches if you include the thumb loop. This is a real bonus for deep placements, and reducing rope drag without the need for extra quickdraws, thereby lightening your rack. Not that your rack will weigh too much, as Wild Country has also produced an extremely light set of Friends, with each device, apart from the #4, weighing less than an ounce more than the corresponding BD Ultralight.
The new Wild Country Friends are really well-rounded, very smooth to operate, and extremely ergonomic. My only wish is that the company had made a larger range of devices, as I would love to have these guys in very small or very large sizes. As it is, they only go down to 0.5 and up to #4.
-Updated color scheme to match other brands.
-Excellent grip and reduced walking.
-Easier to get stuck in tight placements.
-No Friends smaller than a 0.5 or larger than #4.
-All-around trad adventures.