Since David Waggoner first introduced CCH alien cams to the market in the mid 1980s, several brands have released micro cams with very similar designs. Unfortunately, many of these Alien-like cams failed to measure up to the original Aliens. While these cams did little to build on the original Alien design, DMM’s Dragonfly Cams are a step in a new direction.
Wales-based climbing brand DMM has been making climbing gear for several years and has its fair share of supporters, though the Dragonfly is the first micro cam they have produced. The Dragonfly copies the Alien design but improves on it in a few ways.
The Dragonfly stem is far more flexible than other micro cams such as the Black Diamond X4 or the Wild Country Zeros. The flexible stem greatly minimizes walking which is particularly important for smaller cams. Furthermore, the extendable sling also helps reduce walking and rope drag.
One of the more noticeable features of the Dragonfly is the range of each piece. The Dragonflies make use of a smaller cam angle than other micro cams, and as such each cam has a slightly smaller range when compared to the Aliens which have a much larger cam angle. While this may not always be a benefit, the small cam angle means that these cams have more holding power–which is particularly important for cams in this size range.
The Dragonflies cover cracks from 7.8 to 28.3mm. The size 1 dragonfly is one of the smallest cams rated for free climbing, beat only by the new Black Diamond Z4.
With such a flexible stem, the larger sizes have a tendency to buckle slightly when fully retracted. In my opinion the benefits of the flexibility greatly outweigh this drawback. Furthermore, the low cam angle means that one must carry more cams to cover the same range as other cams.
The DMM dragonfly is one of the best micro cams I have climbed on. As a long time supporter of the original CCH alien, the dragonfly finally adds noticeable improvements and are my go-to micro cam on my standard climbing rack. Read our other gear reviews here!