Hot forge design provides good strength/range to weight ratio
Extendable sling only extends from one side
Unit must be modified to achieve maximum reach when aid climbing
Dragon cams work especially well in flares, cracks with varying widths (i.e., irregular), or in parallel cracks where single axle units would be too tight or too baggy. They have a shorter stem than Helium cams. They are similar to Black Diamond C4s, but are forged differently and are more expensive.
Dragon cams have a flexible single stem, double axle, four camming units (FCUs) and come in 8 sizes from tips to fists.
Dragons are ever-so slightly lighter than double axle Black Diamond C4s, have an extendable sling, and cost about $10 more.
Features Instead of using a thumb loop for the trigger, like C4s, Dragon users set their thumb on a metal bar with two eyelets. A sling comes out of the eyelets on both sides.
Dragons have an extendible sling, but you have to clip the correct side to extend it all the way. This is because the stitching on the sling does not fit through the eyelets, meaning it only extends from one side. (Camalots have a single, wide sling.)
Materials Dragons are hot forged, which allows them to have a more streamlined look than cold forged Camalots. Hot forging allows for more creative designs, particularly regarding cam heads and the axle. Dragon cams are machined from A6082 alloy, which brings the weight down without sacrificing safety.
Increased range does make a difference when placing cams. Single axle cams like Wild Country Friends/Helium Friends simply have less range than the double axle Dragons. Dragons handle like Black Diamond Camalots, and weigh roughly the same amount.
Value Dragons cost from $75-$79, with Camalots priced from $60-$120. Why would someone buy Dragons over Camalots? Because they have the extended sling, are slightly lighter and look futuristic.
Field use When placing the Dragon 4, I felt like I was placing a 2 Camalot, but it felt slightly lighter, and maybe smoother. In many instances I didn’t have to use a quickdraw when clipping the rope to the Dragon cam because of the extendible built-in sling.
Most recently I used it in Vedauwoo, where I felt it was sometimes the most solid piece I placed on the often short pitches; this is because they don’t walk as often as Friends. And I didn’t have to shove them in cracks as deeply as with Heliums, which have longer stems than Friends, making them less prone to walking than their predecessors.
Dragon Cams worked particularly well on outward and downward flares. I took the Dragon up the First Flatiron as well, and it worked great in butt cracks. They cost more than Camalots. And they’re heavier than single axle cams, but the weight difference is negligible considering the increase in range.