The best belay device that does everything
The best belay device, is there such a thing? If you have been reading our articles. You would have noticed that we talked a fair bit about belaying devices and gyms implementing verification tests and the compulsory use of ABDs. There are numerous articles on ABDs online. But none of the ABDs featured had stood out. With newer and fancier devices appearing in the market I should talk about my favourite ABD of all time.
Edelrid Mega Jul
The ABD that I use and happily pay for without any complaint is the Ederid Mega Jul. Launched in 2013. If you have a habit of reading belay device reviews. For some weird reason, the GriGri is always ranked first or top 3. Mega Jul is hardly considered the best belay device. If you are sold on GriGri or other overpriced ABDs I would like to change your mind.
If we are strictly talking about belaying the Mega Jul is not the smoothest belaying device out there. You’ll need some time to get used to it. When you do. You’ll find Mega Jul easy to use, and most importantly it can do everything. And I mean everything.
Pros of Mega Jul
Ederid Mega Jul can be:
- Used as a normal tubular belay device
- Abseil with 1 or 2 ropes
- Abseil as a normal tubular or an ABD
- Guide mode available (belay top down on muli-pitch)
- One of the smallest and lightest ABDs in the market
- Durable. Made of stainless steel
Why buy an ABD that you can only use for belaying or abseil on a single rope? Many ABDs are foolproof with fancy features that prevent accidents from happening if an inexperienced belayer is using them. Even if you just started climbing, how long are you going to be an inexperienced belayer that will drop your climber? Not long I hope.
What you want is a device that you can use throughout your climbing “career”. One that you can use in the gym as an ABD or even a regular tubular belay device if you are old school. As you progress to outdoor climbing, you will need to belay from the top when climbing multi-pitch and abseil on 2 ropes which you can’t do with most mechanical ABDs. Being one of the smallest and lightest ABDs, it is a great device to have when on a long multi-pitch climb.
Cons of Mega Jul
I have used and tested numerous ABDs and there are better devices that can do specific things very well. Unfortunately, there isn’t a belay device that can do everything. Just to be unbiased, there are a few things that I don’t like about the device.
Some negative feedbacks regarding Mega Jul are:
- The rope occasionally jams when paying out slack. This is easily rectified with a little practice.
- Lowering a climber can be jerky. But the same can be said about all ABDs when you just started using them.
- Mega Jul can leave scratch marks on your alloy carabiner. Mega Jul is made of steel which is harder than alloy.
- Hard to insert rope into the device especially if you are using a rope with a diameter of more than 10mm
The belay device that does it all
Mega Jul is not the best device for belaying. But as you progress you will venture into other types of climbing. So you will not want to have a belay device that is solely good for one thing. Think of what else you might like to do and buy a belay device that can meet your every climbing need.