Assisted braking Belay device
Overall Rating: 7/10
- Friction or Catch: 2/5 Stars – It feels like a tube style belay device until it locks, which requires the belayer to practically let go. The device can be phenagled to lock if you want to hold someone, but can get tiring if someone is projecting a route and constantly whipping.
- Lowering and Rappelling: 2/5 Stars – Would probably make for a smooth single rope rappel with added safety. Sometimes clicks while lowering. It’s recommended to maintain a steady lower rather than jerky, but who wants a jerky lower anyway.
- Feeding Slack: 5/5 Stars – Smoother than a baby’s bottom, smoother than a hot knife cutting through butter, smoother than… alright you get the idea, it’s the smoothest belay device I’ve ever used.
- Weight and Bulk: 1/5 Stars – It’s pretty big and I could only find a single belay device that weighed more. If you’re going ultralight maybe check out the MegaJul or literally anything else.
- Very smooth, like Keith Stone
- Idiot Proof. Due to the lack of lever it’s not possible to lock out the assisted braking feature
- Uber sexy
- Feels kinda sketchy, it’ll make weird clicks and catches a little with thicker ropes
- Makes weird noises
- Occasionally locks up when taking up slack, usually have to feed out about a foot of slack to reset
I believe that simple is better as long as it gets the job done, so I told myself I’d never get a grigri or other assisted braking device. While I’m not throwing out my ATC, the Revo is my new go-to for lead belaying. My biggest problem with assisted braking devices was the annoyance of feeding slack out for leading, but I wanted the added safety of one. First off, the Revo brakes in a different way from most other devices. It has a flywheel that has a series of ridges and valleys on it. If the wheel spins too quickly, it activates the brake which clamps down on the rope. This is what makes the Revo so smooth. When you’re belaying normally, it works like a tube style device until something goes wrong and it locks, which I like because it doesn’t let you get complacent with your brake hand like grigris and other camming style devices that hold your climber whenever they weight the rope. To unlock the Revo, you simply pull on the brake strand or push the mechanism back down manually (though this is more difficult). The manufacturer states that the device activates if the rope is coming out of the device at more than 4 m/s, which is more than a top rope fall and I wasn’t able to trigger it when I lowered my friend as fast as I could without dropping him, but you can jerk rope out of it to test it on the ground. The Revo can be used in either orientation and can be threaded improperly, so make sure to check your belay device before climbing. It is ergonomic to use and feels the most like a tube style device out of all the assisted braking devices I’ve used. I also like it for top rope belaying at my local wall because it’s easier to feed slack and lower while belaying groups of beginners. Compared to other assisted braking devices, the Revo really isn’t a good belay device except in its smoothness of feeding slack, and that alone makes it the best assisted braking device on the market right now. I would recommend this to climbers that use tubestyle devices on a daily basis, as the feel is the same until something goes wrong. Don’t buy this device if you are looking to easily ascend the rope, hold people for extended periods of time, or don’t have much experience belaying.