Here we have the Clog Flyer belay device which is suitable for use with ropes ranging from 8.5 to 11mm in diameter. This device is an entry level device and is sold at a number of retailers, unlike the majority of traditional type belay devices, this unit has a solid metal loop rather than one made from coated wire. Although this may initially distil some confidence in its strength, the bonding between the two parts (which is the weak point) is the same bonding method as utilised for most devices.
In a previous review, we said that a great belay device is one that lets you focus on your climbing partner and doesn’t get noticed, well unfortunately that does not apply here. This device was actually purchased as a last minute requirement after an invite to go twin rope trad climbing with a buddy. It was intended to be an alternate for the trusty DMM bug, after realising that the ATC device was not rated for the size of rope we were planning to climb with. It just proves that planning and research is important, because most of the first belaying session was spent fumbling with the device while trying to unlock each of the ropes. It got so bad that the device was back-benched in the hope that some more experience may unlock (no pun intended) the secret to its use.
Since that fateful day, we tried this device while top roping and single rope leading, in both trad and sport, and we have continually experienced problems with the rope locking off. Generally this isn’t a huge problem when top roping, however when trying to pay out while belaying a leader, it becomes really problematic. In order to give Clog the benefit of the doubt, and to remove us as the variable, we spoke to a number of independent people that we saw using the device at a few of our local walls. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any fans of the device and all the feedback we received reflected our experience.
OK, so the Clog Flyer is cheap, but money isn’t everything. Even if you are just planning on buying a low cost belay to top rope with, we would advise you save a few more pennies and go with a more well known device. Certainly if you are learning to belay with a traditional device, you will find it infinitely easier with an ATC or bug type.
There are some plus points for this belay; it is relatively light and can be rotated 180° to increase the rope friction, however the method of applying this is not as efficient as other devices. One point to note is that the device is not rated for abseiling, so if you are looking to move onto trad or multi-pitch climbing you will need one that can, so you might as well invest in one early.
The one final saving grace with the Clog Flyer Belay Device is that it is generally sold as a set with the MIDI HMS Carabiner, which we do like! This is not only because of its price, but because it is a good size for a variety of uses (including as part of a belay setup – just not with the Flyer), and with a ratings of 23, 7 and 7 kN, it is comparable to most basic carabiners on the market.