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New Petzl Reverso 3 Product Review

Third time's a charm

When Petzl released its Reverso belay device several years ago it was a novel design.  Its primary innovation was combining the ability to function as an auto-block device while belaying two seconds directly off a belay point, with the ability to also belay the leader and rapel in the same device.  A multifunctional tool that saved weight on long routes, and a great all around problem solving tool for rope systems.  Problem was that the action of two of these functions- belaying the leader and rappelling, leaved much to be desired. 

Belaying the leader with the reverso 3 is fast and smooth, yet provides enough braking power for hangdogging sessions.

foto by © Andrew Burgoon

The first generation of Reverso had two major flaws: firstly it did not provide a very smooth rope feed for the lead climber, secondly it’s edges wore away when rapeling into frighteningly sharp points.  Nobody in their right mind would use it as a sport climbing belay, it was simply too slow.  So it’s usefulness was limited to easy routes in the mountains. 

Thanks to a new design, the reverso now has breaking grooves, which dramitically improve the durability and breaking power with a wide range of rope diameters.

foto by © Andrew Burgoon

The Second generation of the Reverso alleviated the problem with the wear points, but not the sticky belay of the leader.  Again, a novel idea with sub-par function. 

Reverso 3 shown in Autoblock function for belaying the follower(s).

foto by © Andrew Burgoon

Petzl scrapped the old design for the Reverso 3, but kept the basic functioning concepts.  What they produced looks more like a regular tube belay device than the old model.  Finally in it’s third incarnation, Petzl got everything right.  Belaying the leader is as smooth as any device you will find on the market, with enough friction for long hang-dogging sessions and skinny cords.  Gone are the days of sharpened edges, the brake point on the new model is built to last.  Of course, it still provides the function of auto-blocking while belaying one or two seconds directly off an anchor.  New this year, they added a key whole where you can place a carabiner (all Petzl ‘biners and most other brands we tried fit) to release the  autoblock with even pressure, in the event the second should fall.

You can put a carabiner in this hole to serve as a lever to release the autoblock, if the second should fall.  Belay carabiner omitted for clairity.

foto by © Andrew Burgoon

Overall, the Petzl Reverso 3 is an outstanding tool, capable both in the mountains and at your local sport crag- it handles each of it’s three functions with aplomb. 

Andrew Burgoon   [edit] 08:11 01.05.2008Print 



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