Outdoors, the Demon held its own against the other cams on my rack (which, because of an ill-advised affinity for used gear and a grad student budget, is a diverse array of misfit pieces). The springs are the stiffest of any cam I have ever used, and this frames the experience of placing the cam. The stiff springs really bit into placements, and I never experienced any problems with the cams walking.
I spent a few days in Indian Creek and Castle Valley as well as logging some miles in the more local Eldorado Canyon and Lumpy Ridge, and was generally surprised by the positive impression that I developed. While in Indian Creek, a few friends and I found ourselves at the Second Meat Wall with only my rack. At first we resigned ourselves to cracks that had enough size variation to be protected well without an excess of one size, but then we stumbled across a thin-hands corner that looked so good we had to try it. Looking up at it, we figured, “What’s the problem? We’ll just walk cams and leap-frog them if we have to.”
The Demon, my saving grace half-way up the pitch, walked along with me for at least 30 feet of climbing until I took a surprise rest on it. It was only about knee-high at the time, thankfully, but it didn’t move or skate at all. I also had a generally easy time removing it from granite placements that were more rippled than would be ideal. Yes, I would have liked another half inch on the stem, but it was easy to manipulate the lobes to coax the cam out of a placement that I worried had become permanent.
Over a period of years, the Camalot and Dragon cams had built up my affection for the double-axle cam design (in hand sizes or larger, anyway). I thought I was firmly set in that opinion until the Helium Friend cam came along, and the Demon cam walked right in that open door. While it’s true that the cam takes up a little more room, I was only testing one size, so I never really noticed it. It is possible that a whole set of them would be a hair more intrusive. The advent of full-strength cam stops eliminated my last objective argument against single-axle cams, and I hold the Demon in high regard for changing my mind.
If you’re looking at the Demon as a possible addition to your rack, I would urge you to find a shop that sells them and play around with one in the store. The size range complements other brands nicely, especially if you’re among the many who have never placed anything that isn’t a C4. Rather than double up on the same cams, it adds value to diversify your rack with cams whose sizes are slightly offset from the ones you already own.
Ultimately, whether you’ll like the Demon cam will likely come down to where you land on stem design. If you own C4s as well as the previous generation of Camalot (same goes for old and new Friends), and the addition of the thumb loop didn’t blow your mind, then these should be high on your “next cam” list. If you almost threw out your outdated rack the first time you used a cam with a thumb loop, then this probably isn’t going to be worth it for you.