|About 9 months ago I took the plunge and bought a set of six (size 1-6) of the Wild Country Zero cams. I'd ummmmed and ahhhhd about buying them for a while, so thinking others might be in the same boat, thought I'd post my thoughts.
The main issue I had was whether to buy the full set of 6 (available as a package for about $600 at the time), or to buy only numbers 3 to 6 (available individualy at a total cost of about $560). As numbers 1 and 2 are only rated for aid climbing (with rated strengths of 3kn and 4kn's respectively) I wasnt sure if the extra $40 outlay would be justified. I also wasn't sure if I wanted to purchase Zero's, or their competition Aliens, or even if I was better off just saving my dough all together.
I sent Steve at Rock Hardware in Bendigo an email with a few quieries, and he was kind enough to give me a call to discuss. I took the plunge and bought the whole set, and 2 days later had the zero's in my hot & sweaty hand. It was time to put these little babies to the test.
After 9 months of use, ive found that the zero's have become pretty much indespensible to me. I've previously climbed with two sets of standard nuts and two sets of RP's, but have started leaving one of the sets of nuts at home.
In terms of the units themselves, two features really stand out to me. 1) the extendable sling reduces the need to use a quickdraw to reduce rope drag, saving some weight 2) the flexibility of the stem of the units makes them excellent for placing in really shallow horizontal placements (the stem of the unit will easily flex at almost 90 degrees immediatly below the head of the unit, this reduces any fears you may have of the unit walking around in its placement).
I have found that the smallest unit (1 zero - 3kn) is too small to use effectively, with it being very difficult to place with any confidence due to the very small camming range of the unit. If I had my time again, I wouldnt bother purchasing it. The number 2 zero (rated to 4 kN) is a different story. I have found it very useful, easy to place, and easy to remove when seconding. It may only be rated to 4kN, but if you free climb relying on the smaller RP's, you should be comfortable using the number 2 zero. I've even taken a couple of very small falls onto the number 2 (in the interests of testing the product only, nothing to do with my pump;-), and it stood up beautifully.
In terms of placing the units, I have found them very easy to place on the ubiquitus Tasmanian dolerite rock. This rock type is very strong, has a consistent high friction texture similar to sandpaper, and features very uniform thin cracks. On dolerite then, I have a degree of confidence in placing the small camming units, as the individual cams sit well, and are unlikely to fail due to crumbly or too smooth rock.
Conversly on a recent trip to Araplies, I found them of little use (other than being good in horizontal slots / pockets) on the Watchtower Slabs. Generally I found that the thin cracks at Araps arnt uniform enough to consistently accept small camming units. Besides, the way Araps cracks gobble wires and hexes, if small cams are your answer, your probably not asking the right question.
I have found the larger sizes in particular good on granite, for reasons similar to those given for dolerite (note that I suspect You Yangs / Buffalo style big grained granite might be a bit iffy for the smallest units).
So in summary, im really happy with the number 2 to number 6 zero's. Im frankly quite surprised with the amount I use them. So if your looking to spend you tax return or your baby bonus, I recon you could do alot worse.