Alien X Cam First Takes

Alien X Cam First Takes


Fresh out of Roswell (AKA Barcelona), the Fixe Alien X cams have hit the market. Fixe has made quite a few slick design choices in this third rendition of the cam, focusing on bettering their placement and grip, while really sexying them up. They no longer look like something your Uncle Jerry put together in his garage after one too many on a friday night.  We put these cams to the test over the weekend in Squamish and used them on various crack pitches in Smoke Bluffs and Murrin Park. Overall, we enjoyed the updates that Fixe has made to the design and found that we preferred them over other cam choices in perfectly parallel cracks. We also found the new trigger mechanism and extended stem length pullery design helpful in tricky placements. For our  a more long-term review, we are curious to see how the soft alloy lobes and trigger wires hold up after significant use and the effects of the extendable sling on the thumb loop.


  • Placement 
  • Ergonomic
  • Lightweight


  • Durability
  • Extendable Double Sling


Fixe has spent a lot of time rethinking the design of this cam in terms of their placement ability. For one, the small Alien X cams, just like their predecessors, inspire confidence where other small cams don’t. Simply put, they just fit in smaller spaces better. Compared to the new Metolius TCU, the Alien Xs have a smaller head width; the axle on the TCUs extends beyond the cams to make it wider than the Alien Xs. Compared to another fan favorite, the Totem cam, the Alien Xs are offered in smaller sizes. . The smallest Totem cam size is a BD .2 equivalent  while the smallest Alien X size is in the same ballpark as the BD 0 and .1 Z4’s, landing between the two. 

The Alien X cams are also made out of a softer alloy, just like the previous renditions, meaning they have better bite on the rock than some of the harder alloy more durable cams (C4’s, ULMC, Friends). The Alien X cam, compared to earlier designs, has a X-grip texture that improves the cam’s grip the first time it's used. While it seems somewhat gimmicky to laser engrave cam lobes that are going to get naturally textured in their first couple of uses, we found it didn’t hurt the cams performance. Similar to the Alien cams of the past, the softer lobe material makes being 20 ft above a .1 slightly less terrifying. 

Fixe not only focused on the lobes in this new design. The Alien X cams have a 3mm longer stem length than their predecessors, making them even easier to place in deep cracks. It is nice to see Fixe addressing this notorious drawback of the Aliens. For the follower, this makes the Alien X cams easier to clean as well, no more whipping out the nut tool to hook a trigger wire. And even if it walks back a bit, the new trigger bars have better shape and an added hole, making them easier to hook. 

On the topic of triggers, pullers, and bars, the smallest size (black) has a different puller than the larger sizes to ensure you’re never going to have a hard time sliding it into an irregular crack. This level of attention to detail is a nice departure from the old CCH aliens of the past. 

Lastly, the Alien X cams come with a soft steel cable stem, meaning they can be placed in horizontal cracks without fear. The clear plastic cover protects the stem from any wear from the rock and will hopefully last longer than the old style plastic. 


Beyond the longer stem and small puller on the black cam, Fixe added a few details to the design of the puller that makes them even easier to use. There are small lips on the pullers that make the cam easier to feel and maneuver. These details mean placing them is an easier task, even if you have gloves on! The Cam springs are nice and responsive on the smaller sizes, but felt somewhat soft on the red and gray sizes. Coupled with the new ergonomic bar and the more symmetrical thumb loop, we found these to have the best trigger feel in the small sizes of any micro cam.  


One of the best parts about the Alien Xs is their weight. For climbers hiking up long, steep approaches to the climb, the lightweight Alien X is a good cam choice. Compared to their cousins, the original Alien cam, the Alien Xs are, on average, 13g lighter per cam. However, it’s important to note that compared to their Alien Revolution predecessors, the Alien Xs are, on average, 8g heavier. So, though they are significantly lighter than the original version, Fixe sacrificed the weight for other features in this new design. Regardless, it’s still a stellar choice for a lightweight cam that performs well.

Black (⅓)

Blue (⅜)

Green (½)

Yellow (¾)

Grey (⅞)

Red (1)























Though we’ve only used this cam on a few routes in Squamish, one of our main concerns in a long-term review will be the durability of these cams, specifically in the lobes. Although the lobes’ softer metal helps these cams grip rock better, it also means they’ll develop dents and divots faster.. Even on the few routes we climbed, wear is visible on the cam lobes. The X-grip texture has faded, and there are grooves and dents from where the cam pressed up against crystals and grains. We didn’t fall on any of the Alien X cams, but the state of the cams after a fall is something we’ll be curious to test.

The trigger wires are another area of concern. Historically there have been problems with trigger wire longevity in Alien cams, so we are curious to see how this iteration compares.  

Extendable Double Sling

Currently, the Alien X cams only come with an extendable double sling. For a climber who is used to placing and cleaning gear with an extendable sling, this may not be a negative point. However, for those who aren’t, the extendable sling comes with a learning curve. For a climber, this might mean fumbling with gear in tricky placements. We found it especially hard for the follower to efficiently clean the Alien X cam with little prior experience with extendable slings. Although overtime climbers will become more comfortable with the design, it could cost efficiency on multi-pitch routes. 

The extendable double sling design also makes us question what’s going to happen when a climber falls on the extended sling: Will the thumb loop kink like it does on other thin extendable sling cams? We are curious if overtime the thin sling will deform the loop. Hopefully Fixe will offer these with a regular sling option in the coming years. 

At the end of the day…

The Alien X cams are a leading choice for a lightweight cam that performs well in parallel cracks. Compared to the Alien Revolution cam and the original Alien cam, the Alien X has improved usability and placement versatility. For long-time fans of the Alien line-up, the Alien X seems like the best rendition yet. We’ll be curious to give these cams a whirl on some long alpine routes next spring, as well as short cragging over the winter. Overall, adding these cams to your collection are a great way to round out your protection options. 

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