They’re an essential part of any climber’s trad rack, but what makes the best climbing nuts? There’s many different styles and brands to choose from when deciding on which ones you’re going to buy. Climbing Nuts 101 will help you make that decision when you’re getting your first gear for trad climbing.
Nuts are usually sold in sets of around ten. These will give you a good range of sizes. This is important for having the correct size on your rack for the placement that you’re about to use.
Most climbers start off with a set of ‘regular’ nuts, then supplement these over time with a second set or some offset and micro nuts. Variety is best, so if you’re going to buy two sets, make sure they’re different brands. This will give you more placement options.
For more of our top climbing gear recommendations, check out the Best Climbing Cams.
Quick Answer - The Best Climbing Nuts
- Black Diamond Stoppers
- Wild Country Rocks
- Black Diamond Offset Micro Stoppers
- DMM Wallnuts
- Omega Pacific Wedgie
- Metolius Curve Nuts
- Black Diamond Micro Stoppers
- DMM Micro Wallnuts
- DMM Alloy Offsets
- Wild Country Superlight Offsets
Comparison Table - Best Climbing Nuts
|Picture||Name||Number in Set||Type||Price||Rating|
|Black Diamond Stoppers||10||Standard||$||4.7|
|Wild Country Rocks||14||Standard||$$||5.0|
|Black Diamond Offset Micro Stoppers||6||Micro Offset||$$$||5.0|
|Omega Pacific Wedgie||13||Standard||$||5.0|
|Metolius Curve Nuts||10||Curved||$$$||5.0|
|Black Diamond Micro Stoppers||6||Micro||$$$||5.0|
|DMM Micro Wallnuts||4||Micro||$$||5.0|
|DMM Alloy Offsets||5||Offset||$$$||4.8|
|Wild Country Superlight Offsets||6||Offset||$$||5.0|
|Picture||Name||Number in Set||Type||Price||Rating|
Reviews - The Best Nuts for Rock Climbing
Black Diamond Stoppers
Wild Country Rocks
Black Diamond Offset Micro Stoppers
Omega Pacific Wedgie
Metolius Curve Nuts
BEST FOR: A SECOND SET OF NUTS
PROS: Curved shape gives a huge variety of placement options, lightweight
CONS: Softer wire means nuts can get stuck more easily
SHAPE: Curved sides
Black Diamond Micro Stoppers
BEST FOR: REALLY SMALL PLACEMENTS
PROS: Copper/iron mix provides great ‘bite’ in small placements, comes with racking carabiner
CONS: Smallest two sizes are for direct aid placements only – they’re not strong enough for free climbing
DMM Micro Wallnuts
DMM Alloy Offsets
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CLIMBING NUTS
Most climbing nuts have some kind of tapered shape, with all four sides flaring out from the base to the top of the nut. Different manufacturers will make their nuts in slightly different shapes. Which is best? There isn’t one shape that’s always better than another. How well a nut fits into a placement depends on the placement itself.
It’s good to have a range of shapes of nuts on your rack. This means you’re more likely to have one to fit any particular placement well. Do this by having nuts from a range of manufacturers.
Offset nuts aren’t as popular as ‘regular’ nuts and won’t fit in as many placements. But in flared cracks there’s nothing better and an offset nut will slot neatly in when a more regular shape would be too loose. A set of offset nuts is a great addition to your rack, especially if you climb on granite a lot.
Micro nuts are, simply, really small nuts. They’re often made out of brass, which is softer than the alloy used in bigger nuts. Although they’re essential for really tiny placements, they’re not as versatile as larger sized nuts as they can’t be placed sideways in the crack.
Micro nuts also aren’t as strong as bigger nuts. Some are often only rated up to a few kiloNewtons, which can easily be exceeded if you take a big fall onto them.
Because of this, micro nuts are only really used for marginal placements and aid climbing. Having a few on your rack might increase your confidence where there would be no other gear, but they shouldn’t be relied on to hold big falls.
NUMBER OF NUTS
Nut sets usually have around ten nuts on them. Buying a set is usually the cheapest way to buy them, so try to pick one that has enough nuts on it to get you started. You’re looking for a big range of sizes and at least ten nuts.
The exception to this is some more specialized nuts such as offset nuts and micro nuts. These tend to come in sets of 5-6.
You can buy nuts individually too, which is great if you lose one or just need an extra size.
LEARN TO PLACE THEM
The best nuts in the world are useless if you don’t know how to use them. Once you’ve bought your first set (or have borrowed a friends), go out and learn to place them correctly.
The safest way to do this is to walk along the bottom of the rock face and find suitable cracks to place them in. Check the nut seems secure, then clip a sling and carabiner to it and stand on it. If it holds, it’s a good sign!
When placing a nut you need to match the size and curve of the nut to the shape of the crack. Look for a constriction in the crack that will hold the nut. Slot it in when it’s wider above, then slide it down to let it sit in the constriction. You want to get as much surface area as possible in contact between the nut and the rock.
‘Seat’ the nut by giving it a good, hard tug downwards. This stops it being lifted out or moved around by the motion of the rope as you climb. It’s easiest to do this by attaching a quickdraw.
It’s a good idea to get professional instruction on placing trad gear before heading out on your first trad climbs.
GET SOME RACKING CARABINERS
If you have more than one set of nuts, it’s personal preference whether you rack the big and small ones together, or a full set on each carabiner. If you go for grouping them by size it’s easier to find the right nut for a placement, but you’re more likely to drop all your big or small nuts.
Rack nuts on a snapgate carabiner. Using a carabiner with a solid gate (rather than a wire gate) can stop nuts getting caught in the gate and then being dropped. Make sure the carabiner is big enough to comfortably hold all the nuts. This will make it easier to select the right one and stop them getting tangled together.
GET A NUT TOOL
A nut tool is essential if you’re going to place nuts on your climbs. Sometimes nuts can be removed simply by wiggling them and reversing the direction that they went in to the crack. But often they can’t – they will have become wedged in place and need more force to remove.
This is where your nut tool comes in. This is a long metal hook, that can be used to ‘hammer’ the nut out. They’re also really useful for retrieving stuck cams that have walked out of reach, or cleaning out grassy or muddy cracks to find a placement. Every trad climber needs a nut tool.
Look for one that has a fairly wide base to hit with your hand. If it’s too sharp you’ll get a really sore hand trying to bash your nuts out!