The Best Climbing Nuts for Trad Climbing of 2021

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Before the advent of what we know as climbing protection today, climbing was a very different sport. In the beginning, climbers used ropes to secure themselves to whatever features the route presented to them. By wrapping stones, woo, and other objects, climbers could wedge them into cracks and achieve some measure of security. When pitons came to be widely used as a means of protection, climbers in England demurred their use, claiming that it took the sport out of climbing. They continued to use “chalkstones” or stones that they would wrap a sling around to act as protection. In the 1950s British climbers noticed that hexagonal nuts collected from a nearby railway made natural protection when threaded with slings. Soon climbers were using all sizes of nuts, as well as modifying them for versatility and function. These origins and the heavily continued use of passive protection in England today, produce some of the best climbing nuts for trad climbing available today.

Like many things in the climbing community, preference for passive protection is based on what usually amounts to personal opinion. Often times, the gear that you start with is the gear that you will recommend as the best. By curating expert opinion and crowd-sourcing preferences, we have come up with the best climbing nuts for trad climbing.

Recently, we also covered the best cam set for trad climbing, which you can read about here.

Our Top Runner Up
Wild Country SL Offset Skirt 5-10.
Our Top Value Pick
Cypher Huevo (1-13)
Climbing Nuts for Trad Climbing
Wild Country Rocks
Cypher Huevos
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Runner Up
Wild Country SL Offset Skirt 5-10.
Climbing Nuts for Trad Climbing
Wild Country Rocks
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Value Pick
Cypher Huevo (1-13)
Climbing Nuts for Trad Climbing
Cypher Huevos
Prime Eligible?
-

Last update: 2021-05-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our Favorites for the Best Climbing Nuts for Trad Climbing Our Favorites for the Best Climbing Nuts for Trad Climbing

Despite the passage of time from their inception, climbing nuts as we know them today, have not changed all that much. The material may be different, and the shape hardly recognizable, yet their function and utility remain the same. In fact, the utility of climbing nuts today lies predominantly in subtle, not substantial differences. However, it is this utility that has made these passive protection the favorites.

Born out of a history of stubborn adherence to the concept of “clean aid” and produced in a place where climbers still prefer to rely on passive protection wherever possible. There is little surprise that these highly engineered nuts are far-and-away the favorite regular nut on the market today.

Although they look relatively simple on the surface, DMM Wallnuts are specially designed nuts with many features that are not apparent at first glance. These nuts are made of . Larger sizes are made of a softer alloy to allow them to firmly bite into placements whereas the smaller sizes are composed of harder alloy to prevent shearing. Furthermore, to reduce weight larger sizes (11-6) feature a hollow construction.

The basic shape of the Wallnut follows a curving tapered design on one axis and tapered design on the other. On the primary face, the curved taper creates three points of contact between the nut and the rock, essentially camming the nut, providing stable placements that resist undesired movement and lifting out of the nut. This shape further allows the nut to be used in a variety of placements, not just parallel cracks. The double-axis design enables a single nut to be used in several different placements.

A unique feature to DMM nuts, runs down both faces allowing them to be placed in irregular placements and highly featured surfaces. This feature ensures ‘bomber’ placements when used correctly. However, climbers note that this feature also makes these nuts harder to clean. Because of the shape of the nut as well as the groove, an upward jerk used to remove passive gear would serve to engage the nut further and cause kinks in the stem. Instead, the nuts are best removed with a nut tool.

Wallnuts are mounted on cable that is looped through the head and glued in place to prevent the nut from sliding down when placed overhead. Furthermore, the cable is stiff enough to facilitate overhead placements, while still being flexible enough to reduce inadvertent lifting out of place.

An additional useful feature, are color-coded to determine size quickly. This color scheme extends to DMM active protection as well as that of Wild Country, making it easy to mix and match.

These durable and versatile nuts fall into the middle when it comes to price. However, the utility they provide, despite their difficulty to clean, means that they are well worth it. From beginners to seasoned vets, these nuts are a durable and unique piece of gear perfect for making up the bulk of a rack.

What makes DMM Wallnuts Unique:

  • A curved taper design
    • Fits a variety of placements
    • Provides three points of contact
    • Resists inadvertent lifting out of placements
  • Dual-axis design enables the nut to be placed face on or side on giving more options for placements.
  • Machined grooves enable Wallnuts to fit on highly textured surfaces and provide increased protection and stability.
  • Anodized heads are color-coded for easy identification of sizes.
    • The color scheme extends to DMM active gear as well as Wild Country gear facilitating ease of use.

Why you Should Choose this Cam Set:

  • A very versatile nut, they fit a variety of placements but excel on highly textured surfaces and irregular cracks.
  • With 11 nuts in the set, this range covers most requirements for passive protection.
  • Although not the cheapest nuts, they are durable and will last a long time with proper care.

No products found.


If there is one nut that it is recommended for climbers to take with them on any climb, both expert reviewers and the climbing community agree that this is it. For when you can’t fit a cam and nothing else seems to work, these will provide the protection you need.

Very similar in design to the DMM Wallnut, the DMM Alloy Offset features the same two-axis design with a tapered curve. However, the significant difference lies in the substantial horizontal taper across the face of the nut. This taper allows the nut to fit where standard nuts won’t go, making iffy placements bomber. For climbers that prefer the use of cams, offset nuts are perfect for flared cracks and pin scars where most cams won’t fit.

Just as with the DMM Wallnut, the DMM Alloy Offsets also features a machined groove allowing the nut to be placed on highly textured rock increasing their usability and versatility. Unlike the Wallnuts, are not hollow; instead, the nuts have two holes drilled out to reduce weight.

The nuts are anodized to easily differentiate between sizes when climbing. Like the Wallnuts, this color scheme is coordinated with Wild Country, making incorporating them to your rack a simple process.

Unlike the Wallnuts, the Offset is , making them somewhat limited in use for smaller placements. Furthermore, they are the most expensive nuts on this list. That being said, these nuts receive the most admiration from climbers, many stating that if one were only to buy one set, these are the ones to buy. However, we recommend that these nuts be an addition to a rack of nuts, supplementing the DMM Wallnuts instead of being used as a standalone set.

What makes DMM Alloy Offset Unique:

  • A curved taper design with a substantial offset taper
    • Fits a variety of placements
    • Provides three points of contact
    • Resists inadvertent lifting out of placements
    • Fits placements where regular nuts only give marginal protection.
  • Dual-axis design enables the nut to be placed face on or side on giving more options for placements.
  • Machined grooves enable DMM Alloy Offsets to fit on highly textured surfaces and provide increased protection and stability.
  • Anodized heads are color-coded for easy identification of sizes.
    • The color scheme extends to DMM active gear as well as Wild Country gear facilitating ease of use.

Why you Should Choose this Cam Set:

  • A very versatile nut, they fit a variety of placements but excel on highly textured surfaces and irregular cracks.
  • They provide security in placements that regular nuts cannot, such as pin scars and flared cracks.
  • Not cheap, their durability and versatility make them a worthy investment for any rack.
  • Perfect for aid climbing, these nuts will fit where cams cannot.

No products found.


Our Runner Ups for the Best Climbing Nuts for Trad Climbing Our Runner Ups for the Best Climbing Nuts for Trad Climbing

While these nuts didn’t quite make the cut into the favorite’s position, they are still recommended by many trad climbers as well as having positive reviews from many experts. While they are high-grade nuts and have many positive features, they don’t quite measure up to the DMM Wallnut and Offset.

Wild Country Rocks

Based on the original curved design first used by Mark Vallance in 1979, this nut or Rock on a Wire is another favorite of UK based climbers and discerning climbers worldwide. Simple compared to the DMM Wallnut and Offset, these Rocks are much easier to place efficiently and clean quickly making them an ideal choice for beginner climbers and climbs that feature untextured parallel cracks.

Similar to Black DIamond Stoppers, ABC Huevos, and Omega Pacific wedgies, they distinguish themselves with a taller nut which gives them a better grip on smooth surfaces. Like other curved nuts, the design provides three points of contact while the simplicity of the nut makes it easy to clean in irregularly sided cracks.

Rocks on a Wire are ahead of similar nuts in that there are a whopping fourteen sizes available. While not everyone finds the larger sizes necessary, the selection offers those on a budget a cost-friendly option over more expensive cams. Furthermore, while lacking at least one more small size, Wild Country offer the Mini Rocks as a supplemental rack.

The larger sized rocks feature a hollowed-out construction, with thin sidewalls while maintaining incredible durability. The smaller sizes are solid construction providing maximum security while keeping weight down.

Rocks sit on a double curved cable that is stiff enough to stand straight for ease of placement, but still flexible to them to bend without kinking. Furthermore, while the nut is not glued in place, it doesn’t slide up and down on the when being placed or adjusted, as is the tendency with similar designs.

As with the DMM branded nuts, the Rocks sport anodized heads with color-coordinated with size for easy identification. This scheme is continued with active protection giving options when placing protection. Color coordination with DMM protection provides an advantage in designing a rack for specific climbs.

While not the cheapest nuts on this list, they are a great buy in a set and individually, without a significant difference in cost. This, in conjunction with their simple yet effective design, make the Rocks an excellent choice for a first rack. While not as versatile as the DMM Offsets, they excel in parallel-sided cracks and textured surfaces. For those on a budget, the Rocks make an effective substitution for active protection.

What makes Wild Country Rocks Unique:

  • A curved taper design
    • Fits a variety of placements
    • Provides three points of contact
  • Dual-axis design enables the nut to be placed face on or side on giving more options for placements.
  • Anodized heads are color-coded for easy identification of sizes.
    • The color scheme extends to DMM active gear as well as Wild Country gear facilitating ease of use.
  • Fourteen nuts give this set a more extensive range than any other nut set on this list.

Why you Should Choose this Cam Set:

  • A simple design, they fit a variety of placements but excel on parallel cracks and smooth surfaces.
  • Reasonably cheap, their durability, simplicity, and broad range make them an excellent choice for the basis of any rack.
  • Easy to clean, their shape also makes finding ideal placements simple.

Wild Country SL Offset Skirt 5-10.
  • The lightest in their size worldwide,
  • Typical curved "rocks" shape,
  • Narrow tapered sides.

Last update: 2021-05-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Black Diamond Stoppers

Whereas the Brits have the Wild Country Rocks on a WIre, the US has the Black Diamond Stoppers. Made by a reputable company that produces the favorite active protection available, Black Diamond has been crafting and perfecting their take on the popular curved design longer than any other North American manufacturer.

Shorter than the Rocks on a Wire, the Stoppers have the same curved and tapered design giving them the same three points of contact. The Stoppers are further differentiated from similar curved models in that they are considerably wider than their contemporaries. This gives them a stout appearance and a sturdy, substantial feel. Moreover, the difference in the width of the two axes of the nut means that each nut covers a greater range, improving versatility. Like the rocks, the larger sizes have a hollow construction, reducing their weight while maintaining their strength and durability. Furthermore, they feature rounded corners facilitating cleaning easier than the DMM offering but more laborious than the Omega Pacific Wedgies.

The anodized heads give the nuts a durable finish and make identification of the sizes easy at a glance. However, the Stoppers do not share a color scheme with other brands, which gives them less appeal for those who want to shop outside of the BD brand.

Like the Rocks, the Stoppers offer a large selection of nuts, with thirteen nuts in the set. This extensive selection gives the Stoppers a broad range. Indeed, climbers note that the Stoppers have an exceptional selection and utility in the smaller side of the range, but lament the lack of range in the larger nuts.

The Stoppers feature the same looped wire construction as the other nuts on this list. And while the wire is stiff enough for easy placement for most of the set, climbers noted that the weight of the larger nuts tends to droop the wire and worse still, to slide down the wire. However, the smaller nuts tend to stay at the top of the wire when being placed in position.

One aspect at which the Stoppers excel is their exceptional durability. While the whole range is made of aluminum, it is noted by climbers and experts that the nuts show surprisingly little wear, even after abuse. Furthermore, the wires do not kink and seldom fray.

For the range ion size and durability, the Stoppers offer competitive value with similar brands. They function comparatively to the Rocks on a Wire without providing the option of matching color coordination. The durability of the nut somewhat lessens its ability to bite into the rock, compared to the softer metal of the Rocks. However, they are more expensive than the Huevos, which offer similar quality for a lower price.

What makes Black Diamond Stoppers Unique:

  • A curved taper design
    • Fits a variety of placements
    • Provides three points of contact
  • Dual-axis design and stocky construction gives the nut additional security and enables the nut to be placed face on or side on giving more options for placements.
  • Anodized heads are color-coded for easy identification of sizes.
  • Thirteen nuts give this set a large selection of sizes.

Why you Should Choose this Cam Set:

  • Manufactured by a reputable American company.
  • A simple design, they fit a variety of placements but excel on parallel cracks and smooth surfaces.
  • Exceptional durability, the nuts resist wear, while the wires are resistant to kinks and fraying.
  • Their value for cost, durability, simplicity, and broad range make them an excellent choice for the basis of any rack.
  • Easy to clean, their shape also makes finding ideal placements simple.

On Sale
Black Diamond Equipment - Stopper - #1-13 Pro Set
  • Black Diamond Equipment: Designing and constructing the world's best climbing, skiing & mountain gear since 1957

Last update: 2021-05-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Our Value Picks for the Best Climbing Nuts for Trad Climbing Our Value Picks for the Best Climbing Nuts for Trad Climbing

While the wires in this list are all competent tools when it comes to trad climbing, they vary over the cost of the set. For those who feel that nuts are nuts and that any nut will serve its purpose, keeping costs down is the way to go. Here we discuss the nuts that we find are the best bang for your buck.

Cypher Huevos

Formerly called ABC Huevos, these nuts are similar to BD Stoppers in design and function. Like the Stoppers, they feature a curved and tapered design on two axes giving them three points of contact and dual positioning. However, they differ from the stoppers in that they are not as wide. The aluminum nuts, while not the most durable nuts in the list, are relatively durable and will last a long time. Like other nuts of the same design, the larger nuts are constructed with a hollow core to save on weight, whereas the smaller nuts are of solid construction to give them the strength necessary for falls. One trait that sets the Huevos apart from other nuts, excepting the Wedgies, is rounder corners that make cleaning them much more manageable.

The Huevos come thirteen for a full set covering a significant range with enough overlap to avoid gaps in the range. Like the Stoppers, climbers noted that the smaller sizes of the range are far more useful than the larger sizes. In fact, the Huevos cover the smaller ranges well enough that it is necessary to purchase a supplemental set for mini nuts. In contrast to the small nuts, it must be noted that the larger sizes are heavier than is desirable, making placing them somewhat tricky. However the wire is stiff and the nuts tend not to slide around, allowing for precise placements.

The heads are anodized with bright colors for easy identification of sizes while adding additional durability. While the color scheme is not coordinated with any of the major brands, they are coordinated with the Wedgies.

While the Huevos can boast an extensive range in sizes, a facility for cleaning, and durability, they lack in versatility. They are best suited for parallel-sided cracks and untextured surfaces lacking the versatility of the DMM options. Furthermore, they are relatively heavy nuts, making them unsuitable for alpine climbing or those who prefer to shave all the weight they can. On a more positive note, their facility for placement and cleaning make them an excellent starter set.

All in all, the Huevos are comparable with BD Stoppers in form and function, yet they are a fraction of the price. If you’re interested in this particular design, the Huevos will provide everything you need at an excellent cost.

What makes Cypher Huevos Unique:

  • A curved taper design
    • Fits a variety of placements
    • Provides three points of contact
  • Dual-axis design enables the nut to be placed face on or side on giving more options for placements.
  • Anodized heads are color-coded for easy identification of sizes.
  • Thirteen nuts give this set a large selection of sizes.

Why you Should Choose this Cam Set:

  • A simple design, they fit a variety of placements but excel on parallel cracks and smooth surfaces.
  • Their durability, simplicity, and broad range make them an excellent choice for the basis of any rack.
  • Easy to clean, their shape also makes finding ideal placements simple.
  • The cheapest nuts both as singles and as a set.
  • Perfect starter set for beginners.

Cypher Huevo (1-13)
  • Full set weight: 410 grams
  • Alpine set weight: 385 grams
  • Size 1 and 2 are rated body weight only and are generally used for direct aid only

Last update: 2021-05-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Omega Pacific Wedgies

An American company, Omega Pacific Wedgies are identical in every respect to the Cypher Huevos. This similarity is because Omega Pacific manufactures the Huevos for Cypher with the only difference being the branding on the nut. However, when it comes to price, the Huevos come out cheaper than the Wedgies. When buying a set, the Wedgies come with a nut tool and are relatively inexpensive, making them an excellent purchase for beginners.

What makes Omega Pacific Wedgies Unique:

  • A curved taper design
    • Fits a variety of placements
    • Provides three points of contact
  • Dual-axis design enables the nut to be placed face on or side on giving more options for placements.
  • Anodized heads are color-coded for easy identification of sizes.
  • Thirteen nuts give this set a large selection of sizes.

Why you Should Choose this Cam Set:

  • A simple design, they fit a variety of placements but excel on parallel cracks and smooth surfaces.
  • Their durability, simplicity, and extensive range make them an excellent choice for the basis of any rack.
  • Easy to clean, their shape also makes finding ideal placements simple.
  • Cheap nuts both as singles and as a set, right behind Cypher Huevos.
  • A full set comes with a nut tool.
  • Perfect starter set for beginners

Omega Pacific Wedgies Nut, 11
  • Range: 19.81mm-25.65mm
  • Rated Strength: 10kN
  • Tapered Wedge for Maximum Placement Opportunities

Last update: 2021-05-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


What are Micro Nuts and When to Use Them

While most sets of nuts come with a decent selection of small nuts, sometimes you need something even smaller than what is offered in a standard set. For these instances, manufacturers offer micro nut sets. These nuts are made for placements that are much smaller than the average.

Micro nuts are simple in design, following the straight tapered design on the whole. However, tapered offsets are available, such as the DMM Micro Offsets.

While the materials vary somewhat, they are by and large made of a soft medium, to bite into the rock and give better purchase.

Primarily used for aid climbing—they are usually only rated for direct aid—however, some climbers choose to take a few on all their routes.

How to Choose the Best Climbing Stoppers for You

The most essential factor in choosing the best of any equipment for climbing is always the same. Go out and try it! There is no substitution for real-life application. In reality, anyone getting into trad climbing should spend some time as a second, cleaning routes on the way up. This is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the equipment and determine the best stoppers for you.

That being said, choosing the best climbing nuts for you depends on a few factors.

Skill Level: are you a beginner or are you experienced. If you are an experienced climber, you probably know what you are looking for and only need the technical specs to choose. For a beginner, you may want to choose a set that will make learning an easy process.

Placement/Cleaning: if cleaning and placing gear easily is important to you, choose a nut that follows the curved tapered design such as the BD Stoppers.

Location: consider the needs for the environment you will be climbing in. The best way to determine this is to go to your local crag and see what the climbers there are using.

Type of Climbing: the type of climbing you will be doing will significantly influence the nuts you will need. Many nuts used for aid climbing will not work for free climbing as they are made to hold body weight but not falls.

Key Differences of Climbing Nuts

All climbing nuts function on the same principle: a wedge-shaped material with a wire running through it is placed in a constriction where the downward force will be distributed outward. Where they differ is in execution.

Design: There are three main design differences.

  • Straight Taper: the oldest design, the straight taper is a basic wedge shape. This design is not used by many manufacturers. This is due to the inherent characteristics of the wedge provide only two points of contact in any crack that does not precisely fit the angle of the taper, limiting surface contact. This design is especially weak in irregular placements and textured surfaces. It is, however, the most straightforward design to clean.
  • Curved Taper: the most common design employed by manufacturers today. The curved taper is, in essence, a wedge bent to give it a curve. This design allows the nut to have three points of contact providing superior stability in placements while also allowing the nut to cam into the surface in parallel cracks. Furthermore, the curve of the nut facilitates use in irregular and highly textured rock. Harder to clean than the straight taper, they are easier than offset tapers.
  • Offset Taper: the newest design, the offset taper is formed as a curved tapered nut with a significant taper across the face. This offset taper enables the nut to be used in placements where other nuts cannot be placed or only perform marginally. They are useful for pin scars as well as flared cracks but can be used for almost any placement. While they are useful in certain situations, they are the hardest design to clean as they cannot be removed by pulling upward. Instead, they are best removed by way of a nut tool.

Material: the primary material used for nut construction is aircraft-grade aluminum. Within this material category, different alloys are employed to varying effect. For example within the DMM Wallnut set, larger nuts are made of a softer alloy to allow them to better bit into the rock, whereas the smaller nuts are constructed for a harder alloy to prevent shearing. Other materials used are copper, brass, and bronze, although they are used mainly for micro stoppers and small offsets. While they can be used for trad free climbs, they are primarily designed for direct aid.

Durability: the durability of a nut depends primarily on two things. First, the material of which the nut is constructed. The softer the material, the faster the nut will wear out. And secondly, on the cable that is used for the wire. On nuts that cannot rotate, the stresses from the bending of the wire may cause them to fray. Furthermore, when the wire is glued into the nut, this further increases the likelihood of kinked cables.

Orientation Options: while most nuts are designed to have at least two axes on which to orient the nut, some are designed in a way to increase the usability of the nut further. A wider face gives the nut more options for placement.

What To Consider When Buying Climbing Nuts

When it comes time to buy a set of climbing nuts or even a single nut for that matter, there are two things to consider that will help you find the right nut for you.

Location: the first and most important consideration, location will almost certainly determine the nuts you will need. If you are buying a set of nuts that will function well in most environments, you may need to invest some money in a more versatile product such as the DMM Wallnuts. While they work exceptionally well in textured environments, their design means they will function admirably in smooth as well. However, if you are climbing in a specific location, you may choose to buy nuts that will perform better in that environment.

  • Smooth parallel cracks: the best nuts for this type of terrain would be the BD Stoppers or a similar product.
  • Flared cracks: the best nuts for these features are the DMM Alloy Offsets.
  • Pin Scars/Highly textured surfaces: in areas with many pin scars, the DMM Walnuts function well. However, there are several options for micro nuts that will serve as well.

Complete Set: for those who are just getting into climbing, a brand that offers a full set is a great way to save money. Generally speaking, the larger the set, the better as there are more options for placements. Wild Country Rocks on a Wire take the award for the largest number of nuts in a set with fourteen nuts. They are closely followed by BD Stoppers, Cypher Huevos, and Omega Pacific Wedgies each with thirteen. The Wedgies, however, include a nut tool in the set, a feature not offered with any other set.

Summary of the Best Climbing Nuts

Wrapping everything up, here are the climbing nuts we went over today:

Our Top Runner Up
Wild Country SL Offset Skirt 5-10.
Our Top Value Pick
Cypher Huevo (1-13)
Climbing Nuts for Trad Climbing
Wild Country Rocks
Cypher Huevos
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Runner Up
Wild Country SL Offset Skirt 5-10.
Climbing Nuts for Trad Climbing
Wild Country Rocks
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Value Pick
Cypher Huevo (1-13)
Climbing Nuts for Trad Climbing
Cypher Huevos
Prime Eligible?
-

Last update: 2021-05-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

While there are several options to choose from, the truth is that most brands you encounter will work well and fulfill your needs. If you need to buy a set and are not sure, then a cost-effective set of the Cypher Huevos will get you started. After gaining some real-world experience, a second more expensive set can be bought to supplement The Huevos. If you have the money and you’re looking to buy a new set or double up, you can’t go wrong with the favorite DMM Wallnut or the DMM Alloy Offset. For each situation you encounter, there is a solution. By following the selection we outlined in this article, you can be sure of finding the best climbing nuts for trad climbing.

Ultimately, the best way to truly know what the right nut set for you is to go out and try them for yourself at your local outdoor store or by sampling your friends’ gear. Find some climbers and hit crag. And as always have fun!

Did you find this helpful? Then check out our other climbing gear reviews here.

Here are some to help you out:

> Best Climbing Carabiner

> Best Sport Climbing Rope

> Best Rope Bag for Climbing

> Best Rock Climbing Pulleys

> Best Belay Devices

> Best Cam Set for Trad Climbing

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