One of the first pieces of climbing equipment a new trad climber needs to buy is a nut tool. Beginner trad climbers need nut tools because they will (hopefully) be following a lot of trad climbing routes, learning from a more experienced leader.
Following trad involves cleaning trad gear, which requires a nut tool. Luckily for people interested in learning to trad climb, nut tools are cheap. In fact, if you are really on a budget, you could use a stick or a butter knife as an improvised nut tool! Really, anything long and thin would work.
But since nut tools from real climbing companies manufacturers like DMM, Metolius, and Black Diamond only cost $10-$30, it’s probably better to buy a real nut tool, in our opinion.
Check out some of your options, below:
Metolius Torque Nut Tool
- Price: $15
- Pros: Sturdy, basic, can be used to tighten bolts
- Cons: No keeper cord, a bit heavy
- Buy on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2zMGBuU
Metolius Feather Nut Tool
- Price: $18
- Pros: Ultralight, slim profile, built-in clip
- Cons: No wrench, no keeper cord, bit flimsy
- Buy on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2LjtnfN
Black Diamond Nut Tool
- Price: $18
- Pros: Light, basic
- Cons: No wrench, no keeper cord
- Buy on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NMEQ9i
Wild Country Pro Nut Key
- Price: $20
- Pros: Light, Keeper cord means you won’t drop it accidentally
- Cons: Most expensive
- Buy on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZJvwVR
Trango Shark Nut Tool With Knife
- Price: $24
- Pros: Contains an attached knife for emergency situations, looks like a shark
- Cons: Expensive, be careful not to cut yourself on the knife.
- Buy on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZFBuLx
Our Take on Nut Tools
Most of the nut tools above are completely interchangeable. The simple fact is: they will all work for their main job of removing stuck stoppers. Sme of the extra features can be cool, but the main reason you will buy a nut tool for tra climbing is to remove nuts. Any nut tool on the market will work.
If we had to choose one nut tool to recommend to beginners, it would be the Wild Country Nut Tool. The Wild Country tool is great because it has a built-in bungie cord. In our experience, beginner trad followers are often scared of dropping the nut tool, and resort to awkward techniques like tying a dyneema sling or prussic cord to the nut tool. The Wild Country bungie is a much more elegant solution to this problem — it will surely save you from a dropped nut tool sooner rather than later.
Best Nut Tool For Experienced Trad Climbers:
The knife on the Trango Shark Nut Key is a nice option for more experienced climbers looking to head into the mountains — but as a beginner, you should not end up in any situations where you will need that knife. You’re more likely to accidentally injure yourself than do anything cool with it.
Nut Tool Tricks
Your nut tool is good for a few things other than removing stuck stoppers. A few other things you can try:
- Use the nut tool to pull the triggers on cams which have walked in too deep to be removed using your fingers
- Use the nut tool to try and pry stuck cam lobes loose
- Use the nut tool to spread peanut butter on your toast in the morning
- Always rack your nut tool with the pointy end FACING OUT, or it will end up painfully stabbing you in the thigh