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Trad climbing rack - what's on it?

Updated: Feb 2, 2020

Go in to V12 or any other quality climbing shop and you’ll be hit by vast amounts of climbing kit of all different shapes, sizes and colours. Much of it will be different brands versions of stuff from locally made quality DMM kit to lovely US made Black Diamond stuff to name just two.

But what do you need?

That’s a very good question that will elicit all sorts of answers from all sorts of people. The experienced amongst us carry what we carry because we’ve learnt through experience and refined what we carry, which for the most part will be pretty similar, but we all have our little nuances!


DMM Wallnuts 1-11 and another set 1-7. 1,1,2,2,3,4 on one DMM Phantom snapper, 3,4,5,5,6,7 on another and 6,7,8,9,10,11 on another – all colour coded

DMM Offsets 7-11 on their own DMM Phantom snapper


DMM Dragons 0-5 (silver -blue), each on their own colour coded DMM Phantom snappers

Quickdraws, 12 x DMM Phantom ‘draws, 2x15cm – 2x18cm – 4x25cm – 4x60cm (sling draws)

Screwgates, One big DMM Boa HMS that’ll take some clove hitches when building a belay, one DMM Sentinal, a mini HMS, that’s a good general purpose SG, One DMM Phantom small SG.

Slings, 3x120cm DMM 8mm each on a DMM Phantom snapper, 1x240cm DMM 8mm, on a DMM Phantom snapper

The other bits Belay plate – BD ATC Guide on a DMM Sentinal SG

Nut key – DMM Nut Buster on a DMM Phantom snapper, plus a piece of cord so I can attach it to be while I’m persuading a nut out of a tricky spot

Prussiks – Two, one 5mm, one 6mm, both made up of cord approx 150cm tied with a double fishermans and on a DMM Phantom snapper

What no hexes?!

Personally no, however when you’re first starting out they a great bit of kit to have – I have a set of 4 DMM Torque Nuts for work. In personal climbing I’ll carry them only if I think the route really suits them (Ruckle in Swanage for example).

Why all Wallnuts and not have the second set a different brand? That would be a good idea for sure, I just find Wallnuts work for me, but worth checking out Wild Country Rocks or Black Diamond Stoppers.

Are Dragons the best cam out there? Maybe! They are absolutely ace, the extendable sling is quality, I love double axle cams, they feel nice to use and they feel solid in a good placement. I have a set of BD Camalots too, they’re lovely… I haven’t used the Wild Country cams much, but I don’t really like the feel – that said they have their fans and are still a quality piece of kit.

What grade will this rack be good for?

A lot! E1 and above I might add two smaller cams (a Totem Basic Blue and Green) and if it’s a long pitch (like the 40m E2 Left Wall) I might add a couple more ‘draws. For some routes I’ll add a set of brass micro wires too – DMM IMPs and Offsets, on their own snapper.

For Gogarth I might complete the second set of nuts to 11. You might even add bigger cams, if you’re into wide cracks – I’m not!

Sounds like overkill for a route at Stanage? Well yes, it probably is! This rack wouldn’t leave you lacking in many places so a short grit route might mean you carry one set of nuts and 6 draws, like wise Kubla Khan, a great E4 on the slate, won’t require this much gear (one bolt, a metal spike and a couple of manky nut placements!)

Experience helps you make those calls.

You seem to like DMM Phantoms? Yep, they’re nice and light and I’m weak! They are small karabiners, and some people find them tricky to handle, if they feel too small try the DMM Spectres.

Hope that helps, get in touch if you’ve got any questions and most importantly, Happy Trad Climbing!

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