Trad Rack


Original Post
Nicole K · · SD · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

Interested in starting to build a trad rack.  What are peoples preferences?  Cams/nuts/hexes - love, hate, features that are nice to have, weights of the gear, things to look for in gear, feelings on used gear, etc! and finally, how does everyone like to carry their gear?  I tried a sling and it felt cumbersome and unorganized.  If you are selling, feel free to post as well - pitch me why its a great item/great deal, and if you dare be honest in why your selling it!  Thanks in advance for any advice! 

nathanael · · Riverside, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 307

Buy used here on MP

Start w/ 1x set of cams .3-3 and 1 set of nuts. 6-8 slings to convert your old quick draws to alpine draws, 8-10mm dyneema ones

later add a second set of cams

that is all

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20
Nathanael wrote:

Buy used here on MP

Start w/ 1x set of cams .3-3 and 1 set of nuts. 6-8 slings to convert your old quick draws to alpine draws, 8-10mm dyneema ones

later add a second set of cams

that is all

The cam size Nathanael is giving is for the Black Diamond camalots, and that range is really what you need to get started. I really like DMM offset nuts. You'll see plenty of old school people talk about how they used to use just nuts, but they also had insane runouts. Nuts are really solid and a well placed nut is about as good as it gets, but cams are so integral to trad climbing now that you gotta have them to really get in to it. There are always people on here selling cams. Just have some money ready and watch the board because decent cams always go fast. Backcountry.com also tends to do a couple of good sales every year where you can get a good sale price on new. 

mark felber · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 28

What Nathanael said, plus at least one really long length of sling or perlon for building anchors, like this: 

 https://www.rei.com/product/830935/mammut-contact-sling-dyneema-cordelette-80

I carry the pieces on a shoulder sling and the slings are made into alpine draws and on my harness. Putting everything on a shoulder sling or on your harness is cumbersome, like you said. Racking the cams on matching color carabiners makes picking the right cam a lot easier.

Nicole K · · SD · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

so when looking at used cams/gear, what things are good to inspect, things to be careful of,etc?  


Nicole K · · SD · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

and is there significant differences in weight etc?  

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20
Kirsten Kimbler wrote:

so when looking at used cams/gear, what things are good to inspect, things to be careful of,etc?  


Slings (including slings on cams) shouldn't look to fuzzy or worn in any one spot. Cams, you want to check for bent main cable or trigger wires. Both of which can sometimes be remedied, but you gotta know what you're getting. Also with cams if you're able to handle them, you want a smooth trigger action without the lobes or trigger getting stuck anywhere in the up or down motion. Nuts you really just need to check the wires to make sure they are in good condition, though they are usually pretty bomb proof. Carabiners all should be free of burs or sharp edges. Locking carabiners you want to make sure the screwgate is smooth. Again, there are things you can do to fix this, but it can be a bummer to buy some screwgates only to find that they are full of sand and hard to open and close. 

Firestone · · California · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 509

Every rack is going to be different depending where you climb and your climbing style

I usually carry a full set of BD nuts and cams .3-1

My friend carries a full set of BD nuts and a set of Wild Country Rockcentrics with a few tricams mixed in and we climb the same stuff

My favorite belay devices are the grigri and megajul

My friends rack is noticably lighter because the Rockcentrics are lighter than my cams, but with new ultralight technology that most companies are using, cams are not that heavy.

You will save the most weight by buying wiregate carabiners over solid gates. 

If I were buying my first rack I would invest the most money in a comfortable harness.

Cameron Saul · · San Francisco · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 10

+1 to everything Nathanael (sp?) said.  As to brand, Black Diamond C4s are probably most common, solid workhorse.  Other cams are great too.  I personally love Totems and think they do better on granite for the sizes they cover, but YMMV.   

Tom Powell · · Rawlins, Wyoming · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

Some good advice here. Personally I would avoid getting a set of offset nuts/stoppers (or anything offset) for a first set. Get these as a second or third set later if you see a need. I use ABC (now Cypher) stoppers they are similar to the BD (in respect to shape and size not color) but cost less. Get a set of cams covering a 1/2 inch to the 3 inches. My advice would be to climb with a few different people and try out their gear. Black Diamond makes some good cams but DMM and Metolius also make some good gear. I would recommend trying out some different brands and finding out what you like. I have a set of BD from .3-4 and Metolius covering from 1-8. I like having two different designs and ranges that fill in the gaps between sizes or that will work better in different situations. Ultimately your rack will reflect how and where you climb.

Also I rack on my harness, and I won't buy used gear. I know many do it's just not what I do. If I did I would have cams reslung before using.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20
Tom Powell wrote:

Some good advice here. Personally I would avoid getting a set of offset nuts/stoppers (or anything offset) for a first set. Get these as a second or third set later if you see a need. I use ABC (now Cypher) stoppers they are similar to the BD (in respect to shape and size not color) but cost less. Get a set of cams covering a 1/2 inch to the 3 inches. My advice would be to climb with a few different people and try out their gear. Black Diamond makes some good cams but DMM and Metolius also make some good gear. I would recommend trying out some different brands and finding out what you like. I have a set of BD from .3-4 and Metolius covering from 1-8. I like having two different designs and ranges that fill in the gaps between sizes or that will work better in different situations. Ultimately your rack will reflect how and where you climb.

Also I rack on my harness, and I won't buy used gear. I know many do it's just not what I do. If I did I would have cams reslung before using.

I've never really put offset stoppers in the same category as offset cams. I just find the DMM offset stoppers to fit in more places that anything else. Not like offset cams that can be kind of particular about where you place them. I would never recommend offsets as a first or even second set of cams, but nuts yes!

K-Tanz · · Phoenix, AZ · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 205

Someone is selling a very much complete starter rack here on MP right meow

Rack For Sale

Timothy Carlson · · Flagstaff, AZ · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

As others have said, BD C4s are considered the standard in cams. Start with a set from .5-3, but also try out other brands like metolius. I have found that metolius cams complement BD sizes very well, and have picked up a few to fill in the gaps between BD cams.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20
Timothy Carlson wrote:

As others have said, BD C4s are considered the standard in cams. Start with a set from .5-3, but also try out other brands like metolius. I have found that metolius cams complement BD sizes very well, and have picked up a few to fill in the gaps between BD cams.

The new ultralight Metolius Mastercams are pretty sweet. 

Zachary Winters · · Mazama, Washington · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 103

Think about what rack you'll eventually want, and work towards it incrementally. I would recommend getting a set of med-large cams, then a set of small cams, then eventually doubling each. For example:

- start with: BD .5-3, a set of nuts #4-11, and a few alpine draws to compliment your sport draws.

- then some small cams: ie Totem Basics Blue through Red

- Double your set of BD cams

- Double your set of small cams

I'd definitely recommend getting a complete set of small cams of two different styles (Totem Basics and X4s, Mastercams and C3s, etc.)

This isn't as important in the hand sizes (bigger than 0.75BD), but if you like variety go for it.

Also try to check out what gear you'll want for your favorite areas. If alpine, consider sub 30g biners. If Indian Creek, focus on BD #1-3 to start, etc.

Used is fine, but if it looks like mank, it's probably mank. Ask your local shop if they'll give ya a good deal if you buy a ton of cams.

Cheers

garrett knorr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 55

Ask your friends who climb around your area what their racks look like for an idea on what to buy.  

Learn how to place nuts well and don't just rely on Cams. Nut placement is possibly the best technique to have. 

I'd suggest that if you know you will enjoy trad climbing, to buy Cams new because they will last a while longer. You will also be less concerned about retiring it over time because you know exactly what it has been through. Nuts, they're dead simple, buy them used on here for a good deal.

I'll probably get a lot of crap for this but Hexes still have a function in some racks. If you plan on climbing long alpine rock with full 50m pitches hexes can help to bulk out your rack for incredibly cheap. For the price of one cam you can get a set of hexes. No one ever wants to be fussing with hexes pumped out on a hard climb at their limit but if it's a long decently easy climb, hexes are nice so you can save your cams and extend your pitches. 

Cameron Saul · · San Francisco · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 10
Jason4Too · · Bellingham, Washington · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

I'm a fan of the DMM Wallnuts over the BD nuts and have full sets of both in my bucket of gear.  I'll reach for the DMMs everytime and sometimes a half set of offsets.  I haven't justified the cost of the small brass offsets yet.

In contrast to some of the advice above, I find myself using small cams a lot more than I expected to.  I just bought seconds in the 0.1 and 0.2 X4s because I can find little places to put them that don't take away crack space where my fingers fit.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20
Jason4Too wrote:

I'm a fan of the DMM Wallnuts over the BD nuts and have full sets of both in my bucket of gear.  I'll reach for the DMMs everytime and sometimes a half set of offsets.  I haven't justified the cost of the small brass offsets yet.

In contrast to some of the advice above, I find myself using small cams a lot more than I expected to.  I just bought seconds in the 0.1 and 0.2 X4s because I can find little places to put them that don't take away crack space where my fingers fit.

This is one of those area specific things, where it's really helpful to get to know the routes in your area and talk to friends before you buy gear. My rack tends to be heavier on finger-hand size stuff for trad. I did splurge on the brass offsets for aid climbing because I use them a lot, but geez are they expensive. 

DanielJames · · Chicago · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 95

I'll also throw myself onto the support of DMM wallnuts and offset nuts. I admittedly am more prone to using passive placements but I think having the offsets in addition to your primary set of nuts is a really great addition.  Like others said, there are many times when nothing else fits as well, and I've had my share of falls where I was extremely happy to have had offsets to place.

What size range of cams will depend on your crag, but what people have said is the most universal probably.

I'll probably get a lot of crap for this but Hexes still have a function in some racks.

I 100% agree with this.  It will be crag dependent to some degree of course, but in saving weight and money hexes can go a long way, particularly on long routes with placements of similar sizes.  I've used the DMM torque nuts and found them to work very well, particularly for active horizontal placements, but have since been using BD's hexentrics and they've also served me well (at a greater range of sizes as well).

Derrick Keene · · Kentucky · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 90

You may want to also consider checking with some local trad climbers to see what setup is best for the area you are climbing in.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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