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CAMP USA Pro Nut Review

A solid nut that's easy to clean and performs well in more parallel sized crack, but isn't quite a versatile stand-alone set
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Price:  $80 List
Pros:  The easiest to clean, two placement orientations adding versatility, price is nice, ribbed faces can increase purchase on more textured rock
Cons:  Set includes the most common but not all sizes, cables kink, don't work as well in flared cracks
Manufacturer:   CAMP USA
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 6, 2020
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Our Verdict

The CAMP Pro Nuts are a new take on an old design. They've taken a classic curved nut with a moderate taper and a trapezoidal head and added grooves and ribs to the main face for a better bite. We didn't find the ribs to help significantly, but they certainly don't detract from the Pro Nut's holding power. In really featured rock, they might provide a slightly better bite. These nuts offer even more curve than most, helping make them one of the most stable we tested. Their rounded heads also make them the easiest model to clean. Their cables are a slightly lower gauge than many other options on the market, offering both pros and cons. They're lighter and more flexible, and so less likely to pull out from rope drag while you are leading a pitch. However, they're also marginally more prone to getting kinked than thicker cables. Lastly, their size run includes seven pieces. While it certainly includes the most commonly used sizes (and is great for alpine climbing or to complement other nuts you might already have on your rack), it might be a little lacking for an all-around trad rack on its own.

Our Analysis and Test Results

A great complement to existing nuts you may already have on your rack or for use is an alpine set. This set is produced in the most commonly used sizes but lacks any of the larger and smaller (less frequently used) dimensions that make it difficult for them to be a stand-alone all-purpose set. However, for the sizes available, our review team loves the Pro Nut's greater-than-average curve that extenuates the three points of contact, even in more heavily featured rock, and more rounded heads which makes them some of the easiest to clean.

Performance Comparison


The Pro Nut is versatile  solid and notably easy to clean. The seven sizes they are made in are no doubt the most useful sizes  but aren't quite enough to be a stand-alone set. Rather  they're perfect for an alpine set or as a complement to an existing rack that will work most of the time but not all the time.
The Pro Nut is versatile, solid and notably easy to clean. The seven sizes they are made in are no doubt the most useful sizes, but aren't quite enough to be a stand-alone set. Rather, they're perfect for an alpine set or as a complement to an existing rack that will work most of the time but not all the time.

Flares and Pin Scars


Small cams have gotten notably better, and now more climbers lean toward carrying and using this type of protection more. Even climbers who learned in the "Old School," which relied heavily on passive protection, have mostly switched over to placing more cams than nuts on any given route. However, nuts still make up an important part of any climber's rack.

The unique profile of the Pro Nut: they have more curvature than most other curved nuts (which makes them more stable in more parallel cracks by maintaining three points of contact) and a ribbed face. While these design aspects offer several advantages we found this model below average compared to offset ones in pin scars or other small flares.
The unique profile of the Pro Nut: they have more curvature than most other curved nuts (which makes them more stable in more parallel cracks by maintaining three points of contact) and a ribbed face. While these design aspects offer several advantages we found this model below average compared to offset ones in pin scars or other small flares.

It's because of this switch that we rate a nut's performance in flares and pins scars higher than other metrics - most climbers tend to place cams first and only try nuts when they can't make the cam fit. And where cams don't fit well are in pin scars and small flares, but nuts work like a charm. This also a major reason why more-and-more companies are producing offset models to fit these types of cracks specially. Offset models absolutely perform much better in these types of cracks. All of these models are specifically designed to fit in funky flares and older pin scars where cams work poorly or not at all. Overall, the CAMP Pro Nut is a little on the mediocre side in pin scars where its trapezoidal shape with heavily rounded edges offers limited surface contact — the foundation of any piece of passive protection's strength. In cracks with a lot of flaring pods, you will need to find the most parallel portion of the crack to make nuts without any offset work. While we like many things about the Pro Nut's performance, its ability to handle slightly flaring and pin scared cracks isn't really one of them.

You can see in this photo how the Pro Nut tends to have less surface area in contact with the rock when placed in more flaring pods and pin scars.
You can see in this photo how the Pro Nut tends to have less surface area in contact with the rock when placed in more flaring pods and pin scars.

More Parallel-Sided Cracks


It's worth noting that in this metric, no nut or stopper is truly very good in properly parallel-sided cracks - this is where spring-loaded camming devices are best. In our review, we compared each model's performance in more parallel-sided cracks, but they still had some taper for it to work.

In more parallel sided cracks these things were bomber. Their dramatic cruve proved super stable and their slightly greater-than-average taper helped them to seat nicely.
In more parallel sided cracks these things were bomber. Their dramatic cruve proved super stable and their slightly greater-than-average taper helped them to seat nicely.

These have the most curve of any chock we tested, as well as the most taper from the thickness of the upper portion of the nut to the lower portion, which helps make sure to maintain three points of contact for increased stability. Even compared to the Black Diamond Stopper or Cypher Huevos, the Pro Nut has noticeably more curve and preformed better in more parallel-sided cracks.

Performance in Featured Rock

We found these to be one of the better overall models for use in heavily textured or large-grained rock. This is mostly because of the larger-the-average curve on the backside that helps maintain three solid points of contact while allowing for clearance in the middle that can otherwise weaken the placement. We think these are right up there with the DMM Wallnuts as the best overall in rougher rock types with the DMM Alloy Offsets close behind. Compared to other curved nuts, these are better than the Black Diamond Stopper or Cypher Huevo in more featured rock types, and if you commonly climb this type of stone, we think it's worth it to spend a little more money for a nut that works better.

We didn't think the ribbed faces did a lot  but they certainly didn't hurt. We think the time when they could help the most is when these nuts are placed in more textured rock types to give a little more "bite". Otherwise  the greater-than-average curvature assisted when using these in more textured rock types and they scored among the best in our review.
We didn't think the ribbed faces did a lot, but they certainly didn't hurt. We think the time when they could help the most is when these nuts are placed in more textured rock types to give a little more "bite". Otherwise, the greater-than-average curvature assisted when using these in more textured rock types and they scored among the best in our review.

Ease of Cleaning


Even though the Pro Nut has some of the least trapezoidal shapes of any of the classically tapered nuts, they're actually among the easiest overall to clean. This is due to two design aspects. The first is the amount of taper from bottom to top makes them easier to "back out" even when firmly "set." The other is how rounded all the edges are. This makes loosening them from tighter spots easier than other models like the Black Diamond Stopper or Cypher Huevos.

We found the heads of these nuts quite durable and the ribs haven't deformed even after extended heavy use. The one thing our testers do not like is the low gauge cables  which makes them more flexible and less likely to get pulled out on their own due to rope drag  but is also more prone to getting kinked if you repeatedly yank upwards on the cable to clean them.
We found the heads of these nuts quite durable and the ribs haven't deformed even after extended heavy use. The one thing our testers do not like is the low gauge cables, which makes them more flexible and less likely to get pulled out on their own due to rope drag, but is also more prone to getting kinked if you repeatedly yank upwards on the cable to clean them.

Durability


After extensive use, we found the heads of the Pro Nuts hold up pretty well, offering at least average overall durability. The ribs on the face of the nut hold their shape even with pretty rugged use and don't deform. One very small negative we discovered about this model's overall durability has to do with its slightly lighter weight cable. The cable isn't WAY lighter, but it is noticeable and has some advantages. One big advantage is that the wire is much more flexible, making it less likely the piece will pop out as a result of rope drag. However, the slightly less-stiff cable is slightly more prone to kinking than other models. It isn't like you are going to wreck them while yanking the draw up to clean them, but they do get bent faster than other models with thicker cables.

All the nuts we tested can be used in two orientations but the CAMP model proved the best for its ability and stability to be placed along its less common axis. We think this is one more reason they make a particularly great nut for alpine climbing because you can frequently get away with more potential placements with fewer pieces.
All the nuts we tested can be used in two orientations but the CAMP model proved the best for its ability and stability to be placed along its less common axis. We think this is one more reason they make a particularly great nut for alpine climbing because you can frequently get away with more potential placements with fewer pieces.

Versatility and Use in Other Orientations


Like most of the nuts in our review, the Pro Nut can be placed in two different orientations. However, unlike a lot of the other classicly tapered (not offset) models, the Pro Nuts don't have much of a trapezoidal shape. This helps them to be placed in either direction - face in or face out - with more or less the same effectiveness. They also have a little more taper than most in their secondary direction, which gives them great bite as long as the crack is tapered enough to hold it.

While they are slightly more expensive than average  we think it's justified as they offer enough unique advantages.
While they are slightly more expensive than average, we think it's justified as they offer enough unique advantages.

Value


The Pro Nuts are slightly above average price among models we tested. They're a bit more expensive than Black Diamond Stoppers and Cypher Huevos, which are both a better deal for a similar-style nut. However, they aren't too much more, and for an alpine set of nuts, or some different sizes to complement nuts and stoppers you might already own, they fit in nicely.

Different enough from most other models  they make the perfect complement to almost any piece on an existing rack or as an alpine rack on their own.
Different enough from most other models, they make the perfect complement to almost any piece on an existing rack or as an alpine rack on their own.

Conclusion


The CAMP Pro Nuts are produced in the most commonly used sizes that, because of their greater-than-average curve and rounded edges, give them excellent bite, stability, and makes them easy to clean compared to most others. While their size run means they aren't quite a stand-alone set, they offer enough advantages for use as an alpine set or to complement other nuts already on your rack.

Ian Nicholson