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Wild Country Pro Key Review

If you drop things all the time, you should consider this nut tool
Wild Country Pro Key
Photo: Amazon
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Price:  $18 List | $17.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfort, built-in biner, comes with keeper leash, price, cleaning ability
Cons:  Slightly on the heavier side
Manufacturer:   Wild Country
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 23, 2021
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 5
  • Nut Cleaning - 35% 9
  • Cam Cleaning - 25% 6
  • Ease of use - 20% 8
  • Durability - 10% 8
  • Weight - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The Wild Country Pro Key is a unique tool that features an extendable leash to keep ol' butterfingers from launching it down the Zodiac (a clean fall, all the way to the ground). Warmly embraced by some testers, reviled by others, the keeper cord sets this tool apart, but the WC Pro Key also shares some similar characteristics with our favorite nut tool, the Metolius Torque.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Wild Country Pro Key
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $17.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
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$18.95 at Backcountry
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$12.00 List
$13.95 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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91
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69
Star Rating
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Pros Comfort, built-in biner, comes with keeper leash, price, cleaning abilityBest tool for thin crack nut extrication, ComfortableLarge gate on the connector biner, toughLightest nut toolInexpensive, tough
Cons Slightly on the heavier sideExpensive, relatively heavyOn the pricey endExpensive, not very durableRelatively heavy, requires an additional carabiner to attach to harness
Bottom Line If you drop things all the time, you should consider this nut toolA simple, classic design that is a jack of all tradesYou can't go wrong with this simple and lightweight nut toolThis ultra-lightweight tool is great for big missions where every ounce countsThis basic tool is up to the task even if you're short on cash
Rating Categories Wild Country Pro Key Metolius Torque Black Diamond Wiregate Metolius Feather CAMP USA Nut Tool
Nut Cleaning (35%)
9.0
10.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Cam Cleaning (25%)
6.0
10.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Ease Of Use (20%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
Weight (10%)
5.0
8.0
9.0
10.0
7.0
Specs Wild Country Pro Key Metolius Torque Black Diamond Wiregate Metolius Feather CAMP USA Nut Tool
Weight 3.84 oz 2.30 oz 1.62 oz 0.74 oz 2.64 oz
Length 20.5 cm 20.5 cm 20.5 cm 20.5 cm 20.5 cm
Leash Yes No No No No
Clip-in Biner Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Rounded End Yes Yes Yes Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Pro Key is in the rankings alongside the BD Nut Tool and the Metolius Torque. All three of these tools feature their own clip-in biner, a blunted handle, and a curved hook. The Pro Key, however, is the only one with a keeper cord.

Performance Comparison


This tool is a bit shorter than the Metolious torque by about a...
This tool is a bit shorter than the Metolious torque by about a half-inch.
Photo: Matt Bento

Nut Cleaning


This tool does its main job well. The blunted end makes for a (somewhat) comfortable place to hit the nuts out with your palm.

The palm guard makes hitting stuck stoppers slightly more ergonomic.
The palm guard makes hitting stuck stoppers slightly more ergonomic.
Photo: Matt Bento

Cam Cleaning


The Pro Key's business end is hooked for snagging cam triggers if the cams have walked too far into the crack to reach with your hand. The steel won't bend or break when you're prying at cam lobes in granite and can bash a cam out of sandstone. Be careful as popular sandstone routes are becoming damaged (crack getting podded out and even changing sizes

Here we use two tools (the pro key in front) to free a cam that's...
Here we use two tools (the pro key in front) to free a cam that's walked far into a back of a crack.
Photo: Matt Bento

Ease of Handling


The Pro Key has its own clip-in biner, plus an additional attachment point for the extendable cord. In the ideal scenario, the second, pumped silly from hanging on by a measly finger-lock while he hopelessly tries to free a stuck nut without blowing the onsight, drops the nut tool so he can switch hands. The tool is caught by the extendable cord. Awesome! In practice, we find ourselves hanging from the rope more often than not when freeing stuck gear. In the case of a stuck cam, you really need to take your time, since bashing and thrashing with reckless abandon can get a cam even more entrapped. The cord coils up tightly and doesn't hang very low off the harness, but it can become clipped to other gear on your harness. All new aid climbers have experienced the madness of tangled daisy chains, ladders, and fifi hooks hooked where they were never meant to be. Do you really need another hindrance? Our testers are mainly free climbers in the sunny Sierra, and they say no.

The keeper cord makes it so you can't accidentally drop the nut tool.
The keeper cord makes it so you can't accidentally drop the nut tool.
Photo: Matt Bento

One more item of note, the end of the Pro Key is sharp, like sharp enough to puncture your tender thighs if you took a fall in the wrong way. We haven't heard of this ever happening to anyone, but it's something to consider for sure.

The hooked head is concerningly pointy.
The hooked head is concerningly pointy.
Photo: Matt Bento

Durability


This tool is constructed of steel. Bash it, thrash it, throw it off the mountain (don't actually), this little guy will just keep on kickin'.

You might notice the Pro Key is on your harness if the keeper cord...
You might notice the Pro Key is on your harness if the keeper cord snags on something.
Photo: Matt Bento

Weight


The Pro Key tips our scale at 3.84 ounces with the cord attached. It's not as light and fast as the 0.75-ounce Metolius Feather, but surely more durable. If you dig the Pro Key but not the cord, you can purchase it without the cord. The cord is attached to the tool via a swage, so you can't just take it off and put it back on as you like.

The keeper cord adds some weight to the whole package.
The keeper cord adds some weight to the whole package.
Photo: Matt Bento

Value


For under twenty bucks, you get the nut tool plus the keeper cord. Maybe the keeper cord will really save you some money if you've been dropping your nut tool all the time.

Conclusion


The Pro Key has all the key features we like to see in a good nut tool; durability, its own clip-in biner, and a hefty bashing surface on the end. If you're psyched on the keeper cord, don't hesitate to go with the pro key.

Matt Bento

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