Photo: Matt Richter

In our efforts to establish new ways of creating community-driven content, we recently asked our users to share what’s on their rack. Much to our surprise, some of you really happen to dig pink Tricams—while less surprisingly, just about every one of you (including us) loves the #1 Camalot C4

As follows is a full summary and analysis of the gear preferences for trad climbers in the Moja Gear community. Enjoy.


Background of survey

We sourced this data from a survey distributed in our Weekly Beta climbing newsletter, sent to 2,694 recipients on Thursday, 2/18/2016. Statistics from our email provider tell us that 803 individuals opened the email.

We know that only a fraction of our newsletter recipients are trad climbers—our intended respondent—and from the one email mention we received 67 completed responses between the dates of 2/18/2016 and 2/25/2016. Admittedly, this is a small data set, but results will only improve as our community size gets larger.


Related: How to Build a Trad Rack


We distributed this survey primarily out of curiosity for what’s being used right now on the racks of trad climbers. As in most things, it’s important to note that popularity does not necessarily represent what’s best.

It’s also helpful to understand the demographics of Moja Gear’s audience. Age and location might affect the type of gear on one’s rack.

Moja Gear Audience

We gathered the above information from Google Analytics and our email provider. Of course, Moja Gear does not know names or personal information associated with these broad demographics … don’t worry, your privacy is protected!

You’ll notice that 14% of our audience comes from countries other than the USA, the UK, and Canada. Top countries in the “Other” category include: Australia, Germany, Spain, and New Zealand.


Survey + results

Individuals who clicked the survey were taken to an anonymous interactive form requiring a confirmation that they trad climb.

Survey screen

Confirmation Screen

While it’s impossible to know if everyone that took the survey actually trad climbs, no significant outliers or obviously incompetent answers indicated otherwise.

Question 1: What does the Moja Gear community use for big cams?

This was a visual multiple choice question, as seen here:

Question 1

As hypothesized, the predominant big cam of choice was Black Diamond’s Camalot C4. However, the sheer dominance of this cam of choice surprised us:

Big cam results

*Black Diamond recently released their Camalot Ultralight, which will add more variability to the above results over the upcoming 6-12mo.

Only a couple responses fell into the “Other” category, including: “Rigid Stem Friend” and “Black Diamond Camalot.”

Question 2: What does the Moja Gear community use for small cams?

The next question was also presented in a multiple choice format, as shown:

Question 2

We assumed that the Camalot X4 would lead the pack on small cams. Results, however, indicate that participants have far more variable preference in small cams, as opposed to the large cam category:

Small cam results

Responses within the “Other” category included: “Wild Country Zeros,” “If so small, I just use stoppers,” and “Metolius Master Cam.”

Question 3: What does the Moja Gear community use for nuts/stoppers?

This was an uncertain one for us. Black Diamond certainly has a lot of industry dominance, but we know that many climbers swear by DMM’s Wallnuts. Here’s what Moja Gear’s audience had to say:

stoppers and nuts results

Responses within the “Other” category included: “HB Curve Nuts,” “CAMP Nuts,” and “DMM Alloy Offsets.”

As expressed in the introduction, popularity does not necessarily represent what’s best. Are Black Diamonds stoppers the greatest nut out there, or just the most popular? Let us know in the comments.

Question 4: Understanding community perception of the Tricam

Tricams: We’ve met many a-climber that swear by these guys. According to CAMP, they work when nothing else will fit; best for horizontal cracks and solution pockets. Interestingly, they can be used in both an active camming mode or as a passive chock. Here’s how we presented the question:



Results varied, with opinions at both ends of the spectrum:

How climbers feel about tricams

Perhaps this question could have been asked in a better way to make results more intuitive, but based on the information provided, there’s definitely a devoted following that swears by the use of Tricams. Nevertheless, it appears that most climbers haven’t used them. On the lower end of the spectrum are climbers that have used them but don’t like them.


Related: Gear Guide: Moja Gear’s Top Picks for Cams and Stoppers


But, it’s well-understood that Tricams do have a learning curve; have climbers in the 0-4 range simply not given them enough time? Or, have they not used them in the appropriate setting? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Question 5: What’s the best piece on your rack?

Many trad climbers have a piece that they just swear by:

It fits everywhere!

they’ll praise.

This was an open-ended question, with no options provided. We hoped to find patterns in the answers, which proved to be a slightly tricky task. We copied all the answers into their own spreadsheet and used the “Find” command to gauge the popularity of various keywords.

Here’s the occurrence of a few keywords:

  • Alien: 3
  • C4: 19
  • X4: 3
  • Tricam: 3
  • Offset: 4.

The most popular color from this question was “Red,” typically referring to the #1 red Camalot C4 and additionally, “1” was the most popular number, also usually referring to the #1 C4. Out of all possible pieces of gear, this cam in particular was voted the best piece by 15% of respondents.

Other, assorted answers included: “DMM 4CUs” “Pink Tricam,” “Most of my rack is made up of C4s—I have 3 .75s <3,”

A shoulder sling. Naysayers aren’t real trad climbers (don’t climb chimneys)

“HB brass!,” “Chouinard/BD stoppers, curved on both axes,” and, “My one C4, a booty piece. One day will get more…”

Question 6: What’s a not-so-common piece on your rack/in your pack that you can’t climb without?

Again, this was open-ended. This was one of the most exciting questions, showing some interesting surprises. We decided to throw all responses into a “Word Cloud” generator, which basically counts the number of times a phrase is mentioned.

The bigger the phrase in the graphic, the more times it was mentioned among respondents. This question provided the time for Omega Pacific’s Link Cams, Trango’s Ball Nutz, and the notoriously beloved Pink Tricam to shine through:

Uncommon trad gear


Now to you

The results above scratch the surface, but as this was only mentioned in one email, we know that many of you did not have the opportunity to provide your feedback. So, take a moment to share in the comments below:

  1. What’s on your rack? Specifically, what’s the piece you can’t climb without?
  2. What’s your opinion on popularity vs quality? Are the most widely used items in this article actually the best?
  3. How do you feel about the format of this article? This was an experiment; would you like more pieces like this? How could this be improved?

If you didn’t get the opportunity to participate, the best means to be tied in for future pieces is by subscribing to Moja Gear’s email newsletter, which will keep you updated on new content, gear, and overall climbing community happenings.