Top 5 New Climbing Gear Picks for 2016

New outdoor gear comes out in troves each and every year, and seeping through the truly exciting and innovative additions can often be a challenge. However, in looking at some of the new climbing gear set to hit the market in 2016, a few gear items caught our eye.

Here are 5 new pieces of gear you ought to know about …

1. Black Diamond Ultralight Camalot C4

If you trad climb, you well know the benefits of having Black Diamond Camalot C4’s on your rack—they’re essentially an American trad rack staple. So naturally, when we saw a brand new line of C4’s, arriving in ultralight fashion, we couldn’t help but get a little super giddy.

The Ultralight C4’s, which will come to trad climbers everywhere in January of 2016, offer a 25% reduction in weight compared to the regular Camalot C4’s. This provides quite an opportunity to build a substantially lighter rack, making them an especially desirable gear addition for multi-pitch and alpine enthusiasts. That being said, it wouldn’t suck to have these for single pitch trad endeavors as well …

So how’d they do it? In order to make these cams lighter, Black Diamond replaced the standard cable stem with a looped UV protected Dyneema core stem. They also incorporated sculpted lobes and added a flat-taped sling to replace the nylon ones of the original C4. In benefiting from lighter weight, however, these cams provide 2 less kN, making them somewhat less strong.

The new Ultralight C4’s feature the same cam range and lobe profile as their predecessors, and cover sizes .4 – 4. Price range from $89.95 – $129.95.

More details on the new Black Diamond Ultralight C4s:

2. Sublime Climbing Brush

Another innovative piece of gear we encountered this year was the Sublime Climbing Brush—created by super genius and aviation designer, Ransom Allison, and co-founded with Wideboy Tom Randall. Unsurprisingly, we couldn’t help but be intrigued by this potent duo’s creation.

The Sublime Climbing Brush definitely wins on aesthetics—but it’s their performance and attention to detail that makes them standout most. Available for pre-order with either boar’s hair or nylon and a variety of colors, their brushes aim to provide a superior fit for your hand, guarantee immense durability, and deliver the highest density and amount of bristles (over 6,500 for nylon and 14,000 with boar’s hair!) compared to any others on the market. They’re 100% recyclable, too.

So many bristles (boar’s hair).Uniquely, their brushes also feature a secret compartment in the handle. We’ll let you use your imagination for all of the fun things you can keep in there …

Sublime Climbing Brush

Secret compartment …

Having actually had the opportunity to test this brush out on real rock, we can attest that we have never used a brush as good as this one.

Check out this video to hear what makes their brushes standout:

Buy Now


3. Trango Rock Prodigy Forge

Trango’s Rock Prodigy Forge hangboard system stands out as another new and exciting gear item for this year. Unlike the original Rock Prodigy Training Center, the Forge is specifically designed for intermediate to advanced climbers, seeking to take their training to the next level.

Building off of the foundation elements that made their original Rock Prodigy Board—a beloved training tool for gurus like Mark and Mike Anderson—the Forge features all new holds; including diverse pinching options, new edge profiles, drafted pockets, steeper slopers, and a closed-crimp section with a thumb support to assist in avoiding injury.

The Andersons show what makes the original Rock Prodigy awesome:

Now imagine that climbing training system on crack. If you’re prepared to try and train super hard, Trango’s Rock Prodigy Forge will definitely humble you into good shape. Ready to train? They’re available now for $119.95.

4. Mad Rock Lifeguard Belay Device

It gets harder and harder to believe a belay device could ever beat out a good ole’ ATC or GriGri 2, but Mad Rock’s Lifeguard might give them both a run for their money.

Madrock Lifeguard

Mad Rock’s Lifeguard belay device will be the lightest, smallest, and cheapest assisted-braking belay device available on the market. We don’t know the weight details just yet, but we do know the Lifeguard is constructed using hot-forged aircraft grade aluminum and stainless steel, giving it the durability you want in a belay device, without the added weight. This device serves ropes from 8.9 – 11mm, which makes it just as versatile for lead or top-rope climbing as the GriGri 2.

Related: Gear You Ought to Know: A Review of Mad Rock’s Lifeguard Belay Device


5. Climb Design LittleHammer

So we haven’t actually seen the LittleHammer in person, but we did stumble onto its Kickstarter and were immediately interested. Basically, it’s a spring loaded nut tool with a simple purpose: it helps you get your stuck nuts unstuck —with a “percussive force.”

We’ll let the Kickstarter video do the explaining:

buy now


Further reading