Best Climbing Holds: The Top 5 Sets of 2017
|Climbing Hold Set||Retail Price|
|Top Pick: Metolius Mega Pack Holds Set||$$$|
|Best Value & Best Starter Set: Metolius Foundation Holds Set (60 pack)||$$$|
|Best for Kids, Rooms, & Playgrounds: Rocky Mountain Kids Large Rock Climbing Holds (25 pack)||$$|
|Best Screw-On Set: Metolius Greatest Chips (40 pack)||$|
|Budget Buy: So iLL Holds Easy (7 pack)||$|
To help, we’ve put together this guide of the best climbing holds available today. There are options here for the person who doesn’t own a single climbing hold as well as the person who owns dozens.
Table of Contents
- Top Pick: Metolius Mega Pack Holds Set
- Best Value & Best Starter Set: Metolius Foundation Holds Set (60 pack)
- Best for Kids, Rooms, & Playgrounds: Rocky Mountain Kids Large Rock Climbing Holds (25 pack)
- Best Screw-On Set: Metolius Greatest Chips (40 pack)
- Budget Buy: So iLL Holds Easy (7 pack)
- How to Choose the Best Climbing Holds for You
Top Pick: Metolius Mega Pack Holds Set
Metolius has been making holds for over 20 years now and produces some of the best climbing holds on the market. Metolius climbing holds are known for their durability and ability to inspire creative routes or problems. What’s more, routesetters laud the texture of Metolius holds.
The Mega Pack is ideal for home walls and climbing gyms and, as you can see from the picture, has a wide variety of holds (some bolt-on, some screw-on). The hold shapes are useful and versatile and the selection comes at a solid value. The Mega Pack comes with all the hardware you’ll need, and it even includes a book on how to build a home climbing wall. You can choose a Mega Pack of 30, 40, 50, or 60 climbing holds.
The Mega Pack is our top pick because, while it isn’t the cheapest set of holds you can find, it is sold at a good price when you take into account the amount and quality of the holds you get. It makes a great first set of climbing holds for your home climbing wall or for a climbing gym.
One minor note is that some people have had issues with the screw-on footholds chipping when screwing them in, so be sure not to overtorque them.
Best Value & Best Starter Set: Metolius Foundation Holds Set (60 pack)
Like I mentioned above, Metolius sells quality climbing holds at good prices. For that reason, we’ve selected another set of Metolius climbing holds, the Foundation Holds Set, as our pick for the best value climbing holds set. You’d be hard pressed to find a better deal.
And it’s not just climbing holds you’re getting. Once again, all of the hardware you need — screws, bolts, t-nuts, and a hex wrench — are included in this mixed set of screw-on and bolt-on holds. The holds themselves have lots of variety and tend to be smaller, more challenging holds rather than large jugs.
The Foundation Holds Set, as the name implies, can form the foundation of your climbing holds collection. Most of your bases will be covered by this set. Over time, if you desire, you can then buy smaller sets of specific hold types, such as a set of pinches, to add to your walls.
This set is also good for playgrounds and children’s climbing walls. However, like I said the holds do run a little small and more challenging so if you’re looking for large holds for your kid’s wall, see our next option.
Best for Kids, Rooms, & Playgrounds: Rocky Mountain Kids Large Rock Climbing Holds (25 pack)
Are you looking to build a climbing wall for your child in their room or on their playground? If so, the Rocky Mountain Kids Large set if ideal for your situation.
These bolt-on climbing holds have a great texture which feels like a mixture between real rock and plastic. The shapes aren’t incredibly creative or varied but they make good holds for little kids or beginner adults who don’t care much about what they’re climbing on. (NOTE: although the holds are described as “large” they are made for kids, so they might be small in the eyes of some adults, especially if you haven’t climbed much before.)
You can get this set at a good price but it doesn’t come with installation instructions or an allen wrench. Also, the bolts that it does come with aren’t galvanized so they will rust out quickly if put outside. If you are putting these holds outside you can either choose to let them rust or purchase a pack of galvanized bolts.
We don’t recommend this option to experienced climbers or setters looking to add some quality climbing holds to their home wall or climbing gym. You might be tempted by how cheap these Rocky Mountain holds are, but they aren’t good for setting actual routes or problems.
Best Screw-On Set: Metolius Greatest Chips (40 pack)
Sometimes, you already have too many bolt-on climbing holds and need some screw-ons to fill in the gaps in your collection and your wall. We say the Metolius Greatest Chips set is correctly named, by which I mean we have made it our pick for the best screw-on climbing holds set.
Overall, the Greatest Chips set has smaller holds which are ideal for setting crimper routes or using as small footholds. The set contains a smattering of footholds, hand holds, plates, rails, modulars, and more. Like all the Metolius sets included in this guide, it includes all the necessary mounting hardware.
We don’t recommend this be your only set of climbing holds. We instead recommend you use with it a set of jugs or large holds. That’s because it will be hard to set anything other than crimper routes and problems with this set.
There are 40 holds in this set and it retails for an astonishingly low price, largely due to the holds being small. It is an ideal set for climbers looking to supplement their current array of holds with challenging screw-ons. It also is perfect for anyone looking to push their limits by setting harder routes and problems, especially ones using crimps and small footholds.
Budget Buy: So iLL Holds Easy (7 pack)
Last but not least, we’ve included our pick for the best climbing holds set for anyone on a tight budget: the So iLL Holds Easy set. The name says “Easy” but these climbing holds can be used in routes and problems of any level (especially the footholds).
So iLL is a top climbing hold brand that makes some of the most exciting climbing holds you can buy. Their holds have wild shapes and designs and are surprisingly good for setting creative routes and problems. Many climbers and routesetters equate So iLL holds with fun.
Now, it’d be tough to set a complete problem with this set of seven bolt-ons, so we don’t recommend you try that. We have instead included this option for anyone that has a little cash to spend and wants to use it to add quality holds to their collection. Climbing holds aren’t cheap, so your collection will be something you build up over time. You can’t immediately purchase an entire collection on a tight budget, but you can add to it little by little, hence this recommendation.
As I mentioned, these are bolt-on holds. If you’re on a budget and looking for a budget set of screw-on holds, here’s a set of 32 So iLL screw-ons for a good price.
How to Choose the Best Climbing Holds for You
Bolt-on vs. Screw-on vs. Mix
Do you want to break free from the confines of your evenly spaced bolt holes and set holds anywhere that you please on the wall? If so, then try out some screw-on holds. Screw-on climbing holds are attached with — you guessed it — screws, which means you can put them anywhere. Bolt-on holds, on the other hand, can only be set where there are bolt holes. Go for the set of holds that best suits your particular situation. Also note that some of the sets mentioned above, specifically the Metolius Mega Pack and Metolius Foundation Holds, include both bolt-ons and screw-ons.
You want to make sure the climbing holds you get are the right size for your purposes. If you are buying holds for a home wall or climbing gym, then you probably already have an idea of whether you’d like jugs, crimps, slopers, etc. However, if you’re building a wall for your kid, you want to make sure that the holds are appropriately sized for their hands and feet.
The Rocky Mountain Kids Large set has climbing holds which are about the size of a tennis ball — an ideal size for kids. For adults who don’t climb this might seem small, but they work well for kids and their smaller hands.
This last criterion comes down to personal preference. What texture do you prefer your climbing holds to have? If you like rough, textured holds than you should go with a brand or material that offers that feeling. If you prefer smooth holds then look to companies that make smoother holds, or maybe consider holds made out of a naturally smooth material such as wood.
Photo Credit: Metolius, Backcountry, Amazon, Ian Brown