|Value for money:|
|Fitness for purpose:|
Price when purchased (2014): £30
Price now (August 2015): £35 - £50
DMM's Alloy Offsets are the classic luxury item in climbing gear. Until you use them you don't think you need them, but once you have them, they never leave your side. Due to an asymmetrical design the Alloy Offsets will fit in placements where standard nuts just don't feel right. The downside is that in perfectly symmetrical cracks these "luxury nuts" will seem unstable, but believe me - they are not. Although the offsets come close in many ways, we need to understand that in the natural environment we climb in there is no "one shape fits all" solution to gear. However, for any serious scrambler the offsets present a real alternative to off-size sets of nuts.
I was on the hunt for new gear. Not wanting to simply buy another set of nuts I decided to be adventurous and get a set of Offsets. After all - nobody in my circle of climbers had them, we all heard about them and I really like the idea of asymmetric gear. As with any new item of gear the first placements were dubious to say the least, but after a bit of practice cracks that had previously been considered sketchy, rubbish or lethal became viable placement options. As somebody who spent their entire trad life on standard nuts and hexes with occasional cams thrown in for good measure I suddenly felt my whole perspective shift. This became scarily clear when I spent a good 5 minutes trying to place a nut only for the offset to place and seat perfectly first time in a final desperate attempt to get "any gear" in before the fall. Flared cracks have long been a problem for standard nuts, but the offsets fit not only these to a T. Due to the design, more creative placements utilising the recesses on the faces are possible as well as gentle "torquing" or as I prefer to call it "actively passive wedging" - hard to explain until you tried it or until you spent an hour trying to retrieve the gear after a fall. As with most passive protection however, parallel cracks are no better protected with the offsets than a standard nut.
Let's get nostalgic for a moment - the Alloy Offsets for once are not an original brainchild of the clever folks at DMM. They had been around for a while manufactured and sold by HB (Hugh Banner) climbing equipment which closed down in 2005. Subsequently the ingeniously designed offsets became unavailable - until DMM decided to update and relaunch them. At just under 200g for the entire set (excluding any carabiners) they managed to shed weight where possible and also added the colour coding that has become standard for DMM gear. At 12kN breaking strength across the range you can rest assured that these nuts will keep you safe, provided you use them effectively.
For me the ultimate value of these nuts shows in scrambling. Where most climbing venues in the UK can be dealt with using standard nuts for the lower to medium grades, in scrambling we rarely come across decent nut placements. Where slings, rope and big gear fails us we are usually presented with placements that rely on luck more than gear. Since starting to use the Offsets in scrambling I have not had a situation where I felt the placement wasn't at least decent. Call it positive bias - I genuinely love them.
My offsets are currently one of the first items of gear I pack when going climbing, scrambling or even just as a backup knowing I can protect a lot of easy stuff with them straight away. If I could make a suggestion I would love a size 12 and 13 offset to compliment my scrambling rack, although the lower hexes make up for this. Otherwise it's hard to fault DMM on their work. Knowing what I know now I would buy a set of these to go alongside my standard set of nuts instead of doubling up my most used sizes. In fact I have started leaving my doubled nuts in the bag and taking the set of nuts coupled with the set of offsets instead. 4.5 peaks for not covering a few more larger sizes for scrambling, but I am nitpicking.