Best Climbing Equipment

Whether you enjoy rock climbing, bouldering, top line repelling or all of the above, having the best climbing equipment is essential to not only keeping yourself safe, but also enjoying this challenging sport.  While there are many different choices about what is essential for a great climb, we do have a few of our favorite must haves.  Here’s a list of the ten best climbing equipment on the market today in our view.

Black diamond harness
  • Black diamond harness
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Comfortable
  • Even weight distribution
  • Price: See Here
Scapra climbing shoe
  • Scapra climbing shoe
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Flexibility
  • Velcro fasteners
  • Price: See Here
FrictionLabs chalk cream
  • FrictionLabs chalk cream
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Antibacterial
  • Long lasting
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Climbing Equipment Pieces

 

Black diamond harness

Black diamond harness
When it comes to climbing, arguably one of the most important pieces of equipment to keep you safe and climbing is the harness. Designed keep your body safe from falling, and still provide a load of comfort, the Black Diamond Solution Climbing Harness is one of the best for doing just that.

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Overall Fit

This harness is available in sizes ranging from small to extra large, and each one is designed to fit a person easily with the adjustable elastic risers easily conforming to the perfect fit for the individual. Plus, it adds extra support just where you need it.


Construction Quality

This harness is created used lightweight but extremely durable webbing and fusion comfort quality to make sure that the waist band and leg harnesses move with you and not against you. In fact, chances are you’ll forget that you’re wearing a harness at all.



Added Features

A harness isn’t just for keeping you safe, of course. A great harness also has the ability to keep your equipment securely nearby, and the Black Diamond Solution Harness is no exception. It has four separate pressure molded gear loops within easy reach so that your chalk bag, extra carabiners, ropes, or whatever you need is close at hand.


Safety Features

One of the nice things about this particular harness is its ability to safely and comfortably distribute the climber's weight, which is essential in cases of accidental falls. Also, the personal anchor features multiple dynex loops that are securely sewn in, so that the climber can easily adjust his anchor or mid-pitch if needed and still keep a solid connection.


Ease of Care

The Black Diamond Solution Harness is not only easy and comfortable to use for most people, but it is also fairly easy to care for. Simply wipe down with a damp cloth, check for stress fractures or other signs of damage, and allow to air dry until next use.

Summary

The Black Diamond brand is one of the best brands for climbing equipment on the market today, and they have built their reputation up by providing excellent quality at very reasonable prices. Whether you are a beginner or a veteran at this sport, this harness can definitely be your go to piece of equipment.
Pros
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Helps to distribute your weight correctly
  • Solid construction
  • Easy maneuverability
Cons
  • A bit on the expensive side

Scapra origin climbing shoe

Scapra origin climbing shoe
While not our all-time favorite climbing shoe, the Scarpa Origin is a fantastic all around general climbing shoe that offers a great deal of comfort, traction, durability and grip, whether your climbing an indoor wall, a rock face, or bouldering your way through a challenging field.
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Fit and Size

Climbing shoes by their very nature are designed to mold to your feet and fit snugly. This gives your heel, toes, and even your arches the ability to grip into the tiniest crevices if needed. However, the Scarpa Origin does tend to run a little bit small, even for climbing shoes about half the time, so consider ordering a larger size than you’d normally wear.


Materials Used

One of the things we absolutely loved about this climbing shoe was that it was made entirely from breathable and flexible suede material with a sturdy rubber sole. This allows for added flexibility and overall comfort no matter what position your feet are in. In fact, many times climbers have forgotten to take them off when they’re done!


Ease of Use

You wouldn’t think that a climbing shoe would be hard to use, but frankly, there are quite a few examples out there of shoes that are almost impossible to get on or off, and adjust as needed. Thankfully, this one doesn’t fall into that category. The pull on straps are well proportioned, allow for easy pull on, and the Velcro strap closures are a snap to use and adjust as needed.



Durability

If you think about it, along with your hands, your climbing shoes are going to be the thing that is most in contact with your climbing surface, so they better be pretty durable. Thankfully, with the flat lasted construction, rubber sole, and suede materials these shoes are anything but flimsy.



Ease of Care

If you’re worried about the suede in these shoes being a bother when it comes to cleaning, don’t be. Pretty much all you have to do to take care these shoes is a simple wipe down at the end of your climb, and make sure that you don’t wear them home. Then just let them air dry and they’ll be ready to go.


Summary

If you’re looking for a great all around climbing shoe that can easily be used in multiple climbing styles, the Scarpa Origins is a fantastic choice. Although it does run a little bit small, the overall durability, grip, and comfort is hard to beat.

Pros
  • Natural materials provide maximum comfort and flexibility
  • Velcro fasteners extremely easy to use.
  • Medium aggressive shape can be used in multiple of climbing environments.
Cons
  • Might run a bit small for some people.

Friction labs chalk cream

Friction labs chalk cream
Whether you choose to use, loose, block, or a liquid chalk like this one, chalk is one of the most essential climbing gear that you need in your arsenal. We’re partial to this one based on its ability to keep your hands and feet dry, its ease of use, and overall neatness.
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Ease of Use

Chalk is one of those items in a climber’s equipment list that can easily become a hassle. It can be messy, get over absolutely everything, and you constantly have to reapply. However, this liquid chalk is designed to reduce all those problems. It’s long lasting, easy to apply, and the chalk is contained within an easy to use tube that fits easily into your chalk bag.


Ingredients

When it comes to climbing chalk, one would think that the ingredients would be fairly simple. Just chalk, right? Unfortunately, sometimes the manufacturers of climbing chalk add things like silica which is used as a drying agent. Only problem is that the silica works a little too well, leading to cracked hands and feet. Thankfully, this liquid chalk has been stripped of those additives.


Effectiveness

In order for chalk to be truly effective, it needs to be able to handle grime, sweat, and bacteria that can easily prevent you from maintaining the grip you need. This chalk easily excels in those departments with its antibacterial nature and ability to wick moisture away from the surface of your skin.



Versatility

When it comes to using chalk for climbing, there are two basic ways to use it. First, you add a base layer on your hands and feet before climbing to get rid of excess sweat and bacteria before you begin. Second, you add a little bit to the hands during the climb to “refresh” and make sure the grip stays sure. The nice thing about this liquid chalk is that it can easily be used for both instances. A dab will do you quite well while on the mountain, and a little bit more adds a great base layer before you begin.


Summary

The type of chalk that a climber chooses to use is entirely a personal preference. If you choose to use liquid chalk, this entry from FrictionLabs is a great choice based on its ability to keep your skin clean, healthy and dry while you climb.
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Long Lasting
  • Naturally antibacterial in nature
Cons
  • Tube can be a bit of a hassle to use one handed.

Arc'teryx gamma rock pants

Arc'teryx gamma rock pants
When it comes to climbing, the pants you wear are an integral part of having a great time, or being extremely uncomfortable. Arcteryx is well known for making sure the climbers that use them are never the latter.
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Fit and Size

Climbing pants, by their very nature, tend to be a little on the snug or slim side to allow for the maximum range of motion while climbing, so be sure to order a size larger for a more comfortable fit. Thankfully, these pants are usually true to size, and come in a wide range from extra small up to extra large tall.


Fabric Quality

The 100% polyester material allows for natural movement and stretching while you climb, so you won’t have to worry about embarrassing or hindering tears or bunches as you move about.


Added Features

Climbing pants are meant for scaling walls and cliff faces, and as such often have added features that normal pants simply do not. In this case, both the knees and the seat of the pants have double weave construction for added strength- something that is essential while climbing. In addition, there is a low profile metal hook waist adjuster, and the inner lower leg is free of seams, making it harder to snap on your crampons.



Fashion:

While most climbers wear their climbing pants while scaling the wall or bouldering, these pants can easily be worn out on the town as well. Sleek and comfortable, they can easily fit into a nice weekend gathering, or shopping at the local sports store with ease.



Ease of Care

Of course, caring for your climbing pants should be just as easy as wearing them, and the Arcteryx Gamma Rock Pants fit the bill quite well. Simply wash and wear as you would any other pants made of the same material and you're good to go.

Summary

Climbing pants that are comfortable and allow for a free range of motion are an essential part of the best climbing gear that you can find. While these pants do fit a bit snugly, their quality, convenience, durability, and fashion more than make up for it.

Pros
  • Easy to care for
  • Allows for a free range of motion
  • Reinforced in the knees, inner calves and seat area for climbing
Cons
  • Can run a bit small, not always true to size.

Petzl grigri and belay device

Petzl grigri and belay device
The belay and the belay line are your last line of defense when it comes to the inevitable fall or mishap while climbing. Having a good belay system and device is essential for a safe climb. Thankfully, this example from Petzl is one of the best on the market.
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Braking Ability

The purpose of a belay is to stop you from falling too far when you lose your grip, and to slow your descent when repelling. Thankfully, this belay device does both these things with relative ease and is responsive to the changes in weight and movement.

Versatility

While many belay devices are specialized for specific types of climbing, this particular example can be easily used both in top-rope or lead belay depending on your needs. In addition, the grigri braking system adds the ability to perform acrobatic feats while climbing if needed.

Ease of Use

Belay devices and systems are only effective if they can be easily used. Thankfully, the Petzl GriGri and Belay device is designed for both beginners and experts alike. It uses a traditional two hands on the rope approach, which is often the easiest to master.

Summary

If you’re looking for a belay device that is designed to aid beginners in learning how to climb safely and keep the experts safe and secure as well, this is a fantastic choice.
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Versatile
  • Designed to keep things under control
Cons
  • Can be a bit heavy

Black diamond half dome helmet

Black diamond half dome helmet
Protecting your head while climbing is one of the most critical things that you can do to make sure that your climbing adventure is a successful one. Thankfully, the Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet lets you do just that-- and do it with style.
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Fit and Size

Making sure your helmet fits you right is essential to prevent unnecessary mishaps while climbing. After all, why would you want a helmet that slides into your vision or feels like a vise on your head? Thankfully, this helmet has an easy to use adjuster wheel to make sure the interior suspension is fitted just right.


Ventilation

It may sound strange, but having a sweaty head while climbing is not something you want. Therefore, having a helmet that allows for air flow around the head is really essential. Thankfully, the molded EPS foam and generous ventilation of this helmet won’t leave you sweltering.

Protection

When you’re looking for a helmet, one of the first things that you want to consider is how much protection it offers. In this case, a surprising amount. Although it is a half domed helmet, it can easily protect most if not all of your head and neck from injury.

Durability

When it comes to taking a brunt of abuse and still being a solid choice for protection, you really can’t go wrong with this helmet. It is made as one of Black Diamond’s most durable pieces of equipment.


Added Features

This helmet also features a few things that most climbers expect to be standard, and Black Diamond certainly doesn’t disappoint. The headlamp clips are some of the most secure on the market today, and the chin straps are easily adjusted for a secure and customizable fit.


Summary

A good helmet is essential for climbing safely. A great helmet is essential for climbing safely and comfortably. Thankfully, this Black Diamond helmet answers both of these requirements with ease.
Pros
  • Fully customizable
  • Offers superior protection
  • Easy to adjust on the fly
Cons
  • Only comes in two sizes

Wild country carabiner

Wild country carabiner
These little things may look unimportant, but carabiners are vital to making sure your climb is a safe and successful one. Versatile and tough by design, good carabiners are what holds everything together.
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Locking Mechanism

A quality carabiner has the ability to quickly open with pressure from the hand to add additional ropes, but also has the ability to remain closed in any position and situation. Essentially you only want it to open when you decide to open it. Thankfully the clean wire gate offers an easy way to open the gate and keep it closed as needed.

Weight

This particular carabiner is lightweight in style, so it’s perfect for traditional and sport climbing using lightweight and medium weight ropes.

Gate Size

Not surprisingly, the larger the size of the gate, or opening in the carabiner, the easier it is to add ropes or other equipment to the mix. The 27 millimeter opening, therefore makes adding what you need a breeze.

Strength

If you think about it, this little device is supporting a whole lot of weight, so it’s important that it be made of strong materials and be able to handle quite a bit. While this particular carabiner is rated for lightweight activity and rope use, rest assured. It has more than enough strength to support you and your gear.



Ease of Use

The wire gate makes this carabiner a simple thing to open, and the strong spring action makes closing it just as simple.


Summary

While not to be used with heavier weight ropes, this particular carabiner is well suited for lightweight ropes and gear. Easy to use and solid construction should make this one a go to choice time and time again.
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Large, can fit multiple lightweight ropes if needed.
  • Extremely strong for it’s size and weight restrictions
Cons
  • Not for use with heavy or medium weight ropes.

Sterling rope velocity

Sterling rope velocity
Like the belay device, helmet, and harness, the climbing rope you choose can go a long way to making sure that your climbing adventure ends the way you want it to, and not with you seriously injured. While there are quite a few choices out there, this single dynamic rope is a great all around choice for climbing, whether you’re a beginner or more advanced.
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Elongation

When it comes to climbing rope, how it handles sudden drops or changes in the tension is important, since too much elongation or to little can both lead to serious injury. In this case, the static elongation, or how much a rope extends with a constant weight on it, is a respectable 8.6%. The dynamic elongation, or how much the length changes during a tested fall is about 26.4% in this case. Both are well within safety guidelines.

Impact Force

The impact force rating of a climbing rope is the amount of force the rope will place on a climber if a fall and sudden stops occurs. The lower the number, the less impact the climber – and potentially less injury-- the climber will sustain. In this case, the 8.8 kilo newtons. While that is certainly not a number to sneeze at, it is possible to be impacted by that much force and still only have minor injuries.

Rope Weight

The amount a rope weighs is dependent on its length, diameter and core construction. Traditionally, the rope weight is given in grams per meter, and the overall weight is calculated by multiplying that number by the length of the rope. In this case, the weight is 62 grams per meter, making it a fairly lightweight rope that suited for sport and traditional climbing.


Ease of Care

Like most climbing ropes, taking care of it is fairly easy; simply fill a large bucket or bathtub with mild soap and water, swish around the rope, rinse and repeat as needed, then allow to air dry. What could be simpler?

Summary

If you’re looking for a single dynamic rope that is well suited for multiple climbing uses, the Sterling Rope Evolution Velocity Climbing Rope is certainly a solid choice.
Pros
  • High visibility color
  • Reasonable weight
  • Meets all safety standards
Cons
  • Impact Force rating could be lower.

Black diamond crag climbing gloves

Black diamond crag climbing gloves
When you’re climbing, your hands are liable to take a lot of abuse, so protecting them while maintaining good manual feel and dexterity is important. Thankfully, the Black Diamond Crag Climbing Gloves offer a great balance between protection and feel for the climbing surface.
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Fit and Size

Climbing gloves by their nature are a snug fit, and these gloves are no exception. Thankfully, they are also true to fit at least ¾ of the time, so you shouldn’t have to worry about using an ill-fitting glove. They also range in size from extra small to extra large, so finding the right pair for you shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Fabric Quality

Made of synthetic leather, these gloves offer breathability and flexibility that is hard to match. Add to that the mesh backs for added ventilation, and you’ll be wearing these gloves more often than you realize.

Durability

In addition to being made with strong leather materials, the thumb and finger areas are reinforced to help keep your gloves going strong.

Comfort

With an easy to pull on glove strap, and adjustable sizing for a customized fit, these gloves are fairly comfortable.

Ease of Care

Although the leather in the gloves does make cleaning them somewhat problematic if stains are left in for too long, a simple wipe down at the end of the climbing day should be more than enough to care for these gloves.

Summary

If you’re looking for a great all around climbing glove that is well suited for a number of different styles, this pair of gloves from Black Diamond is a great choice.
Pros
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Durable
Cons
  • Can run a bit small for some users

Frictionlabs chalk bucket

Frictionlabs chalk bucket
No matter what form of chalk you use, you need a way to carry it while you’re climbing. While there are many choices out there, one of the best ones we’ve found is the Organic Climbing FrictionLab Chalk Bucket.
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Capacity

The capacity of this bucket is approximately 400 cubic inches, which is more than enough room to hold plenty of chalk or other material for use while bouldering, or climbing.

Durability

Made from a durable canvas material and lined on the inside of the bucket, there is little chance of this chalk bucket tearing or breaking at the seams while you’re climbing.


Added Features

Space while your climbing is at a premium, so when a chalk bucket can do double duty it’s a plus. The added pockets and loops on the exterior of it make for an easy place to store the various tools and tape that you’ll need during the climb.


Versatility

While the bucket can easily be used for both climbing and bouldering adventures, because of the overall size and shape, many choose a smaller chalk bag to use while climbing more technical climbs or traditional climbing. However, with the attachment loops and collapsible nature of the bucket, you can easily use it in a wide array of situations.

Affordability

In regards to climbing equipment, this chalk bucket is one of the most affordable pieces, besides the chalk that you’re going to find.


Summary

Chalk is an essential part of climbing, and having a way to store it and access it easily is necessary to make sure you have a good climbing experience. Luckily, this chalk bucket from FrictionLabs is a great way to do just that.
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Great capacity
  • Added pockets for extra storage
Cons
  • May be a bit big for traditional climbing use.

Criteria for Evaluation

Climbing is a very individualistic sport, and the climbing equipment needed to be successful at it can vary widely.  The criteria of a good climbing helmet, for example won’t have the same criteria as a belay device.  So in order to find the the best climbing equipment that would be suited for both beginners and experts alike, we looked at each item commonly used in climbing in their own specific light.

That being said, there were a number of overall themes that we considered when looking for the best climbing equipment.

Safety

Climbing, although exhilarating and fun can be dangerous.  Most of the equipment you’ll use while climbing is designed to make it safer for you to do so.  A quality climbing rope and a sturdy belay system will help prevent falls and mishaps.  A helmet is designed to protect your head if impact occurs.  A harness protects your back and your hips from impact forces, and a few carabiners are used to keep everything, and you connected.

Ease of Use

The best climbing equipment is not designed to keep you safe, but it’s also designed to be easily used.  After all, the last thing you want to think about is how to adjust your helmet to keep it from sliding down your face while you’re climbing.  So the easier a device or piece of equipment is to use, the more natural and instinctive the use will end up being.  That way you can concentrate on what’s important – mastering the climb.

Durability

When you buy climbing equipment, it’s important to realize that it’s going to be going through a lot of abuse.  It’s just the nature of the sport.  The ropes need to be able to support at least three times your weight plus the weight of the equipment, the chalk needs to keep your hands dry through hours of potential climbing, and your shoes need to be able to grip the wall or crevice with astounding force and dexterity.  It’s little wonder why climbing equipment is checked and replaced on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, the cost of replacement isn’t always easy to swallow.  So having equipment that lasts a few years instead of a few months can be critical.  So the overall durability of the climbing equipment was definitely taken into consideration.

Usefulness

Any climber will tell you that when a piece of equipment doesn’t perform the way it should, it’s pretty much useless.  There really is no instance of “well if I just make this adjustment..” when you’re life is on the line.  A belay either works or it doesn’t.  The climbing pants will either allow you to stretch to the next hold, or they won’t.

While there are countless innovations available when it comes to climbing, only the ones that are truly useful and practical rise to the top.  So when trying to find the best climbing equipment, we asked ourselves, “how practical and useful is this innovation to climbers?”

 More to think about when purchasing your next set of Climbing Equipment

What type of climbing will you be doing?

There are countless different forms of climbing, from indoor to outdoor, from bouldering to sport, and of course top line and traditional climbing.  For each type of climbing adventure, there is the proper type of equipment to use.  By deciding what type of climbing you’ll most likely be trying out, you can more easily determine what type of climbing equipment you’re going to need.

Where will you be climbing?

In essence, there are only two different places that you can climb:  indoors or outdoors.  Each one has advantages and disadvantages.  Climbing on an inside wall or bouldering field offers you the ability to climb no matter what the weather is like outside.  However, you might not get the fantastic views and challenges that you can get from climbing a rock face in nature.  Also, if  you’re climbing a public wall, you might have to rent or use equipment that someone else has previously used.  That might be considered a deterrent.  If you climb outside, though, you’ll have to deal with the elements, and potentially put yourself in more dangerous situations.

When you’re climbing outside, your equipment not only needs to support the weight of you and your other equipment, but it must also be able to withstand the elements, such as heat, cold, dampness and freezing water.  As such, your equipment that you use outside needs to be a bit more robust and durable.

FAQs

What is the best way to learn how to climb?

The short answer to this question is to go and get trained by a someone who has climbed before.  While climbing is an individual sport where you test yourself and find out exactly where your limits are, you’ll still need help learning the ropes, and having someone to spot you is always a good idea.  While the idea of lone climber hanging off a rock face looks great in the movies, you rarely, if ever find people doing that in real life.  In a very real sense, your belay and/or climbing partner is the most important “piece of equipment” that you’ll ever invest in.

Most people start by going to an indoor wall or a bouldering field at a local sporting goods store or athletic center.  The people there are often trained in how to spot and handle climbs by inexperienced people.  Follow their directions closely, and be sure to ask questions if you’re uncertain about something.

Another option is to try your hand at bouldering, which is the art and sport of climbing in and around large rocks or boulders.  The nice thing about starting out this way is that you often don’t have very far to drop if you do – usually just a little over your height.  However, it can still be quite challenging, since you need to maintain good balance, use muscles together, and do a serious amount of problem solving as well.

Besides what’s listed here, what else do I need for climbing?

The list presented here gives you the bare minimum of what’s needed for climbing.  There are of course a number of other things that most experienced climbers swear by.  Some prefer to have a roll of medical tape on hand to use to cover up the nicks and cuts you’ll get while climbing, and to give you better grip if you choose to use fingerless gloves.  Another item that most climbers have on hand is a pair of nail scissors – which can be used to cut said tape, or to deal with a pesky fingernail.  Most also insist on a small climbing pack that can be used to keep their equipment safe.  And of course, there is always the personal items, like sunscreen, lip balm, and a pair of dark sunglasses.

What should I do if I start to fall?

First, and we know this sounds ridiculous, but relax.  Every climber falls at some point. The ropes and equipment that you are using, if you’re using them correctly are designed to either stop your fall in a short amount of time, or slow your descent so that you can do it yourself.  Once you feel yourself falling, you need to let your belayer partner know that you’re falling by shouting the word “falling”.  This allows your partner to take the necessary actions to slow your descent.  As you fall, exhale and relax the body and legs, and keep your hands up, forward, and a little to the side to prevent accidental scrapes on the rock. And finally, be sure to look at the path of your descent to see if there are any obstacles in the way.

Whatever you do, don’t try to grab onto the rocks in a panicked fashion.  This will cause your body to tense up and cause more impact to your body when you do stop.  Let your partner do his job and help you slow down and stop in due time.

Final thoughts

Climbing can be exhilarating, exciting, frustrating and joyful in its nature.  It’s a true test of man’s ingenuity, adaptive nature, and perseverance.  Having the best climbing equipment for your particular adventure will not only keep you safe, and allow you to have a great time, but also keep you coming back for more.