Best Gear For Mountaineering
If you’re getting ready to plan a mountain adventure, the most important concept to you will be how well your mountaineering gear performs during your trip. You don’t want your gear to let you down whether or not you’re planning a simple excursion for a few hours or climbing the Himalayas.
It can be difficult to select the best gear for mountaineering, considering all the options out there, but it’s important to make sure you have the type of gear you need to successfully enjoy your adventures. To help you figure out the best gear for mountaineering, we’ve provided a helpful list for you below to ensure you get what you need.
10 Best Mountaineering Gear Pieces
Paramo Velez Jacket
The materials used in the Paramo Velez Jacket make it one of the best jackets of choice for any outdoor enthusiast. Paramo’s Velez Jacket is designed from Nikwax’s Directional Fabric Technology, which lets the fabric of the jacket move the liquid it protects to wherever you want it to sit on the jacket.
The Paramo Velez Jacket therefore doesn’t come with several layers, like the usual outdoor jacket, because of its technology. While you sweat, the jacket will stay warm and waterproof, and when its cold outside, you won’t feel the chill while you sweat.
Designed to stand apart from the usual jacket, which usually uses body heat to rid itself of water, the Paramo Velez Jacket is made to make sure your body temperature doesn’t get cold too fast. Moving the water around the jacket helps you to better regulate your body temperature.
- Effective body temperature regulation.
- Excellent for winter mountaineering.
- Protects you from weather even as you sweat.
- Could offer more color and style choices.
- Versatile but not made for all weather conditions.
Kelty Tuck-Ex Sleeping Bag
The Kelty Tuck-Ex Sleeping Bag is made with a tafferta shell and liner, which provides a lot of warmth and comfort even during the coldest of nights. Kelty also designed the Tuck-Ex Sleeping Bag with ThermaPro insulation, so that the sleeping bag retains heat throughout the night.
The Kelty Tuck-Ex Sleeping Bag also features a comfort-tuck zipper system, a comfort hood and natural fit footbox, all which help keep you cozy for a good night’s rest. Plus, the sleeping bag is fairly lightweight and easy to carry.
The Kelty Tuck-Ex Sleeping Bag is designed to offer you excellent protection from the cold weather with its effective insulation system. It’s also made to be comfortable so that you can rest easy, and not worry about being overwhelmed by the elements outside.
You’ll also get an easy-to-transport sleeping bag with this purchase, since it doesn’t weigh much and is designed to compress easily. You’ll be able to stay warm and safe during all of your outdoor mountaineering adventures.
- Effectively maintains a low temperature
- Protects you from the weather
- Not as lightweight as advertised
- Fits slender
Fjallraven Keb Trekking Trousers
Fjallraven’s Keb Trekking Trousers are made from Fjallraven’s polycotton blend G-100, which you can wax easily to make waterproof. Around the back of the legs, the Fjallraven Keb Trekking Trousers are made out of polymide that stretches, so you get the addition of comfort and flexibility when moving.
Fjallraven’s Keb Trekking Trousers are some of the best trekking trousers you’ll find on the market. The flexibility of the pants makes them great for climbing and hiking, since they’ll move and flex with you and maintain a comfortable feel.
The knee area on the Fjallraven Keb Trekking Trousers are also made with flexibility in mind, and include an opening that brings you kneepads for extra protection. Also, you’ll get two good-sized leg pockets, one zipped and one mesh, to carry anything you might need.
- Offers superior leg protection
- Very comfortable
- Designed with flexibility in mind
- Not waterproof, although you can waterproof these pants.
- Sizes tend to run small.
Arc’teryx Bora 2 Mid GTX Boots
Arc’Teryx’s Bora2 boots bring you strong, durable footwear that offers you removable liners for both extra stability and wonderful comfort, regardless of the weather or terrain you might face. These boots also have a two-layer stretch nylon mono-mesh Stretch GORE-TEX laminate that is minimally stitched and secures the outside layers of the boots so they are breathable while still being waterproof.
These boots are made up of high-quality, synthetic material meant to protect your feet and offer you superior walking capabilities. Plus, there is an additional, more insulated liner you can purchase for these boots that works great during cold temperatures.
Arc’Teryx’s Bora2 boots were made to be durable, breathable, comfortable, and efficient, helping you keep your footing while you keep your feet protected during your outdoor adventures. You’ll also get to experience a lightweight liner that doesn’t absorb moisture, so your feet can stay dry no matter how much you sweat throughout the day.
- Boots can feel stiff when walking.
- Front of boots can sometimes make it difficult to climb.
Oakley Airbrake Snow Goggles
With Oakley’s Airbrake Snow Goggles, you get a strong, durable exoskeleton on your goggles that come with Switch lock technology, which will let you change your lenses more efficiently. These Oakley goggles are also designed with an O Matter faceplate which is designed to be both flexible and comfortable during war.
Oakley’s Airbrake Snow Goggles also come with prizm lenses to help control glare, making your visibility more effective. These lenses also come with an anti-fog coating and high definition optics, making clarity a bonus.
Oakley’s Airbrake Sun Goggles are made for comfort and come with a balanced fit whether you wear a helmet or not. These sun goggles are made with an O Matter strap that keeps your goggles on and also adjusts to fit on most helmets.
- Great lenses
- Enhanced visibility
- Can scratch easily
- Could include a larger field of view.
Mountain Hardwear Scrambler Backpack
The Mountain Hardware Scrambler Backpack comes designed with a water tight main compartment that uses Outdry technology, meaning it’s completely waterproof so that your items inside of it stay dry. With the Mountain Hardware Scrambler Backpack, you also get two side pockets so that you can access your smaller items more easily.
This backpack also offers hardwave suspension. The suspension features make it a very comfortable backpack that can adjust to your back’s curve and balance the weight in the backpack to make it easier to carry.
Designed with an easy access hydration sleeve, the Mountain Hardware Scrambler Backpack makes it simple for you to access your water bottle while you’re on the move in the great outdoors. This backpack also comes with side compression straps that keeps the backpack stable throughout your entire adventure.
The Mountain Hardware Scrambler Backpack is a great option for anybody that enjoys outdoor adventures. The backpack is both durable and comfortable.
- Waterproof features
- Backpack would perform better if fully waterproof.
- Drawstring closure is not always effective.
Edelrid Huascaran Climbing Harness
At just under 220 grams of weight, the Edelrid Huascaran Climbing Harness is made with durable, lightweight materials to provide both maximum protection and comfort. Plus, the waist of this harness comes with a Mono buckle with webbing on the ends.
The webbing on the Mono buckle are ultrasonically welded, which will give you easy access to buckle threading even when the weather is windy. Plus, the harness is made to be breathable and also comes with flexible gear loops with attachment points so that you can use ice screw clips if necessary.
The Edelrid Huascaran Climbing Harness was the first harness to ever be approved by BlueSign and is made to be used at high altitudes. It provides you with a lightweight harness that offers a comfortable fit.
This harness also comes with leg loops that offer quick release buckle fastening technology, which makes it easy to get in the harness without taking off your footwear. Since this harness is both comfortable and easy-to-use, it should make a great addition to your gear.
- Blue Sign Approval
- Could be made to support more weather conditions.
- Not always easy to use in rainy weather.
Black Diamond Snaggletooth Crampons
Black Diamond’s Snaggletooth Crampons are constructed mostly from steel that’s been manufactured to be both strong and lightweight. Even better, they are constructed so that they are easy to put on, comfortable to wear, and fit on most boots easily, including ski boots.
These crampons come with a micro-adjust heel belt to make them not only easily adjustable so they fit your footwear, but it also ensures the crampons stay in place during use. Black Diamond’s Snaggletooth Crampons are also great for gripping onto whatever you need to climb.
What’s great about Black Diamond’s Snaggletooth Crampons is their versatility since you can use them no matter what type of mountain you plan to scale. You may run into occasions where you need crampons even for mountain climbing that seems easy to you.
- Easy to get on and off
- Could shed snow better when used.
- Can be difficult to handle in windy weather.
Edelrid Boa Dynamic Climbing Rope
The Elderid Boa Dynamic Climbing Rope is made with a Thermo Shield treatment so it handles well pretty much anywhere. It’s also made with Duo Tec technology, which provides you with permanent middle marking each time you use the rope.
The rope also comes as a single Duo Tech rope, which adds to its strength and versatility. Plus, it’s a BlueSign product made primarily from upcycled sheath yarn, so you know it’s made well, providing both environmental and customer protection.
The Elderid Boa Dynamic Climbing Rope’s design is meant to give you a rope that handles well which can be used for almost anything. The rope comes with a small diameter, making it easy-to-use for a wide variety of things.
Currently, this rope is one of the thinnest and most lightweight ropes on the market that also brings customers its durability. With its excellent quality and versatility, it should bring you years of effective use.
- Duo Tech rope
- Colors come different each time.
- Can be difficult to use in windy conditions.
Black Diamond Venom Ice Axe
The head on the Black Diamond Venom Ice Axe is made up of stainless steel, with an aluminum shaft and a chromoly pick. While its materials make it sound like it might run heavy, it’s actually very lightweight, weighing in at a little over a pound.
The Black Diamond Venom Ice Axe is a handy product to use when trying to handle ice during any mixed climbing adventure. Its materials make it very durable and strong, while it’s still manufactured to be both lightweight and easy-to-carry.
What’s most impressive about the Black Diamond Venom Ice Axe is that it’s made to self-arrest so you can use it easily to climb a pitch of ice. Unlike its competition, the Black Diamond Venom Ice Axe lets you self-arrest much more easily while still providing you with great ice performance.
- Lightweight and easy to carry.
- Improves self-arrest.
- Made from strong materials
- Could be more versatile as a product.
- Not always easy to use in the wind.
Criteria for Evaluation
Analyzing Types of Clothing and Gear
Whether you’ve been hitting the mountains for some time or you’re just starting out as a newbie, you always need to make sure you have the right types of clothing for your mountaineering adventure. As such, you’re going to need to make sure you have the right clothing that’s warm, waterproof, and fits.
Typically, it’s recommended that you layer your clothing when you dress for the mountains so you can add or remove layers quickly while outside. However, the three most important pieces of clothing to have are a high-quality jacket, great boots and good pants made to withstand the elements. Other clothing items you’ll need to think about include gloves and helmets.
Gear is also something you’ll need to take a close look at. Two of your most important gear choices will be your crampons and your axe, so we’ve covered both here.
When it comes to selecting a jacket for your mountaineering adventure, you’ve got four different basic types to pick from: the light insulation jumper, the medium insulation jacket, the hard shell jacket, and the parka jacket.
- Light Insulation Jumper. A light insulation jumper type jacket is usually used as a mid-layer for your clothing and something that should keep you warm while still being breathable. Most of these jumper style jackets are not made to be a top layer jacket but designed with fleece to be a mid-layer for extra warmth and comfort. Most of these jumper jackets are styled from different types of fleece materials.
- Medium Insulation Jacket. Most medium insulation jackets are made to be worn over a fleece light insulation jumper. These jackets are designed to keep you warm, but tend to be less breathable. The best material choice to purchase when looking for these jackets is down or synthetic insulation. Some medium insulation jackets are made to be weatherproof and withstand the elements, so they can be worn and still protect you even if the weather is warm. Also, several are made to be lightweight so they are easy to carry.
- Hard Shell Jacket. This jacket is a necessity and should be used as a top layer jacket. Hard shell jackets are made to be waterproof and windproof, and most are lightweight but don’t offer much insulation. The idea of the hard-shell jacket is to be your layer that protects you from what’s outside—but you won’t typically get the comfort of fleece or down with these.
- Parka Jacket. These jackets are really best for those that are planning to hit extreme altitudes while outdoors. So, if you know you’ll be around extreme temperatures, then you’ll want one of these with you. However, if you aren’t hitting any extreme mountains, then you probably won’t need this.
When it comes to keeping yourself protected while mountaineering, you’re also going to want a decent pair of trousers. Many mountain climbers prefer to layer their trousers as well. When it comes to trousers, you’ll find you have the option of soft shell trousers and hard-shell trousers.
- Soft shell trousers work well as a mid-layer, but not an outer layer. If you do plan to climb in alpine conditions, layering for added padding and comfort will be a benefit. Most soft shell trousers are stretchy and flexible, and also come lightly insulated.
- Hard shell trousers are meant to cover your soft-shell trousers, and offer you weather protection. Make sure the hard-shell trousers you purchase are waterproof, windproof, and strong. It also helps to get hard shell trousers with zip pockets on the side, so you can easily access items you might need, like crampons.
Selecting Mountaineering Boots
Both fit and comfort are going to be extremely important when it comes to selecting a pair of mountaineering boots. In fact, this is probably the most important clothing item you’ll buy for your trips. The type of boot you want to buy is going to depend much on the places you plan to tackle mountaineering.
You need to consider what you’ll be climbing—rock, ice, or snow. You also need to think about whether or not you’ll be tacking vertical ascents or if you’ll be hiking good distances before you climb. Also, think about how long you plan on being outdoors—meaning whether or not you just plan to do one-day trips, or week-long adventures. Also, think about how cold the weather usually is, and consider the climate.
- Single mountaineering boots give you a single upper boot that doesn’t separate. The lining won’t come apart, and they are very lightweight. These boots are great for tackling both hard rock and ice.
- Double mountaineering boots come with inner and outer boots that separate. They tend to be heavier but work well in cold climates since they are very warm. Plus, you can remove the inner boot to dry it when you aren’t using the boot.
- Super gaiter mountaineering boots are more of a combination boot. You won’t be able to take off the inner boot, but you do get the extra warmth and weatherproofing of a connected outer boot.
Selecting Your Gloves
Picking out your mountaineering gloves will depend a lot on the weather conditions and environment you plan to tackle. So, you need to think about the type of weather you’re likely to face, and the terrain as well. For the most part, you’ll want a decent pair of mountaineering gloves that are both waterproof and warm.
Also, depending on where and how you climb, you need to think about how flexible you’ll need the gloves to be. If your climbs are technical and you need to tie knots and unhook things, then you’ll need more flexible gloves. However, if you’re not planning on having to do too many extra things with your gloves, you’ll be fine saving a bit of money and purchasing any kind of warm, waterproof glove you like.
Gloves are another item you might want to layer when you’re hitting the mountains, since it’s quite likely that your gloves will get wet. Consider purchasing a softshell fleece thing glove to wear under your stronger, waterproof glove.
Purchasing a Helmet
A good helmet is a must when mountaineering, since you certainly want to protect both your head and face when you climb. The great news about mountaineering helmets nowadays is how technology has benefitted their design. Most helmets know are both lightweight and comfortable.
For mountaineering, you do want to purchase a helmet that’s made for this activity. A mountaineering helmet will protect your head from any impact you may encounter if you fall or hit a wall and collide with either rocks and ice. So obviously, safety is a key feature here.
Getting Your Gear: Crampons
Crampons are an important item to have, especially if you plan to climb steep, slippery mountains and walls during the winter. Crampons boost your shoe grip so you can easily climb up slippery surfaces. So, if you plan to hit the mountains during the winter, you’re going to want a solid pair of these.
When purchasing crampons, you need to make sure you have the right kind of boots for your crampons to attach to. If you don’t put crampons on the right kinds of boots, you’ll damage and wear out your crampons easily and quickly.
So, pay attention to your boot type and make sure you select the right type of crampon to fit your boots. Then, you’ll have added grip whenever you need it.
Getting Your Gear: Ice Axes
Selecting the right kind of ice axe for your mountain adventures will depend on where you plan to climb. Ice axes are usually used by ice climbers and mixed climbers. Whatever activity you plan to be doing in the mountains will dictate the type of ice axe you’ll need to purchase.
If you know you’ll be dealing with lower angle terrain, then you’ll need to purchase a slightly longer axe. If you hit steeper terrain, then you’ll need a shorter axe.
Q: What should I consider when selecting a backpack?
A: First, you need to make sure you get an effective backpack—which is going to be an alpine climbing backpack. Alpine climbing backpacks are made for people planning to climb, which makes them different than a hiking pack. Alpine climbing backpacks focus more on staying lightweight and helping you maintain your balance than your regular backpack would.
An alpine climbing backpack can be used for both hiking and climbing in a wide variety of conditions. Typically, they are low profile when compared to a regular hiking backpack because they need to be lightweight and comfortable when climbing. So, an alpine climbing backpack comes without complexity, is usually easy to use, and very comfortable to carry. Below we’ve created a list of a few things to consider when purchasing your backpack.
- First, you’ll need to ask yourself how large of an alpine climbing backpack you need to hold all of your items. You certainly don’t want something that’s too large or too small. A good size to purchase if you aren’t sure is a 40-liter pack, since it’s average sized and meant to hold quite a few items. A pack like this would work for both longer and shorter trips. You should be able to pack the items you need, your clothes, and carry everything efficiently.
- Fabric and Durability. With alpine climbing backpacks, you’re going to have to figure out what’s more important to you—the weight of the fabric, or it’s durability. If you want a more lightweight fabric, it won’t be as durable, and a more durable fabric won’t be so lightweight. So, you need to figure out what types of mountaineering you will be doing. If you know you’ll be in rough terrain and rub your backpack up against corners or walls often, then you’ll want a more durable fabric. So, you’ll need to decide how light you need your backpack to be, and also how strong the material should be to last. If you need more durability, consider selecting a fabric with a higher denier since it offers more durability but also increases weight. Most alpine climbing backpacks are made from different types of nylon fabrics. Since nylon isn’t waterproof, you’ll also find that many come with a Polyurethane coating to protect from the elements. Alpine climbing backpacks that offer you a combination of materials will typically give you a balance of strength and weight.
- Different types of alpine climbing backpacks come with different features. If your real concern is keeping the pack lightweight, then you’ll want a simpler backpack. However, several climbing backpacks come with a variety of gear and tool attachments that help with both carrying the items and keeping yourself organized. Some backpacks give you strong sleeves so you can place items you want to access easily on the side of your pack. Others have attachments and chords for assisting you with items like ropes and crampons. If you decide to select a backpack that offers several features, you want to make sure any features you do opt for are durable and strong.
- When getting an alpine climbing backpack, you want to find something with a removable lid, hip belt, and frame so you can remove unnecessary items from your pack to tackle climbs more easily. So, if you’re able to remove gear at different points, you’ll be able to adapt your backpack more easily to your climbing needs.
- You also need to make sure the alpine climbing backpack you select will be comfortable and fit correctly. The better it fits, the easier it’s going to be to carry when you hit steeper, more difficult climbs.
Q: What should I consider when selecting a sleeping bag?
A: When deciding on your options for a sleeping bag, you again need to think about the type of trips you are planning to take, the weather you’ll encounter, and the environment. If you want to take short trips in wet areas, you might find a dry, synthetic bag works out best. However, if you know you plan to take long-distance trips, then you’ll probably opt for a sleeping back that’s lightweight and easy to carry.
- Most sleeping bags offer two different types of insulation: synthetic and down. The type of insulation provided by your sleeping backs will probably be one of the most important items to think about. Synthetic materials can stay more insulated when either wet or dry, offering warmth much faster than down insulation can. Synthetic bags dry out much faster than down bags. However, down is much lighter, easier to break down and carry, and lasts much longer than synthetic material. Down also tends to cost more. Synthetic bags do weigh more and also don’t typically last as long as down bags. Some companies that insulate their sleeping bags with down offer water resistant down insulation, which does dry out quicker than regular down, but also costs more. So, if you plan on shorter trips where you might get wet, you’ll save some money by going with synthetic. But synthetic insulation won’t give you what you need if you require something more lightweight for longer trips.
- Shell fabric. Shell fabric is also a key factor depending on where you’re planning to climb. Different types of fabrics offer better water resistance as well as thickness, so the shell fabric’s material will be an important feature. With sleeping backs, much like alpine climbing backpacks, you’ll need to trade off durability with lightweight material, so you do need to consider exactly what you need with this option. Higher denier fabrics typically provide greater strength when it comes to sleeping bags, since the more denier in the fabric, the thicker the fabric. Also, the higher the denier of the fabric, the heavier the sleeping bag will be. However, one thing to remember is that sleeping bags don’t typically receive as much abuse as climbing backpacks, so if you aren’t planning on being anywhere that might puncture the shell, you’re probably better off going with something that is lighter and easier to carry. Also, while most sleeping bags aren’t 100% waterproof, some do come with water-resistant features on the shell, which is another option to consider if you plan on settling in wetter climates.
- You’ll need to take care of your bag well if you plan on using it for long periods of time. A synthetic sleeping bag will require much less care since they can withstand moisture while staying warm. They are easier to wash and dry as well. However, the synthetic materials in the bag will tend to wear out more quickly than a down insulation bag. So, consider how much time you can spend on maintenance in the long run when selecting your bag.
When you start doing your research to purchase the best gear for mountaineering, there are several things you need to consider. You want to make sure you purchase gear that’s going to last and not disappoint you while you are out in the mountains exploring, but at the same time, consider your budget and affordability.
The best gear for you will be designed to both meet your needs and fit your budget. So, make sure you measure out your necessities alongside what you plan to spend.
The key concepts to use to decide on the types of gear you’ll buy is the weather conditions you’ll encounter on your trips, how long you plan on being gone, and the types of terrain you’re planning to tackle. Once you’re able to focus in on those concepts, you’ll be able to get the best gear for mountaineering while staying in your budget.