Best Gear For Mountaineering
If you have ever been mountaineering than you know the thrill and adrenaline rush it can provide. There is no feeling like trekking up a mountain and feeling what our ancestors felt as they explored new lands. If you have not gone mountaineering and are just looking to get into the sport, then most likely you are starting to stock up on the gear you will need to keep you safe on your adventure. Mountaineering gear is important as it keeps you safe and provides you with the necessary tools to accomplish your climb without issue. Now, if you have been scouring the web looking for the best gear for your next mountaineering trip, but are having some trouble deciding which gear is best, the below guide is for you!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
Made to last
Variety of colors to choose from
The Best Gear for Mountaineering
1. The North Face Venture 2
Made to last
Variety of colors to choose from
Could have a bit more insulation for extreme cold
This jacket from North Face is guaranteed to keep you warm and comfortable on your next mountaineering expedition. The North Face company is known for its durable and well-made products that keep you warm in colder temperatures.Read more
This jacket is made with durable material but feels lightweight and will not weigh you down. When fully down up this jacket will maintain your body heat and keep you warm in mild to cold temperatures. If you are going into extreme cold temperatures, maybe look for a jacket with a little more insulation. Check out our guide about best winter jackets.
This jacket is sleek and lightweight. It comes in a variety of colors to choose from to ensure that there is a jacket to fit your style and personality. It also comes equipped with a hood, to give you that extra protection if you get caught in the rain.
This jacket is quite comfortable as all North Face products are and will keep you warm and dry.
This jacket is not only good if you are planning a mountaineering trip, but also will be a well-fitted jacket for skiing, day to day errands, or any activity in the fall, spring, or winter.
2. Darn Tough OTC Socks
Keeps your feet warm & comfortable
Made from Merino wool
When going mountaineering for hiking one of the most vital and important pieces of gear you can bring with you is a durable pair of socks. These socks from Darn Tough, are exactly like they sound, darn tough.Read more
These socks have great insulation, any outdoor socks should. They are made from merino wool so you know your feet will stay warm and dry while on your next mountaineering trip. To be safe, whenever traveling for long distances and in cold weather, you should always pack multiple pairs of socks.
These socks are great for keeping your feet warm while exploring, but they only come in a couple of styles. If you are not worried about style options and rather a great pair of socks that will keep you warm, than these may be the socks for you and your next mountaineering trip.
These socks will not only keep your feet warm but also have a sense of cushion for under your feet. The cushion is a great feature as it adds extra support, and allows you to trek and hike longer without being uncomfortable.
These socks are not only great for mountaineering but also can be used hiking, camping, or for your normal day to day routine. Great socks for a quality price.
3. Kelty Tuck-Ex Sleeping Bag
Effectively maintains a low temperature
Protects you from the weather
Not as lightweight as advertised
If you’re planning on doing any overnight mountaineering, then you’re certainly going to need a durable, weatherproof sleeping bag to bring with you on your adventures. Protecting yourself while you sleep is one thing that the Kelty Tuck-Ex Sleeping Bag can successfully do.Read more
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 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.
The Kelty Tuck-Ex Sleeping Bag also features a comfort-tuck zipper system, a comforting 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 made with a tafferta shell and liner, which provides a lot of warmth and comfort even during the coldest of nights.
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.
4. Oakley Airbrake Snow Goggles
Can scratch easily
If you’re planning to hit the mountains whenever you want to, including when the weather is bad, then you’re going to need some effective protective eyewear. Oakley’s Airbrake Snow Goggles offer you plenty of eye protection as well as some technological benefits that could assist you with your performance.Read more
These goggles do not have much insulation except for the padding around the eyes which will maintain heat in your eye space and keep a part of your face warm.
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 the war.
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.
Oakley’s Airbrake Snow Goggles also come with prism 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.
5. Montem Trekking Poles
Variety of colors to choose from
Versatile for other outdoor activities
Trekking poles are always a great addition to your climbing or mountaineering gear, as they help take the stress off your legs and back especially when climbing or trekking on uneven ground.Read more
These trekking poles will add nothing to the insulation in keeping you warm. The minor insulation that these trekking poles have is around the handles as they are padded to ensure that your hands do not get cold while climbing.
These trekking poles are built to last and come in a variety of colors to choose from, so you can find the best poles that fit your style. These poles have padded handles and are able to be adjusted to ensure you are comfortable the entire time you are using them.
The fact that these poles are adjustable makes them quite comfortable as you will not be putting any extra strain on your back and can adjust them so they are the perfect fit. The handles being padded also is a bonus as since you will be using them for long periods of time, your hands will not get cold and feel comfortable the entire trek.
These trekking poles are quite versatile as you can use them for mountaineering, hiking, walking, day to day errands, camping, and pretty much any activity outdoors.
6. La Sportiva Makalu
Great ankle support
These boots are great if you are looking to get into hiking, trekking, or mountaineering as the traction and support you get from these boots are incomparable when it comes to other brands. These boots not only are highly rated but come from a great brand as well.Read more
These boots are made for the outdoors, and for any season. They will keep your feet insulated and warm if you decide to go adventuring in colder climates and will keep your feet breathing and dry in the summer if it gets a tad to warm.
These boots have a basic design to them but do not let that sway you from the quality and performance of these boots. Overall if you are after style, then these boots may not be the ones for you. But if you are after quality and support, then take a closer look at these boots from La Sportiva.
These boots have a comfortable fit and are highly rated amongst previous customers. They also support the ankle nicely which is important when you are trekking in the woods or mountaineering as the ground can be uneven and with improper ankle support could result in injury.
These boots are not only great for any outdoor adventure you can think of, but they are also great for your day to day activities, especially in the winter. These boots offer great traction and grip, so if you are using them in the winter when things can get a bit slippy, you will be covered.
7. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx Tent
Easy to transport
Could be a little more comfortable
Mountaineering would not be mountaineering without a tent as a part of the gear. A tent allows you to stay for multiple days up in mountain peaks witnessing a beautiful view while allowing to stay warm and get a comfortable sleep.Read more
This tent is lightweight and provides great protection from the outside elements. It fits a single person so this would be great if you and a friend are going mountaineering or if you have decided to go on a solo trip.
This tent being a one person tent could be a little small, but the overall style is quite good as ALPS make a quality product. It is easy to set up and is lightweight so it is perfect for attaching to your backpack and to transport with you on your next mountaineering trip.
This tent could be a tad more comfortable but due to it being lightweight and compact so you are able to bring it with you easily and not weigh you down, the comfort had to be spared a little.
This tent not only would be a great piece of gear for mountaineering but also for camping, hiking, or any overnight stay you may have in mind. It is easy to set up and easy to transport.
8. Fjallraven Keb Trekking Trousers
Offers superior leg protection
Designed with flexibility in mind
Not waterproof, although you can waterproof these pants
If you want to stay protected and warm throughout your mountaineering adventure, then you’ll need a pair of good quality trekking trousers to protect legs from both scratches on the trails, and the elements. Fjallraven’s Keb Trekking Trousers come in both men’s and women’s styles and offer you the type of protection you’ll need to enjoy your trip.Read more
These pants offer great insulation and will keep you warm in mild and cold weather. they are also water-resistant which means they will keep you dry and the water out. If you are trekking in extremely cold climates, maybe take a look at some more insulated pants.
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.
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 polyimide that stretches, so you get the addition of comfort and flexibility when moving.
The knee area on the Fjallraven Keb Trekking Trousers is also made with flexibility in mind and includes 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.
9. Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe
Great for climbing
Item does not look exactly like the picture
This ice ax from Black Diamond is a quality ax that you will want to have as part of your mountaineering gear. It's lightweight and will give you the extra grip and traction you need to overcome tough obstacles while on your next mountaineering trip.Read more
When it comes to insulation this Ice ax does not have much insulation and will not do anything towards keeping you warm. Its main purpose is to give you traction and grip if you need help while climbing.
This ice ax is sleek and ergonomic to ensure that it will be easy to use and transport with you on your next mountaineering trip. The strap is great for extra support while using this tool.
The grip on this ice ax is padded for maximum comfort. That way when using this tool for long periods of time, your hands will not get uncomfortable.
This tool's main purpose is to give you extra grip when climbing, but it can come in handy if you come across some dangerous critters or need to reach out and grab something.
10. ALPS Mountaineering Compression Stuff Sack
Can be used as a pillow if you are feeling creative
Not much style to it
This compression sack will allow you to compactly bring the rest of your mountaineering gear securely and easily as it connects to your backpack for easy transport. Compression sacks always come in handy when going on long treks as they help reduce the amount of gear that is scattered within your backpack.Read more
This compression sack is made from polyester material and will keep your gear warm, but your personal warmth will have no effect.
This compression sack comes in limited colors and does not have very much style to it. It is built to compress your gear and make it easy to transport, and that is what it does.
This compression sack connects to your backpack easily. The only comfort it could provide is as a pillow when you are getting ready to call it a night.
Again, this compression sack is made to transport your gear and it does its job nicely. You could use this compression sack as a pillow if needed.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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 ax, 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 softshell 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 hardshell trousers with zip pockets on the side, so you can easily access items you might need, like crampons.
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.
Once you know that, you can pick a style from one of the three options you’ll see in mountaineering boots: single boots, double boots, and super gaiter boots.
-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.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When going mountaineering for the first time, the basic gear you will need to make sure you have a safe and successful climb is the following:
When looking for any gear for any activity this summer season, you want to make sure that the gear will not only fit you but also in your backpack. When you are mountaineering, backpacking, or hiking and will be gone from civilization for a couple of days, you want to make sure you have everything you need and that everything fits properly to ensure you have a safe and fun trip.
Other Factors to Consider
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What should I consider when selecting a backpack?
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 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 before getting a 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.
q: What should I consider before getting a mountaineer 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.
q: What should I consider before getting a ice axe?
Selecting the right kind of ice ax 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 ax 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 ax. If you hit steeper terrain, then you’ll need a shorter ax.
q: What should I consider when selecting a sleeping bag?
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 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 bags 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. The 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.