Everyone that has ever taken part in any kind of adventure climbing will know just how much meticulous planning is involved, and to climb safely you need to ensure that you have the right gear for your own needs and requirements.
Finding the best climbing gear can be incredibly difficult, as brands everywhere all claim to offer climbers the next best thing, and new products are constantly being developed and designed. Some of these products are gimmicks, while others are perfect.
Within the world of climbing, the options for different types of gear are almost limitless. Usually seasoned hikers will have dozens of different pieces of equipment, all of which are completely necessary to climb safely. It can be difficult to understand them all if you are unfamiliar with the world of climbing.
If you have only done a small amount of climbing then you may not initially know where to start, but even the most experienced alpinists have to start somewhere.
One key piece of advice before we start, you should always check the safety ratings of the products that you are looking into purchasing.
If a product does not appear to be safe, or does not meet the industry standards, then you should avoid it at all costs. In the world of climbing there is no additional room for error, and the only thing between you and the ground in some situations is your gear.
Also, don’t rule out climbing all together if you are nervous about the heights involved. Go bouldering instead, that way you can learn techniques associated with climbing, and you will quickly build up your courage.
What are all of the different types of climbing equipment?
There are dozens of different pieces of climbing equipment that are readily available to purchase, and today we are going to go through just a few key pieces of equipment with you. These items are mostly for keeping you safe, and they could be considered to be the most important pieces of equipment for that very reason.
Your safety is, and always will be, our main concern. The right gear can offer you the safety and peace of mind to know that, if you are in a bad situation, you will come out of it unscathed and ready to face another adventure head on.
Nutrition and hydration
Before you start thinking about equipment, you do need to really consider both nutrition and hydration. This is about your safety after all. It can be easy to start to feel weak while you are climbing, so ideally you should research the types of food that you will need to consume both before, during, and after your climb.
Each different type of climbing is demanding in a different way, and it can vary dramatically. Make sure that you are thoroughly hydrated throughout the day, and always have some water close-by.
Proper climbing shoes are essential for any climb, and they are there to protect your feet while also gripping onto the surface below you. Initially you should look for a pair of shoes that offer you the versatility to explore different kinds of climbing, so a good all-rounder would be perfect.
Otherwise you might be limiting yourself, and stopping yourself from doing something that you could enjoy.
Make sure that any shoe that you do decide to purchase offers you an excellent level of support. A rule of thumb is that properly fitted climbing shoes will feel tight, but they will not cause any pain.
If you feel even the slightest hint of pain then you should find another pair, as pain can be debilitating while climbing. Ideally you should aim to purchase a pair with either a Velcro or lace-up closure.
A lot of people that are new to the world of climbing, or that are testing the water, find that choosing the right harness is almost the toughest part. There are numerous different types of harness available, and it can prove to be a struggle to decide where to actually start.
Do you look at the features of do you look at the adjustment options that each individual harness offers?
Our advice to novice climbers would be to simply look at the different types of harness. We would advise that you avoid alpine harnesses to start with, as they aren’t practical in a lot of situations that novice climbers will be exposed to. Ideally you should look for either a fully adjustable harness, or a semi-adjustable harness.
The fully-adjustable harness would be the better of the two, as it would have both a fully adjustable waist and leg loops. The key rule of thumb with regards to fit is that the harness should sit just above your hips, and each individual leg loop should have a gap of no more than a finger width between the material and your leg.
Now, if you have researched climbing then you may have noticed that there are a lot of professional climbers out there that do not wear helmets at all. The truth is that helmets are not an essential part of climbing, but in our opinion they are a key piece of equipment that can be directly linked to your safety.
Due to that we would always advise that you wear a helmet. It is almost like riding a bike, you probably won’t fall off, but it isn’t worth the risk of your head hitting the pavement. Unfortunately, us humans don’t bounce very well.
While climbing there is always a small risk that something above you could fall and hit you, usually a small rock, and there is no way at all to plan for that happening or not happening.
By making sure that you have a helmet on your head you will minimize the risk of what happens in that situation, to the point where you will more than likely just hear the noise of the rock and feel something touch your helmet.
Ideally you should purchase either a hard shell, or an expanded plastic foam helmet. Both are known to offer a great level of both durability and protection.
Spring-loaded camming devices
Quite a while ago spring-loaded camming devices were not actually seen as a necessity by climbers, and yet now almost every climber and alpinist will have more than one at home. Making sure that you have a high-performance spring-loaded camming device is essential, and you should make sure that you understand the different sizing associated them.
Remember that a spring-loaded camming device is literally the item that when pulled during a fall will offer you just enough friction to wedge in place and stop the fall entirely. Getting a high-quality one could be the difference between staying on the climbing trail, and coming off of it at some speed.
A carabiner is another important piece of safety equipment, and seasoned climbers will usually have quite a few of them lying around. They are used to connect your overall safety system, and without them a lot of safety systems would not function.
No matter what type of climbing you are planning on taking part in, you will definitely need a carabiner, it simply is not a piece of equipment that you can skip out on.
Most carabiners readily available on the market are made out of either steel or aluminium, with steel offering more strength than aluminium. The only downfall to that additional strength is that steel weighs a lot more than aluminium, and that alone will make aluminium the best choice for most climbers.
The one thing that you will never forget to take climbing will always be your climbing rope, unless you simply forget to pack it in your bag before you head out climbing. Having to turn back can be horrible, so make yourself a check-list.
Make sure that you purchase a dynamic rope initially, as the additional stretch that a dynamic rope offers makes it the best option for taking lead falls.
The other option would be to purchase a rope that is semi-static, they offer almost no stretch and are designed to be more suitable for rigging, and abseiling.
You will see the phrase ‘standard length’ everywhere when you search for climbing rope online, and when you actually look you will notice that these ‘standard length’ ropes can differ in length quite dramatically. All you actually have to do is to pick a length that you know will be suitable for the task that you have in mind.
A lot of climbers also go on their adventures with double ropes, and there are numerous benefits to doing so. One of the key benefits is that if one rope is damaged you will have a back-up to hand.
Our Gear Climbing Reviews
Black Diamond Momentum Harness – Men’s
Dimensions: 5 x 8 x 9 inches
Best Features: A speed adjust waist, and four pressure-molded gear loops
Top Uses: A great climbing harness for beginners and experts alike
Harnesses can be found all over the market, and choosing the right harness can be difficult. The Black Diamond Momentum Harness is an ideal option for both novice climbers and experts alike, as it saves a climber a lot of time.
There is no buckle at all to adjust this harness, all you have to do is move the patent pending trakFIT® slide adjuster directly along the webbing of the leg loop. Ideally it should be snug to your leg, with less than a finger width between your leg and the loop.
That time that you would normally spend adjusting a buckle is gone, and it only takes seconds to adjust the harness.
The innovative design of this particular harness is quite unique, as it has been structured to maximise your comfort as a climber, while still offering you the security that a good harness should. It actually consists of two separate bands of webbing that split around the waist belt, which adds an additional layer of both comfort and durability to the product.
Anon Keira Helmet – Women’s
Dimensions: 53 – 65” (circumference)
Best Features: A BOA 360 fit system, and a fashionable design
Top Uses: Climbing, and certain winter sports
When it comes to keeping your body safe, there are certain parts of your body that are easier to cause permanent damage to than others.
Your head is one of them, and keeping your head safe is vital no matter what you are doing. For an additional level of security, the Anon Keira Helmet comes with a fantastic BOA 360 Fit system, which keeps the whole helmet tight for a fit that is both comfortable and secure.
An additional benefit to this helmet is that it can be used year-round, in a variety of conditions. During the summer it will allow an optimum amount of ventilation to keep your head cool, and during the winter you can use a fleece lining so that your head does not feel the cold too much!
Not to mention the classical Swarovski Crystals around each ear piece, giving this helmet a feminine appeal.
Metolius Ultralight Master Cams
Dimensions: 7 x 2 x 2 inches
Best Features: A color-coded system, and a single-stem design
Top Uses: Climbing
Spring-loaded cams really are an essential part of any climbing adventure, and climbers are often known to carry a large number of them.
This is more than likely because spring-loaded cams come in a variety of sizes, and to enable to you to tell them apart quickly, the Metolius Ultralight Master Cams set comes with a unique color-coding system.
This color-coding system allows you to choose the size that you need quickly and efficiently, and you won’t have to hunt around for the right size.
This particular set of spring-loaded cams are incredibly versatile, as they are incredibly lightweight when compared to other products on the market. If you are looking for an affordable set of spring-loaded cams that have been structured specifically for increased holding power, then look no further.
Evolv Cruzer Psyche
Dimensions: 14 x 7 x 5 inches
Best Features: A collapsible heel, and a durable structure
Top Uses: Trail running, and climbing
Finding the right pair of shoes to wear while climbing is quite difficult, and a lot of novice climbers find the sensation of climbing shoes hard to deal with.
Another option is found in the Evolv Cruzer Psyche shoes, which are actually designed for trail running. They are made out of a canvas material, and they are known for being incredibly durable.
Staying cool is important while climbing, and the last thing you want is your feet getting too warm within your shoes. Luckily these shoes will wick any moisture away immediately, and they can also be worn on a barefoot basis. A lot of climbers do use these shoes, and they have no problems when it comes to climbing efficiently and having fun in them.
EDELRID Jul2 Belay Device
Dimensions: 1 x 4 x 7 inches
Best Features: A lightweight construction, and a solid structure
Top Uses: Climbing, and abseiling
Safety is one of the most important features of any belay device, which is why this particular belay device has been structured to focus on providing an incredibly high break performance.
The actual brand that created this belay device was started by a mountaineer, and that is still reflected in their products today. The EDELRID Jul2 Belay Device is suitable for use with 7.8 – 10.5mm ropes, and 10mm ropes would be advisable for beginners.
The lightweight construction of this device enables it to be versatile, and suitable for both belay and abseil uses. It features a conveniently small eyelet that can be used as a releasing unit with a carabiner when bringing up your climbing partner.
A lot of climbers have found this to be a great example of a belay device that performs the task in hand precisely, and effectively.
Dimensions: 12 x 7 x 4 inches
Best Features: A breathable design, and a Velcro closure
Top Uses: Climbing, both solo and as part of a team
If you are looking to purchase a proper pair of climbing shoes then look no further, as the Tenaya Lati Climbing Shoes for men are known across the industry. They offer both versatility and durability, while offering both comfort and high performance.
One of the most important things that a pair of climbing shoes can be is breathable, as the last thing you need is for your feet to be getting too warm. Unfortunately, a lot of breathable shoes are also loose. Luckily, this particular pair are breathable while maintaining a constant snug fit.
The Vibram XS Grip that is featured on these climbing shoes will keep you feeling steady, as it grips to the ground beneath your feet with ease.
Black Diamond Camalot
Dimensions: 8 x 4 x 2 inches
Best Features: A color-coded system, and a durable design
Top Uses: Climbing
Another example of a fantastic spring-loaded camming device is the Black Diamond Camalot, which can be used as an expert security anchor.
The actual device works by reacting to the motion of pull, usually created by falling, and it immediately puts an outward pressure on the rock face by generating friction. That friction is the exact force that will stop you falling.
These spring-loaded camming devices are color-coded, so that you can immediately find the size suitable for the location that you want to place it in. It would be advisable to always have a variety of sizes with you, and the lightweight nature of these pieces of equipment means that they will not weigh you down.
Metolius Element Carabiner
Dimensions: 0.5 x 2.6 x 3.8 inches
Best Features: A hot-forged, key-lock design
Top Uses: Climbing
A good carabiner could be considered to be the best rock climbing gear in your rack, as it is a complete necessity.
Your Metolius Element Carabiner will directly protect you against any accidental falls, and falling is a real risk while climbing. It ensures that your harness and ropes are connected directly to each other, and it enables you to make any changes quickly.
This particular carabiner is hot-forget, and alone means that it is an incredibly sturdy piece of equipment. Keeping yourself safe is vital, and the stronger your equipment is, the safer you are.
Remember that although steel is stronger than aluminium, it is also a lot heavier. The nature of the weight means that a lot of climbers do choose aluminium pieces over steel ones.
GRIVEL Tech Machine Ice Tool
Dimensions: 48.3 x 27.9 x 7.6 cm
Best Features: A durable design suitable for use with ice
Top Uses: Ice climbing
Not every climber enjoys climbing up rock faces in the sun, and we understand that. Ice climbing can be both beautiful and treacherous at the same time, and ice climbing can be an incredibly difficult pursuit.
To work with ice effectively you need a stable tool that can hook directly into the ice face, and that is exactly what the GRIVEL Tech Machine Ice Tool can do.
This particular model has been designed to be lightweight. This is because heavy tools often make standard climbing harder, and they can do a lot more damage in environments where the world feels as though it is against you. With this particular ice tool you will be able to make solid placements, and keep yourself safe while among the ice.
Climbing is like a different kind of adventure, and even people who are afraid of heights often enjoy the views that they see whilst climbing. Maybe this is because climbing feels more secure, and safe, than simply dangling directly over the edge of something with a massive drop separating you from the ground.
Staying safe while climbing is easy, and as long as you remember to take all of the right pieces of equipment with you then you will be able to give yourself the peace of mind that you need to focus solely on climbing.
Choosing the right pieces of equipment for climbing can be both difficult and unique, what pieces of equipment would you all never leave home without? Let us know in the comment section below!