The Essential Gear For Climbers
Outdoor climbing is such incredible escapism from everyday life, especially if you live in the hustle and bustle of a city. Not only do you get to improve your fitness levels and engage your muscles like never before, but it’s also an exciting and adrenaline-fuelled workout. It’s also one that could take you the length and breadth of the country and to all four corners of the globe exploring new and challenging climbs. Many individuals who are starting out climbing may well be a little anxious. After all, you need lots of specialist equipment to stay safe. There’s no need to feel overwhelmed, though. We’re here with our essential guide, providing the lowdown on every piece of gear climbers need. Even if you’re not a novice and already participate in this increasingly popular pastime, now might be a good time to sit down and reassess your own kit bag.
Whether you are headed out for a short day tackling a straightforward, single climb, or you have a weekend of multi-pitch climbing ahead of you. You must pack the right equipment to get 100% out of your experience. If you bring along all the gear we’re suggesting below, you should be in the enviable position of being able to tackle just about everything thrown your way. Just so long, of course, that you have the pre-requisite skill to attempt such a challenge. So let’s jump right on in and take a look at our recommended must-pack items for all you climbers. Be sure to include all of these items before you head off on your next climbing adventure.
1. Climbing Harness
This might seem like an obvious one! You’re not going to get very far without your climbing harness. So make your you comprehensively check your kit bag and don’t leave this essential piece of equipment behind. It’s also a good idea to make sure that the rest of your party is also fully prepared. While it is possible to share harnesses, it’s really not advisable, so if you want to avoid potential injuries and slip-ups, double-check that all the climbers in your group are armed and safe!
Again, this one should absolutely go without saying. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have; a helmet is a must-have and could be a life-saver. You might get away without wearing a helmet indoors on a climbing wall, but for all other instances, a helmet is like paying for a health insurance policy. Ask yourself whether you can afford to take the risk of not having insurance in place? We recommend that you always wear a helmet.
Slings are really useful and have varied applications, including being used to create a chest harness. They’re also referred to as runners and we recommend that you always pack a couple in your kit bag. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and have more rather than less equipment than you might end up using.
If you are rappelling, belaying, or perhaps anchor building, you may come across a station where your rope unclips from your carabiner. In which case you need large locking carabiners to keep you more secure. If you’re climbing a single pitch crag, two locking carabiners are advisable. However, for multi-pitch climbing, especially in instances where you are taking the lead, then a minimum of three locking carabiners are recommended.
5. Climbing Rope
This is another hugely important piece of essential gear but one that quite often gets overlooked. Not only should you always keep a checklist and ensure that you have packed your climbing rope, but its also a good idea to routinely inspect it so that it’s in good working order. If you have any concerns at all and are worried that your climbing rope is unsafe, don’t even attempt to climb, even if you are armed with crash pads and a climbing belt. None of those items are any good if your rope fails you.
6. Climbing Shoes
Make sure that you’ve packed the right shoes for a day climbing. Don’t turn up in your regular workout trainers or, worse still, a pair of running sandals, only to realize that you left your favorite climbing shoes at home. You can purchase different types of rock climbing shoes or approach shoes for different climbing conditions, terrains and your skill level. You don’t want to be looking up at the base of a big wall and not have your trusted aggressive bouldering shoes by your side.
This might not strictly be an essential item but since we’re preparing a comprehensive checklist of every piece of gear climbers need, we figured this one should get a mention. You might be surprised just how sweaty your hands get. Especially as the adrenalin kicks in and you’re faced with your biggest challenge to date. Plus, it’s also climbing etiquette not to leave the holds too sweaty for anyone following your tracks, so do yourself and your fellow climbers a favor and pack that chalk.
8. Personal Anchor System
If you’re an experienced lead climber and part of a group, then you are going to need to pack your PAS or personal anchor system. This is the line that is used to connect you to other climbers via a climbing anchor.
Finally, don’t forget your quickdraws. The amount you need is determined by the type of climbing that you are doing but for most single pitch climbs, you’re going to need somewhere between 5-10 bolts. Quickdraws provide vital protection on pre-bolted routes and are also an excellent additional component to have as part of a traditional climb too.
This guide is just intended to provide you with a quick rough and ready overview of the gear climbers need. If you need further advice and training, then seek input from a professional and always ensure that you are fully trained on how to use your equipment before starting out.