You don’t need to be a thrill-seeking crunchy to enjoy climbing. Climbing gyms are popping up all over the country, and according to a recent report by the Physical Activity Council, more Americans are climbing than ever before. Climbing is an excellent total-body workout, a mental escape and a good excuse to hang (quite literally) with friends. Whether you’re a newbie, a weekend climber or an obsessive who always has chalk under your fingernails, here’s the gear to conquer the climbing gym right.
Before you’re able to scamper up the big walls, you’ll need to cut your teeth on the introductory stuff, like easy bouldering routes and ladder-like 5.6’s. For this type of climbing, you need only the basics: a flat and comfortable climbing shoe, a belay device/carabiner combo, a chalk bag, a simple harness and some clothes that’ll allow you to sweat freely.
ATC-XP Belay Device by Black Diamond $22
Chalk Bag by Topo Designs $29
Mojo Shorts by prAna $50
Momentum Harness by Black Diamond $55
Nine Trails T-Shirt by Patagonia $45
Raptor Climbing Shoe by Evolv $99
VaporLock Screwgate Carabiner by Black Diamond $15
The Weekend Warrior
Okay, you’ve graduated from the introductory stuff. 5.6’s are boring now. You’re beginning to tackle longer, steeper climbs and reach-y boulder problems. This requires gear with more finesse: a lighter harness, a more capable belay setup, a twist-lock carabiner (for quicker access), and climbing shoes that are still comfortable, but have a tad more arch for those tricky foot-hook moves.
Anasazi Moccasym Climbing Shoes by Five Ten $125
Andes Chalk Bag by Evolv $24
Am’D Twistlock Carabiner by Petzl $20
Motus SS Crew by Arc’teryx $40
Reverso 4 Belay Device by Petzl $30
Sama Harness by Petzl $65
Stretch Zion Shorts by prAna $50+
When you’ve reached the point when you spend so much time at the climbing gym that your friends and family — hell, even total strangers — are commenting on your shredded, bandaged hands, that’s when you know you’re obsessed. You know all the knots. You lead routes. People at the gym stop what they’re doing to watch you climb. You’re hanging out on the exceedingly difficult stuff, and that requires the lightest, strongest, most capable climbing gear. Anything less than the best, and you simply won’t be able to climb at the level you’ve worked so hard to reach.
C40 Chalk Bag by Arc’teryx $35
Evolution Helix Climbing Rope (9.5mm) by Sterling Rope $276
Gridlock Screwgate Carabiner by Black Diamond $20
GRIGRI 2 Belay Device by Petzl $100
Futura Climbing Shoe by La Sportiva $180
Positron Quickdraw by Black Diamond $17
Psiphon SL Pant by Arc’teryx $139
Ridge Tech Tank Top by prAna $22+
Sitta Harness by Petzl $160
Speedster Rope Bag by Metolius $47
Vapor Climbing Helmet by Black Diamond $140