Rock Climbing Gear for Beginners: A Helpful Guide

Rock Climbing Gear for Beginners: A Helpful Guide


Are you looking for the best rock climbing gear for beginners that can take your climbing to new heights?

Climbing is adrenaline. It is an ultimate adventure of a lifetime. However, the thought of a rock climbing adventure can also feel intimidating, especially for beginners like you. It takes enough guts, skills, techniques, and movements to succeed in rock climbing. Moreover, it takes the right equipment and gear to enjoy this exhilarating journey into the vertical realm.

Rock climbing essentials include climbing shoes, chalk bags, climbing chalks, harness, helmet, climbing pack, and basic accessories. The best rock-climbing gear can both offer protection and drive to help you reach the summit. Find a rock climbing gear that is based on your personal preference, style, and climbing goals. Moreover, find a gear that best suits your budget and lifestyle.

Rock climbing does not require you to outlay a significant amount of money in buying special gear and equipment. If you are that persistent, you can start rock climbing by having at least a helmet. As a beginner, prioritizing things is an important skill that you need to develop. Purchasing the most essential climbing gear first can help you save money, time, and effort in the future.

Here’s a list of our highly recommended climbing gear to help you kick-start a career in rock climbing.

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List of Climbing Gear for Beginners

Every person’s rock climbing journey is unique and different from the rest. Finding the right climbing gear should be based on their needs and style.

The items below are listed according to their importance or value – from the most important items to the least important ones. The first few items are those that you need to purchase immediately, while the remaining items are those that can wait until you become a pro in rock climbing.

  • Most Important
  • Climbing shoes
  • Important and Highly Recommended
  • Climbing chalk and chalk bag
  • Climbing harness
  • Helmet
  • Belay device
  • Locking carabiner
  • Can Wait (Once you are already good at rock climbing)
  • Climbing pack
  • Climbing accessories – brushes, gloves, tape, skincare, etc.
  • As Needed
  • Climbing rope
  • Nut tool
  • Crashpad
  • Slings
  • Trad rack
  • Quickdraws

Climbing Shoes

Importance: Most Important

Price Range: $100 – $250

Our Recommendations:

Buying Advice

Climbing shoes are the most important piece of gear that you need to purchase immediately. They are literally the kick-starter in your rock-climbing journey. If you are a beginner, renting a pair might be your first option. But over time, especially when you are already hooked on rock climbing, purchasing a pair of climbing shoes might be your ultimate option.

When buying climbing shoes, there are important considerations to take. Remember, the shoes are the interface between your feet and the rock – choosing the wrong type can compromise your climbing journey. Practicality and durability are the most important considerations. If you have an extra budget for an expensive pair, make sure to find the best fit.

Getting the right fit can ensure the safety and longevity of your climbing adventure. No matter how expensive your shoes are, if they bring you pain while climbing, they are still considered useless. Make sure to get a pair that is comfortably snug and can make your climbing easy and enjoyable.

Note that your shoe needs change over time and that it is essential to consider replacing or resoling your climbing shoes in the near future. As your rock-climbing journey gets farther and harder, your shoes also start to wear out significantly. When your skills are already refined, that’s the perfect time to consider purchasing more climbing shoes.

Chalk Bag and Climbing Chalk

Importance: Important and Highly Recommended

Price Range: Chalk Bag: $20 – $50; Climbing Chalk: $5 – $30

Our Recommendations:

Chalk Bags:

Climbing Chalk:

Buying Advice

While a chalk bag might not be essential at the start of the journey, this can definitely make your climbing much easier and more enjoyable. As the name suggests, a chalk bag holds the climbing chalk and must possess the following features: pouch, loops, closure system, extra pocket/s, and a slot for a climbing brush.

Most chalk bags in the market have a classic, standard design. But you can always add some personality and spice to your chalk bag. There are various fun and colorful chalk bags in the market today. Find the one that best suits your climbing needs, goals, and style. Moreover, find a chalk bag that can hold more climbing chalk and has extra space for some climbing accessories.

Climbing chalks, on the other hand, are a tool that helps control perspiration in your hands while on the climbing wall. Several forms of climbing chalks include block chalk, loose, eco, and liquid chalk. They remove the sweat in your palms to increase the friction between you and the wall, allowing you to have a greater grip. Climbing chalk is also a powerful tool for bouldering and rope climbing. Similar to chalk bags, there are many brands of climbing chalks in the market. Choose the best product that is powdery, not pasty, and has coarser grinds.

Climbing Harnesses

Importance: Important and Highly Recommended

Price Range: $50 – $180

Our Recommendations:

Buying Advice

A climbing harness is another climbing essential that you should purchase as soon as your start your rock-climbing journey. This device requires the use of a rope or anchor point to secure your safety while climbing. Buying a harness is a good investment especially if you are planning to use it for a long time.

When buying a harness, make sure that the device has basic features – two leg hoops, a belt with auto-locking buckles, gear loops, and a belay loop. It doesn’t have to be expensive and super-light; as long as it provides safety and comfort, that’s just everything you need to keep going.

Having a personal harness is far more important than renting one. Personal harnesses are snug-fit and not constrictive. They also have wider straps for efficient weight distribution, making it easier for you to climb without hesitations. If you are a newbie in rock climbing, consider buying a harness that is best suited for your specific needs. Also, make sure that it has all the safety features you need when an emergency strikes hard.

Belay Device and Two Locking Carabiners

Importance: Important and Highly Recommended

Price Range: $20 – $70 for belay device; $10 – $40 for locking carabiners

Our Recommendations:

Belay Device

Locking Carabiners

Buying Advice

Belays and locking carabiners are highly important equipment in rock climbing. Belays act as a brake on the rope by generating enough friction to it. This device also sustains the tension on the climbing rope to ensure the safety of the climber. As you progress in rock climbing, you need to get a belaying device that best suits your needs. Belaying devices are divided into three categories:

  • Assisted-braking devices – also called self-braking devices. They arrest falls by locking or grabbing the rope once a sudden, strong force is applied to it.
  • Tube-style devices – utilizes frictional force when catching a fall
  • Passive-assisted braking devices – also called semi-automatic tube-styled belaying devices

Whether you are a newbie or a pro in rock climbing, choosing a belaying device should be based on your budget, climbing goals, and the thickness of your climbing rope. When you are just a beginner and on a budget, a tube-style belay device might be for you. Meanwhile, assistive-braking devices can be a top choice for rock-climbing pros.

Aside from a belay device, you will also need two locking carabiners to complete your fall protection system in rock climbing: one HMS carabiner and a general-locking carabiner. There are various fancy carabiner products in the market that promise excellent protection. But you only need a basic HMS carabiner to get started. If you want an affordable, safe, and durable carabiner, the Black Diamond Rock Lock Screwgate is an excellent option.

Climbing Helmets

Importance: Important and Highly Recommended (for climbing outdoors)

Price Range: $50 – $100

Our Recommendations:

  • Black Diamond Helmet
  • Tontron Adult Hiking Climbing Helmet
  • Petzl Ellios Helmet

Buying Advice

If you are prioritizing your health and safety, getting a helmet is a must. Climbing outdoors involves endless risks and foreseeable crises – getting struck by falling debris, slamming your head into a rock wall, being hit by a strong wind, etc. When these unexpected circumstances happen, no matter how cautious you are, the only thing that can save your head from a direct injury is your helmet. Remember, it’s better to be ready than feel sorry in the end.

When buying a climbing helmet, you need to consider the following things: durability, safety features, and fit. If you are on a budget, you can always choose a cheap helmet device with lots of good reviews. Make sure the climbing helmet fits snugly on your head, with no spaces left between the foam and your head. Also, the device should not rock side to side.

Like most rock-climbing equipment and protective devices, helmets must have a safety standard and could withstand the weight of heavy falling objects. Your purchase should also have shock absorption and excellent head protection mechanisms. The most common types of climbing helmets are foam-shell, hard-shell, and hybrid-shell helmets.

Climbing Pack

Importance: Important but Can Wait (once you are already good at rock climbing)

Price Range: $30 – $75

Our Recommendations:

  • Petzl Bug
  • Bseash 60L Travel & Hiking Backpack
  • Patagonia Linked Pack 18L
  • Black Diamond Gym 35 Gear Bag (for gym use)

Buying Advice

You will accumulate all the necessary climbing gear as you progress in this rock-climbing journey. A climbing bag is what you need to keep all these equipment and devices together. Whether you are climbing alone or having an afternoon bouldering session with your friends, the perfect climbing pack will help you carry all your gear to your destination.

Organizing all your climbing equipment can be challenging. It’s even harder to find the right climbing pack that will help you do all the works faster and more efficiently. Here’s a tip, choosing the perfect climbing pack should be based on your climbing goals and personal needs.

Consider purchasing a bag that is durable, spacious, and affordable. If you have an extra budget, grab a climbing pack from a trusted brand. Spending extra bucks might be challenging at first, but it will be all worth it in the end.

Climbing Accessories – Tapes, Brushes, Salves, Gloves, etc.

Importance: Important but Can Wait (once you are already good in rock climbing)

Price Range:

  • Tapes: $5 – $15
  • Brushes – $8 – $15
  • Salves – $15 – $40
  • Gloves – $15 – $25

Our Recommendations:

  • RockTape 2-in Water-Resistant Kinesiology Tape
  • Metolius Climbing Tape
  • Sublime Slimline Premium Boar’s Climbing Brush
  • Dyno Climbing and Bouldering Brush
  • Joshua Tree Organic Climbing Salves
  • ClimbOn All Purpose Lotion Bar
  • Intra-Fit Climbing Gloves
  • Seibertron Half Finger Padded Climbing Gloves

Buying Advice

You need the right climbing accessories to make your rock-climbing journey more fun and exciting. While these tools may be delayed, they can help achieve your goals in climbing. Climbing accessories may include tapes, brushes, salves, and gloves.

A climbing tape is among the many “constants” in the climbing journey. Surely, it will always have a space in your backpack. Besides providing the climber extra skin protection, climbing tapes are also essential in crack climbing.

The perfect climbing brush can help you get the best condition for your climbing project. The brush should be easy to use, have useful features, and can make your climbing life much easier. Skincare and recovery are also important matters in rock climbing. Salves can help moisturize, heal, and take care of your skin. Here’s the good news: the majority (but not all) of climbing salve products in the market are proven safe and effective.

Although they might seem a little unpopular and undervalued, climbing gloves are another important gear in rock climbing. They are especially beneficial during cold seasons, for belaying, and crack climbing.

 

Improve your Rock Climbing Journey by Investing in These Tools

The above-stated equipment or climbing gear is suitable for newbies or beginners in rock climbing. Investing in these climbing devices is essential and highly recommended. But as your journey progresses, you also need to upgrade your gear and start improving your climbing goals and priorities. Certainly, you will learn more skills and techniques over time.

When you reach the point where you are more capable and confident of your climbing skills, try investing in the following items:

Climbing Rope

Importance: As Needed (Can Wait)

Price Range: $200 – $350

Our Recommendations:

  • Black Diamond Equipment Dry Climbing Rope

Buying Advice

Whether you are interested in rock climbing, crack climbing, or trad climbing, you will definitely need a rope. Finding the best climbing rope can be extra challenging, especially for beginners. Make sure to purchase the most efficient climbing rope that both ensure your safety and can last a lifetime.

The most sensible thing to do is to ask a professional climber regarding the best climbing rope in town. Some of the most important considerations when purchasing a climbing rope are the length, thickness, diameter, weight capacity, weave patterns, and treatment (dry or wet).

  • Weight – The most ideal weight of a climbing rope is 9.5mm – 11.5mm thick.
  • Length – Most rock-climbing ropes measure 50 – 70 meters long.
  • Weight Capacity – The ideal climbing rope can withstand up to 5,000 – 7,000-lb force.

Lastly, get a rope that is dynamic or moving and not static. Dynamic ropes have greater tensile strength necessary in absorbing greater forces in case of a fall. Meanwhile, a static rope has a little tensile strength that may cause greater injuries to climbers.

Nut Tool

Importance: As Needed (Can Wait)

Price Range: $15 – $30

Our Recommendations:

  • Metolius Torque
  • Black Diamond Wiregate Nut Tool

Buying Advice

While this may not be the most important tool in rock climbing, a nut tool is an important gear for trad climbing or multi-pitch climbing. Nut tools are cheap, readily available, and durable gear that fasten multiple parts together. Purchasing one or two nut tools is a good investment.

Crash Pad

Importance: As Needed (Can Wait)

Price Range: $150 – $250

Our Recommendations:

  • Metolius Session Crash Pad
  • Mad Rock Mad Pad Crash Pad
  • Mad Rock R3 Crash Pad

Buying Advice

If you are looking for the perfect crash pad that can give you a soft-landing experience while bouldering, our recommendations can be of great help. Having a personal crash pad is essential in your climbing journey. This special tool can “soften the blow” when you decided to go crash landing on the ground.

Crash pads are also an efficient tool that can help you gauge your level of enthusiasm and mental conditioning. The best crash pad will protect you both from the sturdy ground and protruding objects on it. So if you want to experience a smooth and safe landing, consider purchasing a high-quality crash pad now. But then again, this tool can wait.

Slings

Importance: As Needed (Can Wait)

Price Range: $15 – $55

Our Recommendations:

  • GM Climbing Slings
  • GM Climbing 23kN Nylon

Buying Advice

Slings function as runners or security backups for experienced rock climbers and trad climbers. This tool is needed in establishing an efficient anchor set up in the said sports. When purchasing a sling, make sure this is in accordance with your climbing needs and goals. Also, get two locking carabiners and you’re good to go.

Trad Rack

Importance: As Needed (Can Wait)

Price Range: Expect to pay a lot; these tools are expensive.

Buying Advice

Trad racks are expensive tools. If you think you have the capability to purchase one, follow your id and start searching for the best trad racks in the market. When you’ve come to a point where you want to focus more on trad climbing, you need to buy your own set of trad racks.

Personally, we don’t recommend building your own rack since this is quite costly and time-consuming. However, if you are that persistent, you may start learning the following: Beginners Trad Rack, Intermediate Track Rack, and Advanced Trad Rack. Remember, you are free to go further in this rock-climbing journey.

Quickdraws

Importance: As Needed (Can Wait)

Price Range: $100 – $150 for a complete set

Our Recommendations:

  • Petzl – Pack 6 Djinn Axess
  • Black Diamond Freewire
  • Petzl Spirit Express
  • Black Diamond HotForge Hybrid

Buying Advice

Quickdraws are another important tool for trad climbing. Ideally, you will need 8-10 (sometimes 8-12) quickdraws for a complete set. Quickdraws are all important tools for clipping bolts on rock climbing and multi-pitch climbing. If you are still not satisfied with our recommendations above, feel free to find an affordable set that will help you go further in rock climbing.

 

Final Thoughts

Rock climbing is a sport that is both rewarding and overwhelming. You need to find the right set of gear that will help you reach the summit of success. The best part about rock climbing is that you don’t have to force yourself in purchasing all these pieces of “climbing gear” at first.

You may start from the most essential – shoes, chalk, helmet, harness, and others. Then, when you have already gained experience, you can start buying other climbing devices and equipment.

Whether you want to start indoor climbing, outdoor climbing, trad climbing, or bouldering, you need the perfect gear that will ensure your safety and overall conditioning. Remember, you don’t have to spend so much money buying these pieces of climbing gear. Your will, determination, and irrevocable love for the sport are all that matter to get started.

We hope this article about rock climbing gear for beginners helps and inspires you to pursue rock climbing despite having financial constraints or second thoughts.