What to Wear Climbing: A Comprehensive Guide

Climbing is an exhilarating and challenging sport that requires the right gear to ensure your safety and enhance your performance. One crucial aspect of climbing gear is what you wear. The appropriate clothing can greatly impact your comfort, flexibility, and overall experience while scaling those vertical heights. In this guide, we will walk you through the essentials of dressing for climbing, from head to toe.


Helmets for Protection

Wearing a helmet while climbing is non-negotiable when it comes to safety. Protecting your head from falling rocks or accidental bumps against the wall or equipment should be a top priority. Look for lightweight helmets with proper ventilation that are certified by reputable organizations like UIAA or CE.

Sun Hats for Outdoor Climbing

When climbing outdoors under extended exposure to sunlight, wearing a sun hat becomes essential. It shields your face and neck from harmful UV rays, preventing sunburns and reducing heat exhaustion risks. Opt for hats made of breathable materials with wide brims that provide sufficient shade without obstructing visibility.


Breathable T-shirts/Tank Tops

Choosing moisture-wicking tops made from breathable fabrics such as polyester or merino wool is vital during climbs. These materials help regulate body temperature by wicking away sweat efficiently, keeping you dry even during intense physical exertion on the rock face.

Middle Layers – Fleece/Synthetic Jackets (Depending on Climate)

For colder climates or higher altitudes where temperatures drop significantly, layering up with fleece jackets provides insulation without compromising mobility. Synthetic jackets also serve as excellent mid-layers in chilly conditions since they retain warmth even when dampened by sweat or light rain.


Climbing Pants/Shorts

Choosing the right climbing pants or shorts is essential for unrestricted movement and durability. Look for options with stretchable materials like nylon, spandex, or elastane that offer flexibility without compromising breathability. Reinforced knee patches can also enhance durability during knee-intensive movements.

Leggings/Base Layers for Versatility

During colder weather conditions, wearing leggings or base layers under your climbing pants provides added warmth and insulation. Opt for moisture-wicking fabrics like merino wool to keep your legs cozy while ensuring proper ventilation and sweat management.


Climbing Shoes – Precision and Grip

Climbing shoes are arguably the most critical aspect of footwear when it comes to scaling vertical terrain. These specialized shoes should fit snugly but comfortably to provide optimum precision on small holds while maintaining a good grip on the rock surface. Choose shoes based on your climbing style (bouldering, sport climbing, trad climbing) and personal preferences (stiffness/flexibility).

Hiking Boots/Shoes for Approaches

Before reaching the actual climb site, you often need to traverse long approaches over rocky terrains or uneven trails. A sturdy pair of hiking boots/shoes with excellent ankle support is necessary in such cases. Look for waterproof options that offer traction on various surfaces while keeping comfort in mind.


Gloves – Protection from Abrasions/Cuts (Optional)

While gloves are not mandatory in all types of climbing, they can be beneficial during crack climbs or routes with rough surfaces where hand protection becomes crucial. Consider lightweight fingerless gloves made from durable synthetic materials that allow maximum dexterity while safeguarding against abrasions and cuts.

Chalk Bag and Chalk

To maintain a firm grip on holds and minimize excessive sweating, climbers often use chalk. A chalk bag is a handy accessory that can be attached to your harness, providing easy access during climbs. Fill it with climbing-specific loose chalk or chalk balls for improved grip without leaving behind messy residues.


The Right Gear for Climbing Success

Choosing the appropriate clothing and accessories for climbing is essential for both safety and performance. From helmets to footwear, each piece of gear plays a crucial role in ensuring comfort, protection, and enhanced capabilities while tackling challenging routes. By following this comprehensive guide on what to wear when climbing, you’ll be better equipped to conquer those vertical adventures with confidence!