If you have friends who are as obsessed with climbing as we are, check out our list of best practical gifts for rock climbers.
We started climbing eight years ago, and ever since, we knew it would be a big part of our lives. When we’re not working on the blog, you will most likely find us climbing in our free time. That’s why when we moved to a new city each year, we picked an apartment within walking distance from a climbing gym. In 2019, we moved to Vegas to be close to Red Rock, and I even started route setting at our local climbing gym.
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Last Updated: February 15, 2023
17 Practical Gifts for Rock Climbers
Our gift guide includes a mix of gear we already own, gear that our OG climbing friends have recommended to us, and we also asked our friends what’s on their wish lists.
Many of these newer products were gifted to us in exchange for an honest review (view our full list of partners). We either previously owned an older version or tried a friends’ before getting one of our own. We send back any products we don’t love or don’t think are a good fit for our readers (you can DM me about them if you’re curious).
Can you have too many climbing shoes? If you’re like us, we climb at least three times a week and quickly put holes in our shoes.
This is one of the most practical gifts for rock climbers, especially the minimalist rock climber. At the bare minimum, shoes are all you need if you only boulder (or free solo).
The best climbing shoes are the ones that fit your feet. Sadly, just because a friend highly recommends their shoes with the stickiest rubber doesn’t necessarily mean that shoe will work for you. The safest bet is to buy them a pair of shoes they already wear and love or pay for a resole if you don’t care about the surprise element.
These are our current faves:
- Scarpa Instinct VS (Esther Fave – I wear the men’s because I have wider feet). These are what I’ve worn for the past 5 years.
- Five Ten Anasazi Lace (Jacob’s Fave for all day wear for gym climbing or warming up. I also have Instinct VS as my outdoor send shoes)
- Scarpa Instinct S – Scarpa recently sent us these, and we’ve been excited to try their newest shoes. We love that they are slip on! They fit way tighter than the Instinct VS, so we ended up sizing up, but we will let you know how they perform long term. From my initial thoughts, I still love the Instinct VS more and worry that the heel will pop off, but we’ll see.
We highly recommend you try them all on to see which ones are a great match for your feet. Don’t forget to include a gift receipt so they can exchange them if they don’t fit. I know I’ve had an incredibly hard time finding shoes that fit my foot shape.
Sustainability Tip: You can always offer to pay for a resole, but that takes a lot more coordinating with your friends’ climbing schedules. Also, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise.
If the climber in your life is into Sport or Trad climbing, they will appreciate new rope. There are multiple types of rope used for different situations, but you can definitely find one that is a bit more all-purpose like the one that we just got.
Many climbers will tell you this is the most important investment. Everything else (shoes, hardware, etc) is comparable, but the rope is where you want to spend the most money for safety.
We’re still new to sport climbing, so we tried to get something that we can use for a long time. So far, we’ve loved this 9.9 70m Climbing Rope from Black Diamond with the Black Diamond Super Chute Rope Bag to keep it packed and clean at the crag.
This is a general term for the additional gear you need to Sport or Trad climb. For trad climbers, it’s all about the rack.
They all can only be used for a certain number of climbs, so it’s nice to have backups.
- Petzl GRIGRI Belay Device
- Helmet: We use the Petzl Meteor Climbing Helmet and the Elia.
- Metolius PAS
- Carabiner: Currently, we use the Petzl Freino Autolocking Carabiner and Petzl Attache 3D Screw-Lock Carabiner
- Metolius 18mm Nylon Slings
Pro Tip: If you’re not a climber and want to find out what they need, just show some interest in climbing and talk about wanting to build your own kit.
Chalk bags are a fun way to accessorize and personalize your look. Some are more practical, while others are more fun and decorative. We’ve even seen companies that make custom ones out of your own stuffed animals.
Chalk Buckets (for bouldering):
- Kinetik KiloJoule Spill Proof Chalk Bucket – We’ve been eyeing our friend Joe’s chalk bucket for a while, and now that we finally have one, this is the main one we use. It’s the only chalk bucket we’ve owned with an innovative design that doesn’t spill chalk. We also love that it zips up to keep your miscellaneous items like brushes secure.
- Topo Design Chalk Bucket – We love their collab with So Ill. It’s super cute but functions like a typical chalk bucket.
- 8BPlus Chalk Buckets – We used to have the Louie pictured below but ended up gifting it to a friend. This one is more for form than function. The top straps can be annoying.
Chalk Bags (more for rope climbing but can be used for bouldering):
- Monopkt Chalk Bags – our friends just made the cutest chalk bags!
- 8BPlus Chalk Bags – We have the Kelly.
- Topo Design Chalk Bag – Simple and colorful.
When all the gyms closed during the pandemic, we figured it was finally time to install our home wall. Our long-term plan is to have a larger space but to get a taste of it in our apartment, we got some Megalith panels.
We absolutely love how they look! They were easy to install and almost look like an art piece on our walls.
For a few years, we were looking for a house with space for an indoor climbing wall, and we finally found one. Originally, wanted to have a custom wall to set on, but those were upwards of 80k. That’s when we settled on this adjustable training board (you can see us putting it up here). If you want to go in for a splurge, . Then, you can add random holds for a spray wall or use the kilter, tension, or moonboard system.
Needless to say, climbing is rough on your hands! We have a few different items we use, but we love the Rhino Skin Solutions line. We use the Repair Cream after every session and Massage Cream when we’re sore. Plus, I love using their Dry Solution since my hands get soooo sweaty!
If you’re looking for a whole kit, we recently added the Crag Kit to our collection. The kit comes in a semi-rigid case with a removable mesh interior. It comes with 1 Rhino Skin Dry Spray (1oz), 1 Rhino Skin Split Stick (1oz), 1 Tension Shoe Spray (1oz), 1 roll of Tension Tape, 2 roll packs of our Circuit Tape, 1 Skin File (80 grit), 1 nail clipper, 1 detail skin clipper, and 1 phone stand.
No matter what kind of climbing you’re into, communication is always important. But don’t get just any walkie-talkie, get yourself a Rocky Talkie. They’re made by climbers for climbers. These rugged radios are built to be durable, convenient, have great battery life (3+ days on a single charge), and solid range.
We have friends who use these for sport and multi-pitch climbs and they have been game-changers. They no longer have to worry about miscommunication while on the wall. We also use them to find each other when bouldering where there is no cell service. Since plans can always change, we can plan to be on the same channel to find each other.
There are different types of climbing bags out there. Some are good for bringing your gear to the gym. Others are specifically made to bring outdoors.
- Power Company Boulder Bag – The bag we take bouldering. It can wear like a messenger bag but also flatten to pack inside our crashpad. Has plenty of organization for easy access to everything.
- Nomatic 30L (not climbing-specific, but it’s our current crag bag for sport)
- Cragsmith 32L Pack
Our friends launched an apparel brand called monopkt, and they have the cutest shirts. We’re so excited to see more of their well-designed climbing apparel. You’ll find us wearing these a lot! They also just created a really cute climbing journal.
We’ve collected quite a few climbing pants over the last couple of years. Some we use strictly for the gym and others are great because they are durable and can be worn anywhere.
- Boulder Denim – Our favorite jeans for traveling, climbing, and everyday life. Their version 2 is so comfortable that I could sleep in them and so far very durable. Use Boulder Denim Coupon Code: LOCALADVENTURER for 15% off your order.
- Topo Designs Boulder Pants (His + Hers) – Our newest pair pictured below in Clay. I have other pants with better stretch, but I have to admit that these are on here because they look the best. The mens version is way softer and stretchier for some reason.
- Kailas 9A Onsight (His + Hers) – We love how many colors they come in. I wear the Goldfish Yellow and Jacob wears the Date Red. Pictured below is when Sherilyn and I were twinning. Short girl setters ftw.
- 686 Everywhere Pant – Jacob recently got these and loves them! They’re great for in the gym and looking stylish when we’re out and about. Plus with it being so hot, they’ve been great for summer in Vegas.
Pro Tip: If you plan on taking photos in them, bright colors always look better against the rock.
Climbers love hanging off things and a hangboard helps train your fingers to get stronger. We have this Metolius Wood Grips that we mounted on a stand-alone pull-up bar.
We also have Wood Rock Rings that have been vital for us to warm up when we’re climbing outside. At home, we use a Light Rail to warm up our fingers.
Mountain Project is a great start for first time visitors who want to check out all the classics, but guidebooks are so helpful especially if you’re planning on delving deeper in an area.
You can buy one for the local climbing spot or one for a future climbing trip they’ve been talking about. Check out all the ones REI has.
Pro Tip: Some climbing spots only have one guidebook printed by a small publisher. They usually have limited runs so books can be scarce!
Crashpads are great gifts for boulderers, especially if there are local outdoor spots to climb. We have the Metolius Session II Crashpad that we’ve been using for several years but definitely want to get another one. The more crashpads the better. Check out the different crashpads available here.
For the non-climbers out there, approach shoes are shoes you wear to get to the climbing spots. They look more like everyday shoes but have rubber on the toes so that you can do easy climbs with them.
Jacob uses his brand new Danner Jagger Lofts. They are super comfy to wear around the crag, keep his feet warm around the crag, and it has a step down heel!
Pro Tip: Since these fit more like regular shoes, they are much easier to shop for as a gift over climbing shoes.
Warm up and recovery is important in climbing. We recently got a set of Chirp wheels to us with muscle relief and recovery. Unlike standard foam rollers, these have the advantage of width and pressure. We got a set of four different diameters to give us different options.
These gifts are specific to climbing photographers. It’s something we’ve been getting more into, and these are the first two pieces of gear we’ve purchased specifically for this.
When we attended the Arc’teryx Climbing Academy in Squamish, we jumped at the opportunity to take a climbing photography workshop.
The first thing we learned is that it’s a lot to juggle compared to other types of photography. The second thing we learned is that there is some helpful gear to get you to a good position. A Petzl Ascender helps you move around much easier and the Lowepro Toploader was a good solution to keeping your camera safe and accessible while on the wall.
Give yourself a deep tissue massage with the R8 Plus from Roll Recovery. There is an adjustment dial to help you adjust the force of the wheel and it’s great to target IT-bands, quads, hamstrings, calves, shines, gluteus, arms, and more.
BONUS: Gym Membership
Whether your friend is thinking about getting into climbing or has been climbing for years, a gym membership is a great gift. You can buy a punch pass, month’s membership, or an annual depending on how much you want to spend.
We’re all about gifting experiences over things. If your friend has been climbing for a while, chances are they have a lot of the above.
Pro Tip: If they are members at one gym already, a punch pass to another local gym will be appreciated especially if they climb regularly. That way they can try fresh, new routes.
More Great Gifts for Climbers
- Belay Gloves
- Elizabeth Arden Miracle Balm – One of our friends swears by this. If you’re losing a lot of skin, this helps your skin grow back faster. We recently got a tube and haven’t tested it enough to see how well it works, but we also don’t climb double digits or lose as much skin as he does.
- FlexBar – resistance bar for tendinitis and improving grip strength. You can also get the set of 3, which has a light, medium, and heavy.
- Hand Balm
- Hand Exerciser
- Knee Strap – the older we get, the more often we get injured
- PIVO Tripod – can track your movement and follow you
- Stiff Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream – for when you’re sore
- Wrist Widget – I use these to help stabilize my wrists. I don’t know if I have a TFCC tear, but I have wrist pain when climbing.
Great Stocking Stuffer Gifts for Climbers
- Acupressure Rings
- Liquid Bandaid / Super Glue
- Rehab Bands – been borrowing these from a friend for rehabbing my fingers. There are tons of different band designs for finger strengthening, but I like that I can always wear these around my wrist and do the exercises whenever I find free time.
- Torque Nut Tool
Are there any other great gifts for rock climbers that we missed? Which of these are on your wish list?
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Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.