What Goes in a Climbing Pack?

Horsetooth climbingIt can take a lot of poorly prepared climbing trips before you finally figure out what all you need to carry in your climbing pack. There is, of course, the obvious gear that you’re not likely to forget. You’re probably going to remember your chalk, climbing shoes, crash pad, rope, draws, helmet, etc. But that’s not the only gear you need to take with you. There are plenty of other items that deserve a spot in your climbing pack. While some are luxuries, some are just as important as your climbing gear itself.

Between hiking the approach and pulling yourself up a rock, you burn a lot of calories when you climb. Make sure you bring some food to keep yourself fueled. Some people like to do a little more preparation and pack real food while others opt for the convenience of bars, instant meals, and the like.

Hydration is key, so bring plenty of water. It’s better to bring too much water than too little.

It’s maddening to get out to your project only to realize that you haven’t clipped your fingernails. Or even worse, you forgot to clip your toenails. Long fingernails mean you’re in for a day of grating nails on stone, while untrimmed toenails will leave you begging for mercy. Pack some clippers to avoid discomfort.

Grab a roll of athletic tape. You can use it to protect your skin if it’s wearing thin or if you’re on the verge of getting a flapper. Use it to cover injuries, or even use it to fashion a makeshift stick brush.

Some climbers wouldn’t dream of filing down the callouses on their hands. Others say that filing callouses prevents flappers and protects the skin. If you identify with the latter, go ahead and pack an emery board or sand block.

Lathering on some hand salve after a long day of climbing is a wonderful feeling. Hand salve soothes your mitts and can even help your skin heal faster. Unlike moisturizer, hand salve won’t leave your hands too soft.

It’s a good idea to keep a knife in your climbing pack. Whether you need to sever some stubborn tape, spread some peanut butter, or cut a rope, you’ll be glad you packed a knife.

Climbers are pretty good about taking care of the skin on their hands, but they often forget that there’s skin elsewhere. Sunscreen and lip balm are crucial when you’re out in the sun.

If you’ve ever tried to climb with the sun in your eyes, you know just how terrible it can be. Finding holds can be next to impossible when you’re being blinded by a big ball of fire in the sky. Sunglasses can definitely help.

People often underestimate the usefulness of a bandana. Bandanas are great for cleaning hands, cleaning holds, sun protection, and more.

Simply rubbing some dirt on it is not a good fix for injuries. You should have a first aid kit any time you venture out into nature, and climbing is no exception. Pack gauze, bandages, non stick pads, antibacterial ointment, aspirin, etc.

You may choose to bring more than this, and you may choose to bring less. Everyone as different needs, but this list is a good place to start!

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