Top 5 Gear You Need In Your Climbing Pack For The Best Experience

When it comes to weight, some climbers feel that every piece of item that you bring with you is another piece of gear that is going to make climbing harder. Though every ounce does make a difference with the difficulty of a climb, It’s not likely to be significant enough to be the reason you can’t finish the climb.

If you are planning a climbing trip and want to make sure you have everything you need, review the list below and prioritize the weight. 

Assisted belay devices are like the new age in cell phones. You no longer have to worry about how long you are on a call with someone and get charged an additional fee because most phone plans have unlimited talk and text. In regards to belay devices, you no longer have to worry about your belayer getting distracted or tiered while you’re climbing because you have the assurance that the belay device will catch you if you fall.

However, one of the biggest complaints about assisted belay devices such as the beloved Grigri is the additional weight that you have to carry with you. When a climber is used to the lightweight ATC, it can be difficult for a climber to switch to the Grigri if they are focused on the weight of their rack. However, the additional 6.2 ounces are worth it. 

A Grigri is the ultimate belay device that comes with assisted braking and control of the rope speed for descending, all while maintaining a hand on the brake. 

In addition to the Grigri, there are a few other assisted braking devices that have their own special features. If you are wondering if you should upgrade to an assisted braking device like the Grigri, check out this article

I personally use the Grigri and sometimes I feel like my climbing friends invite me to the crag just so they can use it too. So I guess in addition to peace of mind while climbing, I also get invited climbing more often and may even have more climbing friends because I have one. Perks you may get too if you add it to your climbing bag.

Brush: Weight Varies

See the price on amazon here.

See the price on REI here.

Brushes are like a large toothbrush that you can use to scrub handholds. This is helpful if a hand hold or foot hold is slippery. You can brush the dirt or oil or residual chalk off of the hold so it is easier to use. Some climbers just use a shirt or extra rag when they are climbing because they don’t want to take an extra brush with them in their chalk bag. However, a rag or shirt doesn’t get the oil, chalk or dirt off like a brush does. 

You can see this is evident when you watch climbing competitions or people who have been climbing for a while. They will spend time brushing the holds and cleaning them before starting to climb to make it easier to complete the climb and prevent slipping.

When climbing and having a hard time gripping the rock, or even just needing some peace of mind, brushing the hold can help you finish the climb.

First Aid Kit: Weight Varies

See the price on Amazon here.

Climbing is a dangerous sport, but keeping a first aid kit with you can make a difference. Even if you aren’t in a life-threatening situation, climbing frequently causes scrapes and scratches. By having an anti-septic wipe with ointment and a bandaid, you can prevent infections.

A basic first aid kit with climbing tape is probably all you need, but as you become more experienced, you may want to customize your kit to fit your needs.

Of course, if you are doing a huge climbing trip that is hundreds of miles away from a hospital and life flight would take hours to get to you, consider adding a bit more trama related gear to your bag.

The weight of a first aid kit varies depending on what you bring. For example, if you have heart problems and you need to bring a defibrillator, your first aid kit will be heavier than someone who doesn’t bring a defibrillator. (I’m not a doctor and have no idea if you should be climbing with heart problems, so consider that if you feel like you need to bring a defibrillator with you).

Hand Towel: 1.8 Ounces

See the pricing for these on Amazon here.

Whether you need to wipe the toes of your shoes off or you have sweat running down your face and arms, a towel has many uses. If you’ve read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, then you already know that you can use it for warmth, protection from the sun or even wave it in emergencies as a distress signal.

“You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat; wrap it around your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course you can dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

ClimbOn Salve: 1.12 Ounces

See the price on Amazon here.

See the price on REI here.

If you have ever wondered why some climbers get flappers and some climbers don’t, it’s because some climbers take care of the skin on their hands. Flappers, for example, are caused by untamed callouses, and dry skin is a big proponent to the growth of callouses. 

ClimbOn Salve is a climber’s hands best friend. When it comes to climbing holds and the impact it has on your skin, climbing salve is necessary if you want to keep your skin healthy. 

Once you clean the chalk off your hands, climbing salve should be the first thing you put on them. In addition to cooling any pain on your hands that comes from climbing, the salve will also help keep your skin plasticity at a healthy level which will increase the amount of beating that your hands can handle from climbing.

The more your skin can handle, the more your hands can handle, which results in more climbing that you can handle.


There is a lot of gear that climbers bring with them and when it comes to a climbing trip prioritizing your gear weight can be important. A Grigri, climbing brush, first aid kit, hand towel and ClimbOn Salve is worth the additional weight. If you want a full list of items to bring on your climbing trip, check out 37 Things Serious Climbers Bring With Them To The Mountains.