I live 20 minutes from American Fork Canyon and an hour from Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon, which means I can do climbing day trips easily throughout the summer and fall season. Because of this, I have a bit of experience with what to bring on a day trip climbing.
In addition to climbing gear, it’s ideal to bring items that will make the trip more enjoyable such as a place to sit and food to eat. If you are hiking long distances to get to the crag, then it’s ideal to bring lighter gear such as a hammock instead of a camping chair (I’ve backpacked 3 days with a $20 camping chair though, so it isn’t impossible).
I have had plenty of day climbing trips where I brought too much stuff or not enough so here is a breakdown of what I’d recommend bringing
Something to sit on
One of my favorite ways to rest between climbs or just after hiking to the crag is to take a seat and enjoy the scenery or a drink(see later in this post). I have two preferences for what to sit on, a hammock (also a great napping device) and a backpacking chair.
My Favorite Hammock
I have two hammocks that have lasted the test of time. My most recent hammock was actually sent to me by the company that made it. I’m not required to write about it or talk about it but it’s actually softer than my other hammock plus it looks cute and more importantly, it’s made of 100% recycled water bottles. Though you’d never know it was recycled by looking at it or even using it. I enjoyed it so much that I’ve included it in this list.
Nakie also promises that four trees are planted for every hammock sold with more than 90,000 trees planted to date.
My favorite backpacking chair
I’ve mostly used basic $20 camping chairs in the past that I’ve lugged up hiking trails and even a 3-day backpacking trip a few years ago but switching to a backpacking chair has made it much more enjoyable. I’d say this is my favorite backpacking chair but the reality is that it’s the only one I’ve hiked around with and it was relatively cheap from Costco.
Something to eat
Some of my friends have laughed at me for bringing full-out meals when I’m out climbing but as they munch on trail mix, I laugh at them because I actually feel fueled and ready to climb when they are stuck munching on trail mix.
In the past, I’ve mostly just gotten whatever flavor from REI or Cabelas that sounded yummy. My favorite right now is the chicken and dumplings meal – it tastes great and the dumplings have a great texture.
With these kinds of meals, you’ll need something to boil the water with. I got the Jet Boil because a lot of people raved about the speed that it reaches boiling point and how it maintains heat and a flame even when it is windy. I am very happy with mine so far and it’s really easy to set up and take care of. Plus, mine came with a coffee press attachment to make my morning coffee when on camping trips – it’s a game changer to have morning coffee while camping, I’m just saying 😉
Other food and snacks
I also always enjoy apple sauce, like the kind kids put in their packed lunches – I eat those all the time though, not just at the crag.
Meg and I both enjoy Jerky between climbs if we don’t want to eat a full-out meal. I’m typically not the biggest fan jerky but when I’m climbing, it often hits the spot perfectly.
And of course, some granola bars or fruit bars like these ones from Patagonia Provisions (owned by, you guessed it, Patagonia). All of their products are responsibly sourced and taste great. They have some food that is great for camping too but some of them require that you bring extra ingredients so make sure you read the label before buying them.
Something to drink, of course
I typically bring water with me but if I want, I’ll also bring a water mix in for flavoring. I know a lot of people like to bring beer or ale with them to the crag but I’m more of a wine kind of person and haven’t brought that to the crag yet.
I often use a Hydroflask for my water because it maintains the temperature really well. However, I just tried this insulated tumbler from Pirani and I really enjoyed it! The Pirani Reusable Tumblers are 16 oz. stainless steel, triple-insulated, keeping drinks cold 12+ hours and hot up to 6.
They have measurement ridges on the side, which is needed for Jet Boils and other backpacking stoves to measure the water. Meg used it the most and I could see us bringing a wine beverage or something like that in it because the lid stays tight and we can pack it like a water bottle in our bag if we want.
I only have one but their website also shows how they stack super easy so you can stack a bunch for storage in your bag if you have a family or group of people – especially for picnics!
Something for just-in-case (first aid)
Typically this is something I’d put in a climbing gear article but just in case you didn’t read that, I wanted to make sure it was included in this list as well because it’s that important! Unfortunately, if something really bad happens, then a first aid kit isn’t going to help. However, climbing outdoors often results in some sort of scrape up and instead of calling it a day or patting some dirt on it – you can actually clean it and cover it so that it doesn’t get infected by the time you get home.
I typically bring a basic wound care kit with bandaids, bandages, tape, alcohol wipes and neosporin. However, if you want a really good first aid kit for climbing, check out this list that I made last year about it.
The list for climbing gear can be larger than any other activity you may be doing in the mountains so here is a quick list of what you’ll need. However, if you want my gear recommendations, then check out this page.
Gear you need for bouldering:
- Climbing Shoes
- Chalk/Chalk Bag
- Chalk brush
- Bouldering Pad
Gear you need for rope climbing:
- Climbing Shoes
- Chalk/Chalk Bag
- Chalk brush
- Locking Carabiners
- Belaying Device