From Cordura climbing pants to training tools and skin savers, we’ve found the best gifts for rock climbers (and a few for ice climbers too). Grab one for the special belay partner in your life and climb on.
Got a notoriously picky climber on your list? Here’s our curated list of givable goods designed to help raise the grin factor for those pursuing fun in the vertical.
Best Gifts for Climbers
Have a partner that has patiently belayed you while you endlessly fall on the same 10 feet of your project? How about a buddy whose posture has reached troll status from countless belays at the crag or gym? Belay glasses can save your neck!
The Metolius Upshot’s field of vision is on the higher side, and the sport-style temples and small nose pads are designed to work over other glasses. They also come with a case because we all know how climbers cram packs when cold brews are waiting in the truck.
Made with lightweight, stretch-woven Cordura, the Summit L1 Climb Pants were designed for long days in the harness. Articulated knees and a gusseted crotch make stretching and stemming a cinch. And the bulk-free seams means you never have to worry about uncomfortable chafing. Stretchy, warm, and breathable, these slim-fit pants will quickly become a climbing favorite.
Wave Tool: $50
Areas of myofascial restriction and adhesion are hard to access, especially with hands tired from climbing. The Wave is a tool designed by two physical therapists who are both deeply involved with climbing. It boasts eight edges and features that effectively address anything from fingers to quadriceps.
I’ve been recovering from a severe knee injury for five months and have just now started training my fingers for my return to climbing. The Wave Tool is my daily go-to for my hands and legs, providing outstanding results.
Furnace Industries Dry Ice Tools: $120 per pair
These are for the ice climber friend who just can’t get enough. The Furnace Industries Dry Ice Tools will help satisfy the craving to wield tools and be nauseatingly pumped.
These wooden tools use stiff rubber loops to engage with indoor climbing holds. They mimic the hand and arm positions used while scaling the frozen stuff, without the risk of puncturing the gym floor or body parts with falling daggers of death. I’ve used these training tools for almost a year and can attest to their effectiveness, safety, and fine craftsmanship.
Why is a mountain bike shoe on a climbers’ gift guide? Because the open knit polyester upper, comfortable fit (with or without socks), and grippy, nonmarking Marathon rubber outsole make for the perfect post-crag or gym going shoe.
Convenient slip-on style keeps sore fingertips happy, and the amazingly breathable upper lets cramping feet air out between bouldering problem burns or on the long drive home from the cliff. Plus, the easygoing surfer style fares well at the post-session café or microbrewery.
German brand Lowa has been handcrafting boots and shoes since 1923 and began producing rock climbing shoes in 2012. Although a lesser-known brand amongst rock climbers, alpinists and mountaineers have been heralding its boots for ages.
The Rocket climbing shoe is the pinnacle in Lowa’s rock shoe line up, boasting lining-free slip-lasted construction, moderate downturn, a single hook-and-loop closure, a slingshot rand, and a Vibram XS-Grip outsole. The shoe was updated this fall with a synthetic upper and a lower-volume heel. If you have a loved one that holds European hand-craftsmanship in high regard, the Lowa Rocket could be the perfect bouldering and steep route shoe.
Tension Climbing The Block: $39 single, $70 for a pair
Do you know a training fiend who loves climbing specific strengthening devices? Check out Tension Climbing’s aptly named Block. Simple on the surface, the free-hanging, single-hand design opens up a world of variations. Use them to hang, pick up weights off the ground, attach to cable machines at the gym, use with resistance bands, or even pull against your foot.
Each Block houses at least nine grip variations that include one- and two-finger pockets, various width pinches, and four depths of edges and crimps. The cherry wood is responsibly sourced and is machined and finished in Denver. Every Tension Climbing product I have tested is impeccably crafted and has the right feel under strain.
Wild Country Friend Sets: $215
Got a trad climbing friend that can use more Friends? A set of Wild Country Friends sure could make someone’s holiday season! Friends were the original active camming devices, and their 38-year reign continues with proven features combined with modern technologies.
The twin-axle design with a 13.75-degree constant cam angle ensures legendary hold while hollow axles reduce weight. Wide, skimmed cam lobes enhance grip while simultaneously being gentler on the stone, and the new 12mm Dyneema extendable slings negate the need for a quickdraw.
Available sets: 0.4, 0.5, 0.75 / 1,2,3 / 0.4, 0.5, 0.75, 1,2,3
Those masochistic types that enjoy frigid belays sitting on snowy ledges or hanging off frozen waterfalls deserve a warm place in your heart — and a cozy belay jacket in their pack.
Helly Hansen’s Vanier Glacier Down Jacket uses European goose down (Allied 85/15) for its fabled warmth but places Primaloft Silver in the areas around the armpits, top of shoulders, and around the mouth to prevent moisture accumulation. The long cut protects hips when leaning or sitting against chilly surfaces. And a double main zip slider clears harness belay loops while an interior mesh dump pocket helps dry gloves.
prAna Stretch Zion (M) and Halle Pants (W): $85
Constructed from prAna’s proprietary and stretchy Zion fabric (97 percent nylon, 3 percent spandex), these rock-bashing pants have a low-profile waist to fit cleanly under harnesses. A ventilated inseam gusset allows high stepping and stemming, and roll-up leg snaps let heat out. And a DWR finish will get you back to the car when precipitation foils the program. The angled dual-entry cargo pocket and a wide array of colors allow dusting the chalk off and hitting the bar to drown anti-send sorrows.
The pants are available in multiple inseams to guarantee fit. The women’s Halle loses the inseam gusset but picks up articulated knees.
Osprey Mutant 38: $170
Osprey’s Mutant series has just the pack for those special people who love “light and fast.” With sizes ranging from expedition status to “be back for a late dinner” forays into the mountains, there’s something for everyone. The Mutant 38 is a perfect size for weekend to “missing work on Monday” missions.
It’s lightweight, at just 2.81 pounds, but has all the alpine specific features for the discriminating alpinist. This pack has removable suspension components (two aluminum stays and HDPE sheet) and lid, hip belt gear loops, ice screw clipper attachment points, helmet carry, reinforced A-frame ski carry, dual ice tool attachments, three-point hauling system, hydration pocket, front panel daisy chain, hydration pocket, and snow-shedding back panel fabric.
Rhino Skin Solutions: From $3.75 for individual products to $69 for product packs
This is perfect for the climber who falls off the boulder and immediately looks at their hands. And for anyone tired of hearing anguished cries of “My skin!” or “My tips!” Skin conditions affect many aspects of rock climbing, and Rhino Skin Solutions has carefully researched, formulated, and tested products to aid in hydrating, drying, toughening, and repairing skin as well as massaging muscles.
I can attest to the effectiveness of Rhino Skin Solution Products. Climbing in the Southwest in high heat and humidity, I regularly battle sweaty hands but also suffer from dry skin during long stints of indoor training. I religiously use Rhino Repair both after climbing and at night, spray on the Dry outside in the heat, and utilize Spit indoors when my tips get glassy. This brand has everything from stocking stuffers to full-spectrum kits for the skin-obsessed rock jocks in your circle.
Let’s face it: The majority of climbers start in the gym. And for most, gym climbing sessions far outnumber days at the crag. Moon Climbing has a functional, organized, and oh-so-fashionable way to schlep the necessary gear to the local training spot.
The 25L Moon Climbing Bouldering Bag has two elastic pockets inside and two zippered pockets on the outside. External handles allow a vertical or horizontal carry. And there is a stretchy water bottle pocket on one side.
The fully lined Bouldering Bag carries on a shoulder or through clever rerouting of the padded strap and converts to a backpack. This makes it suitable for bicycle commuting and outdoor bouldering use.
This one is for the ladies only. Does your partner’s ratty, who-knows-how-old extra harness give you pause? Give the gift that keeps on giving: a new harness. Petzl engineered the Luna around women’s physiques, not the typical straight-as-a-board male climber’s hip profile.
The padded and shaped waist belt, longer rise, and leg loop/waist belt proportions are all based on women; this is not a men’s harness in a different color. Adjustable padded leg loops, two rigid front gear loops, two flexible rear gear loops, a tagline loop, and ice screw clipper compatibility make the Luna a harness that can do it all for the crusher that dominates the wall. Read our full review here.