Climbers are a picky bunch.

What’s the best gift to buy a climber? Our general recommendation is: Don’t buy gear. We may be huge gear fans at WeighMyRack BUT we believe gear is personal, and unless you’ve heard your giftee lament, “I wish I had [an ascender to take photos] [Petzl GriGri] [belay glasses] [crack gloves] but can’t justify buying it myself.” we recommend staying away from gear gifts. If you want to buy gear, we recommend it in the form of a gift certificate via your hometown climbing shop or (they have the biggest selection of climbing gear) or REI (also has a nice return policy).

Instead of gear, here are some suggestions that will help you dial in a gift that’s sure to please, call it the Anti-Gear List if you will.

This list is meant to suit every experience level and type of climber; it’s ordered from least expensive to most.


Climbing Skin Care

Price: $9.95-$22

Why: Sick of hearing your friend complain about their terrible peeling skin? Or wishing they had softer hands? This is the solution.

OptionsMetolius Repair Balm ($9.95), FNGRJAM ($10) , ClimbOn! Bar ($10)/  ClimbOn! Intensive Skin Repair Creme ($22), JoshuaTree Climbing Salve ($17)

Risks: They lose it because it’s small. They think their gifts should be bigger. You buy softening lotion by accident (instead of a climbing specific product like the salves listed above) that has negative effects for keeping calluses.


Friction Labs Chalk

Price: $4.95 – 15.95

Why: Even climbers with dry hands use chalk. And, no matter how much chalk climbers have, they will inevitably run out.

Options: Friction Labs Gorilla Grip ($7-19) which is the medium, most popular texture, or Friction Labs sample pack ($15) of 1oz. of each of their blends. If you know your climber friend prefers chunky (Bam Bam) or fine chalk (Unicorn Dust), then by all means go with that option instead.

We’re recommending Friction Labs chalk because it is the most expensive (it shows you care) and it has the biggest cult following. But, if you’ve heard your climber talk about their favorite Black Diamond, Metolius, or Trango chalk, they’d be worthy re-fills as well.

Risks: The biggest risk is you buy chunky chalk when they wanted fine chalk (or vice versa). But at worst, they could smush the chunky chalk or re-gift it to a friend who likes chunky chalk.


Climbing Shirts

Price: $20ish

Why: Because who doesn’t want to rep the community they love?

Best for fans of: People who shirt size you know and for climbers who have slightly more closet space to fill.

  • WeighMyRack – for gear nerds and gear enthusiasts
  • Brown Girls Climb – a community of resources featuring women of color
  • Climbing Zine – for followers of independent media like the Climbing Zine and the Dirtbag State of Mind podcast
  • Dynamite Starfish – fun designs for all types of climbers
  • Semi-Rad – for the outdoor adventurer that loves humor; shirts, calendars, mugs, and more
  • POW (Protect our Winters) – for climbers who want to show that they want to protect, through climate activism, the outdoor places they recreate in

Risks: You don’t know what size to get. You may end up spending more money because you can’t resist buying a few shirts for yourself. The person you’re buying for prefers button downs and flannels.


climbing stories, inspiration, training, beta

Climbing Books

Price: $6-$25

Why: Because books are fun and inspiring to read, and if you get ’em a book they don’t want, they can re-gift it later so it’s still a win. Protip: The more years your giftee has been climbing, the less likely they are to want Everest-specific climbing books.

Guidebooks: Guidebooks are destination specific and often in the $30-60 range. If you’ve heard your friend talk about a road trip to The Gunks, The Red, Moab, Smith, or Bishop, or any other climbing area, a guidebook could be a great surprise so they can really start planning that trip. Tip: Climbing guidebooks can update every few years so double check you’re getting the newest edition.

Top reads for any climber:

  • The Push ($13-18), by Tommy Caldwell. This is one of the best climber auto-biographies I’ve read. Tommy recalls and reflects on all the prominent moments in his life with raw detail. It’s very personal and if you want to know more about the book, read our review here.
  • On the Nose: A lifelong Obsession with Yosemite’s Most Iconic Climb ($13-17), Hans Florine’s book, a fun and entertaining read based on 100+ ascents of the Nose.
  • Valley Walls ($8-15), Glen Denny’s amazing book. This book is a real treat, it transports you to the golden age of climbing in Yosemite (we wrote a longer gushing review here).
  • Dammed If You Don’t ($25) – a  fictional story of a climber/photographer written by climber Chris Kalman. It was the winner of the 2021 Banff Mountain Fiction & Poetry Award and takes place in a remote valley in Patagonian Chile.
  • Sixty Meters to Anywhere ($10-13) is by Brendon Leonard ( and is a conversational story about overcoming alcohol addiction through climbing.

Inspiring reads about lady climbers:

All these books get at least a 4.5 star average on Amazon.

  • Valley of Giants ($22) an anthology of badass women climbers in Yosemite (from pro’s to humble crushers).
  • Women Who Dare ($15.99-24.95) a profile of 20 women climbers.
  • Learning to Fly ($13-16) a memoir by the inspiring pro climber (and all-around adventurer) Steph Davis.

Best for Alpinists:

Coffee Table Books:

Great for training:

Risks: They already have the book. Their bookcase already has multiple shelves of “I’ve been meaning to read this book…” and is overflowing in general.


history, entertainment, training

Climbing Movies


Price: $14.95-$29.95

Why: To inspire dreams and action.

Super-High-Quality flicksValley Uprising ($23), Meru ($18), Reel Rock 11 ($25), North Face ($13), Wide Boys ($6-12 digital), The Dawn Wall ($15)

Risk: Your giftee has already gone to the festivals and seen all these films (and doesn’t like re-watching movies).


sport, trad, alpine, news

Climbing Magazines

Price: $14.95-$49.95

Why: To give a present that keeps on giving arriving.

Best for: Depends on the magazine, but the Climbing Zine is a bi-yearly subscription that captures stories by and about climbers. No gossip or frills, just heartfelt stories. Climbingis great for climbers who want tips, tricks, stories about new places and news about the pros. It’s now the only rock climbing magazine (Rock and Ice is no longer). Alpinist mainly features snowy excursions and alpinism, and the tales are well produced. Each “article” in the magazine is more like a novella. Gripped contains all the details from Canada (essentially a Canadian version of Climbing).

Risks: The climber is so nomadic they don’t have a permanent address or they move and forget to change their subscription address. They work at a retail shop or gym and already read the magazines in their downtime. Or they already subscribe.

Climbing Memberships

climbing clubs, local coalitions, access, or gym

Climbing Memberships

Price: $35-$115

Why: To help ensure climbing access into the future by supporting education, stewardship and the responsible purchase of land. To get rescue insurance. To enjoy popular climbing brand discounts. To support future education and help more folks access climbing, indoors and out.

Options: The who largest climbing non-profits are the Access Fund and American Alpine Club. Each climbing area (by state or by climbing destination) often has thier own climbing coalition. You could also make a donation to a rad organization like Brown Girls Climb, The Brown Ascenders, or Climbing4Change (founded by Kai Lightner).

Risks: They’re already members. Your friend only accepts physical gifts and the membership card takes time to arrive (or could arrive too early and spoil the surprise).


literal equipment, books are listed above in the book section

Climbing Training Materials


Why: Most of these options don’t require any holes in the walls of your home/rental, they just sits on the doorframe or can be attached to a pull-up bar. Every climber wants to be stronger, this helps ’em get there.

Best For: Climber’s that want to train at home and want to be stronger.

Risks: They already have a hangboard installed and don’t need another. You’re buying the hole-free mounting system, somebody still needs to buy climbing holds or a hangboard to start using it.

Note: If your gift-receiver has already talked about their willingness to drill holes in the wall, or is particularly creative, Trango’s Rock Prodigy Training Center, is the most talked about hangboard and exercise program. (Needs mounting–whether it’s into the wall or on a system like the ones described above).


Price: $129-265

Why: Because what climber doesn’t dream of traveling around the country (and world!) to go climbing.

Our Picks

Hanchor Breccia


After a successful Kickstarter campaign this bag is proving it’s own as the ultimate air travel climbing pack. Most importantly it fits all airline requirements to carry-on. It also has really helpful mesh pockets including one of the inside flap that is perfect for guidebooks, dual purpose back pad that makes for a comfortable carry, hideaway straps, and racking loops inside. Normally I’m not one for a lot of pockets, but a suitcase/climbing bag, it is super helpful to have the extra organization, including the anti-theft pocket and side handle.

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel (55L or 90L)

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel

Tough enough to handle even the gnarliest of airline baggers. This is a primo back to check at the airport. In addition to being the go-to bag for big trips, our 90L holds all our climber gear in the car as well. It easily has room for two full racks/ropes/setups plus jackets and select camping gear. Bonus: The sides don’t bulge out as much as other similar duffels.

Risks: Your climber is already loaded up on backpacks and bags–they’ve traveled a ton before and have their system dialed.

There you have it!

Most of these gifts link to Amazon because they offer easy shipping and returns and are the least likely to run out of stock. But we’re always fans of buying from the local shop.

And it’s true, there are more gift options that could be fun (like a Crimper Coffee Mug) or more personal (like a homemade chalk bag) but those gifts require you to know if your friend already has too many mis-matching water receptacles or if they’re really into Star Wars patterns as much as you are.

Bottom line, even though we’re gear nerds, we’re staying away from gear recommendations, unless your friend explicitly says they super want a very specific piece of gear. Otherwise, there’s no piece of gear they’re guaranteed to love because climbers are a picky bunch.

Can you think of anything else? Let us know in the comments!

Alison Dennis

Alison Dennis

Alison (she/her) runs WeighMyRack from her 17' travel trailer. She is currently touring the US and would love if you contacted her to meet up to talk about climbing, climbing gear, or if you have any fun and/or ridiculous adventure in mind.

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We’re @weighmyrack


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