Climbers are a picky bunch.

What’s the best gift to buy a climber? Our 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 friend lament, “Man, I wish I had [Omega Pacific Link Cams] [Petzl GriGri] [belay glasses] 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 Backcountry.com (they have the biggest selection of climbing gear).

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.


SKIN REPAIR


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.


CLIMBING CHALK


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 CALENDAR


Climbing Calendars

 

Price: $15 – $20

Why: So they can schedule climbing road trips in advance, and are inspired to add more. Best for folks who have an office space, or wall space that they feel needs filling (maybe add climber fridge magnets to the gift).

Options: 2019 Climbing Calendar ($16), Women Rock Climbing – 2019 ($20), Ansel Adams ($20), National Parks – 2019 ($15)

Risks: I have yet to hear a climber guy say “and my girlfriend loves the women rock climbing calendar too!” Calendars are hard to justify mid-year. Their van doesn’t have that much free wall space.


CLIMBING SHIRTS

from Adayak.com


Climbing Shirts

Price: $21 full price, but there’s often sales, or ways to get discounts (like joining Adayak on Facebook), or checking during the holidays for major sales.

Why: Because who doesn’t want to rep the community they love? Plus, these shirts are super soft 100% organic cotton and $1 of each sale goes to conservation.

Best for fans of: Semi-Rad, Dirtbag Diaries, WeighMyRack, Enormocast, and Splitter Choss. There are also other no-brand-name-logo climbing shirts available too.

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 (shipping doesn’t increase with quantity).


BOOKS

climbing stories, inspiration, training


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.

Coffee Table Books:

Best for training:

Best for any climber:

Inspiring reads for ladies (and men)Women Who Dare ($15.99-24.95), Learning to Fly ($13-16)

Best for Alpinists:

Best for gym climber (who’s thinking about going outdoors): Crag Survival Handbook ($9.99 -18.95)

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.


MOVIES

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).


Magazines

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 Climbing is great for climbers who want tips, tricks, stories about new places and news about the pros. Rock and Ice tends to be aimed at intermediate+ climbers with deeper stories and assumes a general climbing background. Alpinist mainly features snowy excursions and alpinism, and the stories are extremely high end. Each “article” in the magazine is more like a novella. Gripped contains all the details from Canada (essentially a Canadian version of Climbing).

Check out our detailed magazine post that lists all the best rock climbing magazines to find out more about each mag. [This author’s favorite: Alpinist.]

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.


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 (like 40% of climbing magazine subscriptions).

Options: Access Fund, American Alpine Club, their local state/crag climbing coalition, or a monthly gym pass or punch card.

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).


TRAINING EQUIPMENT

literal equipment, books are listed above in the book section


Climbing Training Materials

Price:

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).


TRAVEL PACK


Price: $129-265

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

Our Picks

Hanchor Breccia

Hanchor-Breccia-Travel-Bag

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 (60L 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.


BONUS IDEA: STICKERS


WeighMyRack Stickers

 

Price: $0.60 – $20 WeighMyRack stickers and skins, $2 – 40 from 4″ bumper stickers to 8″ laptop stickers to 42″ wall art stickers

Why: Because there are a LOT of places these stickers can go: helmet, water bottle, car, roof rack, rust spots that need patching, laptops, books, hangboards, walls, etc.

Best For: Climbers that already show a love of or openness to stickers on their water bottles, helmet, roof rack, etc.

Risks: Your friend likes things clean. Like, OCD clean. So clean they do not accept stickers.


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 the 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!

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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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