How do you carry and rack your gear when you’re moving it place to place? Do you use a sling or old piece of webbing? For sure, that’ll get you by. There are other options for keeping your gear organized and that’s what we’re here to talk about.

The gear slings of old have come a long way and the current world of mobile rack organizers offer a number of unique features. We’ll quickly run through each of them and see if any strike your fancy.

It’s worth noting that all of these features are filterable on so you can compare models and narrow down your exact needs.

The three types of gear slings

Gear slings break into three distinct categories based on how they are made to be carried. The most common is the one shoulder gear sling which is made to be worn while climbing or simply to organize gear. It can be worn both across the body or slung on a shoulder like a duffle bag. The handle style gear sling is the least common and functions primarily as a gear organizer inside a bag or at the base of a climb; it is not meant to be worn while climbing. The two shoulder sling is made specifically to be worn while climbing long routes such as on a big wall, so it tends to have added padding and pockets for carrying lots of gear and accessories.

Splits Into 2 Slings

This feature is quite uncommon but can be surprisingly helpful if you find yourself regularly mixing up the type of climbing you do. Being able to have a full shoulder rack may be useful for a big aid or multipitch objective, but it can be very overkill for a day of sport cragging. Rather than swapping gear from one gear sling to another you can simply rack unneeded gear to one side and remove it, leaving the rest of your rack contained to its own sling. When its time for a rest day of single pitch climbing in Yosemite or if you want to always travel with your whole kitchen sink of a rack rack and pare it down in the parking lot, having the option to split into two is great.

Splitting into 2 or combining into 1

Benefits for Split Into 2 Slings?

  • Makes your rack modular.
  • Lets you carry a large rack, then pare it down while staying organized.
  • Quick ability to switch between sport and trad or a single rack and double rack.
See All the Gear Slings that Split Into 2 Slings

Optional Accessory Loops

Accessory gear loops provide additional expandability of a gear sling to be able to grow along with your rack. They also allow you to compartmentalize and temporarily remove a certain section of your rack. For example you can keep your multipitch anchoring setup on the accessory loop, which you can remove and keep contained as you head out to the single pitch sport crag. Or if you’re really into the modular thing, you can even have multiple accessory loops stocked with your typical setups for hauling, jugging, cleaning, etc. ready to go.

Accessory 1

Optional Accessory Loop Benefits?

  • Allows your rack to grow or shrink with your objectives.
  • Can be added later if your rack doesn’t require it right now.
See All the Gear Slings that Have Accessory Gear Loops

Closable Pockets

Many double gear slings that are designed for bigwalls are large and bulky so they can handle a lot of gear. Along with this added size are tons of gear loops and extra padding for comfort, which also means room for pockets. When you’ve got 20+ pounds of aid gear hangin on your shoulders, you might as well make some room for a few snacks, a light jacket, and a small water bottle. For those long, tenuous aid climbs having some creature comforts on you (but out of the way) can go a long way towards boosting morale and giving that extra push to finish strong.

Closeable 2

Closable Pocket Benefits?

  • Gives you space to carry gear that you don’t want in the way on your harness.
  • Lets you carry snacks and water more easily.
See All the Gear Slings that Have Closable Pockets

Adjustable Length

Many gear slings include a buckle that gives the ability to adjust their length, making them easier to fit. If you’re a person with a taller torso, large chest, or a smaller frame, being able to dial in the exact length can be the difference between a comfortable carry and a sore shoulder or back. Some folks also like the ability to adjust their gear sling very high while climbing with it on but then loosen it up for racking and carrying comfort.

Adjustable 3

Adjustable Length Benefits?

  • Makes your gear sling more comfortable for more body types and carrying scenarios.
  • Allows tightening to reduce swinging while climbing.
See All the Gear Slings with Adjustable Length

Multiple Sizes

Usually seen more in double shoulder slings, this feature aims to solve the problem of ill-fitting straps by making gear slings in multiple sizes. Rather than only having adjusters on certain aspects of the sling, multiple size availability helps ensure a very specific measurable fit, which can be important if you’re expecting to lug a ton of gear up a route for hours on end. This feature is also something we see on a lot of custom order gear slings which are a great option if you have a specific body shape that makes fitting shoulder slings difficult.

Gear Sling Features 4

Note: This feature may he helpful in dialing in your size well, but it could be challenging if the partner your swapping leads with is a much different size. In that case, an adjustable sling would be a better way to dial in size for both of you.

Multiple Size Benefits?

  • Similar to adjustable gear slings, this feature lets you dial in your fit more precisely.
  • Climbers who find their torso to be on the small or large side for length or circumference should check this feature out.
See All the Gear Slings that Have Multiple Sizes

External Daisy Loops

These little loops are slightly different than the standard gear loops we count. Similar to the gathered stitched pockets on a daisy chain in construction, these little wonders are often only big enough for 1 or 2 carabiners to be clipped in them. Though these loops aren’t usually for things like cams or nuts, they function much better to hold things you might need quick access to like a nut tool, a prussik loop, a knife, or even non-climbing gear like a walkie talkie (radio) or headlamp. Many aid climbers will store an extra ladder or backup micro ascender here. They also function as a good reenforced loop to hang your gear sling from when it’s time to take it off at the anchor.

Gear Sling Features 5

External Daisy Loop Benefits?

  • To rack and hold more specialized gear at an easy reach.
  • Great attachment point to hang your gear sling from while racking.
See All the Gear Slings that Have External Daisy Loops

Hydration Compatible

This feature is something that can only exist on the larger two shoulder gear slings. Adding pockets to a double shoulder sling essentially makes them a backpack, and some brands even have a pouch inside that pocket to handle a hydration bladder. Though you could stuff a bladder inside any sling pocket big enough, having a dedicated pocket helps with organization and slings with this feature usually have a dedicated pass-through slot for the hose to extend over the shoulder towards your mouth.

Hydration 6

Hydration Compatible Benefits?

  • If you want a hands-free method to be able to access your water mid climb, there’s simply no better way.
  • Being able to hydrate mid climb without taking your rack off or needing to swing a bottle is a real game changer on warm/sunny climbs.
See All the Gear Slings that are Hydration Compatible

Which Features Do You Need?

When it comes to organizing your gear between climbs or carrying a lot of it on a climb, a knotted sling can always get you by. But for those wanting more organization options, the modern gear sling has a lot to offer: added comfort, modular flexibility, pockets, and more.

Ideally, the descriptions above will help you figure out if you actually need any of these gear sling features. (And, if they don’t, definitely write to us in the comments with your questions).

All in all, most gear slings are between $20 – $50 depending on the features, with a few beefy double sling outliers that are closer to $100. The good news is: Unless you leave your gear sling laying in the direct sun for weeks on end, it’ll easily last a decade or more.

To compare every model of gear sling you can head to the WeighMyRack gear sling page. Then, you can filter on any of these features and compare the options that meet your needs side by side.