Best Climbing Gear

15 Jul 14
Best Climbing Gear

We put a garage full of climbing gear to the test this season. The stuff that performed best will make those days up high more comfortable, safer and maybe even push you to new limits.

1. Edelrid Mega Jul
The 65-gram Mega Jul features built-in camming grooves and a unique thumb bar that provide a secure braking assist device for catching falls. But be careful, because of its unique design, the tube-style belay device has a steep learning curve—but we were sold on it when using ropes in the 10 mm range. It pays rope out like a dream and easily catches falls. It also works in auto-block mode. $35; edelrid.de

2. Evolv Addict
Built with a relaxed curl instead of an aggressive down-turned toe, the Addict has become our go-to slipper of choice for the gym and out on the rock. That asymmetric toe shape allows us to zero in on tenuous high steps, and the relaxed fit means they’re comfy enough for multi-pitch outings. $99; evolvsports.com

3. Petzl Micro Traxion
A versatile, compact hauling device, the 85-gram Micro Traxion also works as a hands-free belay device when solo climbing on a fixed line (for expert use only; it must be backed up). We’ve used it on Tyrolean traverses, and efficiently hauled six-hundred feet of rope with it climbing in the Black Canyon. When solo climbing, and when backed up with a Mini Traxion, we’ve been able to climb over six pitches per hour (double what we normally get in when climbing with a partner) at the local crags. $100; petzl.com

4. Deuter ACT Lite 50 + 10
More often than not, we bring the whole kit climbing: full trad rack, three-dozen quickdraws, 70-meter rope and a mess of personal items. We could ram this stuff all in a grade IV haulbag, but haulbags carry about as comfortably as wrapping an Avon raft on your back. The Aircontact Lite back system and anatomic X frame in this roomy pack stably and comfortably carry the weight away from our sweaty backs when we trudge up steep approaches throughout the Front Range. $149; deuter.com

5. Switch Lynx Sunglasses
It has to be outright dark or pouring rain for us not to wear sunglasses when climbing, and our shades of choice are these polarized beauties. They fit snug and stay in place on the face, even while jamming into cracks hundreds of feet off the ground. The full-wrap, magnetic-interchangeable lenses keep our eyes protected from the sun’s rays and flakes of rock. Lose or damage a lens in the field, and it’s easy to switch out with two extra pairs that come with the frames. $149; switchvision.com

6. Petzl Sirocco
The bright orange, ultra light (165 grams), multi-purpose Sirocco is a monobloc shell of polypropylene, and it’s completely adjustable. The chinstrap proved surprisingly comfortable against the skin. Plus, because it’s so light, we hardly notice it’s on. The only drawback is that the magnetic buckle can gunk up. $130; petzl.com

7. Arc’teryx Aperture Chalk Bag
This nifty, compact twist-close chalk bag shrinks down for easy transport but still carries enough chalk for a day up the Nose on El Cap (yes, we took it there). You won’t spill much—the bag closes as firmly as a lid on a mason jar, better than other bags we’ve used. The reinforced rim allows for easy access when you’re on route. $35; arcteryx.com

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