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Ask This When Buying Rock Climbing Equipment

Rock climbing equipment doesn't have to break the bank. Just having a small kit of exactly the right tools for the climb you have planned can make the day. They key is to buy quality and reliability; after all, you may literally be hanging from this equipment with a long way down beneath your position. Ideally, you want your equipment to be bomb-proof, as they say in the industry, and that means focusing on the best performing items, not the lowest price. Some of the best sources for climbing gear are Moosejaw, Everlast Climing and Atomik Climbing Holds. Ask these questions to learn more about climbing gear deals.

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What's the Best Equipment for a Beginner?

Start with protecting your Noggin. The Black Diamond Half Dome helmet is a great starting pick. Remember, rock is not soft, but your head is softer. So don't take chances. Even a glancing blow can be a serious injury. If you're going to be doing any kind of rope work or carrying equipment, you're going to need carabiners. The Black Diamond Positron ($6-30) or Magnetron RockLock ($25) are both good choices. Lightweight, complete with safety features, and durable, these carabiners do the job. You're going to need at least one rope so go with the Sterling Evolution Velocity 9.8mm climbing rope and the Petzl GriGri 2 Belay ($85-95). Finally, you will need a starting body harness and the Black Diamond Momentum harness ($28-55) is a good starter pick. One of the best helmets available is the Camp USA helmet from Moosejaw, available for just $49.

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Looking to Upgrade, What's a Good Add-On Equipment?

If it's time to upgrade the body harness then the Petzl Hirundos ($50-100) is a good choice. It takes off a few pounds but retains quality and strength. The price point fluctuates on this item, so shop around before buying. 

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What Would be Good Climbing Shoes Starting Out?

Rocks and stone can be vicious on shoes, and you need good feet protection. La Sportiva carries some really good entry models that won't break the bank ($60-70) and so do REI. Even better, REI can handle both online orders as well as in-person.

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Should I get a Rock Pick?

For wet country a rock or ice pick makes a lot of sense to have. But you don't need to leverage Fort Knox for a good one. A number of climbing stores sell a basic rock pick, the Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe ($60), which easily does the job and gives you good leverage for climbing in moist or icy terrain. The Petzl Alpix SumTec Pick from Moosejaw is available for less than $50.

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Should I Protect my Hands?

Many climbers want direct contact with rock they rely on, but some will entertain gloves. If so, Black Diamond Crag Climber and Tracker gloves ($16) come in a handful of models and are very affordable. Outdoor Research Fossil Rock Gloves from Moosejaw are available for just $40.

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I Want to Free Climb, What's a Good Chalk Setup?

The Black Diamond Mojo Chalk Bag ($16) just continues to get good reviews from users in different applications. The bag is stitched and built well, hardly feels like anything on the belt, and carries a good amount of chalk for the day.

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What's the Best Rain Protection in a Jacket for Climbing?

Some climbers just grin and bear it, but if you want a real silk thin rain jacket to stay dry while on the rock, consider the Outdoor Project Helium II Rain Jacket ($150). It's not going to be in the discount section. But the jacket weighs less than 10 oz and packs up really, really tight and small.

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Gear Bags - What's a Good One to Consider?

You want to keep your gear handy and separate but also easy to carry when on the to and from hike to your location. The Petzl Bug Pack ($70) is a nice pick. It's built with very durable stitching and a quick access zipper draw for one-handed changeouts. And this bag is really, really lightweight.

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Where can I get equipment for climbing walls?

Atomic Climbing holds sells a wide variety of unique holds for climbing walls, including colorful holds that are easier to spot. They are an excellent option for training. Get sets of holds for less than $50. Everlast Climbing also offers holds and safety mats for climbing walls located inside or outside.

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