Rock climbers are a picky bunch, and it can be hard to find the perfect holiday gift you know they’ll use and love. Fortunately our team is stacked with rock climbers, ice climbers, alpinists, and mountaineers, each with a lifetime of experience in picking just the right gear.
We put our heads together and came up with this list of our all-time favorite products for climbers—just in time for the holidays.
1. Rocky Talkie Mountain Radio ($90.00)
Guarantee clear communication over high winds, roaring creeks, or wandering pitches with these rugged, bombproof radios. Designed by climbers for climbers, Rocky Talkies clip directly to your harness or backpack strap via a fully rated Mammut carabiner. The radios are also designed to shed snow and water. Each one is quality tested by hand in Denver, Colorado, and shipped in fully recycled packaging. Plus, it’s a holiday gift that keeps on giving: Rocky Talkie donates $2 to nonprofit search and rescue teams for every radio sold.
2. C.A.M.P. Axion Belay Gloves ($49.95)
Some consider belay gloves a luxury item. We consider them a must-have for warm hands and healthy skin, especially during extended trips and long days at the crag. Whatever your view, there’s no better way to level-up your partner’s cragging comfort. We especially love the C.A.M.P. Axions—the premium-grade leather and reinforced Kevlar stitching keep them durable, and the built-in knuckle protection is a life-saver while pulling rope on small belay ledges.
3. Thera Cane ($29.95)
The Thera Cane has a cult following for a reason. The hooked shape and perfectly sized knobs make this self-massage tool ideal for working out knots in your traps and rhomboids after a hard day of climbing. You might feel a little silly carrying it around at first—until you break it out around a campfire and find six of your friends demanding to be next in line. The other thing we love: Unlike some of our other favorite massage tools (i.e. The Armaid), this one comes at a nice entry-level price.
4. Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody ($159.00)
Gift your climbing partner this wind shell, and odds are good they’ll never have to buy one ever again. The Arc’Teryx Squamish Hoody sheds light rain, stops 40-mph gusts in their tracks, and withstands abrasion from chimneying and crack climbing. Plus, it packs down to the size of a beer can and comes with a loop—perfect for clipping to a harness for light-and-fast ascents. We’ve used it everywhere from windy cragging days in Colorado to alpine climbs near the jacket’s namesake Squamish, British Columbia. We haven’t been let down yet.
5. Garmin inReach Mini ($349.99)
We’re all about backcountry safety, and a lightweight satellite communicator is a must-have for both remote cragging weekends and long ventures into the alpine. The inReach Mini fits in your palm, so it doesn’t take up valuable room in a climbing pack. It offers the classic S.O.S. feature to call for immediate help, and also permits two-way messaging for less serious emergencies. Note: You will need to get a satellite subscription for the device (starting around $12 per month).
6. Mammut Multipitch Chalkbag ($39.95)
This holiday season, treat the rock climber in your life to a tricked-out chalkbag that’s sleek enough for the gym—but featured enough to replace their multipitch pack. The Mammut Multipitch sports a zipper pocket big enough for a phone and a couple energy bars, and a bungee system lashes a windshell or midlayer to the bottom of the pouch. The result: You get to bring the essentials up the wall without having to lug your pack—freeing you up for faster, unencumbered climbing.
7. Friction Labs Secret Stuff Hygienic ($19.00)
These days, climbing safety is about being prepared—and not just in the backcountry. Keep COVID-19 and other viruses at bay with Friction Labs’s new Secret Stuff Hygienic. The 80-percent alcohol formula is proven to deactivate infectious viral particles. Plus, like all Friction Labs chalk, it’s a dream for keeping skin dry during the send go. It’s the perfect holiday gift to tell your loved one that you care about their health—and their latest project.
8. Osprey Mutant 38 Pack ($170.00)
The Osprey Mutant is one of those tried-and-true packs that have become a staple in our quivers. The Mutant 38 in particular has enough capacity for winter climbing, all-day cragging, and short overnights alike. It sports an abrasion-resistant exterior fabric, unobtrusive hip belt, and a trim profile, which means you can climb, scramble, and ski in it without feeling off-balance. (Shopping for an alpine or multipitch rock climber? Check out the equally well-designed Mutant 22).
9. C.A.M.P Nitro Lock Carabiner ($15.95)
Let’s be honest: There’s not a climber out there who doesn’t appreciate a shiny new locker, and the C.A.M.P Nitro Lock is one of the lightest HMS carabiners on the planet. It weighs in at just 2 ounces, and the pear shape means it’s versatile for everything from belaying to rappelling to anchor rigging and rope rescue. Guarantee: It’s a holiday gift your partner will definitely use.
10. Eddie Bauer Microtherm FreeFuse Stretch Down Hooded Jacket ($280.00)
Finally, a puffy you can actually climb in. Keep the stoke all year round with the 800-fill MicroTherm FreeFuse. Specially designed insulation channels hold down in place, reducing migration and cold spots. The jacket packs into its own pocket for easy storage, and the trim fit and stretchy, abrasion-resistant face-fabric allow uninhibited motion. Better yet: We’ve watched it handle chimneying and sharp limestone rock climbing without so much as a scuff.