Must-Have Gear for At-Home Climbing
It's a small wonder why so many different types of climbing shoes exist, let alone all of the additional gear required for sport, trad, and even alpine climbing. Climbers are crazy about their gear! Luckily, at-home climbing walls are generally for bouldering, which is the least gear-intensive discipline in rock climbing. That being said, if you've just installed your new climbing wall, there are a couple of extra pieces of must-have gear that will complete your at-home climbing experience. Of course, you'll have to have your shoes and chalk, but having some additional weights, a harness, and gymnastic rings around will bring your at-home climbing session to the next level.
You certainly do not want to climb in bare feet or street shoes on your at-home wall. Having dedicated climbing shoes can help keep your wall cleaner for longer and reduce wear-and-tear. Not to mention climbing shoes make climbing a whole lot easier! For your at-home wall, be sure to ask yourself these questions before purchasing shoes.
What angle is the wall? If your wall is overhung, you'll want to be sure to wear some more aggressive bouldering shoes to help keep your feet on. If the wall is vertical, you may want to try a flatter pair of shoes for comfort.
What climbing shoes do you wear outside? Sometimes, at-home climbing walls are used as training tools for outdoor climbing. If this is the case, it is important to train in the shoes you will wear outdoors. This helps you to improve your footwork in a way that will translate outside more easily.
Some people claim that they climb better without chalk. These people are not to be trusted. When you are climbing on an at-home wall you will probably go through more chalk than you are used to because you will be climbing more frequently. If this is the case, it may be better to buy chalk in bulk to bring down the cost. Also, for an at-home wall, it is important to consider the air filtration in the room where your woody is. If your woody is outdoors or in the garage, you probably don't need to worry too much about chalk clogging up your air filter, but if your woody is in a room with a vent you will probably want to use block-chalk instead of loose chalk to reduce the stress on your air filter.
With only one wall to climb on instead of a whole climbing gym, weights are an important tool to help increase the intensity and add variety to your climbing. Just a couple of varying free weights will do the trick. This will allow you to add some weight when you are doing pull-ups or hangs. You can also more easily transition from climbing to added weight core exercises if you have dedicated climbing weights for your at-home wall. Ankle weights are also an excellent tool to improve your footwork and core strength during a climbing session.
For a bouldering wall? Yes! How else are you supposed to add weight to those hangs or pull-ups? There are tons of workouts that require a harness to increase resistance or intensity. The good news is that you don't need a nice one. While you should normally be very wary of purchasing used climbing gear as you can never know the complete history of gear to tell whether or not it is truly safe for use, used harnesses work great for at-home climbing wall workouts.
Gymnastic rings are cheap and incredibly effective for climbing training. As opposed to a static pull up bar, gymnastic rings require constant body tension when you are using them. So any kind of pull-ups or hangs you do on gymnastic rings will be more unstable and translate better to climbing. Gymnastic rings are also incredibly easy to set up and take down. You can even fix them to your at-home wall!
You don't need much gear to climb on your at-home climbing wall, but these few pieces of must-have gear can be real game-changers. Over time you will likely acquire tons of random gear, but these five will set you up for success from the start.