Basic Bare-Bones Climbing Gear Review

© Brook Anderson

Alright. Let’s be clear, right out the gate. I started climbing in January. Thus, I don’t have a ton of knowledge/experience when it comes to gear, but I figured if there are any newbs out there like me, you’ll be happy to have somewhere to start. And so, MY FIRST CLIMBING GEAR REVIEW!

219d5f18-af74-4fcd-92b0-799fac9f0847.jpg
fecd7c68-381b-44d2-bcb5-24ba34445a03.jpg

SHOES

My first pair of shoes were La Sportiva Mythos Eco. Dude, these shoes are the shit. They are so comfortable. You can go miles in them! I did a couple multi-pitch in them (which is where I think they shine— you can wear them all day and your feet feel great) and they were ace for my grade at the time (5.9-10a). I was climbing a ton over the summer and eventually blew through a toe and decided I wanted to up my edge a bit.

Enter La Sportiva Oxygym’s. Unfortunately, my experience up front with these sucked. My first two pairs de-lamed (the plastic sole began to peel off leaving a hole) within the first couple climbs and so I returned them. My third pair began to de-laminate by my third climb as well, but I was too pissed at the idea of breaking in a fourth pair.. so I kept them. The toe is pretty rough at this point, but once I broke the shoe in, well, I fell in love. Maybe it’s all in my head but I feel like this shoe gave me the extra edge I needed to push my grade (I just broke into the 12’s).

The only downside I’ve found from this shoe is in crack climbing (which I’ve only just started tinkering with) and cold days. There isn’t a ton of coverage on the top side and so doesn’t provide much protection when cranking on those feetsies. And on cold days the shoe feels like it shrinks a bit making it a bit uncomfortable. I already have wicked poor circulation when I’m cold so that extra bit of wiggle room is crucial.

So, there you have it. Big fan, aside from the de-lam.

img @brookbriana

img @brookbriana

BLACK DIAMOND PRIMROSE HARNESS

The first harness I ordered was another brand that didn’t have the adjustable leg loops, which, well, wouldn’t work. I have a small waist and big thighs. That extra inch in the legs is super crucial for me. So, I went with the classic Black Diamond Primrose. Some of my friends scoff at it because “everyone has it.” Yeah, everyone has it for a reason! The price is on point, the harness is comfortable and adjustable and so far it’s been durable as heck! It’s my first and only harness, but It’s done me good on multiple multi-pitch climbs, climbing indoor and long days outdoor. All in all I say hell yes to this harness.

PATAGONIA HAUL BAG

This. Backpack IS THE BEES KNEES. I purchased this pack after a terrible experience climbing multi-pitch with an off brand bag. I found myself at the base of a chimney about to shimmy my way up and y bag wouldn’t sit properly on my back. It didn’t have waist straps or handles and it definitely wouldn’t has sustained more than one of those scrambles. and so, THIS BAG. Patagonia literally markets it with “built with our burliest fabrics to withstand abuse from short hauls and getting stuffed in chimneys.” I was sold. And not just that, I’ve tested this bad boy’s durability and it totally lives up to it’s expectations. Plus, this colors are rad.


STATIC WAXED CANVAS CHALK BAG

3e88c3e5-1290-40b9-b3cb-077361d9f09d.jpg

Okay. I had my eye on this bad boy for ages. I’d go to REI and then leave without it.. over and over and over. A month or so ago I finally pulled the trigger and.. whomp whomp. I was pretty let down. I mean, the bag is fine. It works, and it’s durable.. but something about the waxed canvas makes it so that every bit of dirt, ever, sticks to the bag. What once was this beautiful slate grey, canvas bag now looks like a dirty mess. Like I said, I still use it and it’s functional. Just sucks that it looks and feels gross. I’m hoping long term this bag shines with durability!

 

And, well. That’s it. That’s my basic set up for most climbs. Chalk bag, shoes, backpack, harness. Keepin’ it bare bones over here, just the way I like it.

Brand Love: Nalgene

It's exactly one month until the first day of summer, but of course, it's 95 degrees in Los Angeles. Y'all, I am so not ready for this. I'd honestly be cool if we just skipped summer this year and went straight to fall. Actually, wait. Let's pit stop at 4th of July—because #fireworks, obviously—and then fast forward straight through to Halloween. Who is with me? Great. I'm glad I'm not alone. It's too bad none of us are time travelers. 

If I slow down long enough, I sense a challenge in the approach of summer. I feel the pull to get outside, to make memories. Every year it rolls around, bringing with it a sweet nostalgia of long, warm evenings at the lake, laughing unrestrained to the backdrop of a bonfire and all things horses. Oh, to be carefree again! To toss our backpacks, water bottles and keys to the wayside; to climb high and confidently to the tallest parts of the tallest bridges and plunge fearlessly into the deep cool waters below. Ya...I guess summer isn't all that bad. 

I love these memories. It's neat to be able to look back on the things we thought were cool then, and see how some of them have carried over into today. And to know that there are brands that I still gravitate toward, even amidst the changing landscape of my life. Like Nalgene. 

Growing up, Nalgene was always the go-to water bottle brand for all my outdoor friends. It was well loved at the summer camp I worked at because of it's sturdy, scratch-resistant, heat-resistant nature (commercial dishwasher safe, biaaaaatch!) You could leave lemonade in it all day, in the heat, and you wouldn't end up with any unwanted odor or taste. Plus, there was the added bonus of all that free space to cover with stickers (which I may or may not still do today...judge me.)

But, then came the BPA scare. And into the trash went my beloved Nalgene. Or did I lose it while camping? I honestly can't remember. It's irrelevant though because the company is amazing and they quickly dropped the questionable plastic and replaced it with a BPA-free alternative. Which, from what I can tell so far, is just as awesome as before. My Nalgene has been dropped, thrown, kicked and hauled all over the world and it still fails to leak, crack or find itself irreparably damaged. 

These bottles are one of those products you'd find me being like, "Yo. You need this." Without question. In fact, I own a two already. Aaaaaaaand I may or may not have my eye on another one, in another sweet color. It's summer y'all and you know you're going to be out and about. So stay prepared, and stay hydrated...with Nalgene. 

#GOTEM

Honestly, they don't pay me enough for this. Just kidding. They don't pay me at all. But seriously, no one paid me for this. I guess technically I paid them, I bought my water bottles. Really, they're just that cool. Ha. Cool. Like keeping it cool...in summer. bah dun dun CH. Okay. I'm done. 

Oh! real quick, PROTIP: Get a splash guard. We all know how hard it is to drink from a wide mouth bottle, and now you don't have to be 'that guy'. These little silicone suckers fit right into your bottle opening and keep you from looking like a fool, splashing water all over yourself in public. You can thank me later. 
 
Love you guys, stay wild xx


 

4 Essentials For a Killer Solo-Hike


One of my favorite extracurriculars has always been hiking/trail running. Not only is it a great workout but its a perfect time to allow my brain to engage in something other than work. The whole experience feels like a sort of meditation. An intentional time to check out of the world and into myself.

So, whether your first hike, or your five-hundredth (which probably means you don't need to be reading this) I've pulled together a couple of things I've found are crucial for a good hike.

1. FIND A GOOD PODCAST / CREATE A PLAYLIST

Don't get me wrong, half of the reason I love hiking instead of a gym sesh is to be able to tap into nature. So for the sake of that, and for safety, I typically only leave one ear bud in while on the mountain. But, I also find it helpful to have something else to focus on aside from my burning muscles on the way up. And I love a good podcast.

For the way down (usually at a faster pace) I like to tap into a good playlist. I suggest finding or creating one with a good tempo to pace yourself to. Spotify is King.

2. INVEST IN SOME GOOD GEAR

Good gear is critical. Especially when hiking/trail running. Nobody wants a rolled ankle, nor do you want to run out of water halfway through. I'm not an expert, let me make that abundantly clear. But do some research! Find what works for you. I've found that the four things I can't do without are:

A good pair of shoes: I run in nikes
A good bag: I shamelessly use a fanny pack -- find what works for you! I've found I need something to hold my keys, water & phone.
Sunglasses: And not something that bounces all over your face. Find something with UV protection and thick side arms!
Smart Clothing: I advise against cotton. No thank you chaffing. No Thank you swamp ass. I'm a huge fan of Dry Fit Tech & Under Armour as a whole.

3. BE TRAIL SMART

I can not tell you how many time I've almost slammed into people or fallen off the mountain because people refuse to stick to their side of the trail. I would say the basics of hiking are the same as driving on a narrow road. If someone is coming (especially if they are running) just move to the side. ALWAYS YOUR RIGHT. Don't make this a case of Awkward Squirrel. Use common sense. Read the situation. Slow down or stop and move as far right as possible and/or is necessary to let them pass.

4. REMEMBER YOUR BODY

Y'ALL. HYDRATE. ALWAYS. And then do some research. Figure out what your body needs pre-hike to stay fueled, as well as the best way for you to treat your mind and muscles to some recovery post-hike. 

++ Do you have any hiking essentials? Let me know in the comments!