What Do I Need For Indoor Climbing?
Indoor climbing is a great way to improve your muscle strength and hand-eye coordination. It’s a sport that is guaranteed to get your heart pumping and strengthen your lungs, all while leaving you feeling accomplished and raring to go again.
This list shows you everything you’ll need to start climbing indoors, from the best shoes to wear on your feet to equipment and accessories that will provide additional comfort and ease along the way.
Although most climbing gyms have equipment to hire, it’s always a good idea to invest in your own equipment once you get the hang of it.
Climbing shoes come in a variety of shapes and fits, generally, the curvier or banana-shaped the shoe is, the more aggressive it is and the more suited to advanced climbers it will be.
When just starting, you’ll want to find a shoe that is going to give you the most comfort throughout a long day of climbing, so a flat climbing shoe that isn’t too tight is probably your best bet. The more experience you gain while climbing, the tighter and curvier your shoe should be.
If you feel like you need a bit more guidance on which climbing shoes are right for you, check out our climbing shoe buying guide.
When climbing indoors, you’re going to need to wear something that will keep you feeling comfortable while still allowing you to move freely on the wall. Clothing that wicks sweat away is best and will help keep you moving throughout the day while keeping you feeling cool and dry.
Typically, any clothing that isn’t too restrictive such as shorts, loose pants, t-shirts or leggings, will be ideal for climbing in a gym.
A harness is arguably one of the most crucial elements of your climbing safety kit. Ideally, when climbing indoors you’re going to want a harness that is pretty lightweight and allows for all-day climbing comfort. For indoor climbing you're unlikely to be carrying a full rack, so you can keep gear loops to a minimum.
Although all harnesses may look very similar, they are all constructed from different materials and are built with specific types of climbing in mind. For more info on which climbing harness is best for you check out our Climbing Harness Buying Guide.
For rope climbing, a belay device is essential as it will aid you in controlling the rope whilst belaying in order to protect your partner in the event of them falling. The device is attached to the harness via a carabiner which allows for increasded friction. Depending on which technique you’re using, you will need a different type of belay device.
For indoor climbing, generally you should use a belay device with grooves as it will provide more friction, however, if you're still unsure on which device to use, check out our Belay Device Buying Guide.
Typically, indoor climbing walls are around 10 - 15 meters high, so your rope only needs to be 30-40m long (a minimum of 30m). If you’re top-roping, the climbing centre should already have a fixed rope in place, however, once you advance onto leading routes, it’s best to take your own rope with you.
Head over to our Climbing Ropes Buying Guide for more info.
Carabiners are another essential element of your climbing safety kit. They come in many different varieties, the most popular ones being the “D” and Offset D. As they come in various shapes and sizes, each carabiner will work differently depending on the type of climbing.
For more info on which carabiner you should use, check out our Carabiner Buying Guide.
Climbing chalk is going to be a must when climbing, helping your hands stay dry, allowing for better grip thus improved performance while you’re on the wall. Try to refrain from using loose chalk and instead try using a chalk ball as it will prevent making a mess.
You’re also going to want something to store your chalk in, so a chalk bag is needed. Some chalk bags don’t just store chalk but will have other pockets in to keep other items safe like snacks.
As with all sports, staying hydrated is key to helping you perform all-day long. Consider investing in an insulated flask that will keep your drinks nice and cool throughout the day. Ideally, a bottle with a loop is a great option as it will allow you to clip it onto your harness.
However long you’re planning on spending in the climbing gym, it’s always a good idea to pack some snacks to take with you such as an energy bar or isotonic gel. You never know when you’ll need a quick burst of energy, so always best to plan ahead.