The Best Climbing Gear of 2022
Unlock your project with this cragging gear
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What you bring with you to the crag (and onto the wall) is just as critical as how you train. You could do 1,000 pull-ups per day and drink half a dozen energy drinks right before you tie in, but if you’re using thumbtacks as pro, clipping carabiners from Dollar General, and tying into 50-pound hemp rope, you aren’t going to get far. We tied in for over 100 pitches with the newest climbing accessories—including ropes, cams, helmets, belay gloves, packs, and apparel. Here are the nine pieces that came out on top.
Black Diamond Capitan MIPS Helmet ($100)
The new Capitan MIPS boasts large vents and weighs just 285 grams in size small, without compromising protection. A two-part ABS plastic shell covers a layer of lightweight EPP foam with a stiffer EPS foam puck at the crown, plus MIPS technology.
Wild Country Offset Zero Friends Camming Devices ($390 for five)
Boasting the narrowest head width of any cams on the market—28.1 millimeters on the 0.1–0.2—the Zero Friends are ideal for weird fits like flares and pin scars. Their soft aeronautical-aluminum heads boost friction, and the wide, 17.6-degree camming angle yields more expansion for small sizes. They range from 49 to 78 grams and feature flexible stems and adjustable Dyneema slings.
Trango Physic Locking Carabiner (from $17)
The small and lightweight Physic takes up less space on your harness than a traditional belay biner. But its wide top keeps rope handling and Munter-hitch management just as easy. A flat keylock nose prevents snags. It’s available in autolock (pictured) and screw-lock versions.
Sterling IonR 9.4mm Yellow Xeros 60m Rope ($250)
Sterling’s IonR line gets upgraded with a new dry treatment that’s applied at the fiber level before weaving rather than to the outside of the finished rope. This reduces waste and ensures the water protection lasts as long as the rope does. The lightweight, do-it-all 9.4-millimeter version is easy to feed and flake.
Arc’teryx Konseal 40L Pack ($190)
At 40 liters, the Konseal is big enough to devour your rack, rope, harness, shoes, and helmet with room to spare—and it stands up on its own, which makes for easy loading and unloading. The tough Cordura body and padded sides and bottom keep your kit safe, and the large top lid yields ample room for lunch and sundries.
Mammut Crag Keylock Wire 10cm Quickdraw ($80 for six)
Mammut’s newest quickdraw mates a large, snag-resistant keylock clipping carabiner to a stiff polyester dogbone for easy clipping. But a lightweight wiregate bottom biner shaves weight, so the finished piece comes in at a respectable 106 grams. Red fibers appear as the dogbone sheath degrades over time, so you know when it’s time for a replacement.
Ortovox Valbon Pants ($150)
These organic cotton and hemp bottoms are stretchy and light, yet still weathered rough sandstone cracks without a rip. They lay flat under a harness, with a comfy merino-infused waistband and out-of-your-way elastic cuffs.
Pitch Six EyeSend Belay Glasses ($95)
These are the only belay glasses we’ve found with an adjustable field of view. A flick of the finger lets you change your perspective from 60 up to 120 degrees as your climber moves above, reducing dreaded neck cricks.
Hestra Climbers Short 5-Finger Gloves ($55)
Built from rugged goat leather with foam knuckle pads and neoprene cuffs these snug fingerless gloves offer supreme protection for alpine rock or backcountry missions. But they’re breathable enough for daily cragging, too.