Caldwell may have more critical gear when on a wall, but this is the stuff that keeps him going from day to day.
Caldwell may have more critical gear when on a wall, but this is the stuff that keeps him going from day to day.

The 9 Things Tommy Caldwell Can’t Live Without

We caught up with the climber to talk about his most essential everyday gear

Megan Michelson

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Tommy Caldwell is well-known for establishing some of the hardest climbing routes in the country. Back in January 2015, for example, he and his partner Kevin Jorgeson made global headlines for becoming the first people to free climb the Dawn Wall route on Yosemite’s El Capitan.

Right now, Caldwell isn't climbing but instead on a book tour for his New York Times bestselling memoir, The Push: A Climber’s Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond the Limits. During a break from autographing pages, we talked to Caldwell about his favorite gear that has nothing to do with scaling large piece of granite. 


(Courtesy of Apple)

Technology is a big one. Since I’m an author these days, my Macbook Pro laptop goes pretty much everywhere with me. It’s small, durable, and reliable.

Buy Now

Noise-Canceling Headphones

(Courtesy of Bose)

I use Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones. When I am in coffee shops working or trying to sleep in public places, I run a white noise app on my music player. It blocks out all but the most important sounds.

Buy Now

Phone Case

(Courtesy of Beeline)

I have dropped more than one phone off big cliffs. I now use a phone case with a clip-on tether made by a company called Beeline.

Buy Now

Portable Battery

(Courtesy of Goal Zero)

The Goal Zero Venture 30 recharger is my go-to for keeping my phone charged. It’s easy to recharge from a solar panel or a wall outlet, and it’s small enough to bring with me wherever I go.

Buy Now


(Courtesy of Pilot)

I also always carry a couple of Pilot Precise V5 RT Retractable Ball pens and a small notebook for jotting down ideas. 

Buy Now

Backcountry Coffee Maker

(Courtesy of Aeropress)

The Aeropress coffee and espresso maker is light, clean, and makes super good coffee.

Buy Now

Travel Mug

(Courtesy of Hydroflask)

The Hydro Flask 10-ounce mug is a small insulated mug with a lid. I can’t stand disposable cups, so this mug goes pretty much everywhere with me. Its small size limits my caffeine intake to a reasonable amount. I usually drink Americanos. 

Buy Now

Water Bottle

(Courtesy of Nalgene)

In the mountains, a 16-ounce Nalgene is my water bottle and my coffee cup. I also mix my Emergen-C, which I take just about every morning, in here. Its wide mouth allows me to fill it fast from faucets, streams, and stoves. It’s dent-proof and easy to clean. I drink liberally from mountain streams, so I rarely need a bigger bottle when I’m moving fast.

Buy Now

Running Shoes

(Courtesy of La Sportiva)

I always travel with a pair of running shoes to get in a quick run when I can. I like La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor trail runners.

Buy Now


When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. We do not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Read more about our policy.