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What to wear climbing

What should you wear climbing?

Written by Guy Mor, co-founder of 3RD ROCK.

Climbing is a great sport that combines physical strength, mental fortitude, and a passion for falling off stuff.

 

Whether you're a beginner just starting out or an intermediate climber looking to step it up, knowing what to wear is crucial*.

 

The right clothing can enhance your performance, keep you comfortable, and ensure your safety. In this not-too-serious guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about climbing attire, from indoor essentials to eco-friendly options and expert tips.

 

*You don’t want to treat fellow climbers to a surprise 🍑 sighting!

Hila gearing up for an outdoor Sports climb wearing our LUNA bra top.

Indoor climbing essentials

Indoor climbing is a great way to build your skills in a controlled environment with lots of other sweaty climbers in an overcrowded gym. When it comes to what to wear, comfort and flexibility are key.

 

Key clothing for indoor climbing:

 

  • Stretchy trousers or leggings: Opt for materials that allow a full range of motion. Look for trousers or leggings made with stretchy fabrics like spandex or lycra. You’re going to need that flexibility for high steps and dynamic movements. Please consider though, that if you have flexible, durable and sustainable trousers like ours, then that’s one excuse less on your list of excuses for not sending… worth it?
  • Moisture-Wicking Tops or loose tops: In all honesty, if it’s not extra warm, you could get by with any old t-shirt but if you are wearing a sports bra, make sure it’s comfortable, and if you are not, you probably should…

    Sometimes, climbing could get sweaty. If you are wondering if that’s even true, you must be one of those who goes to the gym to have a laugh. Which is great, but know that some climbers sweat at the gym (I know right?). If you are one of the few who work hard at the gym, or you are lucky enough to live in a beautiful place with warm temperatures then please keep sweat at bay with breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics. Synthetic materials like recycled polyester or regenerated nylon are excellent choices as they draw moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry and comfortable

Our MARGO trouser being put to good use at the Depot Climbing Centre

Tips for comfort & flexibility

  • Choose clothing that fits close to the body but allows for freedom of movement. Loose clothing can get caught on holds or harnesses, overly tight clothing, on the other hand, can restrict your range of motion.
  • Boys - Tops off is not a valid fashion statement, regardless of how hot it is

Suitable seasonal outdoor clothing

Outdoor climbing introduces the elements into the mix, making your choice of attire even more critical. Dressing appropriately for the season can make or break your climbing experience.

 

Top tip - if it’s bucketing it down (raining for you non brits 😉), you shouldn’t be climbing anyways.

Dressing for different Seasons

Summer: In hot weather, staying cool is essential. Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics that allow air circulation.

 

Look for tops with UV protection to shield your skin from the sun’s rays. Shorts or capris made from quick-drying materials are ideal for ventilation and comfort. We prefer to climb in long trousers to avoid scraping our legs, but if it’s too hot, shorts are the best option.


Winter: Climbing in cold weather requires careful layering to maintain body heat while allowing flexibility.

 

Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from your skin. Add an insulating mid-layer, such as our Reach or down jacket, to retain heat. If it’s really cold and wet, finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect against the elements.

Oh, and a beanie... actually, if you are a boulderer, you must wear a beanie at all times.


When layering, consider the type of climbing you’ll be doing. For high-intensity activities like sport climbing or bouldering, opt for thinner, more breathable layers. For alpine or multi-pitch climbs, prioritise insulation and protection from the elements.

James wearing our Reach Technical Midlayer when climbing in Wales

Sustainable climbing clothing

As awareness of environmental issues grows, more climbers are looking for sustainable options.

 

Sustainable climbing clothing not only benefits the environment but also supports ethical practices in the apparel industry. By opting for eco-friendly options, you contribute to reducing waste, lowering carbon emissions, and conserving natural resources.

 

Sustainable clothing often features high-quality materials that are designed to last, reducing the need for frequent replacements and promoting a more mindful consumption pattern. Next time you are considering getting new clothes, whether they are for climbing or anything else, check the label for the sustainability credentials and if they don’t have any, please consider choosing a different brand or garment.

BATABOOM

Organic cotton sweats

Great for indoor climbing, yoga, the gym, or even some light oudoor climbing

MARGO

Durable organic cotton outdoor trousers

Great for outdoor climbing, hiking, or any other dry-weather outdoor adventure