- The Benefits of Climbing With Chalk
- What to Look for When Buying a Chalk Bag
- Types of Climbing Chalk
- The Best Chalk Bags for Climbing in 2022
- The Best Powder Chalk for Climbing in 2022
- The Best Chalk Balls for Climbing in 2022
- The Best Block Chalk for Climbing in 2022
- The Best Liquid Chalk for Climbing in 2022
- Final Thoughts
There are many factors that contribute to the success of a climber. You have to be strong, focused, and determined to make it up those rock faces. One thing you can’t forget is your chalk and chalk bag. It’s what lets you grip the rocks and get as high as possible with your climbing gear.
We created the buying guide below to help you make an informed decision for when it’s time to buy a (new) chalk bag.
The Benefits of Climbing With Chalk
Chalk is used by gymnastics, rock climbers, boulderers, and other sporters to keep their hands dry and improve their grip. Be it on a climbing wall or rocks, or when lifting weights in the gym.
This is especially important for climbers, as chalk helps to prevent sweaty hands and improve the friction between you and the climbing surface, which is vital for rock climbing where it can make the difference between life and death (literally).
Another benefit of climbing with chalk is that it can prevent blisters. When you’re climbing, your hands are constantly rubbing against the holds and ropes. This can cause friction that leads to blisters on the skin of your palms (or fingers). Chalk prevents this by absorbing moisture in sweaty hands so you don’t get bumps or cuts caused by calluses.
So how much chalk should a climber use?
The amount of chalk a climber uses generally depends on the length of the climb and how rough the terrain is.
For a short, smooth climb in good weather, climbers may only use half a chalk bag worth of product. For an all-day climbing session with lots of exposure to water or cold temperatures, they might need as many as 3 bags’ worth.
What to Look for When Buying a Chalk Bag
Before looking at some popular chalk bag options, it’s important to first think about some things you should keep in mind when buying a chalk bag. The best chalk bags for climbing will:
- Be durable enough to stand up against climbing rope and carabiners, yet still light in weight;
- Have a reliable closure that won’t break when secured tightly around the waist for safety purposes;
- Come with some form of chalk bag holder or clip into which you can insert your fingers while not using it. This is great for keeping your hands clean while not climbing;
- Provide a large enough opening to allow easy access and filling with chalk;
- Have an adjustable waist belt that will fit most people. Chalk bags are often worn around the waist, so it’s important for them to be comfortable on all body types.
Besides the above characteristics, it’s also wise to look for some extra features in a chalk bag. For example, having an extra compartment to store some (valuable) personal items is an excellent idea. This way, you can store your car keys, cell phone and wallet while climbing, so you don’t lose them.
Types of Climbing Chalk
When it comes to filling your chalk bag, you will of course… need chalk.
The chalk used for climbing is usually magnesium carbonate (MgCO₃) which is a chalky, white mineral. For climbing, it can usually be found in 4 different forms:
The first type the regular powder-form chalk. This is the most popular and easy-to-find form of climbing chalk, but it has the disadvantage that it easily creates a cloud of chalk when used, and is can fall out of your chalk bag more easily.
To combat this, you can use chalk balls. Chalk balls are a sort of sock where you can put loose chalk in and squeeze to put a layer of chalk on your hands. These are very convenient to use and can be easily refilled when empty.
The third type is block chalk. These are usually the cheapest as they need less processing by the manufacturer (powder chalk is just block chalk after it’s crushed). On the downside, to make it useful for climbing, you will need to break it down into smaller pieces, which can become messy and create dust clouds.
Finally, we have liquid chalk, which is chalk that has been dissolved in a solvent. This is the newest form of chalk and it’s also one of the most convenient to use. It does not create any dust clouds, and can just be applied to your hands like a lotion.
However, liquid chalk has some disadvantages too: compared to powder or blocks, it will dry out quicker on your skin; and if you leave it in your chalk bag for too long, it will dissolve the fabric of your bag.
As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to all forms of climbing chalk. It’s a good idea (certainly if you’re just starting out with climbing) to test multiple types of climbing chalk and see which you find more convenient.
The Best Chalk Bags for Climbing in 2022
Below, we have included a list of the top three best climbing chalk bags on the market today. We also provide some reviews and general information about how each one is ideal to use while rock climbing. To read more content like this article, subscribe
1. Athletrek Rock Climbing Chalk Bag with Quick-Clip Belt Strap
This chalk bag is crafted from fine durable nylon and comes equipped with an easy pull cord that closes really tight but also opens really easily. This ensures that you’re not wasting your precious chalk and allows for effortless one-hand opening.
You can also be sure that your belongings will be safe as this chalk bag has 2 zippered pockets that will allow you to store your phone & the other items like keys, wallet, cash & credit cards if you wish.
2. Sukoa Climbing/Bouldering Chalk Bag with Quick-Clip Belt
This premium quality rock climbing chalk bag is made with water-resistant material. The bag comes with easy to use a quick-clip belt, or clip to harnesses and carabiners with ease thanks to the 2 loops on the back.
It also includes 2 pockets for storing large valuables, such as your ID, keys, cards & large phones.
3. Old Blue Chalk Bag for Rock Climbing
A great chalk bag made out of water-resistant material, and including extra-grippy zip pullers, fabric-sealed zippers, durable stitching, extra-tight drawstrings, waterproof nylon and much more. Definitely built to endure some hardcore climbing!
4. Survivor Chalk Bag + Refillable Chalk Ball + Liquid Chalk
The Survivor Chalk Bag is a one-stop-shop: it comes with everything you need to climb, including a refillable chalk ball and liquid chalk!
5. Noborou Chalk Bag
A great-looking, colorful chalk bag made for rock climbing, bouldering, weightlifting, gymnastics, crossfit, and more.
6. Hueco Chalk Bag with Belt and Zipper
Another colorful chalk bag, which comes with adjustable belt and a large fleece-padded zipper pocket.
7. Black Diamond Mojo Zip Rock Climbing Chalk Bag
A minimalistic, sturdy and durable chalk bag, made by Black Diamond.
After deciding on which chalk bag you prefer, you’ll still need to fill it with the right type of chalk. Below, we’ll mention some of our top picks when it comes to different types of climbing chalk.
The Best Powder Chalk for Climbing in 2022
The Best Chalk Balls for Climbing in 2022
The Best Block Chalk for Climbing in 2022
The Best Liquid Chalk for Climbing in 2022
The good news is that a chalk bag is one of the least expensive pieces of gear you will have to purchase as a climber, especially compared to climbing shoes and harnesses. There are many different types of chalk bags to choose from, but in the end, it all depends on your personal preferences regarding style, features and capacity.