Gear… on a budget!

We as climbers live our lives on a budget. We work 6 months of the year, so we can climb the other 6. We crash on couches, and eat out of dumpsters, just so we can save up a few bucks for gas. We hit the open road, wondering how we’ll be able to survive on 16 bucks a day. But when it comes to gear… like Rob Ford, we crack. Sure, my Columbia jacket from 1997 still works, but damn, have you seen Arc’teryx’s new Theta SVX jacket? Well I’m here to tell you, you don’t need to break the bank. You don’t need that new $800 jacket, or a new $300 rope from Sterling with Chris Sharma’s creepy blonde moustache hairs sewn into the fibres. Here are some great pieces of gear which won’t cut into your craft beer fund:

  • Rigid Stem Friends: Oh I’m sorry, are you scared? Are you worried that these cams aren’t as shiny as the new Black Diamond X4’s? Well for that $70 bucks you were going to spend on that 0.1 camalot, why not take a break from cat videos and spend some time checking out craigslist or ebay for some good ol’ used gear. Sure, it’s nice to have a brand new rack dangling from your harness, but guess what, your dad climbed in the 70’s with pieces of railroad spikes as protection, and he still climbed harder than
  • Mountain Project: Guidebooks are great. They’re nice to hold, and look great on a bookshelf. But guess what, your dinner party guests don’t give a crap that you have all 7 volumes of “Freedom of the Hills”, or 4 versions of the “Red River Gorge” guidebook. If you’re going to spend $40 on a guide every time you go to a new climbing area, then please, can I have a ride in your limo? Go on-line, get the app, or print off a few pages of beta. Yeah I hear you, “but it’s not always up to date, and it doesn’t have everything” – Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were going to climb everything.
  • Goodwill: Have you ever been to the Patagonia store? They have to special order their price tags from a car dealership in order to fit their prices on them. Do yourself a favor, when you see a Goodwill, or Salvation Army store, go in and have a quick browse. Oh that R3 hoody you’ve got is pretty nice, but for $200 I could have bought 50 of these:fleece
  • Budget Shoes: Sweet Solutions brah. You must shred hard.  But guess what? If you go back to the 1970’s with the cheapest ClimbX or Madrock climbing shoes you can find today, they would be so blown away, they would think you were an alien from the planet Climberon-5, sent here to replace those stiff, heavy, high top junk rubber atrocities they used to climb in. Seriously, if you think you’re falling off your proj because your shoes aren’t down-turned enough, perhaps you’d be better off as a spelunker.
  • Ice Climbing Gear: Modern ice climbing gear can be the most expensive climbing gear out there. Over the years, i have figured out a great way to save money. Don’t ice climb.

Have any other tips? We’re all on this journey together, so leave it in the comments or on the Facebook page!

As always, keep it real.

11 thoughts on “Gear… on a budget!

  1. Everyone knows that chalk is often the most expensive piece of gear in rock climbing. I like to go to the art store and buy sidewalk chalk and crush it down – presto! – cheap chalk! You also get pretty colors, white is so boring.

    A further bonus when on a budget, just add water and you’ll get liquid chalk.


  2. Wesley. It looks like cam in the picture is safer because it is stem is thicker and made of steel. Do you think it would actually be safer to use these old cams? They are of course a bit heavier, but safety first, right!! The new ones look a bit flimsy.THnaks


  3. After taking your advice, I’m saving heaps by not ice climbing but my ice grades are sure hurting! Any tips to keep them up high without climbing ice?


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