Top 11 Tools Your Rock Climbing Gym Should Have

You’ll quickly find out that rock climbing is one of the most exhilarating but not nearly talked about enough sports around. To ensure you have the best rock climbing experience, essential tools are needed not only for your safety but to help your climbing skills progress. If you’re feeling like you want to explore the world of rock climbing, hang with us for a bit!


climbing tools

Here’s our list of the top 11 tools your rock climbing gym should have that are used by beginner, moderate, and advanced rock climbers. 

11 Top Tools Your Rock Climbing Gym Should Have

Below, we’ve compiled a list of 11 tools your rock climbing gym should have. 

1. Climbing Harness

A climbing harness is one of the most essential tools your rock climbing gym should have, as this is what you’ll safely attach your rope to. If you’re not using the one provided by your gym, there are two things you’ll want to consider: your budget and what type of climbing you’ll do. Even if you’re doing indoor climbing, comfort and versatility should be the key focus if you want it to work in multiple ways.

 indoor climbing harness

With climbing equipment, the idea is that once you become an avid climber, you’ll want to own any equipment you use regularly. Your climbing harness should fit comfortably over your clothing to provide flexibility of movement. When picking out a climbing harness, you can focus on padding, ventilation, and the level of moisture transportation.


A climbing harness is designed to provide safety and should be inspected for damage before using a climbing harness at your rock climbing gym. 

2. Climbing Ropes 

Ropes are a vital part of rock climbing, and with the correct use of your rope, harness, belay equipment, and QuickDraws, a climbing rope can save your life when you’re rock climbing in an outdoor setting.


rock climbing gym rope

It’s more than just having a climbing rope, but knowing how to operate one as well. Many indoor rock climbing gyms have areas for their belay systems when rock climbing and have learning videos on how to use them. Once you become an experienced climber, you can purchase your own rope.


One of the most essential things to remember is that if you have too much rope, it may lead to too much drag against the climbing wall. 

3. Carabiners

A carabiner is a fancy term for a climbing clip. These devices attach to things without the climber having the fear of them becoming detached. When climbing, you’ll use them to connect your climbing rope with other equipment, such as nuts, bolts, and canning devices.


rock climbing gym carabiner

Carabiners are made from steel and tested for their durability and the ability to let your rope pass through. The gate of the carabiner will shut and prevent your equipment from slipping out. Carabiners are another essential tool when rock climbing and stand between safety and severe injury.


Your climbing gym might have carabiners that are wire, a straight gate, or a locking carabiner. 

4. Belay Equipment

A belay device is one of the most essential tools that your climbing gym will have. If you’re not familiar with a belay device, it’s a brake that is used to protect you from falls. A belay has several friction points, which means the belayer won’t need to hold your total weight while you’re descending.


A belay device doesn’t take long to learn how to use. However, climbing gyms are the perfect environment to gain enough practice with the help of a staff member. The consequences of not knowing how to belay can be severe.


There are three primary belay devices you might come across, which are tubular, assisted braking, and figure eight.

5.  QuickDraws

A QuickDraw is made from two carabiners that are connected by a sling. The main idea is to attach the QuickDraw to a bolt hanger and your rope to another. When you do this, it will give you more slack, allowing your rope to move while still attached to the bolt hanger.


A QuickDraw can be used for several things depending on the type of climb you’re completing.

6. Rock Climbing Shoes

Rock climbing shoes are specialized footwear designed to enhance performance on various rock surfaces. They come in different types, closure systems, and materials, each tailored for specific climbing styles and terrains. The outsoles and midsoles offer grip, rigidity, and flexibility for various climbing needs.

These shoes are so important in climbing gyms, providing grip, precision, and support for climbers. They also keep climbing routes and pads clean and offer a sticky rubber sole for better grip. Beginners often start with neutral climbing shoes, while experienced climbers may have multiple pairs of climbing shoes for different climbing styles.

7. Helmet

When climbing in the outdoors, you are faced with the possibility of stones, rocks, and boulders sometimes falling below. Even though you won’t run into this in a climbing gym, a helmet is one of the most essential tools used in a gym.


rock climbing gym helmets

As a climber, you’ll need a helmet for trad climbing and sport climbing, which mainly occur in mountain settings. Some climbing helmets will also protect you in the event of a fall. If you’re climbing at a gym, in most cases, you won’t need one, but they’re still available.


All climbing gyms have mats underneath in the event of a fall, and the climbing walls are usually no higher than fifteen feet. When wearing a climbing helmet, it should fit snug but not too tight. You should also ensure your helmet doesn’t block your ability to see your climbing route.

8. Chalk Bag

Chalk bags are also another essential tool you’ll sometimes find at climbing gyms. A chalk bag is usually made from canvas or synthetic materials with an opening wide enough to fit your entire hand. Chalk bags also have a side release buckle and a loop, so you have the option of attaching them to your harness.


Many chalk bags have designs, but there are several options out there on the market. Chalk bags are one of the essential tools that also allow you to bring out your personality during a climb.


rock climbing gym chalk bags

If you decide to purchase your own chalk bag, make sure you buy one with an opening that is wide enough to fit your hand, suits the type of chalk you’re using, and fits the duration of your climb. A cylindrical bag is excellent for longer climbs, whereas a tapered bag is excellent for shorter climbs. 

9. Chalk

Now that we’ve covered the chalk bag, another essential tool that your climbing gym might have is chalk. If you ask an advanced climber, they’ll tell you they never climb without chalk. Climbers use chalk to increase their grip in a similar fashion to gymnasts.


The increased grip and friction allow you to grip the surface easily while drying up sweat and moisture. Having an excellent grip is vital during climbs, especially if you’re climbing outdoors. For beginner rock climbers, almost any type of chalk would be suitable.


Chalk balls are an excellent option as they’re less messy, which means you’ll have less chaulk buildup on your hands while still getting the same result. 

10. Tape

Tape is another tool that you might find in your climbing gym. When climbing, you might have tears on your fingers that form if you slip from a hold, often referred to as flappers. Many climbers like to keep a roll of tape with them and apply it beforehand.


There are many types of climbing tape that have zinc oxide that helps heal abrasions and that will decrease your chances of developing an infection. As a climber, you may develop calluses on your palms or fingers.


Many climbers also use tape to apply to their fingers to give them more strength and support. 

11. Mats

When using a climbing gym, you’ll find mats in every location. A crash mat is an essential tool, especially if you plan to do outdoor bouldering. Since bouldering is mastered without using ropes, due to smaller distances, a crash mat is vital to have in case of a fall.


Even if you fall fifteen feet, you can still do some damage without one. In a climbing gym, you’ll typically have a staff member spot you during a climb.

rock climbing gym mats

Next Step!

Are you in the Midwest and looking to take your climbing skills to the next level? Don't overlook our detailed review of Cleveland rock climbing gyms, which can help you find the perfect spot to challenge yourself.

Tools Your Rock Climbing Gym Should Have: FAQ

1. What do you need to rock climb at a gym?

When rock climbing, you should have comfortable clothing, climbing shoes, a harness, a carabiner, a chalk bag and chalk, and climbing ropes.

2. What is some essential equipment that is needed to participate in bouldering?

When bouldering, you’ll need climbing shoes, a crash mat, a chalk bag, and an experienced spotter.

3. Do auto belays make it easier to climb?

Auto belays will allow you to climb without a belay partner. 

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