The Best Climbing Gear for Beginners (2023): Harnesses, Belay Devices, and Helmets
Climbing can feel like a daunting hobby to pick up. There are knots, anchors, more knots, and nearly as much opaque lingo as Cockney rhyming slang. And then there’s also the constant reminder that your life literally depends on getting it all right. Relieve yourself of one worry by checking out our favorite climbing gear for beginners, which will provide everything you absolutely need and nothing that’s just marketing fluff. Most climbers get acquainted with the safety routines, jargon, and gear when climbing indoors. But it’s fine to start outdoors if you fall in with the right climbers or enroll in an American Mountain Guides Association-accredited course.
Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, you’re going to need some essential gear. I’m keeping it simple and affordable in this guide, since it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the jargon for technical gear. You’re also not going to be a climbing lead until you’re more experienced, so I’ve omitted items like rope and quickdraws, which your climb leader will have. You can get by with any flexible clothes (no jeans!), but I suggest you veer toward technical synthetic layers for climbing outside.
Updated January 2023: We’ve added recommendations for pants and a climbing shirt, as well as adjusted pricing and availability.