Climbing does not require a lot of equipment to get started and you can hire all of it from your local wall.

Once you’ve realised how awesome climbing is, the list below will give you an idea of what you might want to buy.

Climbing shoes

Get a pair that fit your feet!

When starting out, choose an all-round climbing shoe which is comfortable to wear. You don’t want them too loose as this will limit your control, but equally squashed toes will not make for a fun experience. When trying them on, the tip of your longest toe should just be touching the end of the shoe.


Get the style that fits and feels the most comfortable.

A harnesses should be comfortable without getting in your way. There are many to choose from, so try some on and get one that you like the feel of. A nice snug fit around the waist and legs is important as you don’t want to fall out of it.

Chalk bag and chalk

Clip these to the harness or round your waist to stay grippy.

Chalk is useful for improving your grip when your hands get sweaty. Gymnasts have been using it for years. Chalk balls are advised for indoors walls to save it getting messy. Loose chalk is popular with people who like to boulder outside.

Belay plate with locking screwgate karabiner

You need this to ‘belay’ your climbing partner.

There is a huge variety available of colours, shapes and sizes available. A grabbing device is good for indoor climbing. Choose one with grooves in it as this will provide more friction when belaying.


Essential when you get to the stage of ‘lead’ climbing.

If you are going to be lead climbing you will need your own rope as climbing walls do not supply these. We recommend a ‘dynamic single’ rope at least 30m long. Check with your climbing centre though as some walls require 60m ropes! ‘Single’ ropes come in different diameters. A good starting size would be 9.5-10mm.

Bouldering pad

These are useful for cushioning your fall when bouldering outdoors.

Bouldering pads are specially designed dense foam pads that can cushion your landing when gravity eventually wins. They’re usually built into the flooring at indoor bouldering walls but if you head outdoors, you may want to invest in one.


Recommended for outdoor climbing.

Wearing a helmet gives added protection to your head. There is a wide range of helmets on the market and, as with climbing shoes, it is important to choose one that fits well.