Choosing great climbing gear can be tough at the best of times. Trying to figure out which of your options are also kind to the environment is even more of a challenge. Thankfully there is some excellent eco-friendly climbing gear out there. Gear that will keep you safe and protected on the rock as well as having less of an impact on the environment.
The terms ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘sustainable’ aren’t as easy to quantify as they should be, especially for consumers who are already bombarded with enough decisions to make about their next purchase. So although the below list of sustainable climbing gear is most certainly a step in the right direction in terms of environmental impact throughout the production process, the products we have featured are by no means perfect. However, they tick some pretty key boxes when it comes to the fabrics used and the production processes that are adopted.
We love that these amazing brands are working darn hard to create products that are eco-friendly. We also know that climbing gear ain’t cheap at the best of times. So if you’re struggling to financially justify making the switch to all-out sustainable consumerism just yet, then perhaps consider making just one eco-friendly purchase this year. Or even consider buying used gear to start with. Then upgrade to eco-friendly climbing gear with the money you save on buying lower priced used gear.
Eco-friendly climbing gear in 2019
However you decide to approach your next purchase, we’re here to lay out your options of some top class eco-friendly climbing gear.
Edelrid and Tommy Caldwell. If this epic combo of creators doesn’t grab your attention immediately then the technology that holds this big-wall climbing rope together might spark your interest. This 70m rope boasts a Thermo Shield treatment which cleverly stabilises individual yarns to keep the rope supple right to the end of its life. It’s also highly water resistant right to the core, absorbing less than 2% of the rope’s weight in water. Plus, it is 3D lap-coiled so you can use it straight away without having to work out kinks and tangles.
But if all that doesn’t impress then its exceptional sustainability score ought to do it. The Dry Rope is Bluesign approved using 62% less CO2, 89% less water, 63% less energy consumption and 63% less chemicals compared to other common ropes. Sold!
Luckily for us consumers, there are more and more eco climbing shoes stepping onto the market each year. Plant-based climbers should check out our round up of vegan-friendly shoes to see the huge range of vegan climbing shoes available. But if you’re keen to take your commitment to the environment one step further then you should most certainly consider the Mythos Eco Climbing Shoes. 95% of the components used to construct these shoes come from recycled materials. Yep, that includes recycled rubber soles — which boast durability and performance on holds to be equal to standard soles — as well as recycled laces, ribbons, and tongue padding. Plus, the shoes are manufactured using metal-free tanning processes, and they use biodegradable leather and water-based adhesives.
The neutral shape and comfortable last of the shoes make them ideal for long routes and big days on the rock where comfort is key.
The Solution Harness by Black Diamond is an ideal option for sport climbers working projects. It offers unrivalled comfort thanks to the Fusion Comfort Technology for excellent load distribution. The result is long-lasting comfort for both belayer and climber with less pressure placed on sensitive areas.
From an eco-friendly standpoint, this lightweight, workhorse of a harness is constructed of Bluesign approved fabric to minimise its environmental impacts.
When it comes to true sustainability, you don’t get much better than clothing made from merino wool. Its natural properties mean that it needs very little messing with to live up to its high performance expectations. That said, there is a dark side to the wool farming industry that more and more brands are now wising up to. A process called “mulesing” is being banned by many brands, such a Finisterre. The Fisherman Beanie, along with all their merino garments, is made of 100% merino wool that is sourced from non-mulesed Australian sheep.
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They’re funky, they’re functional and every ORGANIC Climbing Chalk Bag is also totally unique. Handmade in the USA, these colourful chalk bags are made from upcycled fabric scraps that are left over from the production of pads and other climbing products. The 1000-denier Cordura nylon fabric is mega durable with a brush hook, waist belt and drawcord opening. Plus, the newly improved stiff rim makes chalking up at key moments a cinch. The inside is lined with soft fleece, and if you order direct from the ORGANIC Climbing website you can even choose your very own colour-combos!
This simple yet completely essential long sleeve is just one in a long line of sustainable and eco-friendly products offered by 3rd Rock. It is made from organic cotton which is produced entirely free of chemical pesticides — they adamantly never use conventional cotton in their clothing production. Read why here. 3rd Rock also create garments using recycled plastic, diverting discarded carpets and bottles from landfill. Best of all, they upcycle fabric scraps into NutSacs — to store your cams, draws, slings and nuts in, of course!
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The Kamikaze Pants are another sustainable offering from Edelrid and are the most comfortable climbing pants I’ve ever worn! Though they lack the technical fabrics that are essential for certain climbing conditions, the durable fabric and strong design more and than makes up for it. They boast reinforced sections on the inside of the ankles that are ideal for wiping your feet on before you climb. Plus, the gusseted crotch prevents unwanted seam splits and doesn’t hinder movement right where you need it most. They have a delightfully comfortable elasticated wide waistband and drawcords at the ankles for a more fitted look. And to top it off… they are made from organic cotton.
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Eco-friendly shoes, that also perform well in extreme conditions, are not easy to come by. Which is why we are delighted to share the Haglöfs Vertigo Proof Eco Shoe with you. These fully waterproof, stiff trail shoes are made from leather that is manufactured in an LWG audited tannery with a gold/silver rating. This means that the leather is produced with a lower environmental footprint than regular leather. The shoes also owe their sustainable waterproofness to a fluorocarbon-free DWR coating and a PROOF ECO recycled lining, which has a Bluesign approved membrane. With a high-traction Vibram sole, ankle to toe lacing, and a tough reinforced toe bumper, these are the ultimate approach shoes for eco-friendly climbers.
Mountain Equipment have been quietly leading the charge towards a more eco-friendly outdoor industry for many years, resulting in some exceptional high performance, low impact gear. The Earthrise Jacket is one such offering and is one heck of a sustainable piece of clothing. New to the Mountain Equipment range for 2019, this stylish, insulated jacket isn’t just reserved for rock climbers. Filled with 100% recycled down and using 100% recycled fabrics, it’s the kind of jacket you’ll want to be seen in at any occasion. But with 107g of reclaimed 650 fill power duck and goose down, it will keep you toastie and warm on wilder missions too. Really, what’s not to love about it?
Jack Wolfskin are another pioneering brand in the move towards better environmental practices in the outdoor industry. And what better way to have maximum impact for consumers than by creating a sustainable staple that every outdoors person really can’t live without? The humble fleece. So versatile and SO cosy, and now made out of 100% recycled polyester. JW also offer a repair service and a PFC-free re-waterproofing service. They only use organic cotton, use recycled fabrics where appropriate, and are continuing to reduce the use of PVC in their products. Add to that their ban on fur and angora wool, and their use of non-mulesed merino wool and ethically sourced down, and you’ll struggle to justify not opting to support this brand.
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The O.G. 2 Kush Crash Pad is one impressively eco-friendly bouldering pad. So much so that Kush Climbing claim that it is the world’s first crash pad built with sustainability in mind. We love that they’re shouting about it — it sure makes things easier for us consumers. And looking at the fabrics and practices used to create the pad, we’ll give them that claim! Here’s why…
- Hemp top sheet: There are no herbicides or pesticides used to grow hemp. Hemp is also mega durable and is one of the most sustainable fabrics on the planet.
- Regen nylon ground sheet: Made from 100% recycled nylon twill woven fabric that is created using discarded fishing nets.
The hinged pad also has comfortable shoulder straps, metal fasteners and an all-important 4.5 inches of 3-layered foam protection to soften your falls on low to mid-height bouldering problems.
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We’re hoping that more and more climbing brands will move towards more sustainable practices. But until then, the best we can do as consumers is to spread the eco-word and start opting for eco-friendly climbing gear whenever we are able to.