Christmas 2016: Gift Ideas for Climbers

Well it’s that time of year again and I’m sure that there’s a bunch of you out there with a hard-to-shop-for climber in the family.  Not to worry, we have a 2-part special that should help you with some Christmas gift ideas.  Part 1 will highlight five great gift ideas for climbers.  Not all of this gear is brand new but it’s all good stuff and covers a wide spectrum to ensure there’s something here that’ll work for you.  Part 2 focuses on smaller “stocking stuffer” type gift options.  So without further ado, let’s check out these gift ideas!

1. Mammut Wall Rider Helmet:

First suggestion is a new helmet.  Many lightweight helmets are prone to cracking and breaking along the venting on the sides.  A quick inspection of the inside of the helmet of your hard-to-shop-for climber will tell you if a new one is called for.  So what do you get them for a replacement?  Easy!  Mammut’s innovative new Wall Rider.  It combines a low profile, hard plastic top with a lightweight EPP body.  This allows the Wall Rider to provide a high level of protection and durability in a lightweight, low profile and comfortable package.  Oh, and it looks really cool to boot!  For more info on the Wall Rider check out the detailed review here.

Mammut Wall Rider
Mammut Wall Rider climbing helmet. A comfortable low-profile fit with a unique look.

2. Arc’teryx Satoro AR Merino Base Layers:

Ok, so no cracks on the helmet?  Not to worry we have more ideas!  Next up: merino base layers.  Always a good go-to gift option for anyone that plays or works in the outdoors.  They feel great next-to-skin, manage moisture and don’t smell no matter how in-frequently you’re able to hit the showers.  However, not all merino is created equal!  Light merino layers can be prone to tearing and wear and there’s nothing worse than putting a finger right through that new shirt when tucking it in!  To address this issue, the Satoro AR from Arc’teryx utilizes a merino blend called Nucliex™ to increase the strength and abrasion resistance of the fabric.  Basically, merino wool is wrapped around a nylon core with a few Elastane fibers thrown in for some stretch.  The 180 weight Satoro AR line includes crew neck & zip neck shirts, long-johns and even a pair of boxers.  We tested out the long-johns and the crew shirt and they were great!  The merino feels soft and Arc’teryx nailed the cut and fit of the garments.

Arc'teryx Satoro AR Merino Base Layers
hmmm… how to model the new Arc’teryx merino Satoro long-johns and crew shirt? Oh, I know: the “is there some gum on my shoe” pose? These well-cut base layers are made from a technical merino blend designed to make them last.

3. OR Endurance Gaiters:

Lots of merino in the underwear drawer?  Well then, let’s talk gaiters.  Traditionally many outdoor enthusiasts had gravitated towards a high-top gaiter.  They work well at keeping snow and mud from out of boots or crampons from shredding pants, however they can be quite hot.  Ankle gaiters on the other hand can be a bit light for alpine duty and so don’t last very long or fit very well around a proper alpine boot.  Not OR’s Endurance Gaiter though!  This guy is as beefy as the high-tops where it needs to be and made from a breathable softshell fabric everywhere else.  They’re lightweight, easy to put on or take off with a zip-up design and stretchy.  A great gaiter from a company that really knows gaiters.  If the person you’re shopping for has a ratty pair of high-top gaiters in the gear room this would be a great gift.

Outdoor Research Endurance Gaiter
The OR Endurance gaiters have all the benefits of a beefy high-top gaiter but are lighter and not nearly as hot.

4. La Sportiva Solution Climbing Pants:

A good rock climbing pant has to be durable, comfortable, fit well and stretch to accommodate some gymnastic movement on the rock.  But a great climbing pant does all the above while not looking like a climbing pant at all!  It blends into the crowd at the coffee shop or pub and looks casual on the rock.  The Solution from La Sportiva are great climbing pants!  They’re comfortable, made from an extremely abrasion resistant cordura fabric and stretch where they need to.  The spectacularly loud design on the inside of the cotton pockets are the cherry on top.  If you think a new pair of climbing pants are the way to go then check out the Solution.  On a side note, the yellow and red color options don’t blend into the crowd in Canada or the US but still perform well in every other aspect.

La Sportiva Solution climbing pantsThe Solution climbing pants from La Sportiva may have a casual look but they haven’t compromised on function. These durable and comfortable pants fit well and stretch where they need to. They’re also available in black or yellow.

5. Edilrid Boa Eco (AKA Parrot) Climbing Rope:

Alight, if none of the other gifts worked for you this next one is sure to be the ticket!  Every climber needs a robust, all-round workhorse type rope that they can abuse at the crag.  Something to use when working a project, top-roping or teaching a friend how to climb.  All these sleek new triple rated, by-patterned, dry certified, sub 9mm lightweight ropes on the market are great.  However, they’re also quite specialized and not really designed for cragging.  For that type of service the Edilrid Boa Eco (also called the Parrot) is just the ticket.  This affordable and very durable 9.8mm rope is soft and supple when you buy it and stays that way, pitch after pitch after pitch.  No more fighting with a stiff cord-like rope after the first time it gets wet!  As an added bonus this high quality rope is Blue Sign certified and manufactured with yarn left-over from making other ropes.  This gives it a distinctive look and an ecological footprint.  Check out the full review here.

Edelrid Boa Eco Rope
A robust, all-round work horse climbing rope. It has a nice supple feel that sticks around pitch after pitch for the life of the rope. If that’s not enough it’s also an environmentally conscientious choice as it’s Bluesign Certified and made from left-over yarns that would otherwise be thrown out.

Bonus: Smartwool PhD Outdoor Mountaineer Socks:

Well if none of the above gift ideas worked for you this last one should!  A pair of technical socks are always a great gift and these particular socks really stand out.  Developed with the help of Conrad Anker, a Smartwool athlete and bad-ass alpinist, the PhD Outdoor Mountaineer sock has been designed specifically for climbers.  Special nylon reinforced wool called Indestructiwool™ has been used in high wear areas such as the heel and toes to increase the life of the sock.  There’s padding along the achilles tendon to prevent blisters.  A bi-elastic fit system has been used to ensure the socks don’t bunch or slip.  A mesh like fabric over the top of the foot to increases breath-ability… and the list goes on.  But what it really comes down to is how they fit and feel and these socks feel great.  Oh, and they have an anchor on the front!

Smartwool Mountaineer Socks
A pair of socks always make a good Christmas gift. But Smartwool’s new Mountaineer socks are designed specifically for climbers by a climber, Conrad Anker, and make a great gift!

Well that’s all the bigger ticket gift ideas I have for you this year.   If you didn’t find anything that works for you or you’re just interested in some other, less expensive ideas check out Part 2: Stocking stuffers.

Much of the gear in this article was provided for review but this of course did not influence us in any way.  A special thanks to Climb On Squamish for the feature image and for the other photos.