Welcome to Black Sheep Adventure Sports’ annual gift guide for climbers of all styles and creeds.
This is the fifth annual Black Sheep Adventure Sports Gift Guide for Climbers! And as always, we’ve found a bunch of great gear that the climber in your life is sure love. This year we start off with some kit for ice climbers before moving on to more rock and gym climbing equipment and clothing before wrapping up with some outdoor camping equipment.
1. Petzl DART Crampons
Petzl released the all-new DART crampons this fall, replacing the old DART and DARTWIN. This fantastic new ice climbing weapon is versatile and performance driven. The new DART blends design features from the old DART & DARTWIN crampons along with the LYNX into a lightweight package that climbs exceptionally well. And, as the design expands on Petzl’s modular crampon system, it’s easy to upgrade to the new DART from other Petzl crampons. This means that if the climber in your life already has a pair of Petzl crampons all you need is the new front section! A gift that any ice or mixed climber is sure to appreciate.
2. CAMP Ice Climbing Gloves
CAMP makes some of the best ice and mixed climbing gloves on the market, including my personal favorite: the Geko Hot. And, as I’m sure you know, avid climbers are always wearing through gloves making them a great present! The current CAMP ice climbing glove line-up includes:
- Geko Ice Pro: Lightly insulated, performance focused for harder routes or warmer days.
- Geko Ice: Insulated, faux fur lined leather gloves for colder days on the ice.
- Geko Hot: A great balance of insulation and dexterity for an amazing all-round climbing glove.
If you’re not sure which pair to get I’d recommend the Geko Ice. I absolutely love my pair! They have enough insulation to keep my hands warm but not so much as to impact performance or inhibit dexterity. The Goldilocks of ice climbing gloves.
3. Petzl Meteor Helmet
Helmets can take a beating and often end up with small cracks that significantly reduce their effectiveness when needed most, especially those of the super lightweight variety. Alternatively, heavier shell style helmets will last forever but become outdated as advancements in design and technology allow for improvements in safety. So if either these issues sounds familiar then a new helmet might make a great gift and the new and improved Petzl Meteor is just the ticket. It’s very comfortable to wear, reasonably lightweight and has been redesigned for improved safety. This includes the addition of side, front and rear impact protection as well as the standard top protection for falling rocks. Because, as we all know, helmets should protect us when we fall as well as when stuff falls on us. Not the lightest helmet on the market but a great all-round performer that’s comfortable to wear making it a fantastic gift idea.
4. Mammut Alnasca Harness
This ultra-light climbing harness from Mammut is comfortable, durable and breaths well. A great harness for cragging or gym climbing, it comes in both male and female versions. It’s also well featured for a sub-300g harness with 4 gear loops, a comfortable split-webbing design, breathable mesh fabric and Mammut’s plastic tie-in loop protector. It also has a small loop at the back designed to attach the Alnasca chalk bag. As we’re coming into the winter, gym-climbing season a lightweight and functional new gym harness makes a great gift and the Alnasca is a great option!
5. DMM Dragonfly Cams
DMM released the highly anticipated new Dragonfly Micro Cams this summer. As the name suggests they’re generally smaller than the DMM Dragon Cams falling into a similar range as the Fixe Aliens or Metolius Master Cams. And, as one would expect from DMM, they’re impeccably built with a clean and smooth action. The narrow head and compact trigger make these new cams ideal for small pockets, pin scars and thin cracks. The new line includes 6 cams that range in size from the purple #6 (similar in size to a Grey 0.4 BD) down to the smallest certified cam on the market, a green #1. If you have a trad climber on your Christmas list then a few of these cams might just be the ticket. Don’t forget to grab a few color-matching carabiners though, maybe throw them in their stocking as a teaser.
6. Edelweiss Performance 9.2mm Rope
A sexy, thin new climbing rope is always a great gift and the Edelweiss Performance 9.2mm is exactly that and more. It’s sleek, thin and supple making it a pleasure to climb and belay but this triple rated rope has a little extra something hiding under the hood. Using the same Unicore technology that Beal employs on their high-end ropes, Edelweiss has bonded the core of the rope to the sheath. This drastically improves the ropes’ resistance to failure by cutting, a huge safety advancement that seems to have gone under the radar for some reason. But don’t take my word for it, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtURlhPssQI. The Performance 9.2 comes in a dry treated version for alpine and ice climbing and a non-dry version for rock. A gift that any climber I know would just love to see under the Christmas tree!
7. Foehn Brise Climbing Pants
Foehn is a newer clothing company that specialises in climbing apparel that blends fashion with function. Clothing that can be worn to the crag and the pub with equal ease. Their Brise rock climbing pant is one such item. It features stretch nylon fabric that’s treated with DWR to repel moisture and dirt, has gusseted knees and crotch for ease of movement and a thigh pocket that’s designed to sit below the leg loop of a climbing harness. On the flip side, the pants also have all the standard hand and rear pockets and a casual looking cut. They come in a spectrum of colors but I think the more subdued, black or navy options are ideal for a more casual look in a technical pant. A solid gift idea if you’re staying away from hard goods in favor of some new threads.
8. Outdoor Research Vigor Hybrid Hoody
Designed as an active insulation layer for cold-weather pursuits, the Vigor Hybrid Hooded Jacket pairs OR’s proprietary VerticalX Air™ insulation along the front with a stretchy polyester/spandex grid fleece on the back, sleeves and hood. The result is a soft, comfortable and versatile mid-layer that breathes exceptionally well, manages moisture and works great with a backpack. There’s definitely no need for extra insulation along the back when wearing a pack, right! Anyway, it’s a great layer for any activity that requires periods of high output in cold weather. Think snowshoeing, ski touring, alpine climbing and ice climbing. The Vigor Hybrid comes in both Men’s and Women’s versions and a variety of colors. Really solid active insulation layers, like the Vigor Hybrid, aren’t easy to come by which makes it a great gift for an outdoor enthusiast.
9. Big Agnes Onyx Tarp Carbon
Not just ultra-light, crazy-light! This Dyneema tarp from Big Agnes is amazingly compact, functional and durable for such a light fabric. Almost see-though, it’s constructed from a thin layer of Dyneema making it waterproof and highly resistant to tearing. And, unlike most tarps, it comes fully featured with an Easton carbon fiber pole, guy lines for tying it down and even a small Dyneema patch kit. A great gift for almost any avid outdoors person but especially for alpine climbers and mountaineers who are always playing the weight game in an arena where having an emergency shelter can be a life saver! Definitely the coolest and most high-tech tarp on the market and a worthy gift.
10. GSI Outdoors Stove
Getting away from fast-and-light, let’s look at a car camping essential: a solid stove. I often see people trying to use their lightweight, backpacking kit or an old white gas Coleman when car camping. I much prefer the ease and simplicity of a modern, 2 burner propane stove like GSI Outdoors’ Selkirk Camp Stove. Available in two different models, it’s designed for car camping with an efficient and compact design that easy to pack up again for the road. The built in piezo igniter eliminates the need to hunt for a lighter or matches while the efficient burners can blast heat or simmer with equal ease. No having one hot burner and one cool burner! The stove is also quiet, allowing the cook to engage in camp conversation.
Of course the down-side to this type of propane stove is the waste produced by the non-refillable canisters. But don’t worry, there’s a solution for that! Just pick up an adapter hose and a 5 or 10lb refillable propane tank to go with the stove under the tree! A 5 pounder will likely last for a month of breakfast and dinners and is cheap to refill. A great add-on to this gift.
Bonus Item: EyeSend Belay Glasses from PitchSix
While I typically wrap-up these articles with a photo of a flask and a good single malt scotch, I’ve decided to break with tradition and include some cool new belay glasses instead. These glasses, dubbed the EyeSend, are unique and quite innovative in a category of equipment that seems almost cookie cutter by comparison. Designed by a startup called PitchSix they actually allow the belayer to change the view angle! This means that regardless of how steep or slabby a crag is you can easily adjust the glasses to obtain a comfortable belay stance. They also work well at adjusting the viewing angle as a climber ascends a route to keep your head at a comfortable angle. Very cool and definitely worth checking out! Alas, they’re not yet available in stores but can be found on Kickstarter where they’re taking preorders as of November! A great gift for any avid climber.
Well that’s a wrap on our Climbers’ Gift Guide for 2019. If you haven’t already be sure to check out our stocking stuffers article for some ideas on smaller, less expensive gifts. Otherwise, everyone here at Black Sheep Adventure Sports would like to wish you all the best over the holiday season!