The Best Rock Climbing Rack and Gear List

Justin Lawrence on the Pitch 3 arete.
Article By:
Chris McNamara
Founder and Editor-in-Chief

Last Updated:
June 5, 2017

Below is our choice for Ultimate Rock Climbing Rack. We feel this is the most versatile rack that will perform the best in the most number of locations. That said, every climbing area is different and we would tweak this rack a little here and there. You can see variations on this rack here on

Best High Sierra Climbing Rack
Best Yosemite Climbing Rack
Best Yosemite Big Wall Climbing Rack

We list top choice first followed sometimes by the Best Buy (BB) choice> For example, the La Sportiva TC Pro is our top Yosemite shoe choice but costs $170. The La Sportiva Tarantula is our Best Buy winner at only $90 and will get the job done.

This rack has almost everything you may need for a multi-pitch trad climb. Depending on the climb you are going to do and your experience you can pick and choose what you need. Climbing Rack For a typical rack for a big wall climb, check out a typical

Climbing Gear

Nuts: Cams: Ropes: 1 60m x 9.5mm and one 60m x 8mm for double rope rappels
Quickdraws: 7 Wild Country Helium Quickdraws, Black Diamond FreeWire Quickdraw, or CAMP Nano 22 Quickdraw to go ultralight
Carabiners: 20 extra Wild Country Helium or Mad Rock Ultra-Light Straight (BB) or CAMP Nano 22 to go ultralight
Locking Carabiners: 3 Petzl Attache or Black Diamond Rocklock (BB)
Slings: 10 Mammut Contact Sling 8.0 and a few 9/16" runners in case you need to leave them at rappels
Cordelette: 8mm Dyneema/Spectra CordKatadyn Micropur
Harness: Black Diamond Chaos or Black Diamond Momentum
Belay Device: Petzl Reverso 4
Climbing Shoes: La Sportiva Skwama or La Sportiva Tarantula (BB)
Helmet: Petzl Meteor helmet or Petzl Elios
Metolius Adjustable Gear Sling
Nut Tool: Wild Country Pro Key

Non Climbing Gear

Approach Shoes: Five Ten Guide Tennie
Headlamp: Black Diamond Spot
Rain Jacket: Marmot PreCip
Poles: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork (optional)
Climbing Pack: Black Diamond Bullet or REI Co-Op Flash 18 (BB)

Car Camping Gear

Tent: REI Kingdom 6 or REI Half Dome 2 (BB)
Synthetic Sleeping Bag: Mountain Hardwear Hyperlamina Spark 35
Sleeping Pad: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm or Therm-A-Rest Z Lite (BB)
Stove: MSR Pocket Rocket 2

Chris McNamara at Big Sur  2008
Chris McNamara
About the Author
Chris is the founder of OutdoorGearLab and serves as Editor-in-Chief. Climbing Magazine once computed that three percent of Chris McNamara’s life on earth has been spent on the face of El Capitan—an accomplishment that has left friends and family pondering Chris’ sanity. He’s climbed El Capitan over 70 times and holds nine big wall speed climbing records. In 1998 Chris did the first Girdle Traverse of El Capitan, an epic 75-pitch route that begs the question, “Why?” Outside Magazine has called Chris one of “the world’s finest aid climbers.” He’s the winner of the 1999 Bates Award from the American Alpine Club and founder of the American Safe Climbing Association, a nonprofit group that has replaced over 14,000 dangerous anchor bolts. Chris is also the founder and lead author of the rock climbing guidebooks publisher, SuperTopo. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter or He also has two Lake Tahoe Vacation Rentals here and here.

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