Monday, October 26, 2009

How to Pack Climbing Gear

By lmarie eHow Contributing Writer

We have all seen it: a disaster of disorganized gear at the local climbing crag. Everybody knows the guy who is struggling to untangle his rope and his shiny new equipment. It is obvious that he doesn't have a clue what he is doing. Don't be that guy. Taking a little time to pack your rock climbing equipment efficiently every time you move it will help keep you organized and lower the frustration level for you and your buddies.
  • Step 1

    Place items that you don't expect to use but need to have along just in case--like extra layers--in the bottom of the pack. Don't put your first aid kit there. Always keep it and other emergency supplies in a side or front pocket where they offer easy access.

  • Step 2

    Gather slings of similar length together and secure the entire bundle by tying a loose overhand knot in it. Coil webbing into small bundles, and wrap daisy chains into small bundles. Put all of this in one or two stuff sacks and place in the bottom of your pack.

  • Step 3

    Organize your trad climbing gear on carabiners, just like you would for a climb, then layer it carefully into the bottom of the pack. Every climber has their own favorite system for organizing gear. If you're just starting out, organize similar items together (all your cams on one carabiner, all your hexes on another, and so on). If you have too many of one item to fit them all on one carabiner, use one carabiner for smaller sizes of that item and another one for larger sizes.

  • Step 4

    Connect any loose carabiners together. You'll probably want to group similar 'biners together--large lockers will all get clipped together and small wire gates will get clipped together.

  • Step 5

    Clip your quick draws together either in a single end-to-end chain or clip one end of each draw into a large carabiner. Place them in the pack on top of your trad gear.

  • Step 6

    Place the items you'll use during every time in the pack next--climbing harness, belay device, personal anchor if you carry one, climbing shoes and water bottle.

  • Step 7

    Stuff the coiled climbing rope into your pack. You might also drape the coil across the top of the pack and secure the top flap or pocket of the pack on top of it. This holds the coil securely in place but takes up less space since it sticks out to either side instead of fitting entirely into the pack.

  • Step 8 Add your helmet in on top of the rope. You can clip your helmet to the outside of the pack by its chin strap if necessary, but this tends to make for an awkward approach to the climbs and may snag on trees or rocks.

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