Different types of chalk for climbing and how to choose the best chalk bag

Chalk is used in all the different types of climbing. It is a versatile multipurpose carbonate rock that is used in many other sports as well. However, chalk is favorite amongst gymnasts and climbers alike.

Chalk is used in various sports because it absorbs moisture which helps an athlete eliminate sweat. In rock climbing, chalk is applied to the palm and the fingers to avoid sweat. It increases the grip of the climber allowing for a better experience and more comfortable climbing.

It is an essential substance to carry irrespective of the climbing surface used while scaling indoor rocks or outdoors.

While choosing chalk solely depends on the preferences of the climber, one should carefully choose the best chalk bags for their needs. The chalk is the same for all types of climbing, but the bag you carry depends on the purpose.

Here are some common types of chalk and how to choose a chalk bag.

Common types of chalk

The quality of the chalk mainly depends on its purity, as often there are other agents added to its pure natural form to aid quick absorption. However, enthusiasts still prefer the feel of pure chalk on their hands.

1. Block Chalk

As the name suggests, it is a block of pure chalk. People prefer buying blocks as they can grind the chalk to their preferred consistency. It is relatively more expensive chalk, and it requires additional effort to grind it.

2. Loose chalk

This kind of chalk is already ground for use. Loose chalk bags consist of a mixing agent along with pure chalk. The ratio of mixing depends on the pricing. These chalks are convenient and are available in a variety of grinds to choose from.

3. Eco chalk

In some outdoor climbing sites, chalk is banned as it leaves residual prints on the rocks, which visually pollutes the rock. Eco chalk is a colorless substance with the same moisture-absorbing properties as chalk but does not leave a white impression on  the rock. These chalks are often permitted into gyms or climbing sites where regular chalk is not allowed.

4. Liquid chalk

It is a blend of alcohol and chalk that a climber can rub on their hands. The alcohol content dries off quickly, leaving the chalk behind. Using liquid chalk eliminates chalk dust, and it does not leave a mark on the surface, unlike regular chalk.

How to choose a chalk bag

Chalk bags allow a climber to instantly access and apply chalk to their hands. Unless you are using liquid chalk, chalk bags are essential. Using chalk bags allows for a thicker application of chalk onto the climber’s hands and forearms. There are  different bags available that vary in size, shape, and features. Choosing the best chalk bags depends on your purpose and personal preferences.

1. Bag size

Consider the amount of chalk you carry to determine the bag size. If you are a weight-wary climber, consider opting for a smaller bag. A small bag enables easy movements. Whereas, if you climb on long routes and need to apply more chalks, a larger-sized sack would be the best.

2. Bag shape

Generally, bags come in two shapes; cylindrical and tapered. Cylindrical bags allow for more storage but may not be an ideal choice if the climb requires complex technical movements. However, tapered bags often come in a flat shape that hangs flush like a flat fanny pack.

3. Bag features

Features like a rigged rim bag that stays open or a fleece-lined bag that eliminates chalk dust from blowing in the wind make the bag more practical.

As a climber, assess your needs before choosing chalk and the chalk bag. The equipment you
need depends on your purpose.

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