Ok, so you climb. Easy peasy, you know what’s what. But for those of you out there who don’t climb but regularly wave goodbye to your partner, friend or kid as they head off to the wall, spending more time there than they do at home… You might not know your Evolvs from your Sportivas. Which is why we are here to help, to make sure any climbing gifts given this Christmas are gratefully received and actually used.
So without much further ado, check out our gift guide for Christmas this year.
Just in case Father Christmas needs some suggestions, or you are looking for a smaller gift for a friend, a few things they will thank you for are skin care, tape and thera bands (resistance bands).
Skin care – well it doesn’t smell as nice as the stuff you find in Lush, but thanks to the combination of excessive chalk use and grabbing onto abrasive holds all day long, climbers are notorious for having ‘bad’ skin. Too much moisturiser softens those prized calluses – but the Climb On skin balm is perfect for sorting out the dry patches without overly softening the tough bits.
Tape – Not the most glamourous of presents, but so useful. Climbers love to tape their fingers to support those overused tendons, to hide a dreadful flapper (don’t ask) and to try and pretend they haven’t really worn through every layer of skin on their latest project.
Thera bands – Brilliant for warming up both at the wall and the crag, small, light and portable and also useful for rehabbing any niggling injuries. What’s not to like?
The bits you won’t have heard of
Climbing sounds like another language at times but we’ve got you – from bizarre brand names to outlandish products, there are some other things climbers will worship you for buying them.
Shoe care – Boot Bananas or Smell Wells. No they won’t be offended that you are effectively calling them stinky. Both these products are brilliant at sorting out the most heinous of odorous shoes. And if you’ve ever shared a lift with a climber after a session, you’ll know exactly why these are needed.
Metolius chalk – You might know chalk balls, but by the time your mate has been bouldering a while, they will have graduated onto bags of loose chalk. And if they are anything like the regulars we get at Chimera, they will go through the stuff like there’s no tomorrow. A bag of this magical white powder (steady) is always well received.
If you are looking for a bigger present for the climber in your life, a word of advice. Avoid shoes. It might seem ideal but unless they know the exact brand and size, you will have a nightmare. And no, just because they wear 7.5 sportivas, does not mean they’ll fit a 7.5 in another brand. Honestly, it’s a wind up – but luckily there are plenty of other options.
That being said, if they wear the same shoe and just want another pair, go for it. Climbers tend to be loyal to one shoe once they find their soul mate, and cry far more than they’d like to admit if it is eventually discontinued.
Hoodies – Climbers have a winter uniform. It consists of trousers (normally covered in chalk), a beanie and a hoodie. Topped off with a down jacket, and normally with a coffee in hand in a desperate attempt to wake up. So hoodies are a great gift, as long as you don’t mind that it will only be washed in three months’ time when spring finally arrives.
Guide books – See, climbers can be intellectual. And literate. Watch a book get devoured, and defaced. Yep, sorry to say, climbers scribble all over books, marking the routes they want to try, ticking things they might have already done. Guidebooks might seem expensive in the age of amazon discounts, but they take years and years to write and so much work goes into them, and a climber will keep it forever, using it as part book, part bible, part diary.
Lessons or entries – See, we’ve waited until the end to get super self-promotion savvy. No, but seriously, a monthly entry is a great present for a climber, guaranteeing them four weeks of new routes, training facilities and laughs with their mates. As for lessons, every climber can benefit no matter how experienced. The very best climbers in the world all have coaches who work with them to perfect their technique, iron out any weaknesses and just help to keep sessions fresh with new ideas.
Strapped for cash?
We know the feeling! But there are always things you can give the climber in your life that doesn’t cost a penny. Your time, to keep them company at the crag or the wall, cheering them on as they climb. Homemade snacks always go down a treat, especially if they are laced with protein powder – as a group, we are fairly obsessed with lean muscle.
But mostly, if you can show some enthusiasm and support, then you’ll be giving any climber a really good reason to be happy, no matter how their session has gone.