Climbing is and exciting and exhilarating sport. While knowing your equipment inside and out is extremely important, knowing what clothes to wear is almost as equally important. The type of clothes you’ll need depends on the type of climb you’ll be doing and the climate of your location.
Base layer pants or briefs and undershirts proved thermal protection for cold climbs and allow for easy movement. It’s important to have your first layer of clothing close to the skin to allow perspiration to evaporate and keep air circulating.
Choosing the right shirt for your climb is also important. It’s essential to keep your wrists, elbows and shoulders free to do critical work with your equipment and only in extreme cold weather is warming the arms important. You’ll need a shirt that allows for room in the shoulders so your upper body movement is not hindered.
The type of pants or shorts you wear is more of a matter of preference and depends on the climate. Most climbers prefer to wear to shorts on less challenging climbs in warm locations. Shorts should stretch without clinging to your body and should be durable so they can stand up to grazes with the terrain.
Pants are used in colder locations and need to be stretchy and durable as well, especially in the knees. They should be lightweight and made out of material that will deflect UV rays to prevent sunburn. In extreme cold it’s important to have pants that are well insulated and waterproof (but still lightweight).
If you’re climbing in a warm weather area, consider wearing a vest. These are popular with climbers as they keep any chill off your torso and allow free movement of your arms. They also have pockets for stowing equipment and snacks.
Jackets are an important piece of clothing especially in cool to extreme cold climbing locations. Light windbreakers are perfect for cool weather; they keep the chill off and provide protection from sunburn. Extreme cold weather jackets should be lightweight yet insulated and allow for easy movement. Remember that a warm weather location can turn cold after the sun goes down.
Helmets are more of a piece of gear than a piece of clothing but they are many times neglected by climbers. They will save you from major injury if you fall a short distance or there are rock slides from above. A helmet also provides sun protection for your head.
Clothing can be as important as the equipment you bring on your climb. Plan wisely and take all climate factors into consideration.