Rock Climbing Equipment
climbing involves a great deal of highly specialized equipment and kids
will need suitable gear to keep them safe. It is important to use rock
climbing gear specifically designed for children which includes safety
harnesses, helmets, and climbing shoes. These items can be rented
initially and then purchased a little at a time if your child is really
interested in the sport.
As with many other
sports it is very important to protect you child's head when rock
climbing. The helmet is designed to protect
your child from falling debris or blows to the head from a fall.
Often in an indoor
environment helmets are not required.
The things to consider when
purchasing a helmet are: fit, ventilation, certification and weight.
- Fit: Most
of the helmets are adjustable which makes it fairly easy to get a
proper fit. It should fit snugly on your child's head before
you buckle the chin strap. Once it is strapped securely, the
front and rear straps should from a "Y" at your child's ears, and
there should be no slack in the straps.
The amount of ventilation required in the helmet is related to the
type of rock climbing that you do. If you are always climbing
in warm weather than you may need more ventilation in your helmet.
If you climb where there is the possibility of falling debris then
you want more coverage and less ventilation.
As with all sports helmets you need to make sure your rock climbing
helmet conforms to the standards of and is approved by one of the
following organizations: ASTM (American Society for Testing and
Materials), CE (Community European) or UIAA (Union Internationale
des Associations d'Alpinisme) standards.
The weight of a helmet can vary from about 10 ounces to 17
ounces. You need to select a helmet based on your needs.
If you do long climbs where you need to carry a lot of gear than
helmet weight becomes an important issue and you would want
something more lightweight.
attached to a rope and are used to protect the climber from
falling. It is important to make sure the harness fits
comfortably yet tightly on your child's body. Climbing
companies make waist harnesses for older kids and full-body
harnesses for small climbers, usually under 8. They do sell
adjustable harness that will grow with your child
and it is
something to consider if your child has enough interest in the
sport. This may be more cost effective than renting. If you do
decided to purchase a harness the padded styles are more
comfortable than the nylon webbed models. It is important that
you consult a professional regarding the right harness for your
child's weight and size. Approximate Cost: Full Body
Harness $50 - $60, Waist Harness $35 -$45.
Five Ten, Madrock and La Sportiva, are an essential piece of equipment
for your child. These shoes have sticky rubber soles to make
scaling walls easier. The fit of the shoe is very important;
rock climbing shoes should feel tight but comfortable. The
usual rule is a half size smaller that their normal shoe size.
If they can slip them off without untying them then they are
not tight enough. The tight fit is necessary to prevent the
foot from sliding around however it allows little room for
growth. Therefore , as they are growing you will need to
replace them often so consider renting the shoes at the gym or
purchase them used. Average cost of climbing shoes range
from $40 - $50.
Rock Climbing Carbiners and Belay Devices
used to hook important pieces of equipment like a belaying
device or chalkbag onto the harness. For safety a locking
carbiner is a good purchase.
Rock climbers put
chalk on their hands to get a better grip on the rock. The
chalk is held in a zippered bag and climbers clip it on their
rock climbing harness. You can buy chalk in a powder form or a
ball of chalk. They can then dip their hands into it as needed
indoor rock climbing gyms typically rent climbing equipment which
includes harnesses, shoes, chalk bags, belay devices/carabiners and
helmets. Make sure you check in advance with the gym to make sure it
has rental equipment appropriate for children.