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 Rock Climbing Equipment for Kids


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Rock Climbing Details Benefits of Rock Climbing for Kids  

Rock Climbing Equipment

Rock 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.
  • Ventilation: 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.
  • Certification: 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.
  • Weight:  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.


Harnesses are 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.



Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes, manufactured by 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

Carbiners are 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 when climbing.


Renting Equipment

Most 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.