Climb more comfortably by wearing the appropriate pants for the weather. What is the truth? The best rock climbing pants are those that make you feel wonderful. In reality, pioneering climbers in America, such as Yosemite giants Yvon Chouinard and Warren Harding, preferred canvas workman’s pants, thrift shop slacks, and painter’s pants—anything that allowed them to move freely.
However, having the best rock climbing pants to protect your legs from scrapes and bumps can make a significant difference when you’re trying to exceed your limits. There’s also the issue of weather resistance. Hypothermia is a major issue if you’re on a wall for extended durations of bad weather. The best rock climbing pants for wet or snowy areas are made of materials that don’t absorb water or dry quickly. Also, check out the best climbing movies that cruxcrush picked for you!
You won’t find these features in your average pair of jeans or leggings. Rock climbing leggings now include a variety of features that promote comfort and movement on the wall. This guide will go over the following topics to help you choose the finest rock climbing pants for your needs:
- Common materials
- Fit Considerations
Rock climbing pants are made from a range of materials, each with advantages and disadvantages. Many fabrics have two or more parts that work together to give them a wider range of properties.
Cotton, one of the original climbing pants materials, is extremely breathable. The materials made from cotton are not only elastic but also resistant to tearing, particularly when they are woven into denim or canvas. Cotton pants are easy to wash and dry, and they do not retain odors over time. Cotton pants are also quite comfortable to wear.
The main disadvantage of cotton-based pants is that they collect water and dry slowly, leaving you cold in a damp environment. And if you’ve ever seen the knees of your beloved pair of jeans blow out, you’re aware of cotton’s other disadvantage: it’s prone to wear and tear with time.
Nylon is utilized in a wide range of climbing equipment, from ropes to harnesses. It has some flexibility and is very durable, especially when thickly woven. Some disadvantages: Nylon retains water more than cotton but less than polyester and dries slowly. Nylon also tends to soak up body odor and doesn’t let the skin breathe as well as cotton.
Another prevalent element in rock climbing pants is polyester. It’s tough and resistant to abrasion. While it functions similarly to nylon in most circumstances, polyester repels rather than absorbs water. Polyester, like nylon, is prone to stinking after a few washes and is not as breathable as cotton. Because polyester is more easily recycled than nylon, you’ll probably notice several alternatives that contain recycled polyester.
These pants are lightweight, elastic, and abrasion-resistant, making them an excellent choice for tricky terrain in varied weather. Many also include a brushed or fleece liner, making them ideal for winter climbing.
Elastane or Spandex?
Elastane (often known by its brand name Spandex) offers stretch. Elastane is not very durable on its own—consider how quickly leggings shred when they grab onto a sharp rock. On the other hand, elastane is a great addition to a mixed fabric where other parts give it strength and elastane gives it stretch.
Treatment with DWR (Durable Water Repellent)
Many climbing pants are treated with a chemical that repels water. Keep in mind that DWR is most effective when it is new; the coating will begin to fade off after many washes and a little abrasion. Look for “PFC-free” or “short-chain” DWRs whenever possible, as these are less hazardous to the environment.
If you don’t intend to do any wet-weather climbing, you should consider buying pants without any DWR coating at all. A close-up of a pocket on an orange pair of jeans.
Things To Look For
Rock climbing pants are now made with features ranging from ingenious fit modifications to climber-friendly pockets. Here are some things to look out for.
Cinches on the Cuffs
Elastic loops stretch around the hems of each pant leg, cinching around your ankles. They keep the extra fabric from getting in the way of fancy footwork.
A must-have for keeping phones and munchies nearby. Zippers add bulk while keeping objects fastened during acrobatic motions. Avoid back pockets with buttons or snaps that can scrape into your backside on rough chairs.
A Pocket on the Thigh
A long, zippered pocket that runs the length of the leg. should extend below or backward from the zipper so that it can be reached while hanging. (Make sure it fits on your phone.)
Harness Compatible Waist
A harness waistband that is designed to lay flat and sit above the waist belt.
Waistband Cinch Integrated
A waistline that has a built-in cord or belt to keep it in place. Belt loops are a low-profile option.
Crotch with a Gusset.
A fabric swatch in the shape of a triangle, rectangle, or diamond is sewn into the crotch. increases durability and mobility.
The knees are sewn on a curved line to give the pants a natural bend. increases durability and allows pants to flow more naturally during high steps.
Sew extra fabric over the knees, buttocks, or hems. increases wear resistance in high-wear areas
A cloth or elastic loop is used to hold a tiny bouldering brush, generally around the flank.
Considerations For Rock Climbing Pants Fit
Rock climbing is one of the few activities that require you to use your legs in their complete range of motion. Fit is essential. If your pants are too tight, you may find yourself restricted in the middle of a high-step maneuver. If they are too loose, they may bunch up under your harness or make it difficult to see your feet.
How to Determine If They Fit
- Climbing pants should be slim but not restrictive. They should provide adequate protection from the rock and elements while remaining light enough to allow easy movement. If you wish to climb in chilly weather while wearing baselayers, you need to make sure that there is an adequate area underneath for thin leggings made of synthetic or wool material.
- The waistline should be as low-profile as possible. The waistline should ideally sit above where your harness normally rests (otherwise you could end up with hip chafing). The waistline should be comfortable and not dig into your sides.
- If you’re tall, you might want a longer inseam so your pants don’t rise over your ankles when you’re hanging in a harness. If you are shorter, you should look for pants that have a shorter inseam.
Climbing Pants Fitting Guide
Standing in a locker room is a poor substitute for climbing. Try out these moves before purchasing a pair of rock climbing pants:
- The broad stem: Step your legs as far apart as you can in both the front-to-back and side-to-side directions. If your jeans stop you from moving as far as you can, they may be too tight or not flexible enough.
- The high step entails standing on one leg and raising your knee as high as possible. If your pants are too tight at that bend or you’re afraid of popping the crotch seam, you may need a gusseted crotch or additional knee articulation.
- The stationary jog entails running in place for one minute. If your jeans begin to fall down your hips, they may be too big. Make sure your jeans are up to the challenges you’ll throw at them.
Rock climbing pants are made from a range of materials, each with advantages and disadvantages. Hypothermia is a major issue if you’re on a wall for extended durations of bad weather. The best rock climbing pants for wet or snowy areas are made of materials that don’t absorb water or dry quickly.
Polyester is more easily recycled than nylon. Elastane (often known by its brand name Spandex) offers stretch. Softshell pants are lightweight, elastic, and abrasion-resistant. DWR (Durable Water Repellent) is most effective when it is new. Climbing pants should be slim but not restrictive. They should provide adequate protection from the elements while remaining light enough to allow easy movement.
If your pants are too tight, you may find yourself restricted in the middle of a high-step maneuver. Rock climbing is one of the few activities that require you to use your legs in their complete range of motion. If you wish to climb when the weather is chilly, you should make sure that your climbing harness has an adequate area underneath for thin leggings made of wool or synthetic material. The waistline should be as low-profile as possible. If your jeans stop you from moving as far as you can, they may be too tight or not flexible enough.