How To Buy a Chalk Bag

As ubiq­ui­tous as rock shoes, chalk bags are not just a method of car­ry­ing chalk, but a state­ment of per­son­al style. They are avail­able in so many col­ors, fab­rics, and tex­tures that it’s pos­si­ble to get vir­tu­al­ly any style you want, whether it’s recy­cled GI Joe sheets from the 80s or gold lamé. Gen­er­al­ly chalk bags get lit­tle wear and tear, so as long as they have a good lin­er and a stiff, rein­forced upper rim, the out­er fab­ric can be almost any­thing. But to say they’re style over sub­stance is miss­ing the point of some real­ly good engi­neer­ing. This guide on how to choose the best chalk bag will help you nar­row down the myr­i­ad choices.

Sizes: Chalk bags are most com­mon­ly avail­able in three basic sizes. Stan­dard bags, which you wear on your waist, account for two of those sizes. The first of this set is big enough to put your hand in com­plete­ly while the oth­er is designed to accom­mo­date only half of your hand. The lat­ter is more pop­u­lar among sport climbers, espe­cial­ly in Europe. The third size, which is usu­al­ly referred to as a chalk buck­et, will fit both of your hands com­plete­ly, and is designed to sit on the ground while you’re bouldering.

Clo­sure: When pur­chas­ing a chalk bag online, it’s impor­tant to make sure to ensure the bag has a good clo­sure sys­tem. If the bag does­n’t close up to an extreme­ly tight seal then you’ll end up with chalk all over your gear.

Stor­age: Some chalk bags, and almost all chalk buck­ets, will have a small loop for stor­ing a brush (often a tooth­brush) for clean­ing off holds, and a small Vel­cro or zip­per pouch for keys and sun­dries. This is not an absolute­ly nec­es­sary fea­ture, but can be very use­ful if you don’t have any pockets.

Attach­ment: Chalk bags are either attached by a cara­bin­er to your har­ness, or using a waist belt with a buck­le or cord. The ben­e­fit of using a waist belt is that you can boul­der wear­ing your chalk bag with­out hav­ing to wear a har­ness, and it often­times allows you to put the chalk bag in a place on your back that is eas­i­er to access.