Rock Climbing Outfit

Rock Climbing Outfit: What To Wear For Outdoor Rock Climbing

The thrill and exhilaration of rock climbing are best enjoyed by dotting all ‘i’s’ and crossing all ‘t’s’.

This is particularly true as minor errors in equipment setting or warming up procedures can turn what would have been an incredible climbing expedition to a disaster.

Which sometimes could leave climbers with injuries, lasting for months. One fundamental aspect of dotting all “i’s” and crossing all “t’s” in a rock climbing outfit is to be mindful of what is to be worn when climbing.

Attention given to what a climber wears during a climbing expedition is vital, as the climber’s safety much depends on it. This is particularly true for outdoor rock climbing.

With multiple risks from weather conditions and loose rocks, a climber’s clothing, helmet, and footwear can serve as protection, especially when climbing terrains notorious for rapidly changing weather.

Unlike an indoor rock climbing outfit, outdoor rock climbing outfit changes depending on the weather and the rocky terrain.

Rock Climbing Outfit

We would review the appropriate clothing, footwear, and other gears in a detailed manner a climber should adorn during a climber expedition.

Note: This article is focused on outdoor rock climbing. See what to wear for indoor rock climbing for information regarding clothing, footwear, and more.

1. Climbing Clothing

Picking your climbing clothing for outdoor climbing should depend on the weather of the rock formation location.

Climbing in an area with intense sunlight, such as the desert, requires ultraviolet protection while climbing in an area prone to rainfall requires lightweight clothing.

In regions with chilling weather, a jacket will be appropriate. Highlighted below are factors that should be considered when choosing to clothe for outdoor climbing.

I. Mobility

For the sake of stretching, which is an essential feature of multiple rock climbing techniques, it’s recommended a climber adorns clothing that is slim fit.

Slim fit clothing such as leggings provides easy movement, without the risk of entanglement with clips, gears, or bolts.

 II. Breathability

Climbing outdoors can be very exhausting, especially when climbing under the sun’s intense heat. To prevent inconvenience from sweat drips, wearing breathable clothing is essential. 

III. Durability

Every rock climbing outfit/gear, from equipment, clothing to footwear, has to be in top quality.

Regarding clothing, the quality is essential, as unnecessary clothing, tear or rips can inconvenience and lead to entanglement with clips and bolts.

Leading manufacturer of quality climbing clothing includes La Sportiva, Black Diamond. Tank tops and leggings used for gym sessions are also appropriate.

IV. Lightweight

An essential feature of climbing clothing is its ability to dry out sweats quickly.

V. Comfort

The last thing climbers should be worried about when climbing should be inconvenient climbing clothing. This can be disastrous, as it can distracting. Whatever clothing climbers pick, it should be comfortable.

Climbing clothing for different weather

I. Humid Condition

When climbing in locations with humid conditions, such as the various climbing routes on Cat ba Island, Vietnam, climbing can be challenging as climbers struggle with ventilation.

Appropriate clothing for climbing in such locations is breathable clothing such as sleeveless shirts (men) and bra tops (women) as they give room airflow. To ensure sweat quickly dries out, lightweight clothing is recommended.

II. Cold Condition

Ideally, climbers aren’t keen on climbing under cold conditions, but confident climbers, mostly adventure seekers, still undertake the incredible challenge.

When climbing under cold conditions, body warmth is of great concern. Aside from that, climbers have to protect themselves from chilling winds.

Wick base-layers are ideal under such conditions. Wind resistant jackets, such as a Down jacket, can be very comfortable.

Down jackets with zips are recommended. When climbing under cold conditions, it’s not uncommon for an unexpected storm to come showering.

In light of this, climbers climbing in cold conditions can adorn themselves with waterproof pants and raincoats to avoid being drenched.

Adidas Outdoor Jacket
Adidas Outdoor Jacket

Adorning Gore-tex Lining clothing will do climbers a lot of good. Gore-tex is highly recommended as it’s both waterproof and breathable.

Ideal for climbing in cold climates or rainy conditions, Gore-tex is lightweight and can be worn in all weather conditions.

The right choice of gore-tex lining clothing that can be worn when climbing outdoors in a cold climate is the Adidas Terrex. It affordable and cost less than $70.

III. Sunny/hot condition

Climbing in conditions where the sun is moderately hot is ideal for every rock climber, but it can become dreadful worth the wrong clothing.

Aside from being dreadful, the side effect of climbing in the sun with inappropriate clothing can be discouraging to climbers.

Climbing in hot conditions requires clothes that are wick, to comfortable dry sweat, lightweight and breathable, to promote airflow.

Long sleeves and short sleeve tops, racerbacks, and shorts may be ideal, but you’ll probably wish you went with something else when the uneven tan lines come

It’s recommended that climbers wear clothing that keeps tan lines in. Women can adorn spaghetti straps tank tops, while men can put on sleeveless shirts.

Sunburns can also be a significant source of discomfort, so sleeveless tops may have to be replaced with long sleeves.

Also, athletic swimwear can be used for clothing for rock climbing outfits. This is an excellent option as they keep the uneven tan lines as thin as possible.

2. Helmet

Petzl Boreo Helmet/Rock Climbing Outfit

When climbing outdoors, a helmet should be among the things a climber has to wear. A helmet can be life-saving, especially in routes with loose socks.

In long-distance rock falls, helmet prevents climbers from sustaining head injuries, which can be life-threatening.

3. Goggles

Outdoor Rock Climbing Goggle
Outdoor Goggle

Based on the climbing route, a climber can adorn goggles. Goggles protect climber eyes from falling small rocks and debris. It can be very uncomfortable climbing with tiny rock particles in the eyes.

Goggles are recommended to avoid falling glaciers of small size in areas with glaciers, causing a lot of inconvenience to a climber’s eyesight.

4. Climbing shoes

Butora Endeavor/Rock Climbing Outfit
Climbing Shoe

Climbing shoes are one of the most critical wears for outdoor climbing. The choice of climbing shoes largely depends on the climbing route and the climber’s skills.

When picking climbing shoes, stability, comfort, and grip should be a climber’s primary concern. Climbing shoes should be used for climbing only and not hiking.

Climbers would have to bring along a shoe for hiking to the climbing spot. Beginner climbers should note that climbing shoes are worn without socks. 


Whatever you choose to wear, it should fit well with the climbing route weather and ensure it’s comfortable.

Please let us know your thoughts on our rock climbing outfit in the comments section below.

See 10 Best Rock Climbing Safety Tips & Advice5 Probable Rock Climbing Risks, and 10 Eye-Opening Benefits Of Rock Climbing.