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To Rent or To Buy – Climbing Gear Rental

Getting a good set of climbing gear is essential for every aspiring climber. However, it’s not always clear whether you should rent or buy your gear. For 2020, let us take a very close look at whether it is better to rent or to buy climbing gear.

Rope, shoes and gear | Rent Climbing Gear

1. Is Rental expensive

To start things off, cost is a major factor when it comes to acquiring climbing gear. It’s true that buying a good set of climbing gear can be expensive. In particular, if you are starting from scratch, you’ll need to buy everything at once. If cost is an issue, you might consider renting climbing gear. At the same time, rentals can become expensive if done over a long period of time. The truth is, renting gear month after month isn’t realistic in the long run either. 

Rock climbing gear carabiner - Climbing Gear Rental

You’ll have to make a decision based on your finances and commitment. Rest assured that no matter which direction you choose, there are options that won’t break your wallet.

Explore some reviews of cheap climbing shoes.

2. Length of use

Length of use is another crucial factor. If you need climbing gear for multiple seasons, you’re probably better off buying it. Some rental places won’t even let you rent for an extended period of time. They are rightfully trying to keep their gear intact, and if you’re holding onto it for a long duration, things can get uneasy. However, if you only intended to climb once or twice, a rental could be perfect for you. 

You’re well within the company’s deadlines, and you’ll save a lot of money in the process. Before making a decision, think about your climbing plans and how they might develop over the next couple of months. Will you be climbing with friends? Does the weather permit climbing? The answers to these questions will impact how you acquire your gear.

3. Gear Quality

The quality of your gear is always on your mind as well. If you want pristine gear that has never been touched before, clearly you should buy your own climbing gear.

My Very First Set of Rock Climbing Gear - To Rent or To Buy Climbing Gear

You can browse the aisles at a store and choose state of the art gear with all the latest tech. Nothing can stop you from climbing the highest peaks and ascending to the top. On the other hand, if you don’t mind used gear, rentals should be a priority. You’re hardly sacrificing any quality, but you can save so much money each time you go rent. In addition, these types of gear are just as safe if not safer. Rental shops perform all sorts of safety checks on their equipment to ensure that nothing bad happens to their clients. When you rent a piece of equipment, you can rest assured that it meets all safety standards that are in place.

4. Legit Rental Shops

Whether you are renting or buying 1st hand or 2nd hand, it’s important to know the brand of gear or the climbing shop you are renting from is quality. Like most business credibility nowadays, google reviews are a great way to check the validity of a shop and if the products they sell are quality. Make sure to spend some time looking through the reviews to see what people are saying about the shop.

There are some gear to rent that we need not be as strict as others ( eg. A climbing knife or climbing chalk bag), but all else, better to be mindful of the quality and safety as these can be a matter of life or death.

Chamonix Mont Blanc rock climbing gyms France
Your rock climbing equipment will ensure a safe and fun experience at the climbing gyms.

When looking into rentals, there are many options to choose from when sourcing your gear. As many may have already found out, your local climbing gym or Outdoor Adventure Shop will often carry many rental options for indoor, outdoor, and winter climbing. There are also several websites you can check on for rentals to see if they have gear available locally; such as Climbing Rentals and Outdoor Skills and Thrills. Many of these websites partner with climbing shops so they can operate through brick-and-mortar small businesses.

There are also pretty basic climbing gear options available for rent at your local sporting goods chain, such as Dick’s or Cabela’s. Check out this list to see what local shops there are in your region to rent from.

5. Brands to rent

As far as brands go, getting educated on the biggest climbing brands out there is important. Arc’teryx and Black Diamond are two of the bigger companies; Black Diamond makes lots of different climbing gear such as helmets, clips, belay devices, and even climbing shoes. With ropes, you’ll need to make sure you have dynamic and static ropes, both for climbing and rappelling. If you’re unsure about the brand, take a look at the climbing gear reviews, or you may even be able to find valuable info on the climbing subreddits. The internet is your friend!

Cez belaying Lydia in Solius while I ascend my first rock climbing route
Cez belaying me in Solius while I ascend my first rock climbing route

6. Climbing location

If you normally rent gear, you might want to reconsider this depending on where you will be climbing. If you are traveling to a destination far away, it’s unknown whether your rental equipment will be effective on that terrain. If this mountain is situated in a remote location, there might not be any rental places nearby. You would have to rent from your normal supplier, but the terrain could be completely foreign to you. Here, it’s probably best to purchase gear that is specifically designed for these climbs. 

The U.S. has endless quality bouldering.
The U.S. has endless quality bouldering.

On the other hand, a familiar climbing location goes well with rented gear. In fact, although you might have equipment of your own, a rental shop at the base of the mountain might have gear that is perfect for tackling this climb. In addition, you’ll be able to talk to rental associates for tips for your journey. There’s no harm in stopping by the shop and seeing what they have to offer.

7. Type of Gear

The type of gear influences whether you should buy or rent it. For example, dynamic rope is a great piece of equipment to rent. Dynamic rope is distinctly different from regular rope, and you generally can’t purchase it at a hardware store.

belaying your climbing buddy safely from the bottom
Belaying your climbing buddy safely from the bottom

When you rent dynamic rope, it has already been customized by the rental company. It is of the perfect length and tightness, so you don’t have to modify it in any shape or form. On the other hand, if you were to buy rope from a climbing store, you would have to cut it into appropriate pieces. On the other hand, you might want to head to a store to find the right shoes. While rental places have many shoes, it’s possible that none of them are a perfect match.

 Even if you do find one that works, it’s not guaranteed that you can get your hands on the same pair the next time you visit. Instead, you should head to a shoe shop, which will ensure that you find the right shoes for your feet. Everyone has a unique pair of feet that needs special care.

Always wear your shoes last before you start your climb

8. Climbing experience

Last but not least, your climbing experience is another part of the equation. If you’ve never climbed before, it’s in your best interest to use a rental. You might find that climbing just isn’t for you, and in this case, you won’t be stuck with loads of gear that you have no use for. In addition, as a beginner, browsing all the aisles at a climbing store can be daunting. Even if you ask an associate for help, there is simply so much to choose from at once. At a rental location, you’ll be able to talk to a professional for guidance. 

While this isn’t a comprehensive climbing lesson, this sort of advice can be incredibly valuable to get you off the ground. On the other hand, experienced climbers probably want to buy their own gear. Perhaps you are transitioning to a different type of climbing. Because you have a background in this sport, many skills and techniques will come naturally. You know what sort of gear is best for your body. You will likely be climbing for many years to come, so don’t be afraid to purchase high quality gear as an investment.

This year, when all is said and done, there are many factors that affect whether it is better to rent or to buy climbing gear. There are advantages of both, and you ultimately want a quality set of climbing gear for your next adventure. Consider a couple of these factors and make your next purchase right for you!

Lydia Yang

Lydia Yang

Lydia Yang is a Singaporean city girl who decided to ditch her high heels for hiking boots and become a full-time traveller and digital nomad. She has been to almost 60 countries to date! She has a knack for adventure travel, especially rock climbing, and always hunts down the best climbing spots around the world. Check out her expert advice on the best outdoor crags to climb at or what workouts to improve your climbing performance.

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