Use the Best Chalk: Which Type of Rock Climbing Chalk Is Right for You?

Use the Best Chalk: Which Type of Rock Climbing Chalk Is Right for You?



Rock climbing is a fun hobby, but it’s also dangerous. One false move could mean the difference between getting to the summit or plummeting to your death. One of the most important tools of a rock climber is the powder used to keep their hands dry.

There are several types of chalk rock climbers can use, but the best chalk depends on your situation. We’ll discuss the various types of chalk available and the situations where they’re the best option.

Don’t get caught on the side of a mountain with the wrong type of chalk. Choose the best one for your situation.

Powdered Chalk Is the Best Chalk Overall

Perhaps the most common chalk used is the standard powdered chalk created from magnesium carbonate. There are solid blocks available that you can buy and then crush for your chalk bag. You can also buy it already crushed and ready to use.

Blocks of chalk were used in the early days of rock climbing but now are replaced by the more common powdered variety. Powdered chalk can be straight magnesium carbonate or specially formulated with drying agents.

Powdered chalk is often more expensive than other varieties, but when added to your chalk bag, you won’t find a better option for outdoor rock climbing.

Use Chalk Balls for Training

While powdered chalk is best, chalk balls can be used for indoor rock-climbing training. Indoor rock-climbing businesses often outlaw powdered chalk because of its tendency to fall out of chalk bags. It lingers in the air and makes a tremendous mess at the indoor facilities.

Instead, they do allow chalk balls. They’re small sacks filled with chalk and sewn shut. The bags are porous, so they allow chalk to leave, but not fall out and dirty the air or ground.

The biggest problem with chalk balls is it can be difficult to get a complete coating. It’s not an issue at indoor facilities because the climbs are short. It can be an issue if used for outdoor rocking climbing.

Chalk balls are great for training because you get the feeling of powdered chalk but at an indoor facility.

Liquid Chalk for Indoor Climbing

Indoor climbing facilities aren’t fans of powdered chalks, so liquid chalk was created just for them. You squirt the liquid chalk on your hands and let it dry. What’s left is a fine coating of chalk; it’s put on before climbing.

There’s little white dust and it lasts longer than standard chalk. The biggest downside for using liquid chalk outdoors is the drying time. You’ll have to wait until it dries before continuing.

Indoor facilities are short climbs and one application may be enough.

Choose Your Chalk Wisely

When it comes to the best chalk, it’s all about the situation. Powdered chalk is the best choice for outdoor climbing because it’s easy to administer and you don’t have to wait. You can use chalk balls either indoor or outdoor but be careful of coverage.

Need a chalk bag? Then check out our bags and buckets now.