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Climbing Buying Guide

Few sports offer the physical and mental challenges of climbing. Finding quality climbing equipment can sometimes be just as challenging. The value, selection, and convenience of buying climbing equipment on eBay Canada can make it a climber's best friend.

Identify Your Needs: Types of Climbing

Identify Your Needs: Types of Climbing

Before you begin shopping, it’s helpful to have an overview of the different types of climbing. The climbing environment will largely determine what equipment you’ll need. Here’s a rundown of climbing types and the necessary gear.

Indoor climbing

If you’re thinking of taking up climbing, indoor climbing is a great way to get started. You’ll scale artificial climbing walls in a controlled environment, which will help you focus on your climbing technique. For more seasoned climbers, indoor climbing facilities offer a close and convenient place to maintain and improve their skills.

Most indoor climbing gyms provide the necessary hardware (harnesses, belay devices, and so on) and rent equipment, such as helmets and climbing shoes. Of course, if you’re a frequent climber, you may want to purchase and bring your own equipment.

Bouldering (boulder climbing)

An increasingly popular climbing option, bouldering consists of climbing on small boulders and rocks without the use of a rope. This is another good choice for beginners, because boulders aren’t that far off the ground.

One reason for the popularity of bouldering is that it requires minimal equipment. When you head out to the rocks, don’t forget climbing shoes, climbing holds, chalk and chalk bag, a crash pad (or bouldering mat), and a climbing helmet.

Sport climbing

Like bouldering, sport climbing is among the fastest growing segments of climbing. Climbers make use of anchors and bolts that have been permanently embedded in the rock. Basic sport climbing equipment includes climbing shoes, climbing rope, a climbing harness, a rope bag, chalk and chalk bag, and a climbing helmet.

Traditional climbing

This is where ropes and more equipment come into play, allowing you to scale larger formations (crags, peaks, etc.). In traditional climbing, climbers use removable protection devices as they climb—that is, they insert devices into cracks and crevices and use rope to ascend higher and higher.

When you go on a traditional climb, the list of equipment starts to include some more advanced gear. You’ll need climbing shoes, climbing rope, a climbing harness, protection devices such as cams and nuts, carabiners, belay devices, a climbing helmet, and a climbing bag.

Ice climbing

For the truly adventuresome, ice climbing involves scaling ice formations, such as frozen waterfalls and glaciers.

Of all the climbing categories, ice climbing requires the most specialized equipment, including: mountaineering boots or ice climbing boots (Scarpa, La Sportiva, and Koflach are among the established brands), ice crampons, climbing rope (specifically dry rope, which is treated with a water-repellant coating), warm winter clothing, ice climbing tools and climbing axes, ice pitons, ice screws, a climbing harness, carabiners, belay devices, a climbing helmet, and a climbing bag.

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Get Climbing Essentials

Get Climbing Essentials

Like any other sport, specialized climbing equipment and climbing apparel are extremely important. Prominent climbing brands that you’ll encounter while shopping include Black Diamond, Petzl, and Metolius.

  • Climbing bags: You’ll need a climbing bag to carry all your equipment. Chalk bags hold rock climbing chalk, which is frequently used by both rock and indoor climbers. They’re usually clipped onto a harness for easy access.

  • Belay devices: A belay device controls a rope’s movement. Used for ascending and descending, it acts as a brake by applying friction.

  • Cams: You insert spring loading camming devices (or cams) into the cracks or pockets of a rock. A cam, such as the Black Diamond Camalot or Alien CCH, actually consists of two, three, or four cams, which are mounted on an axle. Once this protection device is inserted, you pull the axle; the cams are then spread farther apart and lock into place.

  • Carabiners: Rope runs through these metal loops that have spring-loaded gates. Carabiners are connectors: they attach rope to a fixed anchor, such as a cam or nut. Quickdraws consist of two carabiners connected by a short loop of webbing.

  • Climbing holds: Climbing holds attach directly to a climbing surface, providing a better grip.

  • Climbing apparel: Climbing apparel options run the gamut from shorts with pockets designed specially for climbing gear to an array of shirts, pants, gloves, and sunglasses.

  • Climbing footwear: Climbing shoes (from companies like Scarpa, Five Ten, and La Sportiva) are a must for any type of climbing. The stiff rubber soles on climbing shoes offer the support and traction you’ll need.

  • Harnesses: This is what links you to your climbing rope. Harnesses fit around your waist and legs, offering support and safety. Black Diamond and Petzl both manufacture harnesses of different sizes and shapes.

  • Helmets: Don’t overlook the importance of a helmet. Helmets offer protection not only if you fall but from falling objects as well.

  • Nuts: Another protection device that you insert into the cracks of a rock, nuts consist of small metal wedges that are threaded on a wire.

  • Climbing rope: Available in different lengths, strengths, and diameters, climbing rope generally comes in two types: single rope or double rope (also called half rope). You can also purchase rappelling rope, rope bags, cords, and slings.

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Size Your Climbing Harness and Shoes

Size Your Climbing Harness and Shoes

Harnesses and climbing shoes rank as two of the most important pieces of climbing equipment you’ll buy. They need to be sized properly to ensure that your climbing experience is not only comfortable but also safe and secure.

Harness your climbing potential

A climbing harness should adhere to the shape of your body. Accordingly, they come in different sizes (extra small, small, medium, large, extra large) and are suited for specific body types.

When it comes to sizing, the two most important considerations are the fit of the waist belt and the fit of the leg loops. The waist belt should sit right above your hip bones. It should be snug enough that it can’t be pulled down over your hips. Likewise, leg loops need to fit snugly.

Exact sizes will depend on the manufacturer (different brands will fit differently), but a medium Black Diamond harness, for example, has a waist size of 30 to 33 inches, and a thigh size of 21 to 23 inches.

If you are a woman, you’ll want to purchase a women’s climbing harness, which is designed specifically for a woman’s body. Children’s climbing harnesses are also available. If you’re interested in a harness for ice climbing, be sure that you choose a harness that will fit you when wearing heavy winter clothing.

In addition, special climbing harnesses are made for specific climbing activities, including: multipurpose, alpine, and big wall.

Climbing shoes

Climbing shoes and climbing slippers do more than protect your feet—they also serve as a valuable climbing aid, allowing you to better secure your feet on a rock’s surface and ensure maximum precision and sensitivity.

Like your climbing harness, shoes should fit well. A snug fit is conducive to better and more precise footwork as you climb. Just make sure that a shoe doesn’t fit too tightly—you don’t want to be in pain!

Your climbing shoe size and your street shoe size won’t necessarily be the same. Shoe companies use different measurement standards (U.S., U.K., European). It’s best to familiarize yourself with a brand that you like, and then get to know that company’s sizing system.

A word about stretching: unlined leather climbing shoes will stretch about a half an inch with wear, while lined leather and synthetic shoes will remain closer to the size at purchase.

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Find Climbing Equipment on eBay

Find Climbing Equipment on eBay

Once you know what type of climbing gear you need, go to the Sporting Goods portal, click Climbing, and start searching for items on eBay.

  • Categories: The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links for Carabiners, Other Hardware, Climbing Holds, Footwear, Harnesses, Ropes, Cords & Slings, and more. As you dig deeper into the site, you'll also be able to narrow down your choice by brand.

  • Keyword search: Search eBay title listings for specific words. For example, if you want to find climbing rope, type "climbing rope" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try shopping eBay Stores, tell the eBay Community what you want by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a match becomes available.

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Buy Climbing Gear with Confidence

Buy Climbing Gear with Confidence

Before making your purchase, make sure you know exactly what you're buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your purchase

Carefully read the details in item listings.

  • Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.

  • If you want more information, ask by clicking the "Ask seller a question" link under the seller's profile.

  • Always make sure to complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay protection programs.

  • Never pay for your eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so you feel positive and secure about every transaction.

  • What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have?

  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?

  • Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies. Do they offer a money-back guarantee? What are the terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the unlikely event that a problem arises during your transaction, eBay and PayPal are there for you.

  • Pay safely with PayPal: PayPal enables you to pay without the seller ever seeing your bank account or credit card numbers. In fact, PayPal protects buyers 100% against unauthorized payments from their accounts. Plus, with PayPal Buyer Protection, your purchase can be covered up to C$1,250.

  • eBay Security & Resolution Centre: Visit the Security & Resolution Centre to learn how to protect your account and use eBay's quick and efficient resolution tools.

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