What to Wear for a Rock Climbing Date?

A rock climbing date is a fun way to get to know someone while also getting some exercise and trying something new. However, if you’ve never been rock climbing before, it can be hard to know exactly what to wear. The last thing you want to do is look silly in front of your date or not be able to enjoy climbing because you aren’t properly equipped.

So, what should you wear on a rock climbing date? Wear athletic clothes that fit relatively close to your body, but that are stretchy and/or loose enough that you can still move freely. Dress appropriately for the climate – most climbing gyms don’t have amazing heat/AC systems so dress accordingly, and definitely bring plenty of layers and sunscreen if you’ll be climbing outside.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the most important dos and don’ts of what to wear for a rock climbing date. Let’s dive in!

Clothing Dos and Don’ts for Rock Climbing Dates

Of course, you should wear whatever you are most comfortable in for a rock climbing date. However, here are some pro tips as far as what types of things will work best for the activity:

Clothing Dos and Don’ts for Rock Climbing Dates

Do Wear Pants That Hit Below Your Knee

You’ll probably hit your knees on the wall at least a few times while climbing, and wearing long pants will help protect your skin from scrapes and scratches. Also, if you are sport climbing (i.e. wearing a harness), you will be much more comfortable with long pants as opposed to shorts, which can get scrunched up in a harness. The same thing applies for boxers, so you might want to opt for tighter fitting boxer briefs to avoid any awkward bunching.

Do Wear Pants That Hit Below Your Knee

You’ll also be high in the air with your legs splayed wide at times, so definitely don’t wear a skirt or loose-fitting/very short shorts that could potentially lead to a flashing situation.

Do Wear Relatively Tight Clothing That Stretches

Since you’ll be moving around a lot, you’ll want clothes that fit fairly close to your body so they aren’t dragging or getting caught or tangled. Leggings or workout tights are a great option, or slim-fitting sweatpants. However, opt for something that stretches, since you’ll be contorting into all sorts of interesting positions on the wall. So, tight jeans aren’t a good idea. And, stay away from shirts that are super baggy, have extra-long sleeves, and so forth. Basically, wear what you would wear to do yoga or go for a jog.

Do Tie Back Long Hair

You don’t want to be futzing with your hair while you are mid-climb, so be sure to tie back long hair before you get on the wall. Also, if you are belaying your partner, really long hair could potentially get caught in the belay device, which would be very unfortunate for both you and your climbing partner. Go for a ponytail or a bun to avoid any kind of hair-related mishaps.

Do Tie Back Long Hair

Do Wear Seasonally Appropriate Layers

Climbing gyms are essentially large warehouses, so it can be difficult to heat and cool them effectively. So, if you are going on a date to a climbing gym in Chicago in the winter, plan for it to be chilly even indoors. Of course, you’ll probably work up a sweat climbing, but bring a layer so you stay warm between climbs.

If you’ll be going climbing outdoors, bring plenty of layers. Outdoor climbing adventures are usually all-day affairs, and the weather can change fast in mountainous areas where crags typically are. Bring sunscreen, a jacket, a hat, sunglasses, and any other seasonally appropriate layers or accessories that you might need.

Don’t Wear Expensive or Precious Clothing

The sport of climbing is rough on clothes, so don’t wear anything that is super expensive, very precious, or hard to clean. In a gym, you’ll be dealing with chalk, sweat, potentially grimy mats, and rubbing up against gritty climbing walls. Outside, you’ll also have rope grime, dust and dirt from the ground and the rocks, sharp and/or gritty rock surfaces, and so forth.

Don’t Wear Rings, Fake Nails, or Heavy Makeup

Rings will get scratched up on climbing holds and they can pinch your fingers uncomfortably, so leave the rings at home – or better yet, leave all your jewelry at home. Earrings are generally fine, but bracelets and necklaces can just get in the way and potentially get caught on things and break.

Long natural nails or fake nails will also make it much more difficult to climb. You’ll be hanging on to small holds, and long nails can get in the way and even potentially be ripped off or broken if you take a fall.

Expect to sweat some and do (or don’t do) your makeup accordingly – as if you were going to a regular gym.

Don’t Wear Socks With Your Climbing Shoes

If you are going outdoor climbing where it will be quite cold, you can opt to wear socks with your climbing shoes. Or, if you are renting shoes and are hesitant to share foot sweat with everyone else who has ever worn the shoes, you can wear socks if it’ll make you feel better. However, it will clearly label you as a new climber in the gym, and it’ll give your climbing shoes a looser fit which gives you less control on the wall. So, as a general rule, socks should not be worn with climbing shoes.

Frequently Asked Question

Is rock climbing good for a date?

It depends on the person you are taking on a date, but it can certainly be a fun date option! If your date is not into physical activity, is scared of heights, or has limited mobility, rock climbing probably isn’t a great option. However, if both you and your date are up for trying something new and getting a workout in, climbing is a good choice.

Can I wear jeans to indoor rock climb?

You can wear jeans, and many skilled climbers prefer to climb in jeans that are specifically made for climbing. These jeans are loose-fitting, stretchy, and heavy duty, so they protect your legs well from the rough surface of the wall. However, unless you have rock-climbing-specific jeans, you will likely be much more comfortable in athletic pants like leggings, slim-fitting sweatpants, hiking pants, or workout tights.

Can I wear shorts indoor rock climbing?

You can also wear shorts, but then your bare legs will be exposed to the rough surface of the wall and you are more likely to get bruises, scrapes, and scratches. Also, shorts are less comfortable with a climbing harness because they can get bunched up unpleasantly. Unless it’s exceptionally hot, you’ll likely be better off wearing athletic pants that hit below your knee.

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