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Climbing Chalks - Reviews & Guides For 2020

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Climbing Chalk Buyers Guide

Buying climbing chalk might sound like a breeze, but it is actually a storm full of considerations. You might think that 'it's just a chalk.' However, did you think about its ingredients and quality? What if it doesn't work out fine?

Maybe you need budget-friendly climbing chalk so that you don't have to worry about expenses. Perhaps you want to tweak up your performance with optimum safety. Climbing chalk might seem insignificant, but it makes a significant difference.

Nothing in today's world is simple, and the same applies to climbing chalks. There are many factors from the texture, quality, and composition to the form and bag it comes in—all of this helps provide you the best climbing experience.

Should you buy chalk if you're into climbing activities? Is it necessary to use climbing chalk? What if you want to participate in other sports or activities? Would climbing chalk help there? You will answer all the questions like these and a complete buyer's guide to help you get the best chalk from the market.

What is climbing chalk? How is it different?

By definition, chalk is a white and porous substance that feels soft and comes from sedimentary rocks. It was one of the forms of limestone with mineral calcite. However, over the years, the definition of chalk turned into a flexible term.

Today it is used for any substance that feels soft with porous qualities. There are different types of chalk you will see in the market. The chalk you use in the classroom is different from calcium carbonate. It's gypsum. Similarly, climbing chalks are primarily magnesium carbonate.

It provides you with dry hands that enable you to have a better grip on things. Hence, many professional athletes and acrobats use climbing chalks before performing. It allows them to have a better grip and prevent slippage. The chalk absorbs excessive moisture and keeps the hands dry. That might seem a little insignificant, but it can make a massive impact.

Climbing chalks are prominent in various acrobats, gymnastics, and mountain climbing requirements. You will find it frequently used and provided in gyms more than the natural terrains. However, modern climbers are using these chalks in the real world for climbing as well.

In simple words, climbing chalk is an especially provided substance that helps you get a better grip on any surface while performing a physical talk. It is different from other conventional chalks you find in the market as it comprises primarily magnesium carbonate.

Reasons to use a climbing chalk

You might be wondering if it's worth getting through all this to learn how to buy climbing chalk. If you've read this far, it means that you're serious. You already acknowledge and understand the benefits you can get from using climbing chalks. However, to help you with more clarity regarding a decision, here are some of the fundamental reasons to consider buying climbing chalk:

If you sweat profusely

Many people sweat more than others, even with the minimum physical task. It has nothing to do with your fitness level. Your body just adapted like it and preferred this method. However, it can lead to specific problems when performing.

If you swear profusely, chances are, you will most likely run your hands through your skin. It might be face to wipe off that sweat or your forearms. This will lead to unwanted lubrication on your hands. Hence, it will make the grip slippery, and you will have a more challenging time maintaining the position.

This can lead to failure in performing optimally. You have to focus much more on gripping, and if your grip is supporting your entire body weight, the task is next to impossible. Thus, it will create a decline in performance or even accidents. This is where using climbing chalk could help you.

Even if you wipe some sweat or come in contact with the skin, many premium-grade chalks have remarkable efficacy and moisture absorption quality. Hence, you won't have to worry about wet hands.

Dry your hands faster

Apart from keeping your hands free of sweat, climbing chalk helps by drying your hand faster. If you have wet or moist hands due for any reason, you can quickly apply the climbing chalk. It will absorb the moisture and get you ready for the task at hand. Thus, you won't have to wait too long for your hands to get dry.

It ultimately saves a lot of time. Now imagine that you're climbing, and you decide to reach out for a towel to wipe your forehead or face due to sweat. The towel is most likely moisture-ridden. As such, it will end up providing heat and moisture to your hand.

But now you have climbing chalk that you can apply immediately and return to climbing without any delays. Viola! You're good to go, and now you're performing better than before!

Extra aid for grip

Dry hands mean that you can have a better grip without any fear of slipping. Whether it's a rubber base or rugged rocks that you're climbing, you won't have a problem with the grip. It will all break down to your strength. External factors like sweat and moisture will not impact you.

Some climbing chalks offer a peculiar texture for your hands. It can inevitably boost your gripping capacity. If you can find the right climbing chalk with the perfect consistency for your hand, you will find a boost in the gripping power and drastically reduce the chances of slipping. The best part? It's not against the rules either!

Keep track of your climbs.

Some competitive climbers like to keep track of their performance. By using climbing chalks that are colored, you will have an easier time keeping track of the path. You might want to analyze your climbing pattern and see if you can tweak it. Thus, it becomes paramount for any dedicated individual into competitive climbing to use the right climbing chalk.

As you keep track of your climbs, it would also enable others to check your performance. You can make the necessary tweaks and understand your strengths and weaknesses better. After all, there aren't many gadgets designed to help you improve your 'climbing' other than stopwatch timers. If you don't know what's wrong with your route, how will you do better, right?

In areas with moisture

Let's say you don't sweat much, nor do you need any boost in gripping strength. However, if you're in areas with excessive moisture or humidity, you will be inclined to use climbing chalk. There are many climbing regions where even the rocks and path would be moist and slippery. To prevent accidents there, the chalk on your hand will play a vital role.

That's right! The chalk isn't just for your hands, but it ensures that external factors like the texture of your climbing route and equipment won't pose any problems. Frequently, in competitions, rock climbing, mountain climbing, or other equipment for gymnasts gets washed by the chalk to maintain optimum dryness.

Factors to consider when buying a climbing chalk

So, you can probably see several benefits of using climbing chalk. If you didn't know before, now you have some tips on using climbing chalk and where to use them. Now, let's get down to the real deal, the aspects, factors, and things to consider when you buy climbing chalk.

These are all simplified to bring you precise information without any jibber-jabber. Efforts were made in an explanation to keep it simple but effective to read. Hopefully, you will find this useful. So let's begin:

Type of chalk

The primary consideration you have to make is determining the type of chalk you would like to use. There is a variety of climbing chalks available in the market. Here's a quick overview of each one of the available types:

Loose chalk

Loose or soft chalk is available in a powder form to help you immediately apply it. This is the best method to apply chalk quickly. However, it makes storage a little tricky. You can't keep them in bags as it will eventually dust the chalk through the cloth's fiber. It would be best if you had a solid container.

Different ranges in their texture might offer you a finely grounded chalk or something a little grainy and blocking. Thus, you can choose them according to your preference. However, as most people directly dip their hands in loose chalk, it can often lead to excessive waste. It is also one of the cheapest options available.

Block chalk

Chalk block is similar to loose chalk but in a block form. Thus, it can conserve the excessive waste of chalk and doesn't lose chalk as quickly, either. Many climbers who like to personalize their 'grind' for the chalk prefer to use block chalk. You can choose the texture and the level of grounding for these chalks.

Some people also prefer to rub the block of chalks directly on their hands. Of course, it is the cheapest form of chalk, and you have the flexibility to experiment with it better.

Liquid chalk

Loose and block chalk is most common, but there's another one quickly acquiring popularity, the liquid chalk. Many people don't prefer the cloud of chalk that releases as they apply block or loose chalk. Often, there are particles released in the air that could trigger sneeze or cause irritation.

People who want consistency in their chalk application utilize liquid chalk. It is a very efficient method and reduces the wastage of chalk. Liquid chalk comes with an alcohol solution. As you apply it to your hands, the alcohol will dry away, leaving the chalk finely distributed across your hands. Thus, it is a great way to thoroughly cover your hands without any extra liquid chalk collection in any region.

As you're using an alcohol solution, it further eliminates moisture and provides sanitization for your hands. If you consider the post-covid world, this might become a more popular choice for athletes worldwide.

Eco chalk

Last on the list is eco chalk. Now they are a little more costly as these require a different method of production. Eco chalks are for eco-friendly people who want to preserve the environment and natural appeal of the locations. If you're climbing in a natural area, eco chalk would be a better choice.

It doesn't leave any pollutants to damage the environment. More importantly, eco chalk is less irritating and harmful for you, as well. For people who are allergic to the standard climbing chalks, this might be a good alternative. If you are prone to skin irritation, then this would reduce those chances, as well.

Extra qualities of the chalk

Of course, almost everything in this world has space for improvement. The same applies to climbing chalks. Nowadays, you will find chalks with a little tweak or innovation. Once you determine the type of chalk you want, you might want to consider these different qualities.

Color of the chalk

It might seem insignificant, but using different colors might help you keep track of your path better. Upon completing your climbing path, you can return to check and analyze your route and see how well you performed. Many people who want to keep track of their trails use colored chalks.

While performing stunts, athletes or gymnasts also prefer colored chalks to keep track of the areas they already used. Some people do it for aesthetic purposes. Others want the color to blend with nature.

Let's say you're climbing an actual mountain with brown rocks. You might want to use a similar color for the chalk to blend in. It prevents people from affecting the 'scenery' which many people don't admire.

Drying agents

Some chalks come with an extra drying agent that could be useful in areas with excessive humidity. If you're a person who has sweaty palms, this could be an excellent choice. Some people even call these supercharged chalks as they pin your sweat glands temporarily and prevent sweat build-up.

Thus, it can increase your chalk's duration (efficacy) as you won't have to use the chalk frequently. It's another brilliant quality you can look for.

Essential oils

Some people are prone to skin irritations or reactions from the climbing chalks. Now, using oils might sound almost unfair in chalks. However, it doesn’t hinder the quality of the chalk. Instead, the essential oils work like a very slight layer to prevent your hands from getting too dry or developing other problems.

The quantity is seamless, and for some, too dry hands might make it slippery if there are grains. A little presence of essential oil could help reinforce your grip. This is not the same as sweat or water. It is to maintain your hands ‘natural’ dryness, not get too dry or too humid for climbing.

Anti-bacterial

The presence of essential oils could help with anti-bacterial and other anti-microbial properties. Similarly, if you use liquid alcohol, it would provide apt qualities, too. However, some people prefer anti-bacterial agents added separately. It wouldn’t impact your performance but certainly provide these anti-bacterial properties.

If you’re sensitive to external elements or might develop fungal or yeast infection, you might want to consider these properties. Even a little precaution can lead to making a significant difference.

Some important aspects to consider

You are most-likely ready if you consider the above-given factors. Below are some other aspects many people fail to acknowledge or consider. These are kind of like tips that can help you find better chalk for use.

Texture and consistency

Many climbers prefer various types of texture. Some want it to be smooth and soft. Others like the grainy or clunky texture chalk provide. You might want to check the surface of the chalk. The consistency aspect has more to do with how evenly the chalk spreads on your hands.

Sometimes, the chalk might group or clunk in a single location and require you to remove it by using a piece of cloth of something else. So consistency is vital to check.

Ingredients

If you’re allergic, then ingredients become paramount to consider. It also determines the purity of the chalks. Toxicity and other elements are related to the quality of ingredients, as well. If you frequently partake in climbing, then you have to get high-grade components.

Instead of calcium carbonate, it’s better to get magnesium carbonate for your chalks.

Fiction and absorption

How well does the chalk absorb the moisture and sweat? That’s important. There are two things to consider here: How easily would your chalk get wet, and how much water can it retain. It will correlate to the fiction.

However, you can’t get too dry hands as it could also make the surface of your hand too smooth to establish a hold optimally. Thus, you need something that balances and keeps your dryness according to your ‘normal.’

Efficacy and time

For extended climbing routes, you would have to apply the chalk repeatedly. Using it just at the start of your trail wouldn’t be enough. Thus, you’d have to carry a small pouch or bag with you. For this, you might have to consider how long the chalk will last.

How long would it take to wipe off, and how resistant is it to external factors? This can also help you save a lot on the chalk expenses by preserving it.

Ease of use

This has more to do with the shape and the type of chalk there is. There are different shapes like ball and bag type chalks available in the market. These are great to preserve chalk and use them while you’re climbing and whatnot.

If you are in the middle of climbing and need to reapply the chalk, the ease of use will make a drastic impact. Ease of use also has to do with how well you can maintain the chalk and how long it will last in the storage. It should be easy to remove (wash off) once you’re done with climbing.

Understand your hand and requirements

Different climbing activities require different types of chalks. Some may require long-lasting chalks. So it might be a great idea to consider the requirements you have. For instance, gym or rock climbing would require chalks focused on drying. In comparison, chalks for mountain climbing might require something more long-lasting.

Finally, consider your hands. Are they warm or prone to cold? Can you possibly develop irritation, and do you sweat profusely around the palms? This is important for you to choose the right climbing chalk.

FAQs: Best Climbing Chalks

Q: Is using climbing chalk terrible for health?

A: In small amounts, chalk is not bad for your health, and you can even ingest it without any problem. Many people sometimes taste or eat the chalk. However, consistent exposure and intake of chalk can lead to some health problems. It includes trouble in breathing, developing asthmatic issues, or allergies, and other health problems.

Q: Can climbing chalks expire?

A: Climbing chalks never expire, but they may accumulate some moisture if they're not kept secure. Often, they turn back into tight blocks or chunks of chalk that would require you to break them again.

If you have fine chalk or premium-chalks with better grain quality, you might want to look out and take proper care. Otherwise, you are compromising the quality you initially bought.

Q: Are chalks bad for the environment?

A: Well, magnesium carbonate is a type of pollutant found in the atmosphere. Thus, by using it in the natural areas, you are unnaturally altering its properties. In simple words, yes, you're polluting the environment, and it's harmful.

However, there are many eco-friendly alternatives available nowadays to help you reduce any pollutants or imprint on the environment. You can use these chalks if you want to preserve the environment.

Conclusion

That was certainly a lot to take in! Who knew that choosing the right climbing chalk requires such careful consideration? But now you don't have to worry about anything! You can stroll down the store or the market and get yourself the best climbing chalk without breaking a sweat!

The tips should prove useful, and additional answers to ensure you don't have a misconception about climbing chalks. So go on and get down to your favorite climbing activity or add climbing chalk in your gymnasium for people to use!

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