Chalk bags are used to carry chalk which absorbs the moisture on your hands when you sweat. The sweat can cause you to slip or lose grip on a hand hold. Chalk can get absolutely everywhere, so it’s crucial you have a chalk bag that’s sturdy, well-made, and (if it’s a bucket) has a good base so it’s less likely to tip over resulting in a mess all over the floor.
There are two main type of chalk bags – chalk buckets which are specifically for use when bouldering, and chalk bags which tie around your waist while you climb. These are used by many people when bouldering or lead climbing. Before you carry on with your purchase you should find out which one you’d prefer – a bucket or waist-tied bag. In this article we’ll be covering the two – the pros and cons of each and which will suit your needs better.
Best Chalk Buckets – Top Recommendations
My Top Pick – Psychi Abyss Bouldering Bucket
My top pick is the Psychi Abyss Bouldering Bucket. I am actually amazed at how cheap this bucket is to say how durable, versatile and convenient it is. It can be bought on its own or as a starter kit which is perfect for beginners and includes finger tape, a 100g bag of chalk, a double sided plastic chalk brush and a wooden boar chalk brush.
The base is very wide and padded to keep it stable. There is nothing worse than knocking over your climbing bucket and losing half of your chalk. There’s a handle at the back for ease of transportation and it has a zipped pocket for your valuables. The front can carry any brushes in the looped handle. The bucket has a LOT of storage for brushes, finger tape and anything else you need to store.
The opening is very wide for large hands, but it can be shut tight due to its secure popper-stud closer, making sure for spill-free climbing sessions. The interior material is a soft, fleece lining for a comfortable chalking up experience. This bag is very popular because of it’s value for money. It comes in 5 different colors.
Best Chalk Bags – Top Recommendations
My Top Pick – STATIC Waxed Canvas Chalk Bag
Handmade in California, the STATIC Waxed Canvas Chalk Bag boasts of its canvas top which flows into a protected, soft, non-pilling fleece lining. It’s slightly more expensive than a lot of other chalk bags but there’s a reason for that. STATIC produce the most durable, minimalist and stylish chalk bags.
The outside has a waxed surface which keeps it strong and durable while the interior is a silky, smooth lining. Both the inside and outside can withstand continual use. The soft, fleece lining on the inside absorbs chalk meaning that when you think you’ve run out of chalk there will still be a little bit left.
This bag is slightly taller than most other chalk bags which means you’ll get extra room for chalk. It has been infused with USDA Organic San Diego Lavender for a lovely scent. There are 6 colors to choose from.
Honorable Mention – Arc’teryx C80 Chalk Bag
The Arc’teryx C80 Chalk Bag is actually more versatile than the STATIC Waxed Canvas chalk bag, however I just think the durability and cool features of the latter give it the edge. If you’re not bothered by either of those things then the Arc’teryx C80 is the PERFECT bag for you.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this bag might not be as durable as the STATIC, but it’s still very sturdy. It’s made of Burly™ Double Weave 4-way stretch material to keep it supple yet sturdy. There’s a pocket for your climbing brush, a zipper pocket on the outside for your small items such as finger tape, and it comes with its own waist belt.
The inside of the bag is very supple but nice and soft which makes for a lovely chalk up. The drawcord closure is very competent at keeping the chalk inside your bag as your close it.
A cool feature of this bag is that the belt slider attachment can also be used as a bottle opener so you can celebrate a great climbing send. It comes in 3 different colors.
Do You Need a Bucket or a Waist-Tied Bag?
Let’s talk about the differences between having a chalk bucket or a small chalk bag.
Buckets are usually used purely for bouldering because you’re climbing short routes that generally don’t require more chalk than you cake on your hands just before you start to ascend the problem. Very rarely you may need more chalk, and if you’ve got a climbing partner with you they can pass the bag to you while you’re in a resting position on the wall. Chalk buckets can sit on the floor without falling over and have pockets for your extra tools and accessories such as brushes and finger tape. In my personal experience, buckets spill chalk less and let you apply better without making chalk clouds like a small chalk bag. I prefer chalk buckets if I’m bouldering – I really don’t see the need for a chalk bag in this case.
Waist-tied Chalk Bags
Waist-tied chalk bags are generally used for roped climbing and other problems that are higher than the usual boulder route. This is because you don’t really want to take a big chalk bucket along with you when you’re climbing, and it’s very easy to just tie a lightweight sack around your waist. Some people do use the waist-tied bags for bouldering, and that’s fair enough but it can get in the way and isn’t always ideal when sharing with a partner. The obvious pro to chalk bags is that they can tie around your waist, allowing you to chalk up while resting on the wall. They have small pockets that allow for small tools and accessories. If you rope climb AND boulder then you may want to buy a chalk bag to save on expense. If you can afford both then I would suggest you think about that too.