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An overview of Scandinavian outdoor brands

11. Juli 2018
Buyer's guide

Table of contents

Scandinavia and the outdoors – a match made in heaven. Rodane, Hurrungane, Sarek and Kebnekaise are all music to the ears of outdoor enthusiasts. Scandinavia is home to just about as many outdoor enthusiasts as it has great destinations. Ok, I’m exaggerating, but the message remains the same: Being outdoors is the Scandinavian way of life.

If you’ve never heard this before, allow me to put it into perspective. In Norway, where according to surveys almost 90% of the adult population are outdoor enthusiasts, you can climb jagged peaks high above a fjord and cross plateau glaciers on skis. In Sweden, you can go hiking or dog sledding, and in Finland you can enjoy the sauna and do some crazy winter swimming! Neither snow, rain, cold, wind or darkness can stop you! In Scandinavia, you embrace the great outdoors no matter the weather!

Despite some of the clichés mentioned above, it’s no secret that Scandinavia has a lot to offer when it comes to outdoor activities. In fact, the people of Norway live by a philosophy of getting outdoors and connecting with nature that goes beyond anything the people of Central Europe are familiar with: Friluftsliv is what they call this concept, this way of life. It’s such a big part of their culture that you can even study it at university.

Considering how rough the climate is up north, Scandinavia’s enthusiasm for the outdoors couldn’t just be rooted in the love of some free-time activity. In fact, their connection with nature goes much deeper than that – it has much more to do with the absolute necessity to adapt. After all, who would want to be trapped in their room for six whole months waiting out the winter? The Scandinavians wouldn’t. There’s a reason that old adage “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” comes from Scandinavia of all places. And, the Scandinavians know a thing or two about clothing. In fact, a large number of Scandinavian manufacturers have dedicated themselves not only to making “proper” outdoor apparel of the highest quality but also to supplying outdoorsmen and women with everything else they need to enjoy the stunning landscapes between Denmark and Finland.

In the following, we’re going to try our best to put together an extensive, but certainly incomplete overview of the bigger and smaller outdoor brands of the North, all of which are primarily known for apparel but really know their tents and camping gear as well.

What are the big brands?

Most fans of the outdoors and Scandinavia will probably think of the brand with the red polar fox first: Fjällräven. Even though Norway is usually associated with the wind-whipped mountainous areas known as “fjäll”, the Swedish outdoor brand Fjällräven really lives up to its name, producing clothing that is built to withstand the adverse conditions in both countries. When it comes to their clothing, the Swedes have a very high standard and they rarely fail to deliver. Not only are the opinions of experts a testament to this fact but those of their customers are as well.

Thus, the reputation of their backpacks, tents, sleeping bags and textiles has been impeccable since the 1960s. This is due in large part to their use of extremely tough, functional materials for designs that have never conformed to any fashion trends. That’s not to say that their designs aren’t aesthetically attractive. On the contrary: they boast a clean, distinctive style that is even appealing to those who have nothing to do with the outdoors.

Because Fjällräven gear is so timeless, durable and produced in accordance with strict social and environmental standards, the sustainability of their products speaks for itself.

There’s probably no brand better known outside of the realm of outdoor and mountain sports than this Norwegian label: Helly Hansen Their elegant jackets and bags may be becoming staples in cities around the world, but it wouldn’t be fair to reduce them to a streetwear label. Clothing and accessories from Helly Hansen are made for an unbelievably wide variety of activities, from sailing to skiing to working on oil rigs.

What are the classics?

In Norway, many of the founders of the outdoor companies we’re talking about today were and still are old hands in the outdoor world and dedicated practitioners of the friluftsliv way of life. This is true of Bergans as well, which also happens to have one of those classic founding stories. After going on a hunting trip, the avid hiker and hunter Ole F. Bergan was extremely disappointed in his clothing and thus took it upon himself to create something better. And, that’s exactly what he did. Since the company’s founding in 1908, Bergans has been a complete success. The jackets, trousers and backpacks created by Bergans of Norway have enjoyed great popularity among adopters of the friluftsliv-lifestyle all over the world.

One of the truly classic brands is the Norwegian sleeping bag manufacturer known as Ajungilak. Even though they have been taken over by Mammut, the sleeping bags with the distinctive yellow-and-black logo are still Norwegian at their core and well known for their reliability and durability.

The Swedes have a classic outdoor brand to show for themselves as well, namely Haglöfs. Founded over 100 years ago, Haglöfs has continued to pursue the very same mission they had formulated at the beginning: to protect local hikers on their adventures into the rugged landscape that surrounds them. And, apart from constant improvements to their products and a larger customer base, not much has changed about this mission since the company’s founding. Today, Haglöfs has maintained a strong focus on sustainability whilst creating a variety of products and fit options for their customers.

Keep in mind, this small selection of classic brands is completely subjective and may be modified at any time. The same goes for the insider tips below.

What are some lesser-known brands?

So far, we have only talked about the better-known Scandinavian brands of the outdoor industry. Now, let’s focus our attention on the lesser-known Nordic brands, which arguably have just as much to offer avid outdoorsman and women as those mentioned above.

It’s pretty easy to get lost in the dark and seemingly endless expanse of forestland in Sweden without the right equipment. Fortunately for us, the Swedes have a solution: Silva. The Swedish brand Silva produces exceptionally well-designed equipment for the outdoors, including head torches, compasses and binoculars, all of which are known for excelling in the worst of conditions.

Another high-end brand is the Swedish glove manufacturer Hestra. Hestra develops gloves for a variety of applications ranging from skiing to mountaineering to construction work.

Some may object, but let’s consider Iceland part of Scandinavia for the purposes of this article. That way, we can include 66° North in our list of high-quality Scandinavian brands! As the name already suggests, the brand, which was founded back in 1926, derives its name from the latitudinal line of the Arctic Circle, which, as you may know, is not known for having particularly nice weather!

The Norwegian skier Kari Traa is better known as a former Olympic skier than she is as a skiwear designer or knitter. But, truth be told, she has mastered these skills at a level comparable to her skiing! It’s pretty amazing, and women around the world have come to love the colourful and functional creations from the former gold-medal winner.

Lesser known than the last two, but a legit outdoor brand in their own right is the Swedish backpack and clothing maker Klättermusen. In addition to their sustainability credentials, the brand is known for their durable and brilliantly designed products. Interested?

The following is a list of brands that are not as well known on an international scale, but still make products of the highest quality. We’ve divided them up into groups according to their country of origin.

Norwegian outdoor brands

Within the groups of countries, we’re going to list the brands in alphabetical order. Otherwise, things would just descend into chaos! It may come as a surprise, but there are tons of fantastic Scandinavian outdoor brands that you may have never heard of before.

  • Aclima: Based near Oslo, the family-owned business Aclima is a brand like no other when it comes to environmental sustainability. Plus, they do it without sacrificing style or function.
  • Dale of Norway: If you’re looking for hand-crafted Norwegian jumpers made of 100% Norwegian wool with traditional designs, Dale of Norway is the place to go.
  • Devold: Similar to some of the brands described above, Devold is not only named after its founder but also started out manufacturing functional products for fishermen and others working in the outdoors. Today, the brand is primarily known for its high-quality jumpers and merino underwear.
  • Helsport: Sleeping bags, tents and backpacks have been this 60-year-old family-owned business’s speciality for years. Since their founding, Helsport has invented the tunnel tent, been awarded various prizes for their designs and developed gear for Norwegian expeditions to the Himalaya.
  • Norrøna: Founded in Oslo in 1929, this brand could/should be listed amongst the classics, especially considering the fact that we’ve all seen their memorable logo in one mountain sports magazine or another. And, many of us have probably heard that they were the first European brand to use Gore-Tex. Norrøna takes a back seat to no other when it comes to creating highly technical gear and clothing for alpine-style Scandinavian mountaineering.
  • Sweet Protection: Their speciality? Hardware! Yes, indeed. The Norwegians know their hardware as well. As their name already suggests, Sweet Protection’s protective gear, especially the stuff they create for snowboarding and mountain biking is not only of the highest quality, but will also make you feel safe. Another plus? It’s comfortable too!
  • Ulvang: And here’s yet another Olympic champion from Norway – In 1995, the Norwegian cross-country skier, Vegard Ulvang, brought his very first wool sock to market. Since then, he has expanded his assortment of products and established his brand as one of the leading manufacturers of merino apparel.
  • Viking Footwear: The shoes designed by this small, yet excellent brand are like a ticket to unlimited adventures in the Nordic wilderness. If we were to collect some adjectives to describe Viking Footwear, we’d probably say dry, safe, reliable and suitable for everyday wear.

Swedish outdoor brands

Even though Norway’s neighbour didn’t get quite as many spectacular landscapes, there’s no shortage of manufacturers of high-quality outdoor equipment there.

  • Didriksons Outdoor Fashion: Didriksons’ functional clothing boasts a casual flair and has proven to be quite effective in stormy coastal climates. They make everything from beanies to jackets.
  • Houdini: Named after the great magician who could get himself out of any jam he found himself in, Houdini produces functional clothing crafted to withstand the elements. Just like Houdini on the stage, the clothing from this young Swedish company are guaranteed to amaze.
  • Icebug: This lesser-known shoe manufacturer situated on the west coast of Sweden is all too familiar with muddy, slippery terrain and, as the name suggests, ice. Outdoor shoes from Icebug are built for the slippery winter streets and frozen trails of this world.
  • Ivanhoe: Name after the legendary knight, this family-owned business creates extremely high-quality (merino) wool and cotton apparel and certainly has an eye for distinctive designs. Today, the brand still makes around 80% of its products in Sweden.
  • Lundhags: Making reliable footwear for tough winter excursions has been the focus of the company founded by shoemaker Jonas Lundhag in 1932 since the very beginning. Even today, there are boots still being made according to the shell principle. But now, their product range has expanded to include jackets, trousers and backpacks for demanding adventures. Lundhags has become one of the best known and largest Scandinavian labels – and rightfully so.
  • Pinewood: Scandinavian outdoor clothing has a good reputation, but is not necessarily the cheapest stuff out there. Fortunately, Pinewood, who has been stirring up the functional clothing scene since 1990, shows that Nordic quality doesn’t have to be expensive. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
  • Woolpower: As warm and as comfortable as possible – that’s one way of describing classic Woolpower clothing. The Swedish clothing manufacturer started out with nylon tights until they developed the fabric Ullfrotté Original in collaboration with the Swedish Army. The fabric is made of 70% merino wool and 30% synthetic fibre. The former tights manufacturer is now one of the world’s leading manufacturers of comfortable functional garments.
  • Peak Performance: „Real ski clothes for real skiers“ is this innovative company’s motto. Like their colleagues from Klättermusen, Peak Performance comes from Åre in northern Sweden. The functionality and quality of Peak Performance textiles makes their garments incredibly versatile but also allows the brand to focus on creating apparel for individual sports as well.

  • Primus: This Swedish company has a long tradition of engineering outdoor cooking equipment and has had the privilege of outfitting adventurers such as Roald Amundsen and Edmund Hillary with extremely durable and reliable stoves and tableware. Today, Primus is more popular than ever and makes sure campers and adventurers get the warm meals they need, no matter where they are. Need some new cooking gear?
  • Sätila: Many Scandinavian outdoor brands are considered to be obsessed with the minor details. Well, the same can be said about the headwear experts at Sätila – and for good reason. In the wild and rugged expanses of Scandinavia, the little details are often essential for survival. And, having the right hat is a good place to start.

Finnish outdoor brands

  • Suunto: Even though the glory days of Nokia have faded into the past, the world is still well aware of the fact that the Finns know their technology. The high-end watches, compasses and dive computers manufactured by Suunto substantiate this fact. Not only are their instruments wonderful toys for outdoor lovers to play with, but they’re often absolutely vital. Thus, it will come as no surprise that Suunto has established itself as a world leader in the field of measuring instruments.
  • Kupilka: Kupilka is a brand for special outdoor tableware and cutlery made of a natural fibre composite invented in Finland that is not only environmentally friendly, but also eliminates a number of disadvantages that other materials have. They are light, robust, dishwasher-safe and won’t burn your fingers.

Danish outdoor brands

Now, let’s take a little trip down south. Yes, Denmark is also part of Scandinavia, even though it is separated from the big peninsula by Kattegat and Skagerrak. The nature here is significantly less wild than up north, but the weather can be pretty similar. At the very least, the outdoor brands know what their material is up against.

  • Nordisk: This is probably Denmark’s best-known outdoor brand. They have been offering a wide range of clothing and equipment for more than 100 years. Their focus: to create the simplest designs possible to keep the weight down and weak spots to a minimum. Many products are designed for casual wear, but there are also lines engineered for extreme adventures.
  • Ecco: The best shoes in the world? That’s debatable, I guess. But, what’s not up for debate is that Ecco is one of the few shoe manufacturers in the world that operates its own tanneries and shoe manufacturing sites and thus produces products of the highest quality for sports and everyday wear.

If you want more proof that Scandinavian outdoor goods don’t have to be expensive, you should have a look at Oase Outdoors and its three successful brands:

  • Robens: This brand manufactures everything that makes camping and being outdoors comfortable, and that at an affordable price.

  • Outwell: When you go camping with the whole family, Outwell products are the perfect choice. This brand values comfort, fun and that holiday feeling, and it comes across in their products.
  • Easy Camp: Easy Camp is another brand that puts user-friendliness and comfort first. Their products are also an incredible value for money.

Well, that’s about all the Scandinavian brands we have for you. If we’ve forgotten something or you have a favourite you’d like to share, feel free to leave us a comment. We’d be happy to hear from you!

Antagonist training: Exercises for boulderers and climbers

21. Juni 2018
Tips and Tricks

„It’s annoying, doesn’t really look all that cool and is quite frankly incredibly boring…Yep, you guessed it. We’re talking about antagonist training. And, I’m speaking from experience – awful experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about bouldering: the planning, the challenge of problem solving and the variety of movements. Everything. It just has so much to offer. And, I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that. But, antagonist training? Ugh. Ok, ok. I admit, it’s not as bad as I am making it out to be. Antagonist training really doesn’t deserve all the flak I and many others give it. After all, it benefits boulderers in so many ways, helping us to boulder efficiently and injury-free for a very long time.

Another important benefit from this type of training is that it helps rid ourselves of any imbalances, which can lead to poor posture and in turn to an increased risk of injury. A well-known example of this are those extremely strong boulderers with rounded, turned-in gorilla-like shoulders. Ever seen those before? It may come as a surprise, but even these mounds of muscle have deficits and imbalances of their own. Who would have thought?!

What is antagonist training, anyway?

The word „antagonist“ may be unfamiliar to some of you, so here’s a short explanation: Where there are antagonists, there are agonists. Basically, all this means is that you are alternating exercises to target opposing muscle groups. Here’s an example:

To bend your arm, you need your killer biceps brachii muscle, but to stretch it out, you need the trifecta: the triceps brachii muscle. In this case, your biceps would be the agonist and the triceps the antagonist. Easy right? Well, not exactly. Every muscle can be an agonist or an antagonist. For example, if you finish with a mantel move at the top of a boulder, it would be the other way around. The triceps would be the agonist, pushing up the body, and the biceps the antagonist.

Bouldering forces you to use certain muscles more frequently and intensively than others, making the ones you use the agonists and the one’s you’re not antagonists. Because of the neglect the poor antagonists suffer, they’re not as well trained and thus weaker. And believe you me: this neglect will eventually come back to haunt you in some way or another. I warned you!

Ignorance doesn’t help here, either – it can affect anyone. The revenge of the antagonists (sounds like a good movie, doesn’t it?) can rear its ugly head in the form of tense muscles or even more severe injuries, which could side-line you for weeks or even months. And none of us want that. That said, it’s better to take precautions instead of dragging your feet and drooling over your favourite boulders from afar!

In the 10 years I’ve been climbing and bouldering, I’ve been fortunate enough to have never really been seriously injured, but I have had my fair share of strains and such. I’ve never had to stop completely, but the injuries did force me to slow down a bit. In the following, I would like to detail some of my little injuries and give you some tips on how to avoid them. The focus will be on the shoulders for the simple reason that muscular imbalances in this area can cause some serious injuries.

Case 1: Improving shoulder stability

I was at a qualifier for the German Championship and obviously really wanted to get to the finals. I didn’t really know how things were going and just wanted to do as much as I could in the little time that remained. Plus, it was a bonus hold, which required a dynamic move on a pretty small hold that you really had to hold on to.

And that’s exactly what I did. But, unfortunately, something in my right upper arm was not having it and let me know pretty quickly with a rather loud crunch. I’d later learn that I didn’t even need the bonus to reach the finals…C’est la vie. Anyway, I didn’t feel anything for the rest of the day, but the day after was a different story: I couldn’t move my arm a single inch without experiencing severe pain. Fortunately, after going to my physiotherapist a few times, the worst was behind me, but it took me several months to gain complete trust in my shoulder again.

My doctor had suspected it was an overuse injury that resulted in biceps tendonitis. Of course, there are several ways this can happen. In my case, it was probably due to my weak antagonist muscles.

If one muscle is stronger than the other, the shoulder will shift from its natural position, putting more strain on other areas of the body that shouldn’t be under that much stress in the first place!

Here is a list of important muscles or muscle groups that are neglected in bouldering and are responsible for shoulder stability:

  • Rotator cuff: These muscles support the arm at the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff consists of four muscles: the supraspinatus muscle, the infraspinatus muscle, the teres minor muscle and the subscapularis muscle.
    • The infraspinatus muscle
      Function: To externally rotate the humerus and stabilise the shoulder joint.
    • The teres minor muscle
      Function: To rotate the humerus laterally and modulate the action of the deltoid
  • The trapezius muscle The trapezius muscle is responsible for a lot of rotational movements of the shoulder blade, among other things.
  • The rhomboid major and rhomboid minor muscle: The rhomboid minor and major are responsible for retracting the scapula.
  • Deltoid: The deltoid is responsible for raising the upper arm and stabilising the shoulder joint. It consists of several parts.

When you consider all the functions of each of these muscles, it is not at all surprising that the shoulders lean forward when there’s an imbalance. But what can we do about it? Well, here are some exercises I do on a regular basis:

Exercises for rotator cuff:

I always use a yellow Thera-band. The resistance is completely sufficient. The starting position can be seen in the picture on the left. Move your arm outward (picture on the right) and slowly return to the starting position.

Important:

  • Keep your shoulders down
  • Keep your elbows close to your body
  • Stand straight
  • Keep your hand „“active““ and stable, i.e. spread your fingers and wrap the Thera-band in such a way that you don’t need to hold on to it.

Exercises for the adductors and shoulder stability:

Again, a light Thera-band will do the trick. Secure it slightly higher than your shoulders. If you want, you can put it up a little higher than in the picture. The starting position can be seen in the left and right-hand picture. Stand straight. Stretch out your arm, but no higher than the height of your shoulders!

The final position can be seen in the picture on the bottom left. Move your hand to your thigh, with the back of your hand pointing toward the wall. Then slowly return to the starting position.

Other positions for this exercise can be seen in the small pictures on the right. Here, too, the back of your hand should be pointing toward to the wall.

Important:

  • Keep your shoulders down
  • Your hand should only go to the middle of the thigh, otherwise your shoulders will lean forward again.

For the trapezius, deltoids and rhomboid muscles

This trapezius exercise is designed to strengthen the trapezius muscle and can be done with or without a wall. The more slanted the wall is, the harder it gets. The intensity increases with the height of your elbows on the wall. The maximum height, however, is shoulder height. Position your feet in front of the wall. Now press off the wall so that the shoulder blades are no longer touching it (green arrow). Then slowly return to the starting position. True, it’s just a tiny movement, but it’s really tough after a few reps!

Important:

  • Keep your shoulders down
  • Avoid lumbar swayback
  • Keep your palms flat and pointing down

The reverse butterfly is great for training your rear deltoids and lower trapezius. The starting position can be seen on the left or bottom left (rows). Bring your arms to your side like a T without completely straightening your elbows. Hold it for a moment and slowly return to the starting position. It is also possible to complete the T-shape along with the V-shape and the H-shape all in one set. The more inclined your stance, the harder it gets.

Important:

  • Don’t try to get momentum out of your back, this exercise is for other muscles!
  • Body tension! Don’t droop and avoid swayback.

Suspension trainer rows train the inner back, i.e., the middle and lower trapezius, along with the rear deltoids and rhomboid muscles. The starting position is the same as for the reverse butterfly, but here the arms are pulled close to the body, as can be seen in the picture in the middle.

Hold it and slowly return to the starting position. Another variation: Raise your upper arms to shoulder height. Your forearms are then at a right angle to your upper arms. Again, the more inclination, the harder it gets. If you want to increase the intensity, put your feet on a box or an exercise ball or try to press your feet against a wall.

Important:

  • Don’t try to get momentum out of your back, this exercise is for other muscles!
  • Body tension! Don’t droop and avoid swayback.

Case 2: Strengthening your fingers and wrist extensors

Elbow pain is something boulderers just can’t seem to get around. Fortunately for me, though, I have never had to deal with it before. My problem had to do with the overuse of my weaker finger or wrist extensors, which can lead to tennis elbow (which admittedly doesn’t really sound like a climbing injury, but that’s neither here nor there). These muscles are opposite the flexor muscles in the fingers, so they’re their antagonists. The flexors are obviously strong. After all, you have to be able to hold on to the holds somehow.

Once the pain is there, you should do everything in your power to ensure that it doesn’t become chronic. During the very acute phase of this injury, which fortunately only lasted about a week, I got my elbow taped, stretched it carefully, massaged it and most important of all: rested! Now, I am virtually pain-free because I’ve finally started giving my poor finger and wrist extensors the tender love and care they deserve, strengthening them with the following exercises:

For your finger and wrist extensors

For this exercise, a dumbbell is quite the useful tool. As you can see, I use a 1kg dumbbell, so you can increase the weight a bit if you’d like. But don’t add too much. You don’t want to overexert yourself. You can lay your elbow on your leg or on any surface that will allow your wrist to move freely. In the starting position, keep your wrist straight and then lift it upwards. Then slowly move it back down. That’s it! Very easy and effective, as you will notice after a few reps!

As you can see, the Thera-band is crucial to my antagonist training. For this exercise, I use a light one as well. Wrap it around your hands so that you don’t have to hold it. Then spread out your fingers like in the picture above. Then bend only your wrists outward and then slowly return to the starting position. As with the other exercises, doing multiple reps is not easy.

For the finger extensors, I also use a yellow Thera-band or one of the many other things that are available for this exercise. The movement is shown in the picture on the bottom right.

Case 3: Paying more attention to your legs

We boulderers pay little to no attention to our legs. Even though imbalances are pretty rare among the muscle groups in your legs, I still believe it is extremely important to work on them and one joint in particular.The knee.

Especially when hooking, be it heel or toe hooks, the knee is put under a lot of strain. If you’re tackling a tough project and have to hook onto the same hold over and over again, your knee might just give up, saying „Enough! You didn’t prepare me for this! I quit!“

If you’re lucky, you may just suffer a very minor injury to the lateral meniscus, but if you aren’t, you could have a tear or some other more severe knee injury. What’s my point? Well, you need to stabilise your knee! And, this is something you can achieve by doing a variety of exercises, all of which can be a lot of fun!

This is one exercise I just can’t get enough of! It stabilises the back of the knee and is kind of amusing. You don’t necessarily need a partner. You can hook your feet under something instead. It’s a very simple exercise. The starting position can be seen at the bottom left. From there, allow your upper body and thighs to lean forward in a straight line until you simply fall over. Catch yourself with your arms (bottom right) and push yourself dynamically (or statically) back up to the starting position. I’ve never not been sore after this exercise.

Other exercises for knee stability are one or two-legged squats. It’s hard to believe how complicated a perfect squat can be, but it’s true, so be sure to read up on them beforehand. You can also use balance boards and do some slacklining, which is a personal favourite of mine. Slacklining is not only good for the knees, but also for your balance. Plus, it promotes an awareness of your body.

Allow me to bring this post to a close with a little piece of wisdom: Only those who don’t get injured can boulder long and strong! True, antagonist training is not guaranteed to keep you injury-free, but it can prevent a large number of injuries.

Hand and skin care for climbers

26. April 2018
Tips and Tricks

They’re the most important tools we have for climbing: Our hands. And because they’re so important, it’s crucial that we take good care of them. There are basically no calluses, scrapes, gashes, cracks or blisters a climber isn’t familiar with, and every single one of them is usually quite painful. What can you do to prevent such injuries and what’s the best way to take care of your fingers after a hard day at the crag or your local climbing centre? Well, I’m glad you asked!

What kind of injuries can you get from climbing?

A callus (or callosity) is a toughened area of skin that has become thicker because of repeated friction. This may sound bad at first, but it’s something climbers strive for. Callused skin is stronger and keeps the other layers of skin protected as well.

One downside, however, is that callused skin is less flexible, dries out more quickly because of chalk and tens to fray and rip when not cared for properly. Once a rip is there and it starts bleeding, it pains me to say that it’s time to take a break from climbing. Unfortunately, your skin needs some time to recover and it can’t do that if you keep climbing. The bit where your fingers bend on the inside of your hand is a particularly at-risk area, since calluses are often smashed together because of pressure and movement. These raised areas are particularly likely to rip.

Preventing injuries to your hands

As a general rule, it is important to make sure you have your calluses under control. The best way to do this is to file down the raised bits, like around where your fingers bend, with a file or a rasp. Ripped areas can be filed down as well as long as they aren’t bleeding. Basically, you can do this whenever you feel like it. Just be sure have a piece of sandpaper with you to treat the area in question.

The first signs that you’re getting a blister is a burning sensation and slight redness in the same area. To remedy this, it can be helpful to relieve that area of pressure, meaning stop climbing for a day or two so that your skin gets a break. Blisters can take significantly longer to heel.

Skin care plays an extremely important role in all that. Many manufacturers, such as Climb On, Metolius, Joshua Tree or KletterRetter make lotions designed specifically for climbers to give them just the right amount of moisture and/or oil to keep them smooth.

You can also prevent injuries to your hands by using the proper gripping technique. This means: Always try to position your hand on the hold so that your actively holding it and not just hoping for enough friction.

What to do when it happens

It’s hard to keep a cool head in the heat of battle, but it’s even harder to give up at the crux just because you feel like you’re getting a blister or hands are getting a bit torn up.

So, even despite your best efforts to prevent blisters and skin rips, you can still get skin injuries. However, when tend to your battle wounds, it’s important to be patient and treat them according to what type of wound it is.

  • Blisters: If you get a blister, let it heal without popping it. Yes, you heard correctly! You shouldn’t pop it because the sensitive layer of skin underneath could get infected. If the blister’s already popped, you need to disinfect it and put a plaster on it.
  • Rips and cuts: Regardless of whether your callus rips off or you cut your hand on a needle-sharp hold, it can get bloody and the best thing to do is to just stop climbing for a bit. Why? Well, every time you put more pressure or strain on the affected area, it will tear more and take longer to heal as a result. If you simply can’t go without climbing, you can use some strong tape to keep the wound together. But before doing this, do make sure to clean and disinfect it, if at all possible.
  • Punctures: These usually occur on sharp holds as a result of too much pressured being applied to your hand. These wounds are usually easy to treat. Clean, disinfect and tape it up and keep on climbing. It’s pretty unlikely they’re rip open again.

Whatever injury you’ve sustained, it’s probably a good idea to take a break, especially when it comes to deep gashes, since they can take a while to fully heal. Besides, if you start climbing too soon, there’s always the risk of them ripping open again.

The proper treatment

The first thing you do after a hard climbing session is go to the sink. Well, ok. Maybe a beer, tea or coffee first, but then go straight to the sink and wash off all that chalk. Why? Well, the chalk causes your skin to dry out. After removing all the chalk, moisturise your hands with some rich lotion.

If you tend to sweat a lot, you won’t need as much lotion. Instead, make sure your hands are dry before you start climbing because the sweat will make your hands soft, which in turn makes them more prone to injuries.

Now, if you haven’t already today, go out and climb!

Beeswax – A natural miracle worker

26. April 2018
Equipment, Tips and Tricks

Have you ever heard of Maya the Bee? That cute little bee that first appeared in a book by the German writer Waldemar Bonsels? In the book, she spends her days going on thrilling adventures with her goofy pal Willy, which makes for a great story but isn’t really true to life. In fact, her everyday existence would be quite a bit different in real life. Maya would fly from flower to flower, collecting pollen and secreting a mixture of mainly esters of fatty acids and various long-chain alcohols. Boring, isn’t it? Not at all! That’s how we get beeswax!

So far so good? No? Ok, you’re probably asking yourself what all that has to do with being outdoors, right? You’d be surprised, but it actually has quite a bit to do with it. Beeswax happens to be an essential ingredient in several care products for both walking boots and skin care. Wax is even used in foods as a release agent and glazing agent. Pretty versatile stuff. In this short post, I’d like to show you everything beeswax has to offer us outdoorsy folk. So, keep reading – it’s worth it- and not just for the fans of Maya the Bee!

Properties and areas of use

As was mentioned before, the beeswax we all know is a secretion from worker bee’s wax glands. It’s always white when it is first secreted. It turns yellow as a result of the incorporation of pollen oils from pollen. This contains carotene, a pigment that also gives pumpkins and carrots their colour. By the way, pollen oil is also what gives beeswax its unique and sweet smell. Ok. Enough of that. Let’s talk about how useful this stuff is.

In the outdoor industry, beeswax is most commonly used as an ingredient in shoe care products. Beeswax-based shoe care is a natural way to care for leather walking and mountaineering boots. It is necessary because it gives the leather something it loses over time – moisture. As you’ve probably already witnessed, leather tends to dry up and harden over time, even causing it to tear in some cases. Using beeswax-based shoe care products can remedy this, giving the leather a nice little boost in moisture. Treating the leather with such products on a regular basis will increase the lifespan of your – often very expensive – outdoor shoes. Plus, beeswax-based products also proof the leather, giving the shoes that necessary water-repellent layer.

This brings me to another important benefit for us outdoor enthusiasts: Beeswax can be used to proof outdoor jackets and trousers as well. A beeswax-based treatment can make these garments very water and wind resistant, whilst simultaneously increasing their durability for those tough days outdoors. Usually, these proofers consist of a mixture of beeswax and paraffin, so they’re not at all harmful to your health. Of course, as with anything else, any product pre-treated with beeswax will lose its water-resistant properties over time, but there are plenty of products on the market you can use to reproof your garment. But more on that later.

As an outdoorsmen, you may even find beeswax in skin care products. If you’re thinking, “What? Now, you’re trying sell me outdoor skin cream?”, please just keep reading. Even the roughest and tannest skin needs a little tender love and care! Skin care products with beeswax are specifically designed for climbers with dry and particularly worn skin, meaning skin that is often exposed to the sun and fresh/cold air. Not unlike what beeswax does for leather, special beeswax-based care products gives our skin some of that long-lost moisture back. Plus, these products alleviate the effect of sunburns and accelerate the healing process of chapped lips as well as minor skin lesions. So, as you can imagine, these products are great for those of you who spend all the livelong day climbing limestone and granite.

How do I know if beeswax is in a product?

If you’re worried about buying a product that claims to contain beeswax but doesn’t, you shouldn’t be: All products containing beeswax are labelled accordingly. Of course, there is no official label to date, but oftentimes you’ll find a product with the label “contains real beeswax“. If the product in question doesn’t have such a label, it’s worth taking a quick peek at the ingredients. Even though this may not be as relevant to us outdoor enthusiasts, it’s still worth noting: In the food industry, if beeswax is used as a food additive, it has E-901 designation.

How to care for leather with beeswax and how to reproof garments

As was mentioned above, the outdoor industry usually uses beeswax for shoe care. A beeswax-based shoe polish makes it possible for us to care for our leather shoes in a natural way. The unique properties of the wax not only lubricate the leather but also feed it with essential nutrients. Plus, it does a few other things as well. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Consider the following example: You’ve got your trusty walking boots with countless miles on them, and to be honest, they’ve seen better days. They’re dirty, the leather is brittle and looks worn. So, what do we do? We take a damp cloth to clean them. Once you’ve got rid of the surface dirt and the shoes are somewhat dry, you can apply the beeswax shoe polish. Take a clean cloth and rub a thin layer of the shoe polish onto your shoes using circular motions. The fatty acids in the beeswax cleans the leather in a gentle way. Plus, the beeswax polish will brighten up faded colours as well. Allow the polish to set and voilà – the boots will look as good as new! If you feel that your shoes need a bit more wax after the first layer has set, you can repeat as and when required. If you care for your leather shoes with a beeswax-based care product on a regular basis, you will significantly increase the lifespan of the shoe.
In addition to giving the leather essential nutrients and making the boots look better, beeswax shoe polish also acts as a water repellent. The layer of wax prevents water penetrating into the interior, forcing rain to simply bead up and roll off the outside. In other words, you can forget about those expensive leather spray-on proofers.

If you notice that your jacket (or trousers), which had been pre-treated with beeswax, is starting to lose its water-repellent properties, it’s time to reproof it. To do this, you can use something like the Greenland Wax from Fjällräven. This is basically a block of paraffin and beeswax. Take the garment in question and rub the wax block evenly onto the fabric. And, don’t be afraid to apply a little bit more to the high-wear areas, such as the shoulders of your jackets or the knees of your trousers. Now, the wax just has to be melted. You can do this by using a hair dryer or an old iron. Once you’ve heated up the wax, it will turn to liquid and be absorbed into the fabric. Once the wax has been absorbed evenly into the fabric and dried, you can take your jacket or trousers out for their next adventure!

As you can see, beeswax is much more than the stuff swimming around in your honey or what people use for candles. It is a natural product with very useful properties for the outdoor industry and beyond. And it all came from Maya the Bee’s wax glands.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask our experts in customer service. They are available on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at +49 (0)7121/70 12 0 or via e-mail.

Tips for bouldering: Training & Technique

Tips for bouldering: Training & Technique

26. April 2018
Tips and Tricks

The climbing centres and bouldering hubs of the world are full of good boulderers, but how did they get that good and how long did it take them? Well, as with any other sport, practice makes perfect, but there are a few other things you can do to improve more quickly as well.

Let’s start with the good news. It’s pretty easy to learn how to boulder. Similar to climbing, if you train on a regular basis, there’s no doubt you’ll make a lot of progress in the beginning.

Of course, all that progress won’t be without pain and soreness in muscles you never knew you had. And, many of the holds will still seem virtually impossible to hold on to. But, in just a few weeks, not only will the soreness in your muscles begin to decrease, but you’ll start tackling more projects as well. It’ll be so much fun that you grinning ear to ear – I promise! However, before you get to that point, there are some things you should keep in mind.

Bouldering tips for beginners – The right material

Fortunately, you don’t need a whole lot to boulder. A comfortable pair of trousers and the right shoes should do the trick. But this is where it gets interesting. The rental shoes from the centre will suffice for the first couple of weeks, but you’ll quickly realise that you need something more, something better! Unfortunately, purchasing a pair of your very own shoes isn’t as easy as you might think. There’s a list of questions you’ll have to answer, such as how tight the shoe should be and whether you need special shoes for bouldering, among other things.

Climbers and boulderers don’t necessarily wear different shoes, but oftentimes they do prefer different models. Much more important than the question of climbing vs. bouldering is the question of which boulders you prefer and which ones you climb more often. Boulderers who love overhanging rock faces, for example, need a pair with heel tension so that they fit snugly around the heel for hooks. Boulderers who prefer vertical faces or slabs need more sticky, sensitive shoes for those non-existent holds.

When looking for the right shoes, it’s important to take your time as well. It’s not at all uncommon for boulderers to have two or more pairs of shoes. But, since the first pair usually doesn’t last that long, don’t spend too much money.

The proper bouldering technique

Like with so many other disciplines, standard moves have been developed in recent years that are supposed to help boulderers “solve” boulder problems and improve their efficiency. The techniques are geared toward the wall incline, the shape of the holds, the character of the route (traverse or straight up), the composition of the wall (slopers, cracks, edges, etc.) and of course the level of difficulty.

At climbing centres, you’ll notice most bouldering walls are set up to require a sequence of techniques. The sum of these moves results in the boulder problem or the path you take to complete your climb. Oftentimes, there are multiple solutions to a boulder problem. Different body sizes, strengths and wingspans also result in different solutions. The larger your repertoire of techniques and the quicker you can access them, the better.

A good way to learn bouldering techniques is to take a course and try out the basics under the supervision of an experienced boulderer. Another great way to acquire more knowledge is to talk to other boulderers and tackle problems together. The huge advantage to bouldering is that you can start (almost) anywhere on the boulder and don’t have to climb several metres before you get to the crux, as you would when climbing.

So, just talk to your fellow boulderers, watch others and give it a go yourself! Then, if you become open to trying out moves you had never dreamed possible, you’re on the right track.

Bouldering training done right

Efficient training sessions are always geared towards the strengths and weaknesses of a boulderer, his or her level of fitness and physiological and psychological constitution. Thus, they should always be structured according to the individual. But, the following points should be also included:

Warming up

An extremely important component of every training session is a good warm-up. This will get your body prepared for the demands bouldering puts on it and help to prevent injuries. After all, bouldering requires both flexibility and maximum strength.

To do this, you can do some easy traversing with slow, controlled movements whilst trying to apply the various techniques you’ve learned. Between each boulder, it’s important to take a break to allow your body to adjust. Then, slowly increase the difficulty of the climbs.

Also, it’s important to mention that static stretching is no longer recommended because holding a stretch actually tires the muscles.

Warm up your fingers

Very important! Because your fingers and the muscles in the forearm that flex the fingers are put under a lot of stress, it is really important to warm them up thoroughly beforehand. But do it on large holds, not miniscule ones, and keep your fingers away from the campus board.

Training: Work on your weaknesses!

Your training sessions should be physically demanding but not too demanding. Otherwise, you’ll risk getting injured. Every boulderer has his or her strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, we often prefer boulders that more in line with our strengths, since these are much easier and we can climb higher grades, which is extremely fun.

But, obviously, if you only train to your strengths, you won’t be doing anything about your weaknesses. That said, you should work on your weaknesses in addition to your strengths. So, if you’re really good at slabs, you should still climb overhangs on a regular basis and vice-versa. True, it can be depressing, but it’ll pay off in the end.

Of course, it’s true, too, that your strengths and weakness don’t just manifest themselves on individual boulders. Some things we can learn from observation, but you’ll have to try it out for yourself eventually.

The guys from Wataaah are well aware of this fact and have created a machine that measures your strengths – the Kraftolizer. This tests such things as flexibility, maximum strength, endurance, reaction, etc. Afterwards, you get a precise list of things you need to work on. However, be forewarned: In the rarest of cases will the analysis say: “Power. Hit the campus board.” That’s something more suitable for professionals, anyway. What most amateur boulderers lack is actually technique and flexibility.

Don’t forget about the reward

This is a fundamental part of training and should never be left out. After a day of bouldering, head to the pub with your fellow boulderers and talk about bouldering!

A buyer's guide to approach shoes

A buyer’s guide to approach shoes

8. Dezember 2017
Buyer's guide

The approach to your very climbing spot is often a rocky one, so it’s particularly important to have a solid pair of shoes. More specifically, you need some quality approach shoes! Wait, what are those? Well, approach shoes are multi-purpose shoes that have been designed to cope with the challenges of the approach to the crag or via ferrata (as well as your descent). But do we really need a different pair of shoes for everything little thing? Can’t we just wear some sturdy walking boots? Let me think about that for a second…no! In the following, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about approach shoes, including what you need to consider before you buy and why every climber has one pair at the very least in his or her kit. So, keep on reading!

What are approach shoes anyway?

Approach shoes are usually a pair of sturdy low-cut shoes. They help you to cope with steeper grades of rock and terrain of varying difficulty. After all, most “paths” to your favourite spot are presumably not paved or well-maintained trails but full of debris, rock, grass and whatever else nature feels like throwing at us. For this kind of terrain, we need a real all-rounder! And, that’s precisely where approach shoes come in.

When walking boots and climbing shoes love each other very much, what you get is a pair of approach shoes. That’s basically how you could describe where approach shoes comes from. All joking aside, approach shoes are a hybrid between both types of shoes. They’re made to cope with any terrain. They provide the foot with support on both steep and more well-maintained paths. Not even short climbing sections are a problem for these shoes. They are designed to be comfortable and provide traction, giving you the surefootedness you need to make it to your favourite crag. If you’re in the market for such a shoe, here’s a brief overview of what you should keep in mind before buying.

An approach shoe’s most important characteristics

If you’ve ever worn the wrong shoes, you know exactly where your feet end up at the end of the day: in the ice bucket. Since an approach can take even longer than the climb itself, it’s extremely important to find a comfortable approach shoe to get you to the crag. They should be secure and fit well and not feel constrictive or cause chafing. Even the baddest of climbers (I know that’s not the grammatically correct superlative) would rather have a solid pair of approach shoes than a bunch of yucky blisters on their feet.

Two of the more important contributing factors to a good fit are the footbed and the lacing. The higher-quality models have laces that extend all the way up to the toe of the shoe. Why? Well, this has the advantage that the shoe can be adjusted ever-so precisely to your individual foot. Another important factor is the lock down at the heel, which can be achieved by way of special heel inserts. These serve to keep the heel in its natural position whilst simultaneously absorbing shock.

Upper material, weight and lining – other important details

As with all outdoor shoes, an approach shoe’s upper is extremely important. Usually, manufacturers opt for a flexible synthetic material that is extremely tough and fit to withstand contact with rock and the like. There shouldn’t be any shortage of functionality and weather protection, either. Some weather protection will definitely not hurt. After all, your shoes are bound to get wet as you make your way to the crag. Plus, if your shoes are water resistant, you won’t have to struggle with putting your climbing shoes on with wet feet.

Functional materials like Gore-Tex provide excellent weather protection and keep the interior feeling fresh and comfortable. As you probably already know, Gore-Tex is breathable as well, so any moisture or sweat on the interior will pass through to the outside where it will evaporate. And your feet will stay nice and dry! But, more importantly, your feet won’t stink, either! That may sound trivial, but it’ll keep your climbing shoes from stinking as well.

In terms of weight, less is always more, as it so often is. Lighter approach shoes are much easier to stuff in your backpack or hang on your climbing harness when they’re not in use. There’s no reason to weigh yourself down!

The climbing zone and sole of the shoe

In order for you to be able to cope with short climbing sections, you need a capable approach shoe, and that’s where the climbing zone comes in. This is a treadless or flat area at the front of the approach shoe for edging on more difficult terrain. Yet another advantage approach shoes have over ‘normal’ walking shoes.

Now, let’s move on to the most important part of an approach shoe: the sole! The approach to the crag is no walk in the park. You usually have to traverse rough, sloping terrain and/or walking paths and asphalt. In the best-case scenario, your shoe will have a sole capable of dealing with both harsh conditions as well as paved sections. A sole that offers the same grip on slick, wet and dry surfaces. The perfect combination of flexibility and stability.

Usually, approach shoes have a sole made primarily of natural rubber like a Vibram sole. The tread shouldn’t be too deep, as that would impede the grip on the rock, but not non-existent either. As for cushioning, approach shoes are hardly cushioned – if at all – in the front. When it comes to the sole’s stiffness, it’s completely up to you.

The most important stuff at a glance

If you’ve managed to make it this far or are just skimming because you’re strapped for time, here’s a summary of the most important features:

Quality approach shoes are tough all-purpose shoes for various terrain. A robust and flexible upper is just as important as sufficient weather protection and breathability. A secure lacing system that extends down to the the toe provides a snug fit. A low weight is essential because you don’t want to have to carry around extra weight on your feet or your harness. A climbing zone at the front is never a bad idea, and the sole should offer a good combination of flexibility and stability. In sum, regardless of which model you end up buying, the most important thing is that it fits both your foot and your needs!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask our experts in customer service. They are available during the week from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 03 33 33 67058 or via e-mail.

There’s a lot going on in the climbing and outdoor industry. New products are being invented, existing ones are being reworked and improved, and we, too, are learning more every day. And, of course, we would like to share this knowledge with our customers. That’s why we regularly revise the articles at base camp. So, don’t be surprised if a post changes a bit in the coming months. This article was last edited on 03/03/2016.

My favourite bouldering spot: Petrohrad

My favourite bouldering spot: Petrohrad

13. Februar 2018
Tips and Tricks

Far removed from the city of Prague, you’ll find a stunning area of rolling hills full of the finest granite boulders you’ll ever set eyes on. It’s called Petrohrad, a place one of our customer services reps Daniel has declared his favourite bouldering spot.

In other words, I guess it’s safe to assume it has quite a bit going for it. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have made such a bold declaration.

The simple fact that you’re basically free to climb to your heart’s content, even in nice weather, is reason enough to go, wouldn’t you say?

Petrohradske´ – Petro what?

Not as well known as Fontainebleau, Zillertal or Ticino, but not at all less appealing, the Czech bouldering paradise, Petrohrad, is somewhat hidden. The village to which the area owes its name is located about 71 kilometres or 44 miles west of Prague, so if you happen to be in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit! In Petrohrad, you’ll find 3000 boulder problems of varying difficulty levels and rock of excellent quality.

Where to stay

In the nearby village of Jesenice, you’ll find a renovated and affordable campsite. Here, you’ll even find a bouldering guidebook you can buy! If you’d rather go without a tent or camper, you can even rent a small bungalow.

There is only one restaurant in the area and is just a few minutes’ walking distance from the campsite. Here you can try some Bohemian food, and it’s a great place to go if you want to end the day with a nice, cold beer. There’s a small supermarket as well. But, make sure to withdraw some money before you go to Petrohrad. The next ATM is about an hour drive from there.

How to get there

If you’re planning on driving to Petrohrad, we recommend getting a map and not watching any horror movies before you take off.

Why? Well, to get to the sector called Hrbi-tovní Kameny, for example, you have to follow the following directions: “Drive past the psychiatric clinic towards the cemetery, park and walk along the wall of the cemetery into the forest.” So many things go through your mind when you hear a sentence like that, but as soon as you see the first boulders, those awful thoughts are long gone.

All of the boulders are granite of the most exceptional quality. The friction is fantastic and most of the holds still have sharper edges and pretty grippy. Even in warmer temperatures, you won’t feel like your climbing shoes are slipping. The boulders are marked with white arrows indicating the height and position of the start. The boulders are composed of sharp, slopy and crimpy granite.

You’ll have to go without big overhangs, though. In addition to the countless number of blocks, there are also a some climbing rock with some protection. But, these are quite old and are largely neglected.

The rock in and around Petrohrad has a lot of potential for even more development as well. If you look around, you’ll discover even more gems hidden under moss and grass that are just dying to be cleaned and climbed! However, there’s really no need to search high and low for new lines and problems. The ones already there will meet you’re every desire. There are challenging lines and problems for climbers of all levels, but some of the classic hard problems would be Karma 7C or Amulet 8A, just to name a couple.

A hidden gem

For me, Petrohrad is still somewhat of a hidden gem when it comes to bouldering locations. Even on more beautiful days and weekends, it’s not unlikely that you’ll find a spot you can climb all by yourself. Since the rock is fairly sharp-edged and rough, the skin on your fingers will definitely feel it after a while, though, so it’d be a good idea to plan a day off. And, use it wisely! There are so many things to see in the vicinity. For example, you could take a trip to Prague or Pilsen, see the nearby castle or clear boulders of moss! I promise: you’ll never get bored.

And, if you happen to be close by, it’s worth going to Saxon or Bohemian Switzerland for a (climbing) trip as well. Just thought I’d mention that. Anyway, grab your brush, chalk and crash pad and head out!

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Build your very own bouldering wall

Build your very own bouldering wall

3. Januar 2018
Tips and Tricks

Recently, I awoke with the urge to build something again. And, since our attic was being expanded anyway, I figured I’d seize the opportunity to build my very own bouldering wall. It seemed like a good idea at the time and, admittedly, a lot easier than it really is. Contrary to what I had initially thought, building a bouldering wall (one you’ll actually be able to climb around on) requires a lot of planning and attention to detail. So, if you’re like me and have been thinking about building a bouldering wall of your own but don’t know where to start, here are some tips to help you get started.

Materials, size and construction

The first thing worth mentioning is the following: even though a small bouldering wall might look pretty spiffy, it’s virtually useless when it comes to training. At the very least, the wall should have a surface area of 6 m² . But, the bigger, the better. If children are going to be using the wall too, it’s very important that the height of the wall not exceed 3 metres, since the fall height would be too high. As for the material, plywood works great. However, do keep in mind that the plywood sheets should be 18-22mm thick. Also: the substructure supporting the wall must be extremely strong, since it will be forced to support very heavy loads, both live and dead loads. If the boards are not directly mounted to a concrete wall, a substructure consisting of wooden beams or steel support structure is your best bet.

What your (sub-)structure supporting your bouldering wall should look like depends on several different factors. In addition to the angle, height and other factors, different wall panels require different substructures. So, what the frame of a bouldering wall should look like is hard to say. Interestingly, all artificial climbing structures used by the public must comply with the European standard EN 12572. This standard defines the wall height, dimensions for falling space and the dimensions of the impact zone beneath. Obviously, this standard is not binding in our case, because we’re just DIY-ing it, but it is a great reference tool full of useful tips on how to build your own wall.

Here’s the most important info at a glance:

  • Wall height: max. 4m (free-standing, can be climbed over), max. 4.5m (can’t be climbed over)
  • There shouldn’t be any electrical cables in the falling space
  • There should be sufficient falling space and impact zone to the side of, in front of and beneath the bouldering wall. You should also be sure to cushion any posts or beams.
  • The falling space should be flat and free of any hindrances and sufficiently padded (with pads/mats, etc.) Also: make sure that there are as few gaps as possible between the pads, as these could increase your risk of injury (you could sprain your ankle or wrist). As dangerous as larger gaps are, smaller ones can wreak just as much havoc on a climber. 8-20mm gaps, for example, may not sound like a big deal, but they’re the perfect size for your fingers to fit through. Yikes! Not your precious fingers!

Of course, none of this explains how many supporting beams you need for your panels, nor does it tell you how thick they should be! As was mentioned before, different materials have different requirements. In other words, it’s hard to say what you need without knowing exactly what you have to work with. For simple overhanging climbing walls, people tend to use beams with a thickness of 10x8cm, which can be supported by laths. It’s definitely worth stopping by your favourite DIY or home improvement retailer for some advice. If you’re planning on building something a bit wilder or more ambitious, you might want to consult a carpenter as well. If your using pre-made climbing wall panels, the manufacturer’s installation guide should give you all the information you need. The important thing is that the wooden panels are attached to the substructure, not just the laths.

The wall sheets

The grid – for the perfect distance between holds

If you’re not planning on using pre-made climbing wall panels for your bouldering wall, you’ll need to drill holes for your holds. How and where to do that is what we’re going to talk about now. Industrially made climbing walls usually have about 15-25 centimetres between the holes, resulting in about 25 to 50 holes per square metre. If you’re doing it yourself, you might want to use a similar pattern. This will not only allow you to set different routes but also customise them as you see fit. The typical pattern is the staggered grid.

This grid is incredibly easy to make. All you need is a tape measure, a pencil and a drill. Mark all the holes for your grid on the back of the sheets. The important thing is that the holes in the top and the bottom row are far enough away from the edge and that there is the same amount of space on the left and right-hand sides as well.

Now, draw in horizontal lines across the sheet followed by vertical lines so that you end up with a checked pattern. Once you’ve finished, you can start marking the holes. For the top row, use the points at which the lines intersect. In the next row, mark the spot for the hole on the horizontal line between each of the vertical lines (see image). You can think of this point as the middle of an X. Then mark the rest of the holes in the same way.

You can also do without the grid if you’re only using screw-on holds that are secured with wood screws. These will save you loads on time, money and effort!

Painting your wall

If you haven’t done so already, it’s now time to paint the front of your sheets. If you’re just looking to brighten up your wall with a bit of colour, you can use any standard wood stain. However, if you’d like to add some texture to the wall, you need some special paint or coating:

  • A paint job using a two-component anti-slip coating

For this, you use special kind of paint. In addition to the standard pigments, this paint has a grain, which makes for a rough and thus stickier surface (akin to rough sandpaper). This kind of paint should have a slip resistant rating equivalent to R11. You can simply apply the paint by using a paintbrush or a roller.

  • Coat of epoxy and silica sand

This option involves mixing epoxy, which is suitable for the outdoors, with silica sand. It’s important that the mix ratio be about 5:1 and the silica sand have a grain size of 0.7-1.2mm. This mixture is then applied to the surface.

Nuts

Once you’ve drawn in your grid and painted the sheets, you can drill the holes for the nuts in the spots we talked about earlier. It’s important to note that there are two different types of nuts in the world of climbing walls: Flange and T-nuts If your wall is intended for your own private use and won’t be unscrewed/repositioned, T-nuts are the way to go. These are affordable alternatives to flange nuts and often come with holds “for free”, as with Metolius climbing hold packs. For T-nuts, you’ll have to drill 12mm holes.

Professionals tend to use flange nuts. These are extremely strong and don’t twist after repeated repositioning, since they’re usually secured by small screws on the back. Plus, larger holes (14 mm in diameter) have to be drilled for flange nuts.
Once you’ve drilled all the holes, flip the board over and stick the nuts in and secure them. When installing T-nuts, it’s a good idea to “pull in” the nuts tightly using the very same bolts (M10) that are supposed to keep the holds in place.

When drilling the holes, you can put a piece of wood on the back side of the board to prevent the wood splintering when the bit goes through the other side.

Raise the roof

Once the wall panels are finished, they can be attached to the substructure you’ve already installed. For metal substructures, you can’t go wrong with nuts and bolts. If you’ve got wooden beams, your wall panels can be secured using standard countersunk wood screws. And don’t be afraid to go all out! It’s really important to use a enough screws.

Once your panels are in place, you can begin installing your holds. Since you usually start off in a sitting position when bouldering, you can install footholds only up to height of about 60cm. Once you’ve done that, go head and start setting different holds that correspond with the type of wall you have and your own personal climbing skills.

Tip: Since the size and height of DIY walls are usually limited, it’s a good idea to refrain from setting routes that go more or less straight up. If you’d like to improve your endurance, we recommend setting routes that can be climbed in a circle. That way, not only can you do multiple “laps”, as it were, but also practise down-climbing.

If you’re unsure how to set your routes, you can always ask route setters at your favourite climbing gym!

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Get a grip: All about chalk and chalk bags

Get a grip: All about chalk and chalk bags

22. Dezember 2017
Buyer's guide

Chalk has been an integral part of virtually every climber’s and boulderer’s gear for decades. Credited with introducing chalk to the world of rock climbing is the American climber and gymnast John Gill, who is now considered to be one of the most important figures in early history of bouldering. As we all know, the magnesium carbonate was in widespread use at the time in ring and bar exercises to keep the gymnast’s hands drier and thus improve their overall grip on the various apparatuses.

Seeing climbing as an extension of gymnastics, Gill took this idea and ran with it, or better: climbed with it; He chalked up with his gymnastic chalk and started to climb. The result? You guessed it: a dramatic improvement in his grip on slick climbing holds. Because his idea worked so well and Gill turned out to be such a great boulderer, chalk eventually became just as important to climbers as it had been to gymnasts for years before. Today, chalk is so ubiquitous in the climbing world that you’d be hard-pressed to find a climber or boulderer who doesn’t use chalk and a chalk bag.

What is chalk, anyway?

Technically speaking, what we climbers now know as chalk is magnesium carbonate. It’s also known as MgCO3. For gymnasts, however, talcum is mixed in the magnesium carbonate so as to allow for more slippage on the apparatuses. Climbers, of course, would prefer not to slip, so it is important for the chalk to be pretty much pure. In addition to its application in climbing, the natural substance known as magnesite is also used for foodstuff, medicines, building materials and a variety of other things. Depending on the manufacturer, there are different formulations, each of which has a dedicated following among climbers. In other words, each type of chalk has a special touch, something unique about it that one climber will love and another might hate. For instance, one climber may love Black Diamond chalk, while another may prefer the chalk made by Metolius.

Even though there may be some argument over which chalk is better, there’s certainly no arguing over chalk’s effect or application. By rubbing the magnesium carbonate on your hands and fingers, you’ll have nice and dry hands to climb with. The powder basically soaks up the sweat on your fingers and improves your grip on holds, preventing you slipping off.

Loose chalk, block chalk, a chalk ball or liquid chalk?

Since many beginning climbers seem to be overwhelmed by the huge selection of chalk available on the market today, we’re going to give you a brief overview of the different types of chalk:

  • Loose chalk
    Available in a variety of different textures from fine to coarse, loose chalk can be purchased in bags or other containers. To use it, all you have to do is fill up your chalk bag with it, but only about a quarter of the way. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to fit your hands in there comfortably! It’s always better to have to refill it instead of filling it to the brim.
  • The chalk ball
    Chalk balls are incredibly popular and easy to use. If you’re unfamiliar with them, they’re just mesh balls with pores designed to contain the chalk until you want to use it. They are available in a variety of sizes (make sure to check the amount of chalk and the diameter before buying). It should fit well in your hand. So, if you have big hands, you should get a big chalk ball and for smaller hands a small ball. Simple right? To chalk up, all you have to do is squeeze and knead the ball, as you would bread, and your hands will be covered with chalk.
  • Block chalk
    Chalk is also available in blocks or hunks that a climber can crush or break up into smaller chunks.
  • Liquid chalk
    Liquid chalk is alcohol with magnesium carbonate mixed in. To apply it, all you have to do is squirt a couple of drops onto your palms and fingers, rub it in and you’ll have a chalky residue covering your hands straight away.

If you’re looking for a recommendation, there’s really no clear-cut winner. Everybody has their own personal preference. The regular old powder is very popular, efficient and easy to use. However, loose chalk does produce quite a bit of chalk dust, especially when you French blow (blow the excess chalk off your hands). When you’re at the crag, it’s not that big a deal, but doing it at the gym could be problem. Inhaling all that chalk dust can’t be good! Liquid chalk is perfect for short climbing routes and boulders. For longer climbs, this kind of chalk is less suitable, since you can’t just plunge your hands in your chalk bag to reapply it. For beginners, chalk balls are certainly a good choice. They’re easy to use and great for both climbing indoors and outdoors. How long a chalk ball will last depends on how much you climb and thus how often you use it. But, seeing as chalk balls limit the amount of chalk you can pat onto your hands, an average sized ball used on a regular basis can last for several routes before it has to be replaced.

Chalk bags – those stylish bags that hold your chalk

The chalk bags climbers wear on their harness are used for carrying their chalk and chalking up on their way up. These bags usually have integrated drawstrings to close it and a cord or strap to attach it to your harness. The important thing here is that you can reach the chalk bag from both sides, since you can hardly plunge both hands into your bag at once! As for their features, chalk bags have a fleece lining to help keep the chalk in the bag and distribute it evenly on your hands. Plus, the rim of the opening is usually stiff so that it won’t close on you when you need to chalk up.

It’s hard to say which bag is the best. As with the chalk, every climber has his or her own personal preferences when it comes to chalk bags as well. I mean look at the picture on the right! Many brands offer chalk bags in different sizes, with some being much deeper and others much wider. In spite of all the variety, you should choose a chalk bag is suitable for your hand size. It shouldn’t be too big or too small. After all, you want to be able to move your hand around in there or get a good grip on your chalk ball. All the practical aspects aside, chalk bags are an expression of your own individual style and an integral part of every climber’s gear. There are even hand-made chalk bags you can buy. Wildwexel, for example, makes beautiful one-of-a-kind bags that are bound to turn some heads, no matter where you go climbing.

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Layering systems: To sweat or not to sweat

Layering systems: To sweat or not to sweat

3. Januar 2018
Tips and Tricks

Layering is something we’ve all heard of at some point or another and probably even something we’ve done in our daily lives, be it consciously or unconsciously.

However, despite our previous experience, many important aspects and even benefits of layering may not be known to many of us. For this reason, we’re going discuss not only how to layer your clothing, but why it’s so important and who actually benefits the most from using ‘the layering system’. For example, is it just as beneficial for the autumn hillwalker as it is for a dog walker? And what about winter boulderers?

Well, we’ve looked into it and found too much information! So much, in fact, that we’re going to have to split this post into two parts. We’ll post the second part sometime in the near future.

On the dangers of sweating

The Inuit supposedly believe that one should only move so fast as to not work up a sweat. And with good reason, too: The Inuit’s traditional garb consists of animal skin and fur, which may be extremely warm and perfect in terms of insulation, but it lacks one important thing: breathability. If they were to start sweating, they would literally be stewing in their own juices.

Obviously, sweating itself isn’t a bad thing. After all, it helps to regulate our body temperature when we’re hot. However, as soon as we stop being active and the body stops producing an excessive amount of heat or the cold from the outside outmatches our own production of warmth, the moisture on our bodies begins to cool the body down. What the moisture does is rob the body of warmth and energy. So, in the worst-case scenario, sweating at an outside temperature of -30°C could have life-threatening consequences.

Preventing yourself from sweating

The goal of a layering system is always to prevent you from having too much moisture near the body and cooling down too quickly. This can be done in two ways: either you don’t sweat at all, like the Inuit, or you make sure any moisture that has accumulated over the course of an activity is quickly wicked away from your skin. We’ll get to why you need multiple layers to do this in a second.

Donning and doffing

Wearing multiple layers allows you to regulate the amount of warmth trapped in your clothing much more easily, since it allows you to make tiny adjustments on the go. If you get too hot, you can just take off a thin layer to give yourself some relief but still retain some warmth.

So, by donning and doffing layers of clothing, you can “adjust” the temperature to keep yourself warm without causing excessive sweating.

This kind of layering works with non-synthetic fabrics such as cotton and merino wool as well. However, it does require you to know your own body and how it reacts in different situations. Otherwise, you’ll end up having way too much on. In rainy conditions, this can be complicated to nearly impossible.

Advantages: Works with conventional fabrics such as cotton and wool. They don’t start to smell as quickly and provide higher thermal insulation during breaks without physical activity (applies only to wool and down)

Disadvantages: It requires some past experience. The less experience you have, the more often you’ll have to change.

Breathable synthetic fabrics

If you hear somebody talking about layering today, this is usually what they mean. It’s based on the wonderfully efficient moisture-wicking abilities of modern outdoor apparel.

Similar to the one described above, this system requires you to wear multiple layers of clothing, with the only difference that their moisture-wicking ability renders constant donning and doffing completely unnecessary. If you work up a sweat, any moisture accumulating on the interior can be wicked away quickly and efficiently.

In order for this system to work, there are a few things you need to keep in mind: all of your layers must be made of functional materials. Otherwise, the moisture couldn’t be wicked away, which would lead to a build up of said moisture and an overall ineffective layering system! In this system, the first layer should be worn close to your skin so that fabric has a chance to draw moisture away from your body.

The good thing about this system is that you can sweat – the fabric will take care of it. This kind of layering system is particularly convenient in bad weather, when you’re carrying a lot of gear or you’re engaged in aerobic activity.

Advantages: Sweating is allowed (in moderation)! You don’t need any prior knowledge as to when and how much you sweat. Synthetic products are usually lightweight and quick-drying. Here, too, you can regulate the temperature by donning and doffing the different layers.

Disadvantages: Functional clothing made of synthetic fabrics develop unpleasant odours rather quickly. And, they provide little thermal insulation in the situations in which you don’t produce enough warmth (such as when you’re taking a break). The only exception here is merino wool. Not only is this fabric relatively light as compared to other kinds of wool, but it is also quite breathable. However, it does soak up much more moisture than synthetic fabrics. But, on the bright side, it hardly smells at all!

So what’ll it be?

Whether you opt for synthetic fabrics or not depends – as it always does – on what you’re planning to do (and on what kind of clothing you’ve already got in your wardrobe): speed hiking, multi-pitch climbs, winter bouldering, winter or summer, etc.

As for the individuals layers of a layering system, this is something we’re going to address in part two of our post on ‘the layering system’.

Supplement from 10/03/2015 due to high demand: We’ve been wanting to add to this post for a while now, but just decided not to. The reason for this was simple. The most important facts for the first post were easy to compile, whereas those for the second either went way beyond the scope of the article or were just so numerous that we couldn’t possibly include them all.

In other words, in order to do the topic justice, we would need to write an article for each discipline. And, since the boundaries between the various disciplines are often blurred, we would just run into the same problem as before. On the bright side, we do have heaps of helpful buyer’s guides that could give you some more insight and answer any questions that may have gone unanswered here.

In other words: There will not be a part two on the topic of layering anytime in the near future.

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Are your climbing shoes too tight?

Are your climbing shoes too tight?

20. April 2018
Tips and Tricks

We see it much too often: Climbers putting on their climbing shoes with pain written all over their faces, only to take them off as soon as humanly possible with a huge sigh of relief.

Or what about those poor souls who run to the wall on their heels so that they don’t put too much pressure on their forefoot? I know, it’s a dreadful sight when you see a climber with shoes too tight!

But, how tight should climbing shoes be? Are they really supposed to hurt? Can wearing your shoes too tight have negative consequences, or should we all just stop being such wimps and grin and bear it? After all, you’ve got to reach the next level of difficulty, right?
Climbing began with climbers wearing boots studded with cleats and hobnails. Then, a long time ago, climbers realised that they could climb more difficult routes by wearing special climbing shoes. This was not only due to the special soles but also due to the fact that shoes became tighter, which resulted in climbers having more sensitivity in their toes for small footholds.

This, in turn, resulted in a back and forth between increasingly difficult routes and more and more aggressive shoes. What all this meant for climbers’ feet, however, was completely disregarded for a very long time.

There are so many climbers who wear the wrong shoes and even more who wear their shoes too tight! And, the reasons why they do this are manifold.

Creatures of habit

Climbers are used to wearing their shoes tight. After all, even well-fitting climbing shoes tend to be much tighter than your regular casual shoes. Over the years, climbers have just become increasingly desensitised, and now, tight shoes just feel right! Whereas a beginner would moan incredulously, “Are you sure my foot’s supposed to fit in there?”, experienced climbers would simply shove their feet in the shoes in hopes that they would indeed stretch half a size. And, if they didn’t, well, they’d just have to live with it!

This phenomenon is not just limited to climbing shoes. We’ve become so used to wearing tight shoes that we unwittingly buy our casual shoes too tight as well. We simply don’t know any better! After all, we’re used to them being much tighter! And so it continues…

No pain, no gain

“Climbing shoes are supposed to hurt” – this little pearl of wisdom is just as untrue as it is persistent. It simply leads to beginners buying shoes that don’t fit. Which is completely unnecessary! You don’t even need aggressive shoes in the beginning, but rather “simpler” shoes that will allow you to develop your footwork and technique.

Yes, your climbing shoes should be relatively tight at first, especially if you buy a pair that is supposed to stretch after a few hours of climbing. But, the shoes should never make your feet hurt, especially if you’ve had a chance to break them in over a period of several weeks! But, if they do hurt, you should seriously consider exchanging the shoes for a different pair.

How do the shoes expand?

Well, they do it all by themselves! Leather shoes are particularly good at this. So, just keep climbing! And then climb some more! Why? This will allow the shoe to conform to the shape of your foot. If the mere thought of having to stretch out your new climbing shoes with your own two feet makes you break out in sweat, you may just want to buy a half size larger.

But, bear in mind that climbing shoes expand when they get warm. So, don’t be surprised if they feel really comfortable after two hours of climbing and then awfully tight the very next day.

The better you climb, the more aggressive the shoe

This is yet another very popular rumour in the world of climbing. The better you are at climbing, the more aggressive your shoes are. Or vice versa, if you want to show everybody how good of a climber you are, you wear an aggressive climbing shoe.

Have you ever notice what shoe Alex Honnold wears on his free solo ascents? The La Sportiva TC Pro, among others. I mean, it’s a good shoe, but it’s by no means a MACHINE.

When deciding what shoes to wear, professionals and other experienced climbers differentiate between disciplines and routes. Not a single one of them would ever think of climbing in overly tight shoes with a lot of heel tension on a multi-pitch climb. Except when it comes to the crux, and for that they have other shoes.

Performance and embarrassment are often much closer to each other than you think. If you were climbing an alpine route with multiple pitches in a extremely aggressive shoe, it’d be rather embarrassing. Why? Well, because it’s completely unnecessary. On the other hand, if you managed to climb crazy roof routes in a slipper like the Anazasi, you’d surely earn the respect of those around you.

But is it really bad to wear your climbing shoes too tight?

There is a very informative article on the topic at bergsteigen.com (in German) on the topic. Granted, it may be a bit older, but it certainly hasn’t lost its relevance.

Based on an article written by Volker Schöffel in 1999, here are some of the various “risks” of wearing the wrong climbing shoes:

  • Calluses and pressure points:  These things don’t have to be bad, but they can be very painful, open up and get infected. Not to mention, they’re ugly!
  • Nail bed infection: This occurs because climbers tend to cut their toenails increasingly shorter in order to alleviate the pain caused by their tight shoes. More often than not, they end up cutting into the nail bed. The worst case scenario? If such an infection goes untreated, it may require surgery!
  • Subungual hematoma (bleeding under a toenail): It’s not as bad as it sounds, but is painful and common.
  • Bunion: According to bergsteigen.com, 54% of climbers have this as opposed to 4% of the “normal population”. Bunions are quite the treacherous little malady. It won’t bother you all that much when you’re young, but as you get older, it’ll you’ll really start to notice it. If it gets bad enough, it will require surgery.
  • Hallux rigidus: This describes partial stiffness of the joint in the big toe as a result of overexertion. It can occur in relatively young people as well.
  • Dermatomycosis (fungus): This has less to do with the fit of your shoes than it does with hygiene. Unpleasant for you and your climbing buddies.

According to Dr. Volker Schöffel, modern climbing shoes that are worn in the wrong size or too tight are to blame for several of these ailments.

The surprising thing about this is: Climbers worry so much about their fingers, shoulders, arms and neck, applying all sorts of lotions, tape and other methods in order to prevent injury, whilst often completely ignoring their feet! When researching this topic, I came across countless articles on all sorts of extremities but only one serious text (from 2004) on the topic of shoes and foot ailments.

What can be done?

Easy – wear comfortable shoes! Pay attention to both fit and size when choosing a pair of climbing shoes. There are so many models out there now that you’ll surely be able to find the right size and fit for you. By they way, size and fit are particularly important when it comes to picking out climbing shoes for children, as their feet are still developing. So, do make sure that their shoes aren’t too tight.

Some advice on buying the right climbing shoes can be found in our blog post A buyer’s guide to climbing shoes and our climbing shoe sizing guide. This is where you can find some useful information on the right size and different foot shapes.

As always, use common sense. If your feet hurt and get infected, something’s not right! And keep this in mind: If such problems reoccur or just won’t to go away, the consequences could be very serious. Obviously, only with healthy feet will you be able to reach your full potential as a climber!

I used to make fun of them, but now I, too, have two pairs of climbing shoes: a more comfortable one with more room for my toes (Scarpa Vapor for women) and a high-performance shoe that I primarily use for bouldering (La Sportiva Python). But I only wear that one for the tougher boulder problems.

This is what I have been doing for around a year now and I’ve noticed just how easy it is to get accustomed to wearing wider climbing shoes. Now I primarily wear the ones from Scarpa, and my performance hasn’t suffered as a result. Quite on the contrary, learning how to stand on small footholds with a softer shoe has actually improved my footwork and technique.

One last thing

Heel tension or asymmetrical lasts don’t have to be bad for your feet. There are even people who claim that a shoe with a lot of heel tension and an aggressive downturn is the healthiest option. Unfortunately, we were unable to find any medical literature on this, though.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask our experts in customer service. They are available during the week from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 03 33 33 67058 or via e-mail.

There’s a lot going on in the climbing and outdoor industry. New products are being invented, existing ones are being reworked and improved, and we, too, are learning more every day. And, of course, we would like to share this knowledge with our customers. That’s why we regularly revise the articles at base camp. So don’t be surprised if a few things have changed after a few months. This post was last updated on 30/10/2015.“

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Build your own suspension trainer

DIY: Build your very own suspension trainer!

26. April 2018
Tips and Tricks

A while back our fellow Alpine Trekker Paul posted a comment about another article. We then started emailing back and forth with Paul, which eventually led to him writing instructions on how to build your own suspension trainer. Don’t worry, you won’t have to buy a whole bunch of bits and bobs to do so. As a climber, you probably have everything you need lying around the house!

It’s also worth noting that the climbing exercise book GimmeKraft!has a whole section with exercises for suspension trainers! So, if you want to bring your training to the next level, have a look at that book!

In the following, we’re going to reveal how you can build your very own suspension trainer – and it won’t cost an arm and a leg!

Let’s build a suspension trainer

As you increase the intensity and level of your climbing and bouldering training, the need for supportive strength training grows as well. Besides, if you really want to improve your overall climbing performance, it is necessary to refine your training methods. However, the harder you train, the more likely you are to train lopsidedly, disregarding key muscle groups and your core, which can result in injuries, and nobody wants that! On the plus side, though, training methods for climbing and bouldering are constantly being improved and thus becoming much more versatile.

One of the more popular methods is using rings. Originally used for gymnastics, rings are perfect as climbing and bouldering training. Not only do they have plenty of advantages for your all-round physical fitness, but so many different exercises for boulderers and climbers have been developed in recent years that it’s becoming difficult to imagine a life without them!

Advantages

  • Mobility: Not only is a suspension trainer lightweight and portable, but it is also easy to remove. So, you won’t have to worry about your trainer becoming a part of your living room decor.
  • Time: A suspension trainer allows you to train at home whenever it is convenient for you. Thus, you can incorporate training into your daily life.
  • Types of training: We don’t train individual muscles, but rather deep core muscles. We combine strength training with muscle coordination.
  • For both strength and supportive strength training
  • Several climbing gyms now have rings that you can use to train with as well.
  • Price: The initial price is very low, and you won’t have to pay much at all after that.

Another advantage: The rings allow you to continuously adjust the intensity of the training according to your individual needs or the exercises you prefer to do. Plus, you can combine suspension training with your endurance training. For example, when you go for a run or a ride, you can take your trainer with you, hang it up on a tree and train to your heart’s content! Plus, you can even take it with you on your next holiday if you wish!

Let’s start building – what you’ll need:

For the suspension trainer you’ll need the following:

  • 2 cords (each ca. 70cm / 5-6mm)
  • 3-4 metre single rope (ca. 10 mm)
  • 1 pulley
  • 2 heavy-duty slings (1m length)/handles

Attachment:

The parts you need, especially those for the attachment, vary and depend on the kind of attachment. The important thing is to choose an attachment point that is fully capable of holding your own body weight, such as strong wall anchors, hammock hooks, ceiling beams, pillars, etc. But do make sure to check whether the wall is capable of holding your weight.

You can find all the necessary parts in our shop or use spare parts you have lying around your flat. For the heavy lift slings, provided you use them instead of rings, you’ll have to visit your local DIY store. You should make sure that the slings are at least 4-5cm in width and possibly even lightly padded. Alternatively, you can use training handles.

Instructions:

Step 1:

Tie the two cords in an overhand knot around the slings. It is important that the cords go through the heavy lift slings/training handles.

Step 2:

Secure the cord slings to the last sixth of the single rope using a Prusik knot. To do this, use the cord to tie a double cow hitch around the single rope. Make sure that the overhand knot on the cord is neither in the Prusik knot nor in the heavy lift sling.

Step 3:

For safety reasons, tie both ends of the single rope in a simple overhand knot.

Step 4:

Position the pulley in the middle of the single rope so that it can be attached to a tree, pole or hook.

Step 5:

By using a Prusik knot on the heavy lift slings, we can continuously and individually adjust the suspension trainer for different exercises. To do make these adjustments, hold onto the Prusik knot and push it along the single rope.

Let the training session begin.

Notes

It is important for beginners to work with a skilled trainer a couple of times before training on their own. Trainers can show you what you’re doing wrong and correct it before it’s too late!

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