Best Chalk Bags

As rock climbing's popularity has increased, so has the market for rock climbing gear. Fortunately, identifying the right chalk bag remains rather simple.

A product that is often looked over in favor of climbing shoes, chalk bags serve as the cornerstones of your next rock climbing adventure.

A chalk bag has a very simple function. As the name says, it's designed to keep your favorite chalk close by.

Whatever style of climbing you like – trad, multi-pitch, sport, or bouldering – you will regularly find yourself plunging your hands into chalk.

This common white powder helps you strengthen your grasp, calm down, relax your hands, and stop sweating, all of which are necessary when you are climbing very high up. 

Whichever bag you choose, you cannot go that wrong, as they are all similarly built.

However, considerable variations in size, materials, structure, and characteristics can be found in each bag that may make a difference to you.

In this article, we are reviewing the top chalk packs available on the market, highlighting those that stand out for their ease of use, durability, or trendy appearance.

At the end of this article, you will find the buyer's guide that will show you all the features you need to look out for when making your purchase. 

OUR TOP PICK

Arc'teryx Unisex's Ion Chalk Bag Large, Black, One Size

The Arc'teryx Ion Chalk Bag is engineered to accompany you on all of your climbing activities, from sport to technical.

It has a solid rim that makes hand chalking a breeze. Regardless of your position, the bag will always be within reach.

The synthetic fabric ensures that the bag performs wonderfully even after years of use, and the velvety fleece interior keeps dust at bay.

The drawcord closure prevents spillage. However, to achieve such a tight no-spill closure, the cords have been designed to be very thin, so treat them cautiously and carefully.

Arc'teryx has contemplated every possibility, and every design feature has been well thought out so it helps you while you’re on the rocks.

Apart from the basic inclusions – a small zipper pocket and an adjustable brush loop – the Ion Chalk pack comes in two sizes: small and large.

Depending on your preferences and hand size, you may want the small, lightweight Ion Chalk Bag, or the big Ion Chalk Bag for those times when you need to stock up on the perfect chalk for those massive wall climbs.

What is the disadvantage? The Arc'teryx Ion is rather expensive.

Nonetheless, for the high price, you are able to get a tough and trustworthy bag that will serve you well on several future climbs.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Durable
  • Lasts a long time
  • Tight closure

Cons

  • Expensive 
  • Thin cords may break easily

EDITORS CHOICE

Petzl Sakapoche Chalk Bag

Petzl has a long history of providing outdoor adventurers with innovative and high-quality equipment, and the Petzl Sakapoche Chalk Bag is a climbing classic that has it all.

To assist people in their climb, Petzl has produced a chalk pack that, like many of their other products, is distinguished by its durability and ergonomic design.

The Sakapoche is a medium-sized bag, not a large one, making it appropriate for those with smaller hands.

You will not regret picking this bag if you are heading on a multi-pitch excursion.

A robust rim allows you easy access to chalk, while the soft fabric of the Sakapoche means that you will hardly feel it while climbing.

It has a simple paracord closure system - a drawstring and a cord lock – but is less secure than some of the other bags on our list.

The liner is sewn to the bottom of the bag to keep it from flipping inside out when you remove your hands.

Additionally, the extended zippered compartment provides additional storage for personal items, snacks, and other small items.

If the zippered pocket is too much for you, the Petzl Saka is a simpler variation that preserves the Sakapoche's design but does not have the pocket with zipper.

There is little to hate about Petzl Sakapoche in general. It is sturdy, soft but not too floppy or weak, and easy to use, which makes it a perfect traditional chalk bag.

Pros

  • Soft material
  • Zipped pocked for added storage

Cons

  • Possibly too small for people with larger hands

BEST VALUE

STATIC Waxed Canvas Chalk Bag

This flexible and durable helmet is one of the best in today’s market. Built for a range of water sports,

this piece of headwear is equipped to keep you looking great and feeling safe.

Whether you’re a beginner tackling your first wave or a professional looking to play hard, this helmet will provide you with the reliable protection you need.

From a brand known for their recognizable and unique style, this model comes in four finishes,

including a ‘satin orange’ which will not only ensure you stand out but can be extremely useful in terms of lifeguard visibility with there are ultra-crowded line-ups.

With its high-density injection-molded ABS shell and its soft, quick-absorbing EVA liner, the helmet provides not only effective protection but comfort around the top of the neck and the ears.

For further comfort, the straps of the helmet are made of a soft, nylon, webbed material rather than the harsh plastic that many manufactures tend to use.

This helmet with its durability, ventilation, and practical composition is one that is known for its mass appeal amongst surfers and water enthusiasts worldwide.

If you are looking for a high-standard, substantial value for money model, you will not regret choosing the Pro-Tec Ace Water helmet.

Pros

  • Light and comfortable fit
  • Closed-cell padding which prevents water build-up
  • Safety Standard Certification verified
  • Equipped with 15 open vent holes
  • Universal and built for a range of water sports

Cons

  • Non-adjustable straps

BEST VALUE

Organic Climbing Chalk Bag

In the United States, Organic Climbing creates chalk bags by hand. They are durable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing.

Their one-of-a-kind bags are made of 100% recyclable materials and may be customized according to your needs.

You're bound to draw attention while on the rocks with an Organic Climbing Chalk Bag!

Organic Climbing backpacks are constructed of 1000 denier Cordura nylon, which provides exceptional durability.

They have improved upon their previous model by adding a solid rim that guides your hand exactly to the chalk. 

Additionally, you can be certain that you are getting a high-quality product when you purchase from a company that handcrafts its bags in the United States and sells directly to the consumer.

Three sizes (S, L, and XL) are offered in a range of vibrant colors. Organic Climbing will design a custom bag for you that will look fantastic and function wonderfully on all of your future climbs and adventures.

Pros

  • Customizable
  • Comes in multiple colors 
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Very durable

Cons

  • Not that many size options
  • Possibly too stiff for some climbers

RUNNER UP

Houdini Chalk Bag

The Houdini Chalk Bag, developed by Tufa Climbing in the United States, incorporates outstanding innovations that have shown to be suitable for long, multi-pitch huge wall climbs.

Other zippered chalk bags typically have pockets on the side, whereas Houdini's zipped pocket/compartment is positioned at the bottom.

This way, you can pack your pocket to the brim without the danger of blocking your chalking.

Pockets that stretch into the chalk zone can be super annoying to get around, so this is a great alternative for this pocket. 

The Houdini boasts a wide hole, a sturdy rim, and luscious fleece, which simplifies the process of chalking up.

The bottom pocket is waterproof and spacious enough to hold emergency needs like a headlamp, keys, phone, and wind shirt – and there may still be room for a couple of more small items as well. 

While this is not the most affordable bag on this list, you are receiving a well-designed item that is handcrafted in the United States.

If you want to go long distances and value having your possessions close by, the Tufa Climbing Houdini Chalk Bag may be the appropriate bag for you.

Pros

  • The large bottom zip pocket is in a great location and is also big enough to hold several items
  • Easy to chalk up
  • Well designed and durable

Cons

  • Not the best bag to use in sport climbing or bouldering as it is quite large 
  • Expensive

RUNNER UP

Black Diamond Mojo Zip

The Black Diamond Mojo Zip is an excellent chalk bag for the amateur climber.

It has all necessary features such as brush loops, zippered pockets, and a reinforced thermoplastic bottom that ensures the bag can withstand being dragged against the rocks, which commonly happens when rock climbing.

Additionally, the included webbing belt comes in handy for quick-release attachments.

The Mojo Zip is a perfect example of a functional traditional bag that can do exactly what it needs to simply and easily.

So if you are looking for a simple, economical, tough fabric bag that suits all of your needs, the Black Diamond Mojo Zip is it.

Pros

  • Large zipped pocket for storage
  • TPU material that is very durable and abrasion-resistant
  • Perfect for beginners to rock climbing 

Cons

  • No stand out features
  • Possibly too simple for pros of the sport

OUR TOP PICK

Arc'teryx Aperture Chalk Bag - Large

Another Arc'teryx bag has made our list, which is unexpected considering Arc'teryx's reputation for developing and producing some of the highest-quality outdoor products available.

The Arc'teryx Aperture Chalk Bag is distinguished by its ground-breaking twist-closure design. It is designed to hold even the tiniest particle of chalk during travel and to minimize bulk for convenient packaging.

While the inventive twist clasp is wonderful and effective against chalk spillage, it comes at a price.

While open and in "climbing" mode, the chalk bag's midsection is somewhat delicate and floppy, owing to the flimsy fabric used to accommodate the twisting closure design.

As a result, it takes longer and is more difficult to chalk up your hands than it is with other bags. However, a reinforced rim keeps the bag wide open to try and overcome this design flaw.

Additionally, the floppy center means that this chalk bag may be unsuitable for bouldering, which requires the chalk bag to be positioned upright on the ground. However, it is great for sport climbing.

If transport security is a priority, the Arc'teryx Aperture is possibly the best chalk bag on the market as you can be sure that is no chalk spillage while you are on your way to the rocks, or during your climb. 

This bag comes in two different sizes: small and large. An extra fun feature of this bag is that it features a built-in bottle opener for post-climb celebrations at the top of the rocks. 

The Climbers Buyers Guide

It is fair to say that when it comes to equipment, chalk bags aren't nearly as critical as your harness and may not make your list of climbing gear essentials.

Despite this, they do help in making your climb a lot easier. A high-quality chalk bag will help you increase your performance or, at the very least, prevent you from slowing down on the wall.

The chalk inside is vital in improving your grip and preventing sweat, which can make you fall if you cannot grab onto the wall properly. 

For beginners to rock climbing, you may be unaware of the most important features you need to look out for when buying a chalk bag.

That is why we have made this list below of everything you need to consider when making your purchase. 

Size 

There are three varieties of chalk bags in general: small bags, standard bags, and buckets.

Small Chalk Bags

Individuals with small hands will find smaller chalk bags more comfortable. They are also lightweight and compact, making them excellent for circumstances in which you do not want the bag to hang up during a dyno or a difficult move.

Standard Chalk Bags

These bags are perfect for chalking your entire hand, rather than just your fingertips, and maybe even your forearms, like crack climbers do.

If you have larger hands and are unsure about having only your fingers dipped, opt for a standard-size bag.

Because they have a larger capacity for chalk, they are a better choice for longer routes – but if you want to conserve weight, choose for a little lightweight one.

Buckets

Chalk Buckets are utilized for bouldering due to their rigidity, which enables them to keep their shape while standing on the ground.

You carry them with you on your bouldering sessions, place them on the ground, and chalk both of your hands before tackling severe overhanging boulder problems.

Gear Attachment Options

You only really have two options when it comes to carrying your chalk bag. You can either attach it to your waist belt or clip it to your harness.

The option you choose will possibly change how climbing feels, as you may notice the bag more in one place than another.

Take some time to figure out which place feels the best and most supported. 

Waist Belt

You can easily swing the chalk bag side to side by tying it to your waist belt. This may be quite useful in some scenarios.

For example, if your back is against the chimney wall and the chalk bag is attached to the back loop of your harness, then you will not be able to reach it.

But attached to your waist means that it is always handy. 

However, wearing your bag on your waist means that it may move from side to side during the climb, even if you do not want it to. This may be very distracting when you climb. 

Harness

You may restrict the mobility of the chalk bag by connecting it to your harness. This can help avoid any distractions it may cause, as well as make it easier to locate.

The negative is that, because of its location in one spot, it may become stuck behind you or hard to access under certain circumstances.

Bouldering

While bouldering, a chalk bag can be put on the ground or attached to your waist belt.

Whichever option is best for you will depend on your preferences, bouldering location, and how many people you have to share the bag with. 

Shape

Chalk bags are typically available in two shapes: cylindrical and tapered shape.

Cylindrical

As the name suggests, cylindrical bags are shaped like a non-tapered cylinder. As a result, cylindrical bags are larger and can accommodate greater amounts of chalk.

This makes them perfect for long climbs, or for people with larger hands who need to use more chalk when climbing.

Tapered

Tapered shape bags have a bigger top and a smaller bottom. They are often smaller, softer, and lighter as a result.

This is good for shorter climbs, though as they are softer they can be less durable, meaning there is more risk of rips or breaks appearing as you climb, especially if your bag is dragged against the rocks. 

Whichever option you choose is entirely up to you. Longer routes usually need bigger cylindrical chalk bags, but shorter sport climbs necessitate tapered bags.

Your choice, however, may vary depending on your climbing style and preferences.

Extra Features

Chalk bags often come with a few extra features designed to make your climbing experience easier, as well as make the bags stand out from the crowd more. Three are the most common ones that you can find. 

Stiffened Rim

A stiffened rim is one of the most critical characteristics of a chalk bag. It significantly improves the accessibility and usability of a chalk bag.

Chalking up your hands while halfway up some rocks is already hard enough, you do not need the bag t make it even more difficult for you.

To avoid the bag collapsing, ensure that it has a strong and stiff reinforced rim.

Fleece Lining

A fleece lining is another vital component. It minimizes chalk dust and allows for a uniform spread of chalk across your palms and fingers. This is vital if you want the strongest grip possible

Closure

Type of closure style is critical. If you don't want a giant cloud of white smoke trailing behind you while you climb or travel, look for chalk bags with a drawstring and toggle clasp for a snug fit.

Extra Zippered Pockets and Brush Loops

Some chalk bags have zippered pockets and/or brush loops. While none of these features are required necessarily, they can come in handy, especially on long climbs.

Zippered pockets are ideal for keeping a headlamp, keys, phone, or other small personal items. Keeping a brush nearby is beneficial when cleaning greasy, slippery hands.

Additional features to consider:

  • Adjustable Belt
  • Removable Waist Belt
  • Belt Loops
  • Double Belt Loops
  • Water Resistant Material
  • Adjustable Bungee

Kevin Macey
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