Chalk bags are probably the least important piece of climbing gear, but hear me out...
Your chalk bag is the only piece of gear you own that doesn’t play a role in keeping you safe and doesn’t really impact your climbing abilities, either. But if you think about it in a different way… chalk bags are the only piece of climbing gear that you can really go all out and have fun with.
They’re the only piece of climbing gear that you can choose almost purely on aesthetic design.\So let’s check out some of the coolest chalk bag brands and styles, so you can proudly stow your
So let’s check out some of the coolest chalk bag brands and styles, so you can proudly stow your Friction Labs chalk.
Organic chalk bags are some of the most classic and well-known among core climbers, but they’re also perhaps our favorite bags. Made from recycled cutting scraps from other Organic products, these are sustainable bags, but they’re also very customizable, offering the ability to select two different accent colors and a background as well. Each bag includes a waist belt, and is constructed with a 1000d Cordura nylon shell with a polyester fleece liner. At $22, these bags are a steal.
Krieg USA has been making custom and intricately-designed small batch chalk bags for over twenty years now, and it shows. These are bags with exquisite, nature-inspired designs. From the exotic Falcon Tribal to the psychedelic Tiger Forest bag, the dozens of unique designs offered by Krieg are guaranteed to make you stand out from the pack at the crag.
Chalk Bums makes extremely unique chalk bags, with each bado custom orders, so you can get your own favorite stuffed animal turned into a chalk bag. The options here are limitless, so with Chalk Bums, you’re sure to find a chalk bag that fits your style, and if you can’t, then just send in your own stuffed animal and do a custom-order.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Mammut Stitch chalk bag is completely blank and unadorned. Mammut’s a big brand and we know you’ve heard of them, but this bag has the potential to be completely unique to you. It’s really cool because you can stitch anything into it.
It’s designed with a perforated surface, and comes with 3 cards of high-quality yarn (each 8 meters), a needle and a stitching pattern. This way, you can create your own embroideries, stitch on patches, or anything else, anywhere on the bag. The bag has a hook and loop opening too, which provides easy access to the inside of the bag for when you’re stitching.
These Tufa bags aren’t as exotic as some of the others on our list, but the brand is known for extreme durability. Also, the fact that it’s handcrafted with natural beeswaxed cotton canvas gives it an unique aesthetic. According to the product page, it becomes “more beautiful as it ages” and manages to gain a unique, durable texture similar to leather, while managing an eco-friendly footprint. All I know is that I love the look of it, and the angled top and ergonomically tapered body make it a really functional bag, too.
Practical Climbing has loads of cool bags, from the zany “Fuzzball” to upcycled sari chalk bags to chalk bags covered in literally dozens of patterns. Here let me name a few. Avocados. Astronauts. Yoga Positions. Cave Crystals. Seals Floating Around in Outer Space. The list goes on...
Practical Climbing has tons of functional bags that also feature interesting and varied designs. Who wouldn’t want a chalk bag with seals floating around in outer space on the sides?
Okay, so this isn’t a specific design per say, but Dirtbag Climbers, out of Atlanta, Georgia, does awesome custom work, so you can make whatever chalk bag you want. All of their standard bags are made with Cordura 100% Nylon, right here in the USA, and their waxed canvas chalk bags are waxed with Texas Beeswax. Every chalk bag includes a fleece liner. You can pick two colors for your bag, and then specify a design (mountains, stripes, etc.). The customization options aren’t top-of-the-line since they don’t offer embroidery, but this is a high-quality, US-based brand that puts a lot of effort into their product, and it’s quite cheap too (at least as far as custom chalk bags go), at only $27.
For all the nerds out there (me included), this is a kickass chalk bag brand. They hand-make all their bags right here in the USA, and the process is zero waste, so it’s super environmentally friendly.
The real draw is the unique designs they have. All are based on sci-fi / fantasy and video game pop culture. We have designs featuring the Mandalorian, Harry Potter, Pokemon, the Legend of Zelda, and more, and you can also request a custom order!
Another custom bag brand, Kanga lets you design almost every aspect of your chalk bag from the ground up. You choose whether you want a pouch or cylinder-style bag, whether you want a zipper or not, and choose the side coloring. Then you send them an image of what you want the design to be.
Kanga also has one of the largest lineups of pre-made chalk bag designs out of any brand on this list. There are categories for animals (pandas, sloths, corgis, etc), nature (mountains, leaves, bikes), food (sushi, coffee, pineapples, etc), and geeky stuff (Star Wars, Dr. Seuss, Ninja Turtles, SuperMario, and more).
You can’t go wrong here.
This tiny brand out of Spain is just getting into the market. While their designs aren’t as whacky as some of the others we’ve listed above, these handmade cork bags are really one-of-a-kind. The cork fabric and canvas blend is both durable and natural. I guarantee you won't see many other folks at the crag repping a bag like this.
For a more subdued, unique design go check out Scaua on Etsy and support their work.
Owen Clarke is a veteran climber and climbing journalist. He is a columnist for Rock & Ice, Gym Climber, and The Outdoor Journal. Follow his thoughts in his opinion column, “The Choss Pile,” published every Thursday on Rock & Ice.