Gear You Ought to Know is a series that showcases underrated, underappreciated, or just plain innovative gear in a discussion-based format. If there’s a piece of gear you’d like featured, let us know.
Has an addiction to crack left your hands bloodied and scarred? Do you spend an inordinate amount of time taping up your hands, only to see your gloves fall apart after a solid crack thrashing?
Consider making the switch to the eco-friendly, wallet-friendly, and most importantly, skin-friendly alternative: reusable crack gloves.
Making the switch
While a well-made pair of tape gloves is certainly re-usable, even the most meticulously crafted pair rarely stays intact for long.
When it comes to protecting your skin, reusable crack gloves offer a more elegant solution than traditional tape. With a velcro closure system, they take mere seconds to put on and take off. Their rugged construction offers consistent and robust protection for the hands.
The avid crack climber will quickly find that reusable gloves spare both the wallet from repeated purchases of tape and the landfills from bearing the inevitable end of all tape gloves.
Choosing the right pair
Green Gear Hand Jammies were the first reusable crack gloves, but much like rigid stem Friends, they have been far surpassed by the innovations of other climbing brands. The Singing Rock Chocky Gloves use a similar design to the Hand Jammies, and do not conform to the hands as well as the leading crack gloves.
The Ocun Crack Gloves and Outdoor Research Splitter Gloves are the pairs to choose between.
Outdoor Research Splitter Gloves
Climbers looking for the closest replacement to traditional tape gloves will find these gloves to be, pardon the pun, a perfect fit!
They are slim, lightweight, and minimalistic. These gloves offer a slightly better level of protection than tape and maintain a low profile on the hands. Climbers with large hands or an affinity for small cracks will appreciate this low profile. These gloves are ideal for smooth sandstone cracks and fine grain granite cracks.
Ocun Crack Gloves
Ocun gloves offer an unprecedented level of protection to the hands. The rubber is noticeably thicker than the OR Splitter Gloves, and additional padding for the knuckles makes jamming a comfortable experience rather than a masochistic one.
These gloves excel on hand-eating coarse grain granite cracks, where even the best tape gloves fall short. Climbers with small hands and those who seek out broken-glass cracks will find these gloves to be an absolute game changer. When facing difficult cracks, the Ocun Crack Gloves are the absolute glove of choice.
These aren’t climbing shoes, don’t start downsizing until your fingers are numb!
Outdoor Research has a very useful size chart for their gloves. For hand sizes on the border between two sizes, consider selecting the smaller size. On the other hand, the Ocun Crack Gloves run very tight compared to their website’s sizing chart. Consider purchasing a size larger than what they recommend.
The Ocun Crack Gloves receive a whopping 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with many reviewers extolling the benefits compared to climbing tape. One reviewer even said,
I used to hate crack climbing, but then I got these gloves!
The Outdoor Research Splitter Gloves enjoy similar praise, with the exception of some concerns regarding durability. Rest assured, the most recent iteration of the gloves are more robust and will stand up to repeated thrashings.
Reusable gloves are a game changer for crack climbing. By protecting hands better than traditional tape gloves, they offer the best benefit of all: the ability to climb more!
The Outdoor Research Splitter Gloves are a wonderful replacement for tape gloves, while the Ocun Crack Gloves offer an unprecedented level of protection from jagged cracks. Neither pair will suddenly increase your crack climbing ability, but they will allow you to climb more cracks, making you a better climber whether or not you sport gloves.
Explore MoreRelated articles you'll love
Our 30+ most popular articles ever
Check out all gear features
How to Build a Trad Rack
Gear You Ought to Know: A Review of CAMP Tricams
How to Crack Climb: 10 Helpful Tips
Gear You Ought to Know: A Review of Sterling Rope’s Hollow Block
How to Tape for Crack Climbing
5 Yoga Poses for Crack Climbing Performance
Addicted to Cracks: 10 American Climbs Worth Jamming Into
Cam Range Comparison Guide
The Ultimate At-Home Crack Machine
Video: Trad First Ascent of Augmentium in Tasmania
Get daily updates by Liking us on Facebook
Free rock climbing PDFs on technique, training, knots, and more