These dirtbag gift ideas will make any full-time rock climber feel like the richest person on earth. You won’t find typical climbing gear on this list, as most climbers either already have everything they need or are pretty particular about their gear preferences. Instead, you’ll find small but useful items that make the day-to-day dirtbag climbing lifestyle even more enjoyable! Recommendations are unbiased and the buying links are affiliate links—purchases made from them support our free content.
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Dirtbag Gifts Under $20
1. ClimbSkin Healing Lotion
“Engineered for climbers, by climbers,” this hand repair cream is unlike all others on the market. While other climbing-specific repair balms are wax and/or oil-based, meaning they trap moisture in the skin for an extended healing time, ClimbSkin absorbs almost immediately. That means it can be applied just a couple hours before climbing to proactively prep the skin, or after to rehydrate without softening the skin. It even reduces hand sweat, making for stronger, more durable skin all-around.
For the full-time dirtbag, the skin is often the sole determining factor on whether or not they can climb that day. A gift which allows for more time on the rock is the best gift you can give.
2. Black Diamond Bouldering Brush
What rock climber isn’t constantly losing their chalk brush? They’re small and wear out, so the climber in your life will be stoked (“happy,” in climber lingo) to receive a few extras.
Don’t let the name fool you: the Black Diamond Bouldering Brush can be used for any type of climbing. The small size fits easily in a sport climbing chalk bag while the larger size fits best in a boulder bucket. The tapered, boar’s hair bristles can reach into small holds and the softer nature of the boar’s hair reduces damage to the rock.
For the most hardcore dirtbags, these can even double as a toothbrush. 😉
3. Tenacious Tape Gear Repair Tape
Most dirtbags don’t want new clothes, even if they aren’t paying for it. They want to keep wearing their old ones, holes and all. More power to them (buying fewer clothes can save a lot of money and the planet, after all).
With Tenacious Tape gear repair tape, you can respect their wishes while also helping make sure their underwear isn’t showing and that their down jacket isn’t losing its fluff. This stuff may seem flimsy, but its mighty adhesive power sticks to pretty much any technical fabric, instantly sealing tears, holes, and punctures. It can even be used as an abrasion-resistant layer to prevent future damage to high wear areas.
4. Therm-a-Rest Z-Seat Pad
Dirtbagging is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Add some comfort to a dirtbag’s life with this simple little closed-cell foam pad that collapses accordion-style into an easy, portable block. Unfolded, it becomes a dry, warm seat with an aluminized coating that actually holds an R-value of 2.2. Now they can fearlessly pop a squat in between burns and belays, even on the snowiest, muddiest ground.
Dirtbag Gifts $20 – $50
5. Alpine Start Instant Coffee Jar
When climbing rules your life, sometimes coffee has to come second. By totally dissolving in hot or cold liquid, Alpine Start instant coffee can easily kick start the day. It’s the “instant coffee that Himalayan climbers swear by”, as well as being a popular choice for dirtbags, backpackers, and big wall climbers.
Regardless of how you feel about instant coffee, on the whole, this medium roast high-altitude Columbia Arabica bean coffee actually tastes good. Seriously. Even if it isn’t quite a replacement for the real thing, it’s perfect for dirtbags to have on hand in case they need to get up early to catch those prime sending temps.
6. Hangdog Days: Conflict, Change, and the Race for 5.14
Books are always a winning gift idea. After all, dirtbags need something to do on rainy days. Jeff Smoot’s 400-page creation is a fascinating chronicle of how rock climbing has changed over the last 50 years, from the radical shift toward clean climbing in the 1980s to the sport’s explosive growth since the turn of the century. Inspiring, exciting, and philosophical all at once, this may inspire any dirtbag to stay inside reading instead of climbing… well, almost.
7. Sea-to-Summit Pocket Shower
Nothing says, “I love you but bro, you stink,” like gifting a portable shower. While some dirtbags take the title of dirtbag more literally than others, this part-practical, part-gag gift is a great backup to have on hand for those times when public showers are hard to find.
It’s essentially an ultralight gravity-powered shower bag that holds 10L of water at a flow rate that provides a glorious 7-minute shower. It can handle either hot or cold water. So if the only thing that makes you cringe even more than not knowing what to get your dirtbag is them hugging you in thanks, this might be just the gift they need!
8. Black Diamond Storm 400 Headlamp
Whether rummaging around their vehicle in the dark preparing for a last-minute alpine start, or lighting up a boulder for some sick sundown sendage, this headlamp can do it all. With an incredible 400-lumen maximum brightness setting, full-spectrum dimming, and an IPX6 water-resistant design (even against high-pressure water streams) this headlamp is as versatile as it is powerful.
Adjust the strength of the beam as well as change between red, green, blue, and strobe light modes. The Brightness Memory feature records your last used setting, and will remain after turning the headlamp off and back on.
Note that this is not, unfortunately, rechargeable by factory default (it takes 4AAA batteries), and Black Diamond’s sold-separately rechargeable batteries would not allow the device to produce its full 400-lumen potential. However, with its convenient 3-LED battery meter, the user can always check how much power remains BEFORE getting stuck in the dark with a dead headlamp. Come on, we’ve all been there.
9. Friction Labs Loose Chalk
Let’s be honest, most dirtbags simply can’t afford Friction Labs, though most will agree there’s some unspeakably magical friction-granting power to it. Maybe that’s why they call one of the cuts “Unicorn Dust.”
It may not seem like much of a gift to the non-climber, but trust us, any climber would be absolutely stoked to receive a carton or two of this magic dust. Not the drug, but pretty much the climber equivalent of it!
Best Dirtbag Gifts $50 – $100
10. Black Diamond Hot Forge Heated Chalk Bag
What started as Black Diamond’s annual April Fool’s gear prank turned into a wildly popular product they’ve had to unexpectedly integrate into regular production. Black Diamond sure was surprised by its popularity, but we weren’t. To succeed as climbers, we chase the sending temps, never mind that those temps are absolute murder on the fingers. Increased friction is only so useful if your fingers are numbed out…
That’s where the Hot Forge chalk bag comes in. Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can last anywhere from 2 to 8 hours depending on which of the three temperature settings it’s on, it features an ergonomic internal grip designed to heat the fingers all the way from the knuckles to the tips. In combination with the 80g Thinsulate® insulation that holds the heat in the bag, say goodbye to numbed-out fingers.
Now your dirtbag won’t have to stick their fingers in their stinky armpits while hangdogging.
Only Available at Black Diamond!
11. Tension Flash Board
Even if the temps are cold enough to need some battery-powered finger warming, it’s important to thoroughly warm up the fingers and tendons to prevent injury. That can be hard to do out at the crag. At least until Tension Climbing revolutionized the portable hangboard.
Their Flash Board is a simple wooden tube, lightweight and stuffable in any pack. Despite its small size, it features 8mm, 10mm, 15mm, and 20mm edge sizes. Dirtbags can use the larger sizes to warm up the fingers and the smaller sizes to actually train on off days.
Since mounting a hangboard in a van is difficult at best, the ease with which this can be hung in trees, rocks, or even deadlifted from under one’s own feet makes this one of the best mobile finger training solutions to date.
Available at Tension Climbing.
12. JBL Clip 3 Portable Speaker
Sometimes we need to blast some sending songs to elevate the stoke. This waterproof and powerful palm-sized speaker can blast tunes for 10 hours on one charge of its rechargeable battery. Clip it to a crash pad or crag pack via the built-in carabiner and wirelessly daisy chain it to another speaker for even more sound. Just be sure to remind them to exercise crag etiquette and be considerate of others when playing music.
For you moms out there, it even has a built-in speakerphone so they can’t use the old “sorry I couldn’t answer your call, I was out climbing” excuse to avoid talking to you (not that we ever do that…).
13. Mountain Method Boulder Caddy
And for hauling all those new crag goodies, behold the Mountain Method Boulder Caddy. While rope climbers used to get all the love of pack designers, not so anymore! If your dirtbag is a boulderer, change their life with this packing system.
Essentially a fabric sheet with many pockets (for shoes, chalk brushes, chalk, snacks, and even a cell phone), the Boulder Caddy sandwiches easily in between crash pads with an even weight distribution. It also reduces the risk of damaging the foam which can happen when sandwiching a full backpack in a crash pad. The best part is its dual handle design at the top and bottom, which allows for it to also be carried short distances just like a briefcase, perfect for moving from one boulder to the next without fully repacking and unpacking. It doesn’t just simplify and organized the approach, but the entire cragging experience!
14. ArmAid Forearm Massager
Climbing on a near-constant basis is incredibly hard on the tendons. At some point, most dirtbags have dealt with activity-limiting elbow and forearm pain. Highly reviewed by pro climbers like Jonathan Siegrist, the ArmAid is designed to improve tendon health and relieve this pain through myofascial release and trigger point therapy. Temporary soreness and tendon fatigue aside, it’s said to be a game-changer for those who suffer from tendonitis or chronic climber’s elbow.
It just straps to the thigh, clamps the arm between a padded roller and interchangeable massage tool (it comes with four tools), and works its magic while the user slowly rolls their arm through it (while squeezing at a customized pressure with the other hand). While it may take up more space than a plain spiky therapy ball, it’s still reasonably compact for how powerful it is. This tool deserves to take up a small amount of space in any climber’s life.
15. Gibbon Classic Treewear Slackline Set
Dirtbag life isn’t ALL about climbing… okay well it mostly is, but even dirtbags appreciate some activities that aren’t climbing related. Even better, though, is when an activity can improve climbing-related skills. This is exactly what slacklining can do by improving body awareness and balance.
Gibbon’s Classic Set includes a 49-foot webbing strap, heavy-duty tensioning ratchet, and additional anchor webbing rated to 4 tons. It also includes two tree protectors so you don’t damage the bark of whatever trees you might find yourself anchoring between.
Best Dirtbag Gifts Over $100
16. ENO Skyloft Hammock
As much as dirtbags love their vans (or Subbies or flatbeds), vehicle dwelling can get a little cramped sometimes. How wonderful it would feel to escape the confines of the van every once in a while to sleep under the stars!
The Skyloft Hammock features horizontal support struts at both the head and foot for an open and nearly flat sleeping experience. A welcome contrast to the standard hammock design which envelopes its user into a semi-claustrophobic cocoon. The Skyloft also features an integrated pillow stuff sack and dual modes so you can adjust the tilt level of either the head or foot to the perfect level of comfort.
17. Vankyo Burger Pico Projector
After a long day of cragging and dirtbagging, unwind with a van movie night. But who wants to watch a movie on a tiny laptop screen? The fully wireless Vankyo Burger Pico Projector is the perfect luxurious solution… and takes up no more space than a standard smartphone.
With 1080p picture quality, built-in speaker, and rechargeable battery, it plays files directly from smartphones, USB/external hard drives, external hard drives, computers, and gaming consoles. So pull out the crash pad couches and turn the side of the van into a mobile movie theater fit for the Dosage marathon they’ve been dreaming about. “What’s Dosage?” you ask. Don’t worry… it’s a dirtbag thing.
18. Black Diamond Belay Parka
Dirtbag life can be straight-up cold. Keep them warm by giving them a versatile outer layer that’ll keep them warm through all their outdoor endeavors.
Voted by Adventure Junkies as the best cold weather belay parka of 2019, the Black Diamond Belay Parka is built specifically with climbers in mind. From the helmet-compatible hood to the harness compatible two-way double zipper and internal drop pockets, this jacket takes the misery out of long, cold belays. Its hyper stretchy cuffs and underarm gussets ensure minimal motion restriction when climbing while wearing the Belay Parka. Lastly, the Thermolite HL Eco-Made synthetic insulation will still insulate even when wet so it’s great for ice, alpine, and rock climbing.
19. GoPro Hero8
Lastly, if you’re looking for a higher-end gift that special dirtbag in your life can enjoy over and over again, consider the latest GoPro Hero 8 action camera. With this, they can record all their amazing accomplishments and adventures in stunningly smooth 4K video and sharp 12MP photos. The Hero 8 is also the first of its line to shoot in raw file format as well, enabling for the ultimate versatility in editing. This is especially great for dirtbags who work in photography or videography as a professional or as a hobbyist.
Other cool features include a touch screen, voice control, time-lapse and slo-mo modes, and live video broadcasting, so you can feel like you’re part of their unorthodox life even from thousands of miles away.
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