What’s in Your Pack is a series where we speak with some of climbing’s leading athletes to learn about the gear that fuels their success.

Jamie Finlayson is a professional climber from Squamish, British Columbia. While you can usually find him clipping bolts or placing protection, he also boulders throughout much of the spring and winter. To learn more about Jamie, view our previous interview where he discusses his career as a climber and his return to the sport after an intensive 6.5hr back surgery to repair a damaged vertebrae: Coming Back Stronger and More Psyched: An Interview with Jamie Finlayson.

Petzl Bug

Climbing backpack designed for single-day multi-pitches and fit for everyday use

Petzl Bug 1

The new Bug by Petzl is well-suited for almost any climbing endeavor. With multi-pitches in mind, it features space for a hydration system, food, clothing, and shoes while maintaing a high carrying position so that it doesn’t obstruct access to your harness. Jamie explains some of the features:

There’s a strap to hold your rope over the top and nice daisy chains on the front. There’s this nice little pouch in the back to just chuck your guidebook in. It holds everything I need and it slots real easily into my [crash] pad.

Petzl Alto

A standard-sized crash pad with a one-pieced hingeless design

petzl alto crash pad

Jamie arrived in Joshua Tree after a flight into Southern California. For ease of traveling, he packed the Alto, a medium-sized crash pad that utilizes a triple-layer foam design for better cushioning. Jamie explains:

These pads are great because you unzip them and that fabric goes over top of the pad to completely conceal the carrying straps. You can use it either way: the one side being softer than the other side. So, for low-ball starts, I’ll sometimes use the black side up, which is softer and a little easier on my old back.

Alternatively, Jamie suggests Petzl’s oversized Cirro crash pad for a larger landing and their Nimbo for added protection.

Friction Labs Gorilla Grip

High-performing, chunky climbing chalk

friction labs gorilla grip climbing chalk


Friction Labs expresses that their chalk is the best-performing, safest, and healthiest chalk on the market. Available in three variations (Unicorn Dust/fine texture, Gorilla Grip/medium, and Bam Bam/super chunky), you’re sure to find a chalk that suits your preferences. While this chalk does come at a price, many climbers using Friction Labs express that they use far less chalk over competing variations.

I like the chunkier chalk a bit better—the chunks help if you’re putting tick marks on the wall and it doesn’t blow out of my chalk bag as easily.

I have really sweaty hands and I find that Friction Labs works great.

Evolv Shaman

A downturned, aggressive shoe for bouldering and sport climbing

Designed with help from Chris Sharma himself, the Shaman is an aggressive shoe intended for boulderers and sport climbers who want high performance at a still-reasonable price. In crafting the Shaman, Evolv incorporated a variable-thickness design around the toe box—an important feature in reducing any possible dead space. Further, the latest version includes greater sensitivity over its predecessor and added toe rubber for enhanced toe-hooking.

Evolv Agro

Evolv’s high-end aggressive bouldering shoe

evolv agro climbing shoe

Best suited for steep overhangs and roofs, Evolv’s Agro uses thin rubber throughout the midsole for greater sensitivity, and their new Tension Power System pulls the toe from three different points into its aggressive profile. Further, the new Cinch closure system provides a supportive, powerful fit, and easy on-off transitions between attempts.

Wooden soother

To stay calm on sketchy topouts

jamie finlayson wooden soother

Alternatively, the wooden soother is sometimes used for Jamie’s adorable child.


For hand nourishment and rejuvenation


Jamie uses climbOn every night after climbing as a means for keeping his tips in prime condition. According to the manufacturer: “This is a multi-purpose product that can be used to soothe burns, cuts, scrapes, rashes, cracked cuticles and heels, tissue nose, road rash, diaper rash, abrasions, poison ivy … any skin issue that needs deep moisturizing and nourishing.” Further, the climbOn Bar only uses natural, food-grade ingredients such as beeswax, kernal oil, lavendar, and grapeseed oil.

Belt sander belt

A long-lasting trick for filing down your tips

belt sander climbing finger tips

Some climbers choose to use a nail filer for tip health, but Jamie explains that a piece from a belt sander is his tool of choice:

I’m a carpenter and this is just a piece of a broken belt from a belt sander. I find that it lasts really long. If I didn’t have a lot of these at home, I would actually go and buy this and cut it up. I find that this works really good for filing down my tips.

Antihydral / Rhino Skin

High-strength hand drying agent

About 5 years ago, Evening Sends published an in-depth article on the use of antihydral and climbing, quoting Daniel Woods as saying it’s “the secret to success.” Jamie says:

I have really soft hands and I get splits easily. I have to use antihydral a lot to help toughen them up.

However, since initially conducting this interview, Jaime has instead been using Rhino Skin Performance Cream, which he says is just as effective as antihydral, but less harsh on your skin.

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