Last update: 2022–05–24
If you’re an experienced rock climber, perhaps you already have a favorite chalk bag you use when you’re doing what you love most, whether that’s out in the glory of nature or just practicing a complex problem at the local gym. However, every year brings a fresh crop of chalk bags to the climbing equipment market that are newer and more innovative than the last batch. As such, we reviewed nine of the top choices for chalk bags to help the climbing community find a product that truly works for them.
We found every scrap of information available on the nine bags to determine which were the best chalk bags and the type of climber that would want to use them. After all, a thin layer of chalk is sometimes the only thing standing between success and failure for most climbers when they feel their precious, hard-earned hold begin to slip.
Let’s dive in right now and look at these nine picks to find the best chalk bag to meet your climbing needs.
Find the Best Rock Climbing Chalk Bag for You: 9 of Our Top Picks
|Model||Brush holder||Zippered pocket||Shape||Best for|
|Black Diamond Mojo Zip||✔||✔||Cylinder||Simplicity|
|Static Waxed Canvas||❌||❌||Cylinder||Durability|
|Two Ogres Essential-Z||✔||✔||Cylinder||Budget|
1) Organic Climbing Chalk Bag
ORGANIC’s chalk bag makes this list as the best choice for environmentally conscious rock climbers.
If you’re as passionate about sustainability as you are climbing, then the ORGANIC chalk bag for rock climbers is the perfect addition to your gear. The manufacturer makes these artistic chalk bags by upcycling scraps of recycled cutting fabric, so each bag is a snowflake, with no two alike.
We also love that ORGANIC (1) goes the extra mile to source all the recycled materials used to make the bags from small businesses and US manufacturers. ORGANIC’s USA-made chalk bag is also perfect for hands of all sizes, with three different options:
- Small bag: 5.5″ depth
- Large bag: 7.5″ depth
- XL bag: +2″ opening width
ORGANIC manufactures this popular chalk bag from recycled scraps of 1000-denier Cordura nylon with a polyester fleece liner. It also has an elastic loop to hold a climbing brush, a drawstring closure with a cord lock, and a removable waist belt. However, it’s not organic despite its namesake because of the synthetic nylon shell covering the exterior.
This cylindrical bag weighs only four ounces, with a reinforced rim allowing for easy chalking up, even on a tough climb.
2) 8BPLUS Charlie Chalk Bag
The Charlie Chalk Bag from 8BPLUS is the best on our list for climbers who want a whimsical climbing buddy rather than just a plain ol’ chalk bag.
With his resting rage face, furry body, and big button eyes, Charlie Chalk Bag from 8BPLUS (2) is the perfect bag to inject a little fun and whimsicality into your climb. 8BPLUS uses rock climbers to design its bags, with Charlie and his character companions handmade and imported into the US. We love that Charlie is fun yet practical, with a five-inch wide opening and stiff rim, an included carabiner, an adjustable waist belt, and not one brush holder but two.
Charlie also has a super-soft pile lining and a faux fur outer surface, with brush holders on either side and a drawstring closure. The bag’s lining is 100% fleece polyester, which soaks up the extra chalk residue like a sponge and allows for even distribution. Although Charlie isn’t organic, he is made with love by climbers and comes with a gift bag, too.
This 8BPLUS chalk bag doesn’t come with any zippered pockets, but it does have a handy carabiner you can use to attach the bag to your harness. You can also browse through lots of other bags from 8BPLUS featuring endearing monster characters to make your climb just a bit more fun than it already is.
3) Mammut Multipitch Chalk Bag
Mammut’s Multipitch Chalk Bag is the perfect choice to take with you on long climbs as a replacement for your summit bag.
Mammut’s Multipitch Chalk Bag neatly eliminates the need for a summit bag, making your gear load that much lighter for long, multi-pitch climbs. This bag has all the bases covered plus more, with pockets galore and a bungee strap to hold your lightweight jacket. It also features a clip-in pocket for keys, a brush loop, and two zippered pockets, one horizontal and one vertical. In addition, the webbing belt has two suspension points for a precise fit, keeping it even on your waist.
The Multipitch bag features a non-organic yet highly durable nylon outer shell and a thick fleece lining, perfect for holding onto all that extra chalk dust. Should you run low on a climb, you could probably squeeze out enough leftover dust from the lining to keep going.
Mammut makes all its climbing gear in Switzerland, with materials primarily from Vietnam and Bangladesh. However, the company is a member of Fair Wear and maintains a positive standing with the sustainability-focused organization.
4) Black Diamond Mojo Zip Chalk Bag
The Black Diamond Mojo is the best choice for climbers on a budget who want a functional, no-frills bag.
The Black Diamond Mojo Zip may not be as fun as Charlie or as high-tech as Mammut’s Multipitch, but it’s a solid choice nonetheless for a no-frills bag that gets the job done and nothing more. While we couldn’t find a specific manufacturing location for the Mojo Zip, Black Diamond makes its climbing equipment in Salt Lake City, Utah, or Innsbruck, Australia.
This chalk bag comes in the classic cylinder shape, with a cord-lock closure and webbing belt with a quick-release plastic buckle. However, some users found the quality of plastic a bit lacking for their taste.
Unlike the other chalk bags on our list, the bottom piece on the Mojo Zip features reinforced TPU material (thermoplastic) that can take some abuse. In addition, the bag’s interior has a fleece lining, and the exterior shell is inorganic synthetic nylon.
Some other great features of the Mojo Zip are the convenient brush holder and a rear zippered pocket, which could hold your keys, phone, or a topo map. Users also loved the slightly more flexible wire rim that guides their hand more accurately into the chalk.
5) prAna Chalk Bag with Belt
prAna offers the best minimalist chalk bag for climbers who want a lightweight yet durable option.
The prAna Chalk Bag with Belt has a simple name (more of a description, really) that matches its minimalistic design, making it the perfect bag for climbers who want function, not frills. While prAna sources primarily from manufacturing facilities in Vietnam and China, the company makes the bag in the US.
These small chalk bags feature a secure drawcord closure to eliminate spillage and an elastic brush loop to store your brush. The waist belt is nylon and easily adjustable for climbers of all sizes. The bag’s opening is a perfect size: not overly broad, but big enough that most people can fit their entire hand in without too much trouble. Did we also mention it only weighs a mere 3.2 ounces?
We love that prAna is conscious of sustainability and only uses 100% organic cotton, recycled nylon, and no rainforest-sourced fibers. Its interior features a smooth suede-nylon material with organic cotton, with the internal liner sewn with high-pile polyester fleece to trap as much dust as possible. If a simple-yet-classic design and outstanding functionality sound good to you, then this offering from prAna is the perfect product to try.
6) STATIC Waxed Canvas Chalk Bag
STATIC Climbing Co.’s Waxed Canvas Bag is a superb choice for a durable, high-performance climbing companion that’s also abuse-resistant.
Every STATIC Waxed Canvas Bag is made by-and-for climbers, right in beautiful San Diego, California, USA. Unlike the other cylindrical bags on our list, STATIC’s bag is sturdier and more structured, with a rigid, upright design that resists tipping.
It’s a slightly larger chalk bag than usual, standing seven inches tall with a 4.5-inch mouth. The waxed fabric is not only vegan, but water repellent, which means this bag can stand up to an unexpected rain shower during your route. Plus, the one-inch belt loops are water-resistant and UV-resistant, too.
STATIC’s chalk bag features sturdy, abuse-resistant canvas with an anti-pill fleece lining that soaks up excess chalk dust quite nicely. The drawstring is Paracord Type 275, with an ingenious design that prevents the cord from slipping out under the lining and spilling a trail of chalk everywhere. Perhaps the nicest touch on this bag out of all the best chalk bags on our list is the interior: it’s infused with organic lavender from San Diego for the sweet scent of calm every time you chalk up on a climb.
7) Arc’teryx Aperture Chalk Bag–Large
The Arc’teryx Aperture is the best chalk bag on our list for climbers with large hands.
The Arc’teryx Aperture may be expensive, but the innovative twist-closure system alone makes the price worth it. Most cylindrical bags are relatively tall and narrow, but this bag’s shape is a squat cylinder. In addition, its ultra-wide, rigid rim is ideal for climbers with very large hands who simply can’t use standard bags.
Plus, the closure style shrinks the chalk volume for super light and efficient transport. However, our favorite feature is the injection-molded waist belt attachment, which doubles as a bottle opener when you finally earn that summit beer.
The Arc’teryx Aperture’s exterior is a rugged, inorganic polyester that resists tearing, even on demanding climbs. Besides the nifty bottle opener, the adjustable waist belt can easily slide from one side to the other, providing convenience and making it a cinch to accommodate any climbing style. You get a straightforward brush holder with a super-light 2.6-ounce construction and no pockets, zippered or otherwise. However, some users found the bag was “too floppy” when extended and felt it could benefit from extra structure.
8) Two Ogres Essential-Z Chalk Bag
Two Ogres’ Essential-Z Chalk Bag is the best pick on our list for climbers on a tight budget.
If you’re not willing to spend a bunch of money on a chalk bag, then the Essential-Z from Two Ogres may be the best choice for you. It’s got a zippered pocket right on the front, making it easy to bring your keys or phone with you on a climb.
This bag is the upgraded version of Two Ogre’s initial Basique v2 chalk bag, but it’s got updated features for better ease of use during sport climbing. With a stiff rim, wide mouth (five inches), and an adjustable waist belt, the Essential-Z is ideal for any climber who needs a chalk bag for big hands. The reservoir is seven inches, providing plenty of room to hold all the chalk you need for your climb. The company is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and offers a one-year warranty on all its products.
The Essential-Z consists of non-organic yet extremely durable 600-denier polyester, with a sturdy cord lock/drawstring closure to prevent excess chalk from spilling out. The stiffened rim allows for easy access to your chalk at all times for simple chalking up during your climb. Users also enjoy the signature inner lining of artificial fur to hold a thick layer of pure chalk dust at the bottom. Plus, it’s got a super slim buckle that allows for easy attachment, even on top of a harness.
9) Sukoa Chalk Bag
The Sukoa is the best chalk bag for novice climbers who need an inexpensive yet functional bag.
As the number one best-selling chalk bag on Amazon, this super-affordable option from Sukoa tops our list as the best choice for novice climbers (although climbers of any skill level will love this bag). Among the best features of the Sukoa are the two zippered pockets, one large, one small, which easily hold keys and your phone.
Plus, you get a deep 7.2-inch chalk reservoir and a 5-inch mouth, making it an ideal chalk bag for big hands. We also love the quick-clip waist belt, with two loops on the back for easy attachment to your harness.
Although we had trouble finding technical specs on this imported Sukoa bag, it consists of inorganic nylon. The manufacturer doesn’t have a website to buy this bag directly, but it’s for sale on Amazon and other e-commerce sites.
Each bag comes in black, with your choice of edging to give it a pop of color and individuality. The opening of this Sukoa bag features a metal wire trim for added stability, keeping the bag’s mouth securely open when you need to chalk up quickly.
Here’s our quick list of the other chalk bags that missed being our top choices but still made the Honorable Mention list:
- Arc’teryx Ion Chalk Bag
- Houdini Chalk Bag from TUFA Climbing
- Metolius Ultralight Chalk Bag
- Cotopaxi Halcon Chalk BAg
- So iLL Chalk Bucket Bag
- So ILL Bouldering Chalk Bag Kit
- KAVU Peak Seeker
What Are Chalk Bags?
While most retailers usually list chalk bags under the Accessories category, we think it’s a disservice to consider this critical piece of gear as a simple climbing accessory. Please don’t underestimate the value of finding a good chalk bag, as it provides a considerable advantage during your climb. For example, if you’re tackling a complex problem and your hands start to sweat, having an easy-to-reach chalk bag often means the difference between losing a hold or moving onwards and upwards.
Although many indoor gyms require liquid chalk, most climbing communities use dry, powdered chalk, which inevitably produces cough-inducing dust clouds. Enter the chalk bag: a lightweight, streamlined bag, typically cylindrical, with a soft fleece lining, a durable outside (think nylon or similar), and a closure system, such as a drawstring or zipper.
Standard chalk bags also have a belt system for waist-level attachment, providing easy access and keeping the bag secure, even on climbs when you’re perpendicular to the ground.
While chalk bags can’t eliminate the problem of airborne chalk dust, they do make a big difference. The inner lining helps soak up extra dust, and a secure closure keeps the majority of chalk from escaping.
Simply put, if you’re a diehard user of loose chalk, the easiest and fastest way to use it during a climbing session is with a chalk bag. Most chalk bags feature tough, abrasion-resistant material on the outside that can handle the abuse most climbing gear inevitably takes. You’ll also find features like a brush holder, an external pocket to hold small items, even a removable waist belt.
Chalk Bags vs. Chalk Socks
Most avid climbers try a wide variety of products and methods for transporting and using chalk. Liquid chalk only comes in a squeeze tube, but you can use loose chalk with a chalk bag or chalk bucket.
Size, design, and application method are the three main differences. A chalk bag is typically cylindrical, with a rigid opening that holds its shape to allow easy access during a climb as well as a secure closure.
A bucket is the grown-up version of a chalk bag, as it’s bigger, longer, wider, and holds more chalk. However, it’s something you keep close during your practice but don’t actually climb with, unlike a chalk bag.
A chalk sock (aka chalk ball) is complementary to a chalk bag. Indeed, you cannot use it on its own: you have to place the chalk ball inside your chalk bag. The ball has a porous fabric pouch that holds loose chalk and dispenses it on your hand when you pat it. The nature of the fabric prohibits too much powder from escaping, keeping extraneous dust to a minimum. It’s perfect to coat your hands evenly with chalk.
What Criteria Are Important When Shopping for a Climbing Chalk Bag?
Before you invest in a chalk bag, consider these five essential factors. They will help you find the best chalk bag for your needs without spending lots of money trying different products that may not work for you.
Size: What’s your size preference? Do you prefer tapered bags or small bags? Maybe you need an extra-deep chalk bucket for a long climb. If you have large hands, you’ll want to look for something with a wide-enough mouth to accommodate your bigger digits.
Durability: Rock climbing is a rugged sport, and poor-quality gear doesn’t last very long. The best chalk bags for climbing have a durable exterior shell contrasted with a super soft fabric lining on the inside to gather loose chalk dust.
Technical Features: The technical features of each bag are just as important as its size and durability. First, determine how you’ll use your chalk bag. For example, if you never leave home without your phone, look for a bag with a zippered pocket. Or, if you have difficulty chalking up during your climb, try tapered bags to guide your hand into the chalk with ease.
Price: Perhaps the most important consideration for any climber is budget. It’s your decision how much you’re willing to spend on a new bag. The bags we looked at for this review had a range of prices, from very low to high.
Style: Style may be unrelated to performance, but it’s still a factor when researching chalk bag brands. If you like a little fun with your climb, consider looking at the offerings from 8Bplus, like the Charlie Chalk Bag. It’s the perfect way to keep your chalk close while still exhibiting a sense of humor on your climb.
How Do You Use Chalk Bags?
First, find the right chalk bag that fits your body type and particular climbing needs. Whether you prefer a chalk bag, chalk sock, or chalk bucket, the process is essentially the same: Fill up the interior with your favorite chalk. You may wonder: do you put chalk straight into the chalk bag? The answer is yes. That’s exactly what the interior lining is for.
Then, simply dip your hands in any time you need to chalk up. Of course, you will need to roll or squeeze chalk socks to dispense chalk rather than dipping your hand in.
The type of chalk you can use varies, depending on your preference. If you prefer block chalk, don’t forget to break it up into your preferred consistency first. Some people choose to do this in a plastic Ziploc or inside their chalk bag to minimize dust. Many climbers will apply liquid chalk as a base layer, then add dry chalk dust on top. Another popular method is putting a chalk sock inside a chalk bag to prevent spillage and dust.
How to Make Your Own Chalk Bag and Sock
Did you know that you can make your very own chalk bag using materials that you already have in your home? While it’s nice to purchase a high-quality bag from a climbing equipment manufacturer, the high-tier options cost at least $40, and not everybody is willing to spend that much on something they could make themselves.
You have a few different options to make a chalk bag. If you have some skills with a sewing machine, you could make a lovely bag using some relatively simple instructions from Google or YouTube (like that one).
However, most of us have no idea how to operate a sewing machine. Luckily, there’s one thing that we can all do: a DIY chalk sock!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Material: nylon/polyester tights (Nylon weight should be fairly thin)
- A coffee cup/mug
- Pure chalk dust
Follow these steps:
- Gather your nylons, then put one leg into the coffee cup mug (toe end first)
- Stretch the top of the nylons over the edge of the mug to create an opening
- Grab your preferred chalk dust and pour it into the opening, checking every so often until you reach the desired weight and volume
- Gently remove the nylon from the coffee mug and knot the top to create a tight ball of chalk
- Et Voilà: your very own chalk ball, made with your own two hands
Proper Chalk Bag Storage
Perhaps you’re wondering: “Does climbing chalk expire?” The answer is, no, not really. Magnesium carbonate is relatively inert, which means that as long as you store it in a cool and dry place (like the basement, pantry, or closet), it should keep for a long time. The keyword there is “dry”—you can’t let moisture reach your chalk; otherwise, it will ruin it. You can store loose chalk in a plastic container with an airtight lid or a plastic Ziploc bag.
If you keep loose chalk inside your bag when you’re not using it, be sure to close the locking system tightly. If you find that your chalk bag is spilling chalk even when you think it’s closed, it’s time to upgrade to a new one.
What happens if your chalk gets wet? Don’t worry; you can salvage it. Please take all the wet chalk, put it on a cookie sheet, and then bake it in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour. After an hour, it should feel crisp and dry. Quick pro tip: You can bake dry chalk to improve friction even more.
Final Thoughts on How to Find the Best Chalk Bags
Although most climbers tend to worry more about big-ticket equipment like climbing shoes and a harness, finding the best chalk bag to aid your climb can make a big difference. We hope that our review of these chalk bags on our list has helped you make a smart decision; whether you like the minimalist prAna bag or the fun and furry Charlie from 8BPLUS is more up your alley. If none of our picks tickles your fancy, try making your own. Good luck, and happy climbs!
Originally native of Oregon, Gab has been living and climbing in Europe for the last five years. He started indoor bouldering after reading Eiger Dreams of Jon Krakauer before falling in love with rock climbing. He’s planning to spend most of 2022 scouting the Alps for the most beautiful crags!