Do You Really Need Climbing Pants? When they are worth it

There is a lot of climbing gear out there on the market. To the uneducated eye, climbing pants probably seem like a big waste of money or just a fashion statement. I assure you, they are not. While they are a lot more practical and helpful than meets the eye, they are not for everyone. In this article, I hope to answer whether or not climbing pants are actually needed and when they are worth it.

As a general rule, the majority of climbers do not need climbing pants. That said, climbing pants are beneficial and provide climbers with increased flexibility, protection, and breathability compared to other pants. They are worth it for climbers who climb outside often and want to maximize their performance.

While climbing pants are not necessary, they will be incredibly beneficial for some climbers. This article explores just how well climbing pants handle climbing and discusses if they will actually be worth it for you. At the end, we discuss who they are not worth it for and should probably steer away from buying a pair of climbing pants.

If you are curious to see how much climbing pants are selling for these days, you can check out their pricing on Amazon here.

Benefits of Climbing Pants

As mentioned above, climbing pants provide climbers with some really great features that other pants do not. They are tailored specifically to climbing after all. Below are some of the main benefits that climbing pants provide climbers with.

Increased Flexibility

Climbing inherently requires a lot of flexibility to perform various movements and techniques. A climber’s pants need to provide them with the mobility they need. If they do not, the climber’s pants will actually prevent them from climbing to their full ability.

Check out the EpicTV YouTube video below to see just how important flexibility and mobility are in climbing.

Climbing pants are designed to have increased flexibility and stretch more in the most important regions for climbing – hips, crotch, and thighs. This will allow climbers to reach every hold they can without having to worry about the pants holding them back. Women’s climbing pants even have extra fabric around the waist to prevent unwanted body parts from showing.

It should be noted that taller climbers and beginners may not be performing as many moves that require insane amounts of flexibility as shorter and advanced climbers. For that reason, the flexibility of climbing pants will be even more important for short and advanced climbers.

Climbing Pants Are Very Breathable

The last thing you want while climbing is a pair of pants that absorbs moisture. Climbing is an excellent workout and you can sweat A LOT during a session if you get after it, especially when it is hot out. Not only will your pants become wet, gross, heavy, and uncomfortable, they will leave you with some very unwanted sweat patterns – if you know what I mean.

This is where climbing pants come in. They are made with a synthetic material that wicks away moisture and prevents your sweat from building up too much.

When you are climbing in 90 degree weather, this becomes incredibly nice. Especially in comparison to wearing pants made out of cotton like jeans.

Increased Durability

In an effort to keep climber’s legs from becoming one bloody mess, the fabric of climbing pants is designed to be very durable. This is incredibly important for climbers who are constantly climbing outside. While scraping your knees against the gym walls isn’t the most fun thing in the world, it is not nearly as bad as scraping them against actual rock.

Rocks are incredibly abrasive and will have your legs looking like they went through a cheese grater if you are constantly scraping up against them. Climbing pants fix this issue. They are so durable that they typically last climbers hundreds of sessions on the wall.

Their durability and abrasion resistance is what really sets these pants apart from other options such as leggings.

Designed To Be Worn With Climbing Harnesses

One of the most underrated features of climbing pants is their unique design to account for climbing harnesses.

The pockets in climbing pants are placed in such a way to remain accessible even while wearing a harness. the pockets in most pants will typically be blocked and inaccessible as soon as you throw a harness on. On top of this, climbing pants will typically have zippered pocket(s) to prevent anything from falling out as you traverse the wall.

When you are hanging from your fingertips 50 feet in the air, you do not want to be worried about your phone falling out of your pocket and potentially beaning your climbing partner.

In addition to their unique pocket placement, climbing pants are made so that their material does not get bunched up and uncomfortable while wearing a harness. While typically only a minor inconvenience, preventing this from happening still improves overall comfort when climbing.

Cost of Climbing Pants

Not every pair of climbing pants is created the same and some will be a lot higher quality than others.

On average, a decent pair of climbing pants will cost between approximately $75 and $100. Lower-end climbing pants will typically cost about $50 to $60 while higher-end pants can cost upwards of $150.

I must admit, this is quite expensive just for a single pair of pants. But the good news is that you don’t have to just wear them while climbing. Climbing pants are sleek looking and most climbers wear them as everyday pants. That way not only do they stay looking stylish, they are always ready to get a session in.

The higher-end climbing pants will typically be made out of better fabric and will perform a lot better than the lower-end pants. They will be more durable, last longer, and be a lot more comfortable. Personally, I would not buy a pair of climbing pants too much lower than about that $80 mark. I find that the quality of the climbing pants really drops off going too much lower than that.

When Climbing Pants Are Worth It

On average, climbing pants are worth it for climbers who frequently climb outside and want to protect their legs and continue to climb at a high level. While other pant options are available, they typically will lack one or more of the following features that climbing pants provide: flexibility, durability, and/or breathability.

You will be hard pressed to find other pants options that are as comfortable and perform as well as climbing pants. Personally, I own two pairs of climbing pants and have had them each for over 2 years now. They have saved my legs countless times and are still in good condition. I even wear them out and about in my daily life when I feel like it.

Like with any other piece of climbing gear, pants are an investment and you will be using them very frequently. You might as well get a good pair that you enjoy wearing and will last you a long period of time.

There will typically be a lot of sales and deals on climbing pants, you just need to keep your eyes open. My favorite way to get climbing pants for cheap is to buy them off the REI garage sale. These garage sales typically will offer lightly used (potentially brand new) gear at incredibly low prices. Check out my favorite pair of climbing pants on Amazon here.

When Climbing Pants Are Not Worth It

While climbing pants are a great investment for some climbers, they are not for everyone. If you are a climber that typically spends the majority of your climbing sessions in the gym and rarely goes outdoor climbing, climbing pants may not be for you.

You will likely be just fine wearing whatever shorts or pants you have lying around the house that you don’t care about. The indoor wall and holds might catch your legs a few times but should not present you with huge issues. That said, if you do end up going outdoor climbing you may end up wishing that you had bought a pair anyways.

In addition to this, if you are a very budget-conscious climber then you may not want to get a pair because they are so expensive. Climbing pants are not a necessity and you should not go into debt to buy a pair. You will be able to wear jeans during your session and be fine. They just won’t be as good as a pair of climbing pants.


Hi, I'm Rex! I have been into everything outdoors for as long as I can remember. Climbing became a huge part of my life in college and I hope to share everything I have learned on this website to help fellow passionate climbers.

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