16th December 2021
It’s 7pm on a Friday night. You just received a confirmation that your upcoming Mapo Tapo trip will be going ahead, and organised some time off work. You close your laptop, walk to the fridge and grab a beer - it's the weekend after all! Then suddenly a thought crosses your mind: what on earth do I pack?!
Packing for your first climbing trip can be a little daunting, especially if you’re not very familiar with the kit. Between finding the right climbing shoes, determining what length rope to purchase and how many quickdraws to bring, it can get confusing - and expensive - fast! Luckily, on most Mapo Tapo trips you'll be able to hire at least some of the kit you need from our guides and local partners, saving you a lot of time, expense and baggage allowance. We've put together this short guide to help you through the packing process and give you a better idea of what to bring on a Mapo Tapo rock climbing trip.
Please note: this guide is intended to cover Mapo Tapo climbing trips only, and may miss out some items you might want to pack if planning a trip of your own! Always use your own judgement when packing - after all you know your kit preferences best.
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Step 1: Check the Mapo Tapo trip webpage to find out if any kit is provided by the guide and/or available to hire.
If you’ve made it this far, chances are that you’re going on a Mapo Tapo rock climbing trip - congratulations! You may already have some of your own rock climbing equipment - or be interested in investing in some - but before you spend hundreds of euros on ropes and quickdraws it’s worth taking a look at what’s available to hire from our local partners. You’ll find this information in the ‘what’s included’ and ‘what’s not included’ sections of the trip webpage, but if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Of course, if you already own all the required equipment and prefer to use your own, that’s totally ok :)
Local guide Juráš Šefl demonstrating how to make a 'Czech Rack'. Don't worry, you won't be expected to bring your own equipment for this! © Jan Zahula
Step 2: Check the weather
It may seem like a super obvious point, but you’ll be amazed by the amount of times I’ve ended up having to camp in 10 degree weather with only t-shirts and shorts (not fun!). So before you draw up a packing list, check the weather forecast in the area you’re travelling to so you can get a better idea of what you may need to pack.
Step 3: Think about the nature and length of your trip, and where you’ll be staying
Are you just heading on a Mapo Tapo trip, or do you plan to stay abroad for longer? What rest day activities are planned? Where are you going to be staying? All this to say: if you’re doing the Croatia Climbing Sailing Journey OR any trip with the possibility to surf/ deep water solo OR staying somewhere with a pool/ hot tub then BRING A SWIMSUIT!
Lots of our summer trips have a deep water solo element to them - such as the Sicily trip, pictured above. Make sure to pack accordingly! © Ilaria Occhipinti
Step 4: Decide what to pack your kit in.
This is largely up to personal preference (and dependent on your luggage allowance if you’re flying) but it’s worth checking if there are any unusual modes of transport on your trip. For example, our Morocco trip requires a bus journey and 2-hour donkey trek to get to basecamp, so a huge suitcase is not going to be practical. In all cases, we suggest packing on the light side.
Personally, I prefer to pack my things in a rucksack when going on a climbing trip. It’s super easy to transport around train stations and airports, and can double as a crag-bag if I leave my spare clothes at the accommodation. Depending on whether I’m camping or how much climbing equipment I need to bring, I’ll either use a 50l or 70l backpack.
Your mode of transport to get to the basecamp for our Morocco trip: donkeys! This is definitely one you want to pack light for © Giovanni Zaccaria
Step 5: Draft your packing list
Phew! Now that you have all the information you need, it’s time to draft a packing list. My top tip is to write this down on a piece of paper or your phone - that way it’s easier to keep track of items you might need. Plus, it helps ensure you don’t leave any crucial items behind.
So finally, here’s a few ideas of what to bring on a Mapo Tapo rock climbing trip:
Climbing clothes! - Choose some stretchy, preferably fast drying clothes that you feel comfortable exercising in. Some examples include: breathable t-shirts (why not get a Mapo Tapo one?), vests (again, we have some awesome ones in our shop), climbing or hiking trousers, leggings, shorts (just make sure these are long enough that they fit under a harness)... Although they are more expensive, I prefer to wear trousers specifically designed for climbing when going outdoors: the rock can be sharp and let’s just say it’s preferable that your trousers don’t rip!
The Mapo Tapo team modelling some climbing trousers (and how to spot properly while bouldering!). Any stretchy shorts, trousers or leggings will do nicely, but bear in mind that climbing trousers are usually more durable when faced with sharp rock © Massimo Cappuccio
A Warm Layer - Even in summer, bring a warm layer just in case it gets cold in the evenings or is breezy at the crag. A soft-shell or lightweight fleece is perfect for this purpose. If climbing in the mid seasons or winter I’d also bring a belay jacket: it’s a really convenient way to stay warm between climbs so you don’t spend the whole day re-doing your warm up exercises!
Waterproofs - While Mapo Tapo tries to pick sunny destinations, we unfortunately can’t promise anything. It’s best not to get caught unprepared so bring a rain jacket (and waterproof trousers if you like).
While Mapo Tapo tried to plan trips in sunny destinations, we unfortunately can't control the weather! Always bring a raincoat, even if you're 99% sure you won't need it! © Giovanni Zaccaria
Suitable approach shoes/ crag shoes - Some of our trips require some longer walk-in approaches, or may include a rest day hike. Pack some suitable shoes for this: technical approach shoes, hiking boots or trainers depending on the demands of the trip. If in doubt, shoot us a message. (Top tip: If you're bouldering, choose some shoes you can slip on easily between attempts).
Non-climbing / Travelling Clothes - We realise some people prefer not to partake in non-climbing activities in chalky climbing clothes. Check what’s on the trip schedule, and pack something that screams a little less ‘dirtbag’ if you want :)
Cold weather extras - For our winter trips it might be worth bringing a few extra layers to keep you warm at the crag. I personally swear by the combination of a long-sleeved base layer + 1 or 2 fleeces I can layer on top of one another + a belay jacket. You may also want to bring a warm hat, gloves and a buff, and even thick socks if your feet get cold!
Warm weather extras - You probably know the drill: a sunhat and sunglasses are essential if you’re going to be staring up at the sky belaying all day. Some light long-sleeved shirts may be good if you want some protection from the sun or are travelling to an area where it’s more culturally sensitive to cover up. Oh, and don’t forget a bathing suit, just in case ;)
Our Jordan trip involves a rest-day hike and some more adventurous approaches. Make sure to pack the correct footwear! © Nelson Klein
What you need to pack in terms of climbing kit will differ from trip to trip and depends on whether you prefer to bring your own kit or rent it locally. However, there are a few items we recommend you bring on most trips:
Climbing shoes - it really makes a difference to have a pair that fit you properly, and for this reason most guides tend not to rent them out. 1 pair should suffice, unless you’re deep water soloing in which case bring 2 as they will get wet. Beginner tip: Don’t buy your first pair of shoes online! Go to your local climbing shop in person and get them fitted by someone who knows their stuff. Take your time, try on multiple pairs and don’t hesitate to ask if you can try them out on a wall or small edge (there should be one in the shop).
Chalk bag and chalk - again, this an item that guides don’t usually rent out. Why not buy a sustainable Mapo Tapo branded chalk bag, made from recycled fabric and cork?
Harness - Some guides may rent these, but it’s so much more comfortable to have your own. Beginner tip: Like with shoes, try out a few models at the shop before you buy. A two-piece/ sit harness is highly recommended as 1) they’re way way way more comfortable and 2) they're much safer if you plan to lead climb.
A belay device - These are typically available to borrow/ hire from the guide, but if you have a certain model you prefer to use then it's worth bringing your own.
A rucksack to carry kit to the crag - This can be your travelling rucksack, emptied out, or an additional day-pack. Something comfy with waist and chest straps is recommended!
You can usually hire most the rock climbing kit you need from the guides or local partners on our trips, but we definitely recommend brining your own climbing shoes and chalk! © Climbing House Tenerife
The following items are available for hire on the vast majority of our trips, but if you prefer to bring your own then go ahead!
Rope + rope bag/ tarp - an 80m rope is preferable as it has you covered for longer pitches. A rope bag or tarp will help extend its life, but this doesn’t have to be fancy - some of my friends just use a blue ikea bag.
Quickdraws - the amount you need totally depends on the length of the route and how well bolted it is. Ask the guide if in doubt.
Helmet - these are usually available to hire where required, but you may prefer to bring your own. If in doubt, it’s better safe than sorry!
Slings + spare locking carabiners - these always come in helpful when cleaning the route and building anchors.
Belay aides - I personally refuse to belay without a pair of belay gloves, but these are totally optional!
Hold brushes - it’s good practice to clean off any tick marks or excess chalk after you climb.
No need to bring your own rope for most trips, as these are usually available to borrow or hire from our local partners
Finally, here are a few other things you might want to add to your Mapo Tapo climbing trip packing list:
Passport - Essential if you're going abroad! Check whether you need a visa to enter the country you're travelling to as well.
Camera - to capture all the good memories with your new climbing friends :)
A reusable water bottle - a sustainable way of bringing water to the crag. You can bring a lunchbox too if you prefer your snacks un-squashed.
Some cash in the local currency - Maybe not as relevant in the COVID era, but it may come in useful for tipping and when purchasing lunches or snacks.
Skin first-aid - If you've never been on rock before and/or generally suffer from bad skin when climbing then this is a must! Finger tape, some soothing lotion (such as climbon), a skin file and nail clippers always come in handy.
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We hope this article has been helpful and given you some ideas about what you might need to bring on a Mapo Tapo rock-climbing trip. If you have any questions or want some kit recommendations for our ice climbing and ski-mountaineering trips, then don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Cover image © Massimo Cappuccio