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Camp & Hike Reviews

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020? The Comprehensive List & Review

Camping is great, and for most of my friends and me, it’s a great way to see different places and wake up in the morning, nose full of fresh nature. But even when you go camping and enjoy the outdoors a lot, after a few days you want to take a shower. If you have a campervan, you’re all set, but in case you like backpacking or traveling light with only a tent, you need a portable shower. That’s why we reviewed and tested the best camping shower for 2020.

So what is the best camping shower in 2020? The best overall camping shower with electrical power is the ECEEN Portable Shower. The best powerless camping shower is the Sea to Summit Pocket Shower.

We found that some models work better for backpacking than others, and we give a recommendation for different budgets. Some of the camping showers in our big review use electrical or battery power, some with gas, and some are heated by the sun. Depending on your camping trip, you might not have electrical power; that’s why we also included powerless camping showers in our test.

All of these showers are more or less portable, lightweight, and compact. But some are more suited to be used on a campsite with electrical power, while some are ultra-compact and heated by the sun, which makes them perfect for backpacking adventures off the grid. You can use most of them to wash, dishes, gear, or anything else.

Why You Might Want a Camping Shower

We all love camping, my family and I love it to relax and unwind. But as soon as you go camping in a remote area for more than

 

2 days, you might want to have a camping shower to clean up after a day of hiking or fishing. If you go camping on a campsite, the chances are high that there are some good facilities with hot showers and water toilets, but if you are somewhere in the backcountry, especially on some campsites in the USA and Canada, there might not be a shower available.

That’s when a camping shower can be really convenient. Most of the tested camping showers either come with a large bag or tank that gets heated by the sun or allow you to heat your own water in a bucket and then dunk a battery-powered pump into it. Super nice, and a hot shower to clean off some of the fireplace smell and dirt is a great way to make your life a bit easier when you camp. And with the exception of a few models, most of the camping showers in our test are not expensive, with prices way below $100.

The Best Electrically or Gas Powered Camping Showers

What's the Best Camping Shower in 2020?

ECEEN Portable Shower: Rating: 4.5 / 5

The ECEEN Portable Shower is powered by electrical power, aka a battery. That means it’s not suitable if you plan to wander off the grid, without bringing a solar charger or something similar. But it’s powerful, and you can use it to take a shower or even wash a car. Downside: It doesn’t heat the water, which means you either have to find a source of heat for your water and preheat the tub or bucket or enjoy the benefits of a cold shower. If that’s ok for you, then this shower is a good fit.

The battery that powers it gives it a full one-hour runtime, and you can charge it with a USB charger. So technically, you could charge it with a solar charger, although it would take a while to charge fully. The pump is waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about damaging the circuitry, and this camping shower comes with a filter system. That’s a nice bonus for impurities in your water source. It only costs around $40, is fairly compact, and if you can live with cold water or heat it yourself, it’s a decent camping shower.

Facts about this camping shower

  • 2200 mAh battery,  5V, USB charger included
  • Waterproof
  • Filter included
  • NO heater!

What's the Best Camping Shower in 2020?

Camplux 5l Propane Gas Shower: Only Propane Gas Powered Shower in the Test – Rating: 3.5 / 5

The Camplux is about the closest you will come to a normal household shower. As it uses a propane gas bottle, it’s not as portable as some other models, so backpacking is out of the question for this model. But it’s very comfortable: You need a battery and a propane gas tank, and then it’s almost ready for setup.

You can store it in a caravan or car, it’s fairly compact, and has a 5 liter per minute output. You can control temperature and flow, but you need to bring batteries and propane gas. We think this shower is great for caravan or campsite use, but as it is not really portable, we cannot give it more than 3.5/5 as a camping shower.

Facts about this camping shower

  • Full function: Heating, Pump and flow control
  • Variable temperatures
  • 5L per minute
  • Battery-powered pump

best camping shower

iVation Portable Power Shower: Good Value Camping Shower with a Submersible Pump – Rating: 3.5 / 5

A great camping shower for rinsing water off after a day at the beach, this portable camping shower doesn’t come with a heater. It comes with a good battery and is waterproof. You can charge the battery with the included USB charger anywhere, and it powers your shower for an hour of use. As this model comes with a submersible pump, you need a water source like a lake, tub, or river to use it.

It costs $30, which is okay for the quality it delivers. And since it comes with a filter, you won’t need to be super worried about impurities in your water source.

Facts about this camping shower

  • powered pump by battery
  • no heating, cold water only
  • comes with a 2-year warranty

best camping shower

Laserbreak Portable Electric Shower: Submersible Pump For Lake and River Usage Rating: 4 / 5

If you’re next to a lake or river (or any other water reservoir for this matter), the Laserbreak Portable Electric Shower could be a good fit. It comes with a submersible pump instead of a water tank, and the pump also uses a filter. No refilling needed; as long as you have the battery, you have running water, given that your lake doesn’t run empty, which is unlikely. The battery on this model is very strong, and with one charge, you can take s shower for over an hour. It also has variable flow rates, making it adjustable to your tase.

The hose is long, so you can reach anybody part easily, but the big downside, as with most pump-driven models: There is no heating included. That means you either find a source with hot water or live with a cold shower. But thanks to the battery-powered pump; you can use it to water your garden or wash the car. It costs just less than $40, so it’s a fairly expensive model, but you get a strong battery and different flow settings.

Facts about this camping shower

  • Long hose on this camping shower
  • Submersible pump works well in any lake or river
  • Variable speeds, nice extra
  • Strong battery: 4800 mAh, 5V USB charger

best camping showr

Ivation Battery Powered Portable Shower: Comes with Suction Cup – Rating: 3 / 5

This is another battery-powered shower. You dunk the pump into the water source and enjoy a shower. The handheld nozzle is okay but needs to attached to a flat surface via a suction cup, making it not the greatest shower to use outdoors in the woods, but you can also use the included S hook to hang it.

Facts about this camping shower

  • Needs external heating source
  • USB Charger
  • One hour of use

best camping shower

RinseKit Portable Outdoor Shower – Rating: 3.7 / 5

This 2 gallon 12V electrical camping shower comes with a hot rod water heater. As such, it is the only electric camping shower that actually heats the water itself. The capacity is fairly small but enough for a quick shower, and you can shower up to six minutes with the built-in the pressure of the shower. The reservoir can be refilled easily, and heat and pump work both at the same time. It can be charged from a 12V vehicle charger.

Facts about this camping shower

  • Built-in heating
  • 12V Vehicle Port Charger
  • 2 gallons of water or six minutes of showering with one tank

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

Stansport Battery Powered Portable Shower: Long hose and Carrying Bag Included – Rating: 3.3 / 5

This battery-powered camping shower comes with over 2 meters or 7 feet of hose and a carrying bag, which is nice. It works like the other drop-in pump camping showers work, simply submerge it into a bucket of water. You need to supply the heat externally and by yourself, but the shower has an adjustable water flow. Don’t forget to bring enough batteries, as this shower doesn’t charge via USB, but needs 4 D-batteries!

Facts about this camping shower

  • Long hose on this camping shower
  • Carrying bag included
  • Battery-powered with 4 D-batteries
  • No heating unit included

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

LUOOV/AngLink Portable Camping Shower: Battery Powered Show with an Extremely Good Pricetag – Rating: 3.5/ 5

The AngLink Portable, also sold as LUOOV on Amazon, and probably a few other brand names, is a nice, cheap battery powered shower with a fairly large shower head. The water flow is just right, although not controllable. It has one of the widest shower heads of all the showers we tested, so if that’s something you like, there is almost no way around this camping shower. You can hang the shower almost anywhere with the included suction cup attachment, making this shower essentially hands free.

Like many other battery-powered showers, this camping shower needs to be dunked in a tank or water reservoir with its pump, but compared to some other models, the battery life is pretty good, and you can find replacement parts for it if you really have a breakdown. We didn’t like the fact that the battery is not waterproof, as this seems kind of counter-intuitive for a shower, but all around, this shower is a cheap and versatile shower.

Facts about this camping shower

  • Large and comfortable shower head
  • Long-lasting and rechargeable battery
  • Versatile
  • Low price
  • Battery not 100% waterproof, which is a downer
  • Not super robust

The Best Powerless Camping Showers

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

Zodi Extreme S/C Shower:  Best Overall Camping Shower – Rating: 4.8/5

Zodi Extreme S/C took home the victory in this review. We loved the unconventional design of this easy to use camping shower, and it even has adjustable pressure and flows control. It’s one of the few camping showers with a manual hand pump as well as a controllable rate of flow and a comfortable on-off lever. The hose is super long, making this shower perfect for anyone who is tall.

The coolest(or hottest :D) feature: The Zodi Extreme can be heated by simply putting it on a stove. With the built-in outside thermometer, you can easily see when it’s hot enough, then remove it from the stove, and enjoy a hot shower. All this is bought, of course, with the rigid design: The Zodi camping shower doesn’t compact, and its made from metal, which means it’s fairly heavy. So, it won’t be the number one choice for a backpacking trip when you have limited storage.

Facts about this camping shower

  • Very durable thanks to metal construction
  • Adjustable pressure
  • Fastest shower to heat above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius), just put on the stove
  • Simple to use but heavy
  • Not very compact

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

Sea to Summit Pocket Shower: Best Shower if You Go Backpacking – Rating: 4.7 / 5

Wow, this shower is tiny, and if you fold it, less than 6 inches. For that, it packs a surprising 2.6-gallon bag that lets you take a shower in the middle of nowhere. Just fill it up, roll it an clip it, hang into the sun for 2 hours, and your good to go.

The exterior is made from black colors, like most solar heated camping showers, and does a good job of storing heat. It is gravity fed, but the pressure is not very great. Hanging this shower needs you to learn how to tie a knot, as it comes with paracord. That makes it versatile, but you need a bit more effort to hang it from a tree.

A downside is that the top of the roll leaks a bit, so you should position it upright while it lays in the sun and heats up. It’s not a big problem, but keep it in mind. This shower is super good for real backpacking as it is the most compact and lightweight shower in the test, making it the deserved winner for backpacking camping showers.

Facts about this camping shower

  • Super lightweight
  • Compact
  • Simple to use
  • Solar-powered
  • Easy filling
  • Comes with everything
  • Low pressure
  • Hanging difficult
  • Some leakage in top roll

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

Risepro Solar Shower Bag: Cheap, solar heated and two flow settings – Rating: 4.5 / 5

Bag-type camping showers are pretty popular these days, and being able to take a shower off the grid is great. This camping showers lets you store water in a bag that is then heated by the sun. Made from environmentally friendly materials, you can hang this bag anywhere in the sun, wait for two or three hours and enjoy a hot shower on the go. This model even comes with a temperature displayed on the front side of the bag.

It has a 20-liter capacity, and you can hang it from a tree, pole, or your best friend or spouse. The hose is long enough to allow comfortable showering, and it offers two different flow settings. This is something to notice, as many pump-driven camping showers don’t offer this. As it is a solar heated camping shower, this shower will not heat water if you hike where the sun is not shining, making it best for spring or summertime camping trips. It only costs $15, a great fit for any budget!

Facts about this camping shower

  • Solar heating
  • 20L capacity
  • Eco-friendly
  • Two water flow rates

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

Yellowstone Camping Shower: Cheap, solar-heated – Rating: 4 / 5

Another bag-type camping shower we tested is the Yellowstone Camping Shower. You can hang it from any taller pole or tree, and it works by using good old gravity to supply you with a flow of clean showering water. With a 20 liter capacity, this shower is pretty compact when empty, and it heats up water by using the sun. Within 3 hours you can get your water up to 40 degrees Celsius (100+ Fahrenheit), and enjoy a nice hot shower that lasts long enough thanks to the big water tank.

The flexible shower hose works super well, and although there is no visible shower head, we find it easy to use and powerful enough. You need to bring clean water, as this shower comes without a filter. And since you have no control over the flow rate of the showerhead, one setting must suffice. But overall it’s a great shower, and it costs less than $15.

Facts about this camping shower

  • Solar heating
  • 20L capacity
  • Eco-friendly
  • No flow adjustment

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

iTovin Portable Pressure Shower: Interesting design, 15-liter tank – Rating: 4 / 5

iTovin makes a pressure drive model, which works differently than the gravity-powered designs in the test. You can pump it up with a foot pump, and it has a good capacity of 15 liters. Since it stands on the ground, you won’t need a tree or something like that, and it comes with a safety valve to avoid over pressurizing the whole system – neat!

The 2-meter hose works well, at least for taking a good shower, and you can also use it to wash your dog or car. The valve to fill this camping shower is large, and the shower only weights 770 grams, so you can even stuff it in your backpack. With a full tank and maximized pressure, you will have an 8-minute shower with one filling, but you might need to pump every once in a while to keep it up. It costs less than $40, and if you want a manual pump shower, this one is a good fit!

Facts about this camping shower

  • Pressure driven design
  • Manually pumped with a foot pump
  • No tree or pole needed
  • 15-liter capacity

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

NEMO Helio Pressure Shower: Versatile Shower with a Narrow Head – Rating: 3.6 / 5

NEMOs Helio camping shower is interesting, as it comes with a foot pump. You just push the pump a couple of times, and the shower builds up pressure. This method of operation works really well, and it keeps your hands free for cleaning. Unfortunately, the nozzle is very small, but this at least results in a long showering time, as the capacity of this shower is only around 3 gallons or 12 liters. You can use this shower for cleaning dishes too. The Helio is very portable, thanks to the design and small capacity.

A downside: The filling opening is pretty tight, so it’s kind of hard to fill it, and it’s annoying that you have to hold the shower in the ON position for taking a shower.

Facts about this camping shower:

  • Pretty packable
  • Good water pressure
  • Durable and robust
  • Big capacity
  • Small shower head
  • Small filling opening
  • Must be held in ON position, so not the most comfortable

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

Sportneer Solar Camping Shower: Another Solar Powered Bag-Type Shower – Rating: 4 / 5

WE didn’t find anything particularly bad or good about this model. It’s a camping shower powered by solar heat, and it works. It folds to a compact size when empty, the 20 liters of capacity, that you find on many of these bag-type models, work good and are plenty of water in reality in a camping situation, and it heats your water to 40 degrees Celsius or above 100 Fahrenheit in ca 3 hours.

You need to find a good water source for this shower, as it has no filter, and this model come without any kind of flow adjustment – that means you have to hold it higher or lower to regulate the water flow. With just less than $25, it’s reasonably priced!

Facts about this camping shower

  • 20 liters
  • solar heated

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

Road Shower 4S: Top Pick if You’re Camping With Your Car – Rating: 3.7 / 4

We have to give the makers of the Road Shower 4S credit for this unusual design. Instead of making just another bag-type solar-powered rubber shower, they thought of something different. This camping shower is unique, as it needs a car or something with a sturdy frame to be mounted. The tank is a powder-coated aluminum tube that you mount on your roof rack of a car. Any VW Vanagon, Westfalia Van, Sportsmobile Van, Camper, or even a sailboat works. But you can use a cabin, Kayak rack, Bike rack, Luggage Rack, Yakima, and Thule Racks as well. The tube is then heated by solar power, heating up around 12-20 degrees per hour on an average day with some sun. When you’re finished, you have around 4.5 gallons of hot water that you can then spray with the included hose and nozzle.

To increase pressure, you can attach any pump or compressure and re-pressurize the shower and have even more spraying power. The nice thing about this shower is that it works super well without any further setup once you mounted it. Just unhook the hose, and you have enough water flow for a normal shower, and if you need more, fill it with a couple of pumps from a bike pump. Filling it is easy too: You can either use a hose or just open the large valve on top and fill the tube.

While we loved this ingenuity, the standard nozzle is not a great shower per se, as it is more or less a standard hose head like you find in your default garden hose setup. While that works great for cleaning a surfboard or your dog, it’s not super comfortable for taking a shower. There is an additional showerhead, but you need to buy it separately. Not cool! Also, if you have no bike pump, you will notice that the water pressure drops significantly when you are using the shower with an almost empty tank. Good thing: You can re-pressurize, and you can also find this camping shower with a 7 gallon and a 10-gallon tank!

The shower comes with a hefty price tag of over $300, making it the most expensive shower in our review.

Facts about this shower

  • Very easy to use
  • Manual pump or gravity
  • No hose needed
  • Durable construction mounts to your car
  • Limited to usage on your car
  • The included nozzle isn’t a GREAT shower
  • Pressure decreases while showering
  • Can’t completely empty the tank
  • Very expensive

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

Advanced Elements Summer Shower: Rating: 3 / 5

If you decide that you want a powerless bag-type camping shower, then this is another model to consider. Advanced Elements makes a shower that is pretty similar to other models on the market. Like most other camping showers with solar-heated bags, you can hang it from anywhere higher than your head, and it uses gravity and solar power to drive and heat the water. The hose is long, which makes this shower pretty powerful – the higher you hang it, the more power the water flow has.

We liked the quality of materials used in this camping shower with a four-layer bag, and a good temperature gauge, so you know if you’re about to take a cold shower or spray yourself with scaling water. But the shower has a limited capacity of only 9 liters. Since other models have 20 liters, this one is a little behind in that area, and not the best model to take long showers. With a price of around $30, it’s also twice as expensive as our top contending bag-type camping showers, which is kind of a downer.

Decide for yourself: If you want really good materials and a good gauge, but won’t take very long showers, this one might still be a good fit!

Facts about this camping shower

  • 9-litres
  • Premium quality
  • One speed
  • Long hose

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

Reliance Outdoors Flow Pro Portable Shower: Heavy shower with small capacity – Rating: 3 / 5

While this might not be the lightest shower, it only holds 2 gallons of water. We didn’t like this, but at least it comes with a good carrying strap and a neoprene sleeve. The showerhead works good; with an action trigger, you can make the most use of the 2 gallons. The hose is 6 feet or almost 2 meters long, and of very good quality!

Facts about this camping shower

  • Good resistant hose
  • Trigger action showerhead
  • Only 2 gallons of water

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

Hozelock PortaShower: Rating: 2.5 / 5

We had a hard time with the Hozelock PortaShower. On the one hand, we loved the design with a manual pump, allowing you to use this shower anywhere without a battery. But with a tank of a measly 7 liters (not even 2 gallons), this shower won’t last for more than a quick rinse off after the beach. And the water is cold, so it’s probably better suited to spray plants in the garden then real showering.

On the other hand, it is very portable, and the air pump is small and compact. That means you can throw it in the back of your car, and the long hose works pretty well too. But it costs $30, which is quite expensive, especially when you compare it to solar-powered bag-type camping showers that offer how water and more than double the water reservoir.

Taking these facts into account, we cannot give this shower a better rating than 2.5, making it the last on our list.

Facts about this camping shower

  • 7 Liters capacity
  • Manual pump, no power needed
  • No heating, no solar heating, cold water only

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

Coleman Camp Shower – Rating: 3.5 / 5

Coleman builds an old school bag-type camping shower. It comes with a 5-gallon reservoir and a flexible hose. It is solar heated, and you can use the robust handles to both transports it if filled and also hang it from a branch of a tree. Thanks to the good on/off valve, you can get multiple showers out of one filling!

Facts about this camping shower

  • Sturdy handle
  • On/Off Valve
  • 5-gallon reservoir

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

On Track Portable Shower – Rating: 3.7 / 5

This shower only has a 0.75-gallon tank, making it the smallest shower in the test. But it uses a pump-action to pressure it, so you can shower really efficiently with it. As it comes with a good shoulder strap you can also sling it around your shoulders and use the shower as a cleaning tool for your gear.

Being smaller than a jug of orange juice, this shower can be stowed anywhere and is perfect for quick trips!

Facts about this camping shower

  • Compact and portable
  • Pump action easy to use
  • Quick refills

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

Green Elephant Solar Shower – Rating: 3.6 / 5

Green Elephant makes a solar-powered camping shower from non-toxic TPU material. You can roll it up easily, but also use it as storage for other items. Thanks to the waterproof seal, it effectively serves as a dry bag when not being used as a shower.

Hang it on a tree, and let mother sun heat it up.

Facts about this camping shower

  • Non-toxic TPU material
  • Doubles as dry storage
  • 5-gallon tank
  • Solar-powered heating

What’s the Best Camping Shower in 2020

Geyser System Portable Hot Shower: Really Water Efficient Small Camping Shower – Rating: 3.4 / 5

This small shower only has a 1-gallon tank, which might seem too small. But thanks to the water control and unique design, you can get up to 7 minutes of showering out of it. It has a sponge attached to the nose, and this allows for both scrubbing and rinsing at the same time while saving water.

As this camping shower only weights 6 pounds when full, it is the water-saving alternative to other showers in this review!

Facts about this camping shower

  • 7 minutes of showering
  • 1 gallon of water
  • Weighs only 6 pounds when filled

How We Tested These Camping Showers

I’ve spent a lot of time camping or backpacking in my life, and I love to explore new places and roam nature. Whether in a kayak, a campervan, or just backpacking, I’ve been outside some way or the other for the last 25 years.

That’s why I appreciate getting clean every once in a while, even when staying outside. I did have my fair share of weeks without a real shower, don’t get me wrong, but a hot shower is a comfort not to underestimate. And I have been using everything from solar heated bag-type showers to washing with a cloth in the rain to taking a dip in a hot geothermal pool.

Before we tested these showers, we tried to figure out which aspects are most important for an outdoor camping shower. Then we selected the models we wanted to review, measuring or collection information about technical details of these camping showers, like showerhead width, length of hose, water pressure, and tank capacity if the camping shower came with a tank. When we couldn’t get our hands on a model, we collect information from other verified review sources, to give you a complete picture.

Some Buying Advice for Camping Showers

Most of these showers had something good or bad about them, and while you can spend weeks calculating scores about them, like some other websites, love to do, we think a short and concise conclusion and a single metric rating serves best. No one wants to spend hours of their time to understand artificial metrics test scores for a shower, while in reality, they just want the best advice to buy a good shower.

In the end, it comes down to subjective preference, and while for some, the price might be the most important point, others need a very robust and reliable camping shower. That’s why we put together a little buying guide for camping showers, where we talk about some of the aspects. For all these aspects, we give a recommendation, which shower might serve you best if this particular aspect is most important to you.

Value – Price Is Not Everything

Camping showers show a huge spread in terms of price. While you can find a decent model for $10, the most expensive camping shower in our test, the Road Shower 4S, cost more than $300. That’s a 3000% difference! If the price premium is worth it, it all comes down to your preference. We try not to overvalue the price point of a product, but in some cases, we need to factor it in, as we think that value for money is an argument that speaks for itself. The best value for money, if you need a battery Powered Shower.

Camping showers can be attached to a wide variety of prices, from less than $10 to well over $300! While reviewing this range, we found that price doesn’t necessarily correspond with performance. And though we never include price into any of our calculations of product performance scores, we recognize that price can make a big difference as to what model you ultimately decide to purchase. The shower with the best value is the AngLink, as it has a very good value for the money you spent.

Comfort Level – A Good Camping Shower is Easy to Use and Versatile

Taking a shower is a matter of comfort, as well as getting clean. Sure, a shower in the woods will never be as comfortable as a jungle rain shower at home, but nonetheless, there are different levels of comfort we experienced in the tested showers. It’s one of the aspects we value high when making our overall score. In terms of comfort, you cannot get any better than the Zodi Extreme, as this shower is very easy to heat up, works super well with controllable water flow, and has an outstanding build quality. The Road Shower 4S is another great comfortable camping shower if you have a car or boat to mount it.

Other questions that were important for our review score: How good is the showerhead, does it do a good job cleaning your hair and body? Can the shower be operated by one person alone? Does it have a valve or lever to control the water flow rate? Maybe it includes a fixture to mount it overhead? How long does a water take to heat up? Can the shower be heated up with a stove?

Functionality and Versatility

But a shower doesn’t only need to be comfortable; it also needs to clean. That’s why we tried to find or test these showers with some other uses like cleaning a dog or bike too. Most of the showers can also be used to clean up dishes or tools, and if a shower performed really well at these tasks, we give it a high versatility rating, indicating that the shower is not only functional but also practical for other uses besides plain showering.

In terms of versatility, the Zodi Extreme is another hot shower to look out for, offering plenty of uses besides just washing hair and body. We also tested the nozzle diameter of the different models, and how well the pressure was balanced to clean off dirt.

The narrow nozzle of the Road Shower isn’t ideal for spraying in your face but is great for directing that high pressure at a muddy mountain bike.

Ease of Use

At home it’s super easy: Go to the bathroom and turn on the shower. Camping showers don’t work that easy – yet. You need to find a proper water source, a tree to hang in case of gravity-fed bag-type showers, and possibly a source of heat if you need to warm up the water in a separate reservoir. That’s why we reviewed each shower in terms of how complicated it is to get it going.

If you need a super easy to use the shower, the Sea to Summit Pocket Shower is great, as well as the Road Shower 4S and the Zodi Extreme.

We also tested how long it takes to heat up the water, as some of the showers need you to heat up the water yourself. A solar shower is nice in that aspect, as you can simply hang it up and leave it there for 3 hours, come back and enjoy a hot shower. But there is a downside: If you are camping and the weather is less than sunny, chances are high your shower will take longer to heat up or not even heat up at all – bummer, as rainy and cold days, are the days where a hot shower is best!

Durability

We also looked at how durable the materials of the showers were. Some of the designs are prone to break, as it’s the case with cheap plastic connectors etc. The Zodi Extreme is a really durable shower, made from all metal, so if durability is your main concern, consider this shower. The Road Shower 4S is pretty durable too! If you are worried about caps, hose, etc., and their integrity, you should stick with some of the more expensive models, as they used more durable materials. The Zodi, for example, is made from stainless steel, making it pretty much unbreakable for normal showering use. The Road Shower 4S, made from aluminum, is super strong too.

Portability

Going directly against the durability in most cases is the portability. The top two most durable showers were also the least portable camping showers. Metal tanks and high quality fixed tank design go hand in hand with bulk and weight. The camping showers that are most portable are the Sea to Summit and the bag-type showers, but they are also the least durable as they are made from rubber and not that strong in terms of durability.

If you can’t take your camping shower with you camping, what’s the point? Not much, we think, which is why we included Portability tests as part of our overall score calculations. The results of these tests are summarized below.

Important Features on a Camping Shower

Some of the cool features you should look at are these:

Design Style

There are 4 basic types of camping showers:

  • Bag type showers that are solar heated and gravity fed.
  • Submersible pump-fed, which only have hot water if your water source is preheated.
  • Air pressure drive camping showers.
  • Propane gas and battery-powered – we only had one of these types in our test.

Only the solar-powered showers are self-heating, with the exception of two other models. The other models need you to warm up the water yourself in a bucket and then dunk the pump into it – that or take a cold shower.

When it comes to capacity, most camping showers have around 10 to 20 liters capacity or 2.5 to 5 gallons. That’s a good average value, and while some showers had a smaller capacity, below 7 liters you really will have a hard time taking a good and cleaning shower without rushing through the motions, unless there is some kind of smart design involved like on the On Track or Geyser System camping showers, where you have combined sponge and nozzles for example.

How Camping Showers Work

Basically, a camping shower is some kind of bag that holds water heated by the sun or a pump that you dip into a water tank. In terms of their working principle, these types of portable showers are pretty similar to any water garden hose or plant spraying device. They work as a fish pond pump works. Some of the camping showers also have an included heating unit, like the propane gas-powered one, and that might involve a little more work to set up.

A gravity-fed version of a camping shower is basically just a bag of water that you hang up high, so gravity pulls the water through the hose. Pretty simple, and for most of these showers, sunlight is used to heat up the water. The concept is simple, but they work really well and have been in use for over 30 years – so it is a proven design!

Conclusion

If you found this review helpful, have a look at some of our other hot gear reviews for 2020:

Categories
Bouldering Climbing

When Should I Start With Fingerboard Training or Hangboard Training?

Regular training is important when training for bouldering or climbing. A lot of people are not really sure if they should do some dedicated finger strength training, and I’ve been in the same situation. In the end, I decided to postpone dedicated fingerboard training for a while, but I also think it’s a good idea to write about my experience and how I came to a conclusion.

So, when should you start with fingerboard training? Short answer: When you stop to improve steadily by just climbing, then you can begin to work on more finger strength. This is usually after 1-2 years of regular climbing training. As a novice climber, finger strength exercises will not do you a big favor, as you are improving quite fast anyway. The incurred risk of injuring your fingers is high, and it’s not worth the risk.

When to Include Fingerboard and Finger Strength Training

Once you stop to progress from regular climbing training, you can think about finger strength training. For most people, this time is after they have been training 1-2 years continuously. Even after this time, there are many people who still improve regularly from simple climbing training without any special focus on finger strength.

The same principle applies to physical fitness: If your general level of fitness is really low, build a foundation first, before you work on climbing-specific fitness.

Only when you’re physically fit and have a climbing routine, think about introducing a finger strength regime – or any sport-specific training for that matter. Once you reach this level, you should be able to climb routes of 6b+ in the lead and spend 2 weeks acquainting with fingerboard training before you start a regular fingerboard training regimen. 

And there is a good reason to wait: Hangboarding is incredibly powerful to build finger strength. But it is not climbing-specific training, and climbing includes many more aspects than just finger strength. You need to work on foot and leg technique, body balance, route reading, mental training, and other aspects like grip technique. And anytime you spend in your basement hanging on a board will take time away from actual climbing.

And it’s not just about the time spent hanging – if you train on a hangboard, your fingers need rest. While they rest and rebuild, you cannot climb. Well, you can, but then you increase the risk of injury BIG TIME. If you are a beginner, chances are high your finger tendons are not used to the stress of climbing, and then hangboard training can even cause injuries.

Finger injuries take longer to heal, and while you heal, there won’t be ANY climbing at all. So given these arguments, I’d say: Wait with fingerboard training until you have been climbing for 2 years. Then include it if you want.

If you’re a beginner in climbing or bouldering, you will improve more than enough from plain and simple climbing and bouldering. You don’t need anything else. Take advantage of other training later on!

Always Include General Fitness Training In Your Climbing and Bouldering Training

In order to become familiar with fingerboard training, you can find some good information and protocols in this guide and on this subreddit.

And if you wonder, some general strength training with barbells and bodyweight exercises is ALWAYS good for climbers of any skill level. Shoulder, hips, knees, and back as well as abdominal muscles, all benefit from training. If you climb regularly, these areas need special focus, and you should train antagonists with extra care. Antagonist’s muscles are opposites, and this means when you train push exercises for a muscle group, you must include a pull exercise for the same muscle group too!

Having a balanced, healthy, and strong body is probably the most important tool you can have to unlock improvements in any climbing or bouldering related activity! It also helps to prevent injuries and health problems in the long run.

Why You Should Make Your Own Training Plan

You can buy a training plan in many places online. There are tons of protocols and premade programs available. But these things are not the key to become a better climber. You are the key, and you need to understand the principles behind these programs.

When you understand the scientific principles, you can use any program, adapt it, and still have the desired outcome. On the other hand, if you don’t understand the principles and blindly follow a program, you might never achieve your goals – because your individual situation might need changes to the program. Lack of understanding makes you blind to these changes needed, and you will just waste time training stuff that is ultimately not bringing you near the goals you had.

So do this: Don’t ask for training plans and programs. Go out, research the training methods and principles and understand WHY they work. Then design your own plan to let you achieve your goals, and post it here as a comment or on Reddit or show them an experienced climber.

Keep these things in mind when you make the plan:

  • What are your goals? Quantify them, i.e., “Want to climb a 7c route.”
  • How is your climbing and training history?
  • What was the hardest redpoint attempt you successfully did?

Start here or with my other article, to find a good program to orient!

How To Mount A Hangboard When It’s Time For Hangboard Training

Simply follow the instructions on the hangboards manual. Most brands come with very good instructions. But you can also follow my other article here, where I explain a very good and cheap setup. The nice thing about my setup: You won’t need to drill any holes in your walls, and the setup is completely portable. You can even throw it in your trunk and bring it with you on business trips!

Should I Climb Everything Statically To Become Stronger Fast?

Most certainly not. While climbing statically, i.e., without dynamic swinging, requires lots of strength and thus trains you to become stronger, it’s not a magic bullet. Yes, holding your body in awkward angles and positions will put the load on different muscles and muscle groups, so you will become stronger in that way.

But it also costs a lot of energy, and if you only climb statically, you will end up burning out on many routes that are easy to climb with a dynamic move at the crux. Fact is: Many bouldering gyms and climbing gyms as well as outside sport climbing routes include dynamic moves today. And you need to be able to climb these moves dynamically, or you will have a hard time finishing these routes.

Dynamic moves are often very energy-saving, and after all, climbing is also about efficiency. A good climber uses as little energy as possible to climb a route, and there’s a good reason for this:

At  a certain level, climbing becomes a tactical sport. You need to allocate your body’s resources, which is energy spent, to a problem or route. Ultimately your resources a limited, and if you waste energy on moves, you limit your capability at the end of the climb – there simply won’t be any gas in the tank, so to speak.

If you know how to climb sections dynamically, you can bypass lock-offs and energy exhausting holds, saving the energy for later. In the long run, you want to become a better climber.

Spend time learning to climb both dynamically and statically. If you are unsure whether to climb statically or dynamically, these three steps help you:

  1. When you encounter new sections, try to climb them both statically and dynamically
  2. Take mental note how the sections feel, maybe even log the difference to a notebook
  3. See which way feels better, and then use this method in the future

How to Work On Weaknesses?

If you find yourself having a hard time on a route or bouldering problem, take a break from it. Sit down, take a breath, and reflect:

  • Be open and honest, which issue caused you to fail? Where you burnt out? Did you have the wrong momentum? Maybe a specific angle, balance, or body position felt weird.
  • Or maybe you had a mental failure, and you were afraid to commit fully.
  • Maybe you even-paced or breathed wrong, spent too much time in exhausting energy holds, or didn’t rest when you should have rested.
  • Talk to friends and others who climbed this route, maybe you are following the wrong beta for your body? Watch how they do it!
  • Video is a great tool too, have your friends film you.
  • Write down your troubles in a logbook; it will help you to sort it out for future climbs. For example, you might notice that you have regular problems with overclimbing boulder problems at heights of 20 feet plus. Given that you have solid movement and condition, then this suggests that you have a mental barrier and should work on mental training.
  • A climbing logbook will help you to work on the right key aspect and weakness!

How To Start With Hangboard Training

There are many good hang boarding introductions, like this article here. This video here is good too:

I also put together the very fundamental exercise here to make it extra easy.

Most important: The Static Deadhang

If you don’t do any other hangboard exercise than this, you are still fine. This is the most useful exercise, and you just grab the hangboard and hang from a hold with straight arms for a fixed duration. Take some rest (1-3 minutes) then repeat. Do 4-6 sets. Finished, you don’t need more than this.

Variations of the Deadhang

You can vary the classic Deadhang with some of these exercises:

  • One arm hangs
  • Lock offs at different positions and angles
  • Pullups on the hangboard
  • Combine these with each other

Work on These Grip Types When Hangboard Training

Keep this picture in mind when we discuss the exercises later. These are your very basic gripping types. They come with certain advantages and disadvantages.

  • A: Open Crimp – You open your index finger, and only crimp your middle fingers – Hard to hold, but least injury-prone of all crimps 
  • B: Half Crimp – All the fingers are bent at around a 90-degree angle – Medium power exertion, a good combination for many situations
  • C: Full Crimp – All your fingers are bent with angles less than 90 degrees, your thumb locks your grip – This grip puts a lot of load on your joints and can cause injuries if you’re not used to it! This grip can hold the most weight, but should not be overused!

Maximum Strength vs. Endurance Hangboard Training

Hangboarding is a form of physical training. As such, all the principles from other strength and energy training systems can be applied to it.

  • If you want to work on maximum strength, you need short, high-intensity sets of 5-10 second duration.
  • For strength-endurance, you want to include medium intensity sets of 20-60 seconds.
  •  Endurance, you need very low intensity sets longer than 60 seconds.

When doing long sets, you can break them up into many sets of 5-10 seconds with short rest periods of 3-10 seconds, a principle we call repeater.

If you do very short but heavy hangs, these are called max hangs. What you do will influence what skill you train: Endurance or maximum power.

Some Tips For Hangboard Training Beginners

If you are younger than 16 years, do your bones and joints a favor and wait with hangboard training. If you only climb for less than 2 years and/or climb at a level of less than 5.11 or V4/5 or 6b+, then I recommend against hangboarding!

Stay away from hangboarding if you:

  • Are younger than 16 years
  • Climb or boulder  less than 2 years
  • Climb or boulder below 6b+ / 5.11 /  V4/5

Climbing is so much more than finger strength at this level, and the increased risk from hangboarding is just too high to outweigh the benefits. Just work on proper route reading, movement automation, and footwork until you reach higher climbing grades.

But if you fulfill the upper requirements, start with a low intensity hangboarding training regiment. That way, your fingers, and tendons can adapt, and you can learn the correct technique. You will also have a chance to see how your body reacts to the hangboard training. Follow these three steps:

  1. Follow a light program for 2 weeks.
  2. If all goes well, switch to a moderate 2x/week consistently for another 4-8 weeks.
  3. Then transition to a more intense program of 3x/week or more frequently!

Some Good Hangboard Training Programs as a Foundation

Like I said above, don’t follow programs blindly. There is no single best hangboard training program. But there are some proven and working methods and programs you can use to orient yourself. Some of these are:

The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a hangboard training program:

Finger strength is built over long time periods. There is no way to build finger strength within 2-4 weeks, without risking serious injuries. If you commit to a hangboard training regime, do it for the long term benefits. Otherwise, it won’t do you any good!

Common Terms and Notation For Hangboard Training Programs

There is a common notation found in most training programs. It’s useful to know this notation, and it’s derived from the Eva Lopez program.

{Sets} x {HangTime}({EffortLevel}) {x Reps/Set*} :{SetRest}{/ RepRest*}

How to read this:

  • Setsmeans the total number of sets
  • HangTime The duration of each hang in seconds
  • EffortLevel The difference in seconds between the duration you could have maximally held the hang and the duration you held it for
  • Reps/Set How often you repeat a motion for a set, if left out, it’s assumed to be one
  • SetRest The resting period between sets in minutes
  • RepRest Resting period between reps in seconds

Here are two simple examples with a detailed explanation:

  • 4 x 8"(4) :4'
    • Perform 4 sets of 8 second hangs with an effort level of 4 (meaning the hangs should have so much weight that you could hold for 12 seconds maximally but only hold 8 seconds) and rest for 4 minutes between sets
    • This is a maximum strength routine
  • 4 x 10"(2) x 10 :2'/3"
    • Perform 4 sets of 10 reps of 10-second hangs, with an effort level of 2, and rest 3 seconds between the reps and 2 minutes between the sets
    • This is a strength endurance routine

Effort level (EL): This is lower when your effort is higher. Makes sense, right? If you hold for 10 seconds and could have held for 11 seconds, which makes an EL of 1, this is way harder than holding for 5 seconds if you could have held 10 seconds (EL of 5)

Knowing this notation will help you to read MOST hangboard training programs available online, even if there are slight changes in the exact descriptions!

When to Add Weight to My Hangboard Training?

Adding weight is a variable with which you control the intensity, or Effort Level (see above for a description of this) of your hangs.

With that in mind, most fingerboard training programs that add weight are using max hangs or repeaters, and the weight is used to achieve the desired effort level.

If you do max hangs, you increase added weight to ensure that you are failing at maybe 15 seconds, then actually hanging for 10 seconds. This provides a buffer of 5 seconds.

When doing repeaters, the added weight is used to make sure that you fail at the final set.

An individual set of hangs should not exceed 10 seconds unless you want to train endurance or strength endurance. If you exceed 10 seconds of hanging duration regularly, you will suffer from a strong arm pump as your forearm muscles will be put under too much tension and occlude. Even when training longer duration endurance hangs, it’s always better to take very short 3-5 second rests between reps to have some blood flow!

If you can hold a hang for 20 seconds, it’s a smart move to change your grip to a worse hold or add some weight to come down to the 10 seconds/rep region!

Keep in mind that the buffer and hang times cited above are just for examples. If you reduce the hang time by increasing added weight, this will increase intensity. But it also increases the risk of hand injuries if you are not used to the weight, so use common sense and don’t overdo it with the additional weight!

Will Hangboard Training let me Climb XY Grade in 6 Months of Time?

It will most certainly not. There are a lot of factors to include that govern how high of a grade you can climb, finger strength being only one variable. Different body types, levels of mental and physical fitness will govern how high of a grade you climb. You will also need good route reading skills and find the right beta to climb a route. All the factors are playing a role, so it’s not really possible to answer a question like that.

But this data here, taken from this good article on Reddit, gives an estimation for an average climber with a good training regimen. Take it as an approximation of what is realistically possible under good but not perfect circumstances for an individual with average to above-average talent.

  • 1-2 months  from V0-2

  • 3-4 months  from V0-4

  • 4-12 months from V0-6

  • 9-24 months  from V0-7

  • 18-42 months from V0-8

  • 30-60 months  from V0-9

  • 48-84 months from V0-10

  • 72-120 months from V0-11

The first few grades of development are very fast, as your gains are quite high while you still learn the basics. After that, the gains start to slow. The rate of adaption is obviously influenced by your genetic predisposition to climbing too!

A new climber can reach V6 in one year of training, and might then need another year to reach V8. But she or he will reach a plateau at some point, as the progress becomes slower and slower while nearing his or her potential genetic limit.

A Good Analogy How Fast You Can Progress

If you imagine a race, with 1000 people starting at a line, and the goal is 100 yards away, we should ask: How long does it take for each individual to reach the 100-yard line. 100 yards being, of course, representative of V10 grade climbing.

Now, we could time everyone and then calculate the average time. But actually, we would need to adjust the starting line if we talked about climbing.

  • Everyone under 20 needs to run 10 yards less, so move up 10 yards
  • BMI between 18 and 22? Move up another 10 yards
  • Living in an area with many climbing spots and good climbers? Another 10 yards up, please
  • Everyone with enough money and a job that allows them to take time off to climb whenever conditions are good? That’s another 10 yards
  • Everyone with strong tendon insertion points, aka they are strong but won’t need a lot of muscles because of their body geometry moves up 25 yards

Now you have a starting field of people where some start 100 yards away and some only 35 yards. Even if there is not a single unmotivated runner, of course, the people closest to the finish post will be faster. And the ones starting without any advantages will take the longest time on average.

The only way to answer the question for you is actually to go out and try. Best to completely ignore the finish post for a while, focus on a good system for training, and have fun climbing. And try to become a better climber, step by step, grade by grade.

Conclusion: Don’t Rush Into Fingerboard and Hangboard Training and Have a Plan

On average, most people become better at climbing faster when they spend more time climbing. And you can spend more time climbing if you are not injured and have fun at climbing. Relax and take it easy for the first two years; you are less likely to injure your fingers that way.

Once you are a decent climber, think about fingerboard training. But don’t rush into it! Follow a Program or better: Develop your own program with common sense.

More Reading Material:

My guide on climbing training when you have a full-time career and family

My hangboard setup guide

Best climbing shoes for 2020

Categories
Reviews

Climbing Grip Trainers Best of 2020: Complete List!

You know how the story goes, if you want to become a better climber or boulderer you should go climbing or bouldering more. But what if you have a busy office job and spend more time at the desk than you actually like? Is there a way to use grip training tools to at least traing SOME grip strength? Or are these devices just decoy and won’t help? I investigated a bit, and tried to find out as much as possible. I also reviewed the popular grip trainers for this post, so read on if you want to find out!

Are Climbing Grip Trainers actually any good for climbers and boulderers? Yes grip trainers can improve your grip strength even when working a desk based job. Keep in mind, they won’t replace a real climbing training, but they are certainly better than not working on grip strength at all.

 

Why Some Muscle Groups might Actually Benefit From Additional Grip Training

When you climb or boulder you use flexor tendons and forearm and hand muscles. In the picture you can see the muscles in green and the extensors in red. The extensors are red, because when you climb they are usually not used a lot and become neglected. That neglection can lead to imbalances and limit how much strength you have when climbing. Grip extensor traners like the PowerFingers tool work these under used extensors. while other training devices like  the Black Diamond Grip trainer help with base conditioning and injury recovery.

If possible, you should try to climb more or use a hangboard to work on your grip strength. Portable hangboards work really good when you are abroad or travelling. But if you cannot do this, a grip trainer might be the only option you have. It’s safe to state that most grip trainers that exist are more or less useless, they’re just too monotonous to have a real effect, and they offer no overload or progression. But there are some devices that were made especially for climbers. These can be good substitute if you have no opportunity to get some real climbing in.

How most Grip Trainers work

Grip trainers mostly work by letting the person training squeeze somehting with their forearms. This way they put emphasis on the positive motion of the forearm, while real climbing involves more isometric exertion, as the forearms typically contract to hold your body weight.

Squeezers

Most  grip trainers involve high resistance training, they are usually better for forearm conditioning or regaining strength when you had an injury. But there are other grip trainers too, which work the forearm extensors.

Extensor Trainers

As climbing underuses arm extensor muscles, devices that train these muscles are a nice support for any climbing training. It might be a smart move to work on muscle groups that are typically underdeveloped when training climbing when you have no option to go climbing for real. Attacking a weakness is always a smart move! Most climbers have weak extensors, which results in elbow injuries and pain as well as biceps tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrom and some hand and tendon puleyi njuries. If you train your extensors with high resistance training, you will also become better at isometric holds!

Grip Trainer versus Hangboard Training

If you train on a hangboard, your training is very climbing specific. You actually engage all the tiny muscles in your forearm and fingers that you would engage when you were climbing for real. A grip trainer, both squeezing and extending works in a different way. It doesn’t mimic climbing or bouldering, and it can be used for any activity that profits from grip strength.

A Cheap Alternative to Climbing Grip Trainers If You Want to  Train Pinch Grip Strength

If you want to grain your grip strength for pinch holds, you can just buy a 2×4 wooden board and get some static rope. Than connect a small carabiner with rope and a heavy backpack of 40 to 50 lbs to it. Now try holding and walking around with a pinch grip on the board – it will be really hard to hold the board above ground and it’s a super simple training method for pinching grips.

A Simple Martial Arts Alternative to Grip Trainers: Rice-Bucket Training

Rice bucket training is an awesome technique that you might know from some cheesy 80s martial arts movie: Dip your hands in a bucket of rice or grain and start squeezing. It’ a super intensive support training, and i’ve seen many people recommending it.

While rice bucket training is no silver bullet, it’s a good tool to build some base strength in your forearms for climbing and bouldering and recover from injuries. If you keep at it, rice bucket training will let you develop relatively well connected forearm muscles with no strong imbalances, as it leads to weaker muscles becoming stronger. While your muscles will respond fast to this form of training, it’s smart to start at a slow pace and not overdoing it in the beginning. Two or three sessions a week, 50 seconds per exercise, increasing to a minute or longer gradually. Once your forearms get used to it, the training won’t be painful anymore and that’s when you have a solid base!

6 Rice Bucket Training Exercises for Rock Climbers and Boulderers

The names for the exercises are kind of funny, but they work!

Exercise 1:  Iron Fist

Stab your fingers into the rice bucket, and then make a fist. Hold the fist for 50 seconds, then take a break for 2 minutes. Repeat 3-4 Times.

Exercise 2:  Screaming Talon

Stab fingers into the rice bucket, then open them wide. Close Again, Open Again, hold for 1-2 seconds. Repeat 8-10 times. Do 3 sets of 8-10.

Exercise 3:  Fists of Fury

Rotate your fingers into one direction continuously for 30 seconds, then change direction for another 30 seconds. Pause for 2 minutes. Repeat 3-4 Times.

Exercise 4:  Screaming Talon

Stab fingers into the rice bucket, then open them wide. Close Again, Open Again, hold for 1-2 seconds. Repeat 8-10 times. Do 3 sets of 8-10.

Exercise 5: Wax On, Wax Off

Move your hands from side to side, left to right, right to left. Repeat this motion for up to a minute. Pause 2 minutes. Repeat 3-4 times.

Exercise 6:  Gouge the eye

Try digging your thumbs as deep as possible into the bucket. Repeat for 1 minute, pause 2 minutes. Repeat 3-4 times.

Exercise 7:  Crush the pebble

Grab handfuls of rice with your fingers and make a motions as if you we’re squeezing the rice to dust. Repeat motion for 45 seconds, make a pause for 1-2 minutes. Repeat 3-4 times.

Grip Trainers We Reviewed

The Marcy Wedge $30: Basic conditioning. Score: 3/5

Climbing Grip Trainers: Are they any good

If you need a grip training device that works flexor and extensor muscles, this one is right for you. By rocking your wrist for and back your muscles are being worked. You can easily adjust the grip and resistance. But it doesn’t really allow you to build grip strength needed fr climbimg, so best use it if you need basic conditioning after an injury or need to build up a foundation.

Gripmaster $9-$14: Cheap but can mess up your hands. Score: 2/5

Climbing Grip Trainers: Are they any good

Oldschool spring loaded grip exercises. You can target individual fingers, and there are three different models with different levels of resistance. There exist some routines that are specific training for climbers, which is nice, but overall this device is more a rehab and conditioning device. It’s good if you need to work isolated fingers.

Word of caution: Be careful with training intensity, as there have been reports of people injuring themselves using the Gripmaster!

Captains of Crush Grippers, aka “CoC” $70 for a set of three, $110 for a set of five: Expensive and not great for climbers. Score: 4/5

Climbing Grip Trainers: Are they any good

These torson spring grip trainers are for serious strengthening. They are very popular in the weight lifting community, and they come in ridicolously strong levels if you want. There is a book published by the company that has a lot of details about exercises, and it will tell you many different styles of exercises. Unfortunately none of the exercises are specific for climbers. If you want, use them in combintaion with bouldering and campus board training to involve some squeezing training. But don#t expect them to work wonders for your climbing grip strength!

The PowerFingers $30: Good tool to train antagonist muscles. Score: 4.5/5

Climbing Grip Trainers: Are they any good

Powerfingers are a device to train forearm extensors. They work by training individual finger loops, and offer five different levels of resistance. That makes them perfect if you need fine control about the level of resistance for your workout.

Like most other grip trainers, you can use them to work out muscular imbalances, do base conditioning and work on injury rehabilitation or prevention. But in contrast to some others, these actually work very well for strengthening. While other grip trainers usually don’t let you address individual fingers, these allow to train individual fingers. And they also let you train fingers with high levels of resistance, making them perfect for strength building!

It’s important to keep in mind, that you need to work on opposition strength of muscles. Antagonist muscles need to be developed to let you access your muscles full potential. And Powerfingers let you train these antagonist muscles. Do three sessions per week, and include training on rest days, where you don’t climb anyway. Then hold contractions of the exercises for 3-4 seconds, doing sets of 10 to 15 repetitions, with 4-6 sets of each exercise. Many climbers reported to have good increase of finger strength after using Powerfingers for a while, while also reporting less frequent injuries. That’s why I think these are a great addition to any climbing training regime. If you need more tips about climbing training, read my other article about training systems. You can find it here.

Black Diamond Forearm Trainer $5-10: A good cheap basic trainer 4.5/5

Climbing Grip Trainers: Are they any good

These are a simple device: You squeeze a rubber ring. While they are a simple design, they actually work surprisingly well. And they are cheap. You can use them on long drives or at work, basically anywhere if you’re not climbing. And these will give you forearm pump, like climbing does.

You can also use them to work on sore finger tendons and warming up hands and forearms. Plus they’re a great tool to work off stress at work.

Metolious Climbing Grip Saver plus  $15-30: Expect no wonders of this grip trainer. Score: 4/5

Climbing Grip Trainers: Are they any good

Metolious Grip Saver was developed by a Doctor. While they don’t do any wonders for strength building, they are a good tool for prevention and rehabilitation. They come in 3 levels of resistance, and start at $15.

You can also use them to train antagoist muscles and working off pump and residual soreness in your forearm.

The Gripster  $55: Expensive but good. Score: 5/5

Climbing Grip Trainers: Are they any good

The Gripster is expensive, but it’s a great tool to train No Hangs. No Hangs are a great exercise where you lift a weight up from the ground. It’s awesome to isolate fingers and works just as good as hangboard training, but without the overhead arm stress of hangboards. It’s way better for your shoulders that way.

The Gripsters is a device made especially for this kind of training. You can use it to work on injury prevention and it allows to rotate your shoulders too.

Conclusion

Climbing grip trainers can be a good extension to your normal climbing training. Whenever you have some time, squeeze in (pun intended) some finger strength exercises. But keep in mind, that climbing grip trainers won’t replace a real climbing trainer!

More reviews:

Best Climbing Helmets 2020

Best Climbing Shoes 2020

Best Approach Shoes 2020

Best Climbing Pants 2020

Categories
Reviews

Best Winter Climbing & Bouldering Pants 2020

Days are short, the air becomes colder, as winter is nearing. Many people in norther Europe and America want to keep climbing outside. But if you want to keep climbing outdoors, you need some warm pants. We recently reviewed the best climbing and bouldering pants for 2020, look here for more info, and now we will extract the best winter pants from that list. Winter climbing pants need to be water proof, resilient and offer some insulation. This is different from normal climbing pants, and we’ve found that mostly alpine climbing pants are suitable to use in winter climbing and bouldering conditions.

Keep reading to find out how these pants work exceptionally well for winter climbing and bouldering, we included only insulated and water resistant pants for this list! And as water resistance is so important in winter, we recommend to stay away from mainly cotton pants. Cotton is just transferring too much heat when wet, and in snow and rain cotton is a bad choice!

Mountain Hardwear Yumalino Pant: The Warmest Pant for Winter Climbing

Best Climbing Pants 2020
Best winter pants: Mountain Hardwear Yumalino pants

This is the perfect pant for any winter climbing or bouldering. Among the tested pants, these were the warmest. They even have a comfortable fleece lining inside, and they are water repellent. Thanks to the gusseted crotch they don’t sacrifice mobility, and they have extra protection on the knee to make them more durabe.

They are our Nr.1 cold weather winter climbing and bouldering pant!

Outdoor Research Men’s Ferrosi Pant / Outdoor Research Women’s Ferrosi Pant – A Good Allround Winter Climbing & Bouldering Pant

These pants are already reviewed in our big review, but here are some reasons why they work so good in winter conditions. They are super comfortable to wear, are made of thin and light fabric but do offer a lot of insulation. Since they are also very breathable, you won’t need to worry about sweating when you wear them. And the fabric is water repellent, making them perfect for shitty weather and climbing in rain or snowy conditions.

They are also very reasonably priced!

Arcteryx Gamma Rock Pant: Heavy and Expensive But Worth The Money!

Best Climbing Pants 2020
If you don’t mind a heavy and expensive pant, the Arcteryx is a good choice. It has a lot of features, good insulation and is weatherproof. And it also comes with a nice chalk bag loop and integrated belt!

Almost number one: Mountain Hardwear Men’s AP Pant / Mountain Hardwear Women’s AP Skinny Pant

best climbing pants 2020

Mountain Hardwear makes the AP pant, and it is a good choice for winter climbing. They are very warm and water resistant. They even look good too, so you can wear them for Christmas presents shopping if you like!

They do have some nice extras like reflective stripes and velcro pockets. The mobility is a little limited, as they are pretty stiff!

Materials for the Perfect Winter Climbing Pants

If you want to climb or boulder in winter conditions, your pants need to be synthetic. As of today, most cotton based pants are just not cutting it for wet and cold conditions. Cotton becomes a huge heat transferrer when wet, and if you combine this with cold temperatures you have the best recipe for hypothermia. That’s why Nylon and Polyester blends work best in winter.

1. Flexibility of Winter Climbing Pants

Since winter climbing pants carry more material, it’s very important to check for flexibility when buying a winter climbing pant. Many models are very stiff. A perfect winter climbing pant will work even when you wear under garmins like leggings.

2. Breathability of Winter Climbing Pants

Sweating in winter is very bad. But when you exercise and climb, you will sweat. It’s super vital to buy pants that transport heat away while also insulating.

3. Durability of Winter Climbing Pants

Especially in cold conditions you will need pants that are easy to withstand abrasion and abuse. Ice and snow are harsh on your pants too!

4. Insulation & Water Resistance

Having a good amount of insulation is the most important difference from a winter to  a non winter climbing pants. They also need to keep you dry. Staying warm and dry is more important than flexibility in winter, at least if you goal is to stay outside and climb the whole day.

If you go crag climbing and bouldering, it’s ok to opt for thinner pants, but for alpine climbers, we recommend fleece-lined pants, unless you climb somewhere really hot. Mountain weather can change quickly!

If you need more Reviews, check out our other reviews:

Best Climbing Helmets 2020

Best Climbing Shoes 2020

Best Approach Shoes 2020

Categories
Bouldering Climbing Where to go

Germany Bavaria Climbing & Bouldering Gyms: The Complete List

Visiting Bavaria, Germany and wondering where in Bavaria you can find climbing and bouldering gyms?  This is probably the most comprehensive list of climbing and bouldering gyms in Germany for the Area around Munich and Bavaria. It’s broken down by City. And we included a map to show you where it is exactly, as well as all the info like phone number and websites. 

We recently updated the list, but if you know of any new gyms and existing gyms that closed or moved write us a comment or send us an email!

This list still being expanded actively so make sure to check back every once in a while!

München

Boulderwelt München Ost
Friedenstraße 22a
81671 München
089 41859970

Boulderwelt München West
Bertha-Kipfmüller-Straße 19
81249 München
089 82073499

DAV Kletter- und Boulderzentrum München-Süd
Thalkirchner Str. 207
81371 München
089 189416311

einstein Boulderhalle München
Landsberger Str. 185, 80687 München
089 30701750

DAV Kletter- und Boulderzentrum München-Nord
Werner-Heisenberg-Allee 5, 80939 München
089 215470540

SVN Sportpark, Kletter- und Boulderzentrum
Fritz-Erler-Straße 3, 81737 München
089 46098582

Eddy Crashpaddy
Grafinger Str. 6, 81671 München
089 200030715

Near München

High-east Kletterhalle
Sonnenallee 2, 85551 Kirchheim bei München
089 92794796

Kletterzentrum Freising
Seilerbrücklstraße 3, 85354 Freising
08161 548656

Climbing & Boulder Center Munich West (Gilching)
Frühlingstraße 18
82205 Gilching
08105 370770

Rosenheim

Kletterhalle Rosenheim
Finsterwalderstraße 4, 83071 Stephanskirchen
08031 8094850

Near Polling

Climbing World GmbH climbing hall “Under the ROOF” Weilheim
Trifthofstraße 58, 82362 Weilheim in Oberbayern
0881 41122

Near Kaufbeuren

Kraftwerk – the boulder hall in the Allgaeu
Kreener Str. 14, 87640 Biessenhofen
08342 9159561

Near Landsberg am Lech

Die Kletterei
Viktor-Frankl-Straße 5a, 86916 Kaufering
08191 6404740

Near Holzkirchen

Climbing and bouldering center Weyarn / Leifheit Hall
Am Weiglfeld 30, 83629 Weyarn
08020 9087233

Grafing bei München

Boulderhalle Leben bewegt e.V.
Thomas-Mayr-Straße 4, 85567 Grafing bei München
08092 2309188

Kletterhalle Grafing
Lagerhausstraße 17, 85567 Grafing bei München
08092 6878

Near Bayrischzell / Chiemsee

DAV climbing gym Bernau
Buchenstraße 17, 83233 Bernau am Chiemsee
08051 9614920

Near Wasserburg am Inn

Kletterturm Gschwendt
Am Sonnenpoint 8, 83533 Edling
08071 1047245

Bad Tölz

DAV Kletterzentrum Oberbayern Süd e.V.
Am Sportpark 5, 83646 Bad Tölz
08041 7952030

Garmisch-Partenkirchen

DAV Boulderhalle Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Klammstraße 47, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen
08821 9436446

Saulgrub near Oberammergau

Boulderhalle Ammerrock
Alte Römerstraße 10, 82442 Saulgrub
08845 758942

Allgäu

Kletterzentrum Allgäu
Dietringer Str. 50, 87669 Rieden am Forggensee
08362 940187

Pfaffenhofen

PAFROCK Kletterzentrum Pfaffenhofen
Ingolstädter Str. 68, 85276 Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm
08441 4007484

 

Ingolstadt

Schwerkraft Boulderhalle Ingolstadt
Marie-Curie-Straße 10, 85055 Ingolstadt, Germany
+49 841 13802322

DAV-Kletterzentrum Ingolstadt
Baggerweg 2, 85051 Ingolstadt, Germany
+49 841 88555010

Eichstätt

DAV Kletterhalle Eichstätt – jurabloc
Jurastraße 6, 85132 Schernfeld, Germany
+49 8421 9358220

Regensburg

MEGA Sports Regensburg
Gebäude B, Sport- und Freizeitcenter, Ernst-Frenzel-Straße 14, 93083 Obertraubling, Germany
+49 9401 6767

Boulderwelt Regensburg
Im Gewerbepark A46, 93059 Regensburg, Germany
+49 941 89963606

DAV Climbing Center Regensburg
Am Silbergarten 6, 93138 Lappersdorf, Germany
+49 941 28005085

Landshut

DAV Climbing Center Landshut
Ritter-von-Schoch-Straße 6, 84036 Landshut, Germany
+49 871 47730614

Straubing

alte Ziegelei Boulderhalle Straubing
alte Ziegelei 16, 94315 Straubing, Germany
+49 9421 5102145

DAV-Kletteranlage Straubing
Niederalteicher Str. 13, 94315 Straubing, Germany
+49 9421 80965

Deggendorf

ES-Vertikal DAV Kletterzentrum Deggendorf
Sandnerhofweg 5, 94469 Deggendorf, Germany
+49 991 98294202

Gangkofen

DAV Gangkofen Kletterhalle
84140 Gangkofen, Germany
No Phone Number!

Cham

Kletterzentrum Bayerwald
Kleemannstraße 27, 93413 Cham, Germany
+49 9971 996980

 

Categories
Reviews

Best Bear Sprays: The Top 5 of 2020

When you hike and go outdoors in Northern America, there is a decent chance to have wildlife encounters.  Chances to have a bear encounter are actually quite low, despite what the media and YouTube “Experts” will tell you. But, bears are probably not the biggest concern when you go backcountry hiking. Nonetheless, if you encounter a bear, it can be a very real and dangerous threat depending on the situation. With proper knowledge and equipment, you can minimize the chances of such a situation, but it’s good to have some backup in case things turn ugly. Bear sprays are shown to be the most effective solution to bear threats, even more, effective than firearms for most people; look here if you want to know more. I’ve spent many nights camping and hiking both in Canada and the U.S., backpacking, and sleeping in bear country, and I have both carried guns and bear sprays with me during that time. Time for a review of the best bear sprays for 2020!

So, what are the best bear sprays of 2020? COUNTER ASSAULT BEAR DETERRENT is our choice of the best bear spray for 2020, thanks to the longest spray time and range. Following up are FRONTIERSMAN BEAR SPRAY and RUGER PEPPER BEAR SPRAY.

Best Bear Sprays 2020 Review

#1 – Counter Assault Bear Deterrent: Longest Range and Spraying Time – Overall Winner!

Best Bear Sprays

Counter Assault Bear Deterrent Quick Facts

  • PRO: 12 – 32 feet range, among the longest
  • PRO: 9.2 seconds of spraying time
  • PRO: Comes with a good holster

Counter Assault Bear Deterrent Review for 2020

This comes in a size of 9.2 ounces, making it the largest in our test. With this size, it carries enough power to be really prepared in the worst situation. From what we’ve seen so far, this is one of the more popular brands, which is just a good sign that this brand does something right, at least at marketing…

But the facts speak for themselves: Distance with this spray is between 12 and 32 feet, which is enough distance to be safe. Many factors influence how good the distance works out in reality, but an average distance of 22 feet is a very good value!

Duration of spray with this particular spray is very good: You get over 9 seconds of non-stop spray, which means you can put out quite some material when a bear comes to close. Spraying duration is important, as you are most likely in a stressful situation when a bear charges, and you might not be able to get the spray on his face within the first second or two, which makes long spraying duration a definite win!

With this spray, you’ll cover the bear (or other attacking animals…) with lots of active ingredients, even if you completely miss for the first 3 seconds.

The holster is not tactical, but it works and keeps the can in reach without being annoying.

Verdict

Best Spray we reviewed for 2020, with plenty of spraying duration and an enormous range this capsaicin lancet will work well in any situation!

 

#2 – Frontiersman Bear Spray: Insane Range and Backed By Studies

Best Bear Sprays

Frontiersman Bear Spray Quick Facts

  • PRO: Up to 35 feet of range
  • PRO: Long spraying time
  • CON: No included holster

Frontiersman Bear Spray Review for 2020

Frontiersman has been a staple in any outdoor store in the bear country anywhere in North America. They’re still producing the same formula they have been producing for the last 10 years, and the spray is a super reliable product.

Among the available sprays, this one has a very high content of capsaicin, the active ingredient in bear and animal deterrents. It comes with 2%, making it one of the strongest available spray – but keep in mind all of our top listed sprays contain 2%!. This product actually has university studies backing up its effectiveness and has been field tests in Alaska and Montana.

The best feature of this spray is the enormous range: Some sprays cannot even reach 20 feet, but this spray has reported distances of more than 30 feet – WOW!

The biggest downside and reason why this spray doesn’t hold the top position is the fact that the holster has to be bought extra. Other manufacturers ship their spray with a holster for the same price. That being said, there is an optional chest and belt holster version, which is more expensive, but the holsters work and are of good quality!

Frontiersman comes in two sizes: 7.9 ounces and 9.2 ounces, as the 7.9 ounces version only reaches 30 feet distance, we recommend: Stick with the 9.2 ounces can!

Verdict

Frontiersman Bear Spray in 2020 is still a field-tested and proven product. It will deter bears from a safe distance, and if you buy the more expensive holstered version, it is also very practical. A well deserved Nr. 2 on our list!

 

#3 – Ruger Tornado Bear Spray: Long Spray Time, Small Bottle, No Holster

Best Bear Sprays

Ruger Tornado Bear Spray Quick Facts

  • PRO: Up to 9 seconds of spraying time
  • PRO: Fog cloud spraying pattern is easy to use
  • CON: No included holster
  • CON: Short distance of ~ 20 feet

Ruger Tornado Bear Spray Review for 2020

In 2020 we have Ruger with a bear spray they manufacture. Ruger is a producer of firearms and ammunition, and this bear spray works super well on mammals and bears.

Since this spray only delivers 20 feet of distance, you will get less range than our Nr.1 and Nr.2 picks, but the spray delivers its material in the same easy to use cloudy fog pattern, so you don’t have to worry about aiming.

What this spray excels in is spraying time: Out of the 9-ounce canister, you get a full 10 seconds of spraying. This means you deliver less fluid per second than from the Frontiersman or Counter Assault model, but have more time to aim. And the canister is very light!

But the Ruger spray has no included holster, so that’s kind of a bummer, but the many available aftermarket holsters work all great!

Best For: Long spray time in a smaller bottle – just don’t forget to pick up a good holster!

Verdict

Rugers Bear Spray delivers an easy to handle pattern and comes in a smaller can. If you can live with the short-range and want to buy your own holster anyway, this spray is a good fit!

 

#4 – Udap Bear Spray Safety Orange: Customizable but Short Distance

Best Bear Sprays

Udap Bear Spray Quick Facts

  • PRO: 4 Different holster colors
  • PRO: Developed by bear attack survivor
  • CON: No included holster
  • CON: Short distance of ~ 20 feet

Udap Bear Spray Review for 2020

From all the products we have tested, it’s kind of a surprise to find customizable bear spray.

Udap makes a customizable bear spray as the holster is unique and can be modified with different colors available!

While the colors are fancy, we had a hard time verifying some of the bolder statements of the brand like the “most trusted bear spray brand.”

From what we know and could also verify with other reports, the range is pretty decent, with 30 feet as being reported and seen.

The overall feel of the canister is good; the holsters are sturdy and well though-of. They do feel a little bit more expensive than the other holsters of our test candidates. A drawback of the semi-open holster design could be the tendency of the canister to fall out if you go upside down or tumble. Keep that in mind!

Verdict

If you like fancy colors and can live with the semi-open holster, Udap is a good choice with decent range and high capsaicin content.

 

#5 – Alaska Bear Spray: The Cheapest Bear Spray

Best Bear Sprays

Alaska Bear Spray Quick Facts

  • PRO: Cheap
  • PRO: Same size as more expensive sprays
  • CON: No information about spray length

Alaska Bear Spray Review for 2020

Alaska Bear Spray is a very affordable spray that comes with a holster, and we liked that.

There is nothing special about this spray except for the fact that it’s cheaper than most of the other brands in this test.

Since it’s cheaper, it’s not a big surprise that the velcro and holster feel a little cheaper and less robust too. On the other hand, in the test, they didn’t give us any trouble, so I guess they might feel subjectively less quality, but they objectively did a good job.

We couldn’t find any reports of spray duration, nor does the company release this information. We are very confident to assume, though, that this spray is going to last for around 3-10 seconds, depending on the fog thickness – it’s a 9 ounce can, and that’s what we tested in the past for cans this size.

Verdict

Alaska produces a good bear spray with an even better price point, that does not excel in any aspect but is our best value bear spray for 2020

Bear Spray Information Before You Buy

We collected some interesting knowledge and information about bear sprays. This is what you must know, and it will help you to make an informed decision when you buy. Combine it with our test, and you will get the right bear spray for your situation and needs.

Holsters and Positioning

Besides not bringing a bear spray in the first place, the next big mistake most newbie hikers make is to stuff the bear spray into their backpack. You probably guessed it: If you pack your bear spray into the backpack, you can as well leave it at home. Rarely will you be in an emergency situation where you have time to open your backpack and search for your bear spray among sandwiches and other items.

It’s vital to have the bear spray with you at all times. And unless you have the bear spray in a holster on your belt or chest, this is not the case.

If you have another option to carry it, fine, but make sure you have it within hands reach anytime. The easiest way is to carry it in a holster, like with any self-defense item.

And that’s why it’s crucial that the holster is at least well designed enough for you to use it – otherwise, you will just stuff it inside your backpack again.

A good holster for bear spray should have these features:

  • Accessible located where you can reach for it easily
  • Room for attachment
  • Tough material, durable
  • Allow you to open it in a stress situation, i.e., with clumsy fingers

A good holster makes the user carry it at the hip, chest, or other open locations. It also needs to enclose the bear spray in a way that it cannot easily fall out while you hike. And you need to be able to open when you’re under pressure, so practice this beforehand!

Active Ingredients

All bear sprays I know of have only one main ingredient, Capsaicin. It is extracted from chili peppers, and it works by heavily attacking a bears’ eyesight and smelling sense.

While it is not damaging the bear, permanently, it basically robs them of their vision, smell, and taste senses for a while.

The bear reacts to this with mucus and tears running from their eyes, and it’s very painful. Watering, sneezing, and growling will follow, and then the bear will try to escape. Escape is the natural reaction to this unknown pain and sensation, as the bear relies on vision and sense of smell to attack and defend itself, and robbed of this sense, it will go into flight mode.

By the way, the bear spray works on most mammals, including humans, so make sure to not accidentally spray yourself or friends and family if you use it! The higher the concentration, the worse the effect on the target.

Don’t aim into the wind, or you will suffer yourself! The highest allowed content of capsaicin in animal deterrent sprays is 2%, and there is no real benefit from going higher than this. IF you deploy the spray into the bear’s face, it will be more than enough to scare him away and disable him for a while. But you should then try to get away and alert someone, as the bear might come back later.

If you want to see how effective bear spray is check out this video:

Most people who use bear spray reported it to be more effective than firearms, and if you like to know more about bear attack ins general, check out this article!

The distance of the Spray

The distance you can effectively use a spray is one of the features that’s most important. Not all sprays are made equal, and distance is one of the governing factors.

How far the spray will spray in reality is also influenced by wind and your aiming accuracy. Believe us when we say: It’s very easy to miss a target if you are chased by it.

If you want to stop a bear, every foot of distance counts! In terms of distance, this is how the tested spray ranked:

  • Frontiersman Bear Spray: 35+ feet
  • Counter Assault Bear Spray: 32+ feet
  • Guard Alaska Bear Spray: 20 feet
  • Udap Bear Spray: 20 feet
  • Ruger Tornado Bear Spray: 20 feet

If you only care about raw distance, Frontiersman Bear Spray is still the number one brand to buy!

Safety Features

Spraying yourself with bear spray is bad, and if it happens to you while you are in an encounter with a bear, this could be fatal. So be careful when you use bear spray, and never spray against the wind or on other hikers!

The bear spray brands we reviewed here come with safety caps and rings to avoid discharging it accidentally. And Frontiersman and Counter Assault ships their sprays with a glow-in-the-dark plastic safety cap that enables you to use it even without a flashlight at night!

A Safety Note

Bear spray is your last resort to deter a bear attack. It’s not a replacement for correct education about bears and the right practices when hiking backcountry.

And the fact that you carry bear spray does not make you and a bear equal opponents. Bear spray will deter a bear for a while, but after that, it might come back. And bear spray runs out at some point, so I recommend to do the best to avoid bear encounters.

Keep food packaged in bear canisters, and follow guidelines to avoid bear encounters. Wilderness courses like Wilderness  First Aid or Wilderness First Responder teach you the basics needed!

Related Questions

How high are the chances to encounter a bear?

According to this study, the following chances exist to encounter a bear

  • Remain in developed areas, roadsides, and boardwalks: 1 in 59.5 million visits
  • Camp in roadside campgrounds: 1 in 26.6 million overnight stays
  • Camp in the backcountry: 1 in 1.7 million overnight stays
  • Hike in the backcountry: 1 in 232,613 person travel days
  • All park activities combined: 1 in 2.7 million visits

Can I defend myself in a bear attack with a gun?

Yes, you can try. However, unless you have a VERY large caliber gun(Cal. 50 and above) and are trained to shoot and kill under high pressure, you are better off with a bear spray.

There are many records of bears surviving multiple rounds of large caliber handgun rounds to the head, so don’t count on headshots stopping a bear. If you want to know more, read this article.

Can I attach my bear spray to my backpack?

Sure, as long as it’s accessible! If you have to fumble while grabbing for it, that’s not a good way to carry it.

Is it good to test a bear spray?

I wouldn’t do it unless it’s old. And in that case, I would probably buy a new one. If you test it, be super careful to wash your hands afterward, or you will be in for a bad surprise!

 

More Gear Reviews

Best Climbing Helmets for 2020

Best Climbing Shoes for 2020

Best Climbing Pants for 2020

Best Approach Shoes for 2020

 

Categories
Bouldering Climbing

Is Bouldering Dangerous?

Activity Risk of light or medium injuries (0 low, 10 high) Risk of severe injuries (0 low, 10 high)
Indoor Bouldering 4 2
Outdoor Bouldering 8 6
Indoor Rock Climbing 3 3
Outdoor Rock Climbing 5 6
American Football 5 3
Mountain Biking 7 7
Motorcycle Riding 5 8
Soccer 4 2

Important: Indoor Bouldering is a lot less dangerous than Outdoor Bouldering

When we talk about how dangerous bouldering is, it’s important to see the difference between indoor and outdoor bouldering. While technically the same sport, with the same goals and techniques involved, outdoor bouldering is A LOT more dangerous.

Ina modern bouldering gym, indoor bouldering is not more dangerous than some other sports activities, with most injuries typical involving sprained or broken ankles or knee injuries. This is because the shock-absorbing mats in most modern gyms are incredibly effective. A fall of 6 to 9 feet on a mat inside a gym is not a big deal in most cases. Even if you land in an awkward position there is a high chance that you won’t injure yourself, they are that good. Take note: This obviously depends on the gym, and how good their gear is, but regulatory standards in most of western Europe and North America are pretty high.

But outdoor bouldering is a different beast: The falls are still low-height, but the impact energies are high because you have no thick shock-absorbing mats outdoors. When you boulder outdoors you usually land on either dirt, rock or grass, and even though boulderers have crash pads, these pads are not even close to the effectiveness of the mats inside a gym. And outdoors, you usually bring one or two of these mats, so depending on the boulder problem there is a high chance that when you fall you are actually missing the pad. And without a pad, every fall outdoors is basically a 6 to 10 feet fall to the ground. If you don’t know how to tuck and roll and fall correctly, there is a  VERY high chance of spraining or breaking an ankle or knee injuries. And some boulder problems leave you falling head or torso first, which is even worse. Outdoors you should ALWAYS boulder with someone to spot you.

Is Indoor Bouldering more Dangerous than Outdoor Rock Climbing?

Not at all. From all the climbing related activities, indoor bouldering is the safest and least dangerous. Falling heights are low, and shock absorbant mats are always taking in the main portion of the fall energy. Outdoor rock climbing is more dangerous than indoor bouldering, both in terms of the risk of medium or light injuries and also in terms of the risk of severe injuries.

Is Indoor Bouldering more Dangerous than Indoor Rock Climbing?

The chances to injure yourself lightly are higher when indoor bouldering, as you take falls on a regular base. And while the shock absorbing mats are working great, there is still a chance to sprain an ankle or break something if you fall very unfortunate. At the same time, the risk of light or medium injury in a rock climbing gym, where you are climbing with a rope, are smaller. But given that there are multiple fatal or severe accidents due to belaying errors and broken safety rules in rock climbing gym per year, the chances of severe injuries are higher.

This is because IF you fall in a rock climbing gym, and this fall happens to be combined with an error in the belaying, you typically fall higher than in a bouldering gym, and in contrast to a bouldering gym, there are usually no shock-absorbing mats on the ground. Thankfully, the risks in rock climbing gym are extremely low, as this german study showed (observing half a million visits to indoor rock climbing gyms), and you can mitigate and minimize the risk if you follow the proper belaying techniques.

Most of the logged accidents in the study where a combination of negligence on the belayers behalf and or failure to do partner checks and keeping an eye on each other all the time.

In terms of numbers: On every 1000 hours of climbing in a gym, there were.02 injuries. Which made indoor rock climbing safer than skiing, badminton or surfing – all these had higher rates of injuries. And in the study, most injuries where either minor or moderately severe, with no fatal accidents registered.

Categories
Camp & Hike Mountaineering Reviews

Primus Firestick 2020: Wind-blocking, Ultra Light Stove That Fits Your in Your Pocket

Primus introduced the Firestick canister stove for 2020. While we haven’t had a chance to do a full review yet, we did our best to get our hands on samples and collect all kinds of valuable information for this hot new gadget for 2020.

Read on for our detailed 2020 pre review of the Primus Firestick – it comes with a cylindrical design, and that blocks both winds and serves as a handle for large pots.

A different approach to lightweight canister stoves for 2020

Primus went with a cylindrical design for 2020. This design enables the Primus Firestick stove to block wind easily when expanded, and also handle large pots. When you close the Firestick, it clicks together in the center, hiding the nozzle and avoiding snags and bulk when storing it. The valve is regulated, so you can achieve high fuel efficiency and control your consumption of fuel.

The Primus Firestick comes in two options: Steel and Titanium

You can buy the Firestick in two material options: Either steel or titanium. The steel options weights 3.7 ounces and costs around $90. If you want to be ultra weight saving, go with the titanium option: It costs $120 and only weighs 3.1 ounces!

Preview: It packs away easily, fits your hands like a package of mints and has enough power

From what we’ve seen and heard, the Primus Firestick is very portable. Thanks to the clicking design, you can store it away as easy as a package of mints or gum, and it fits your hands too. And it’s still powerful enough to handle cooking and making hot water for tea when backpacking. As it comes with a regulation valve, precise adjusting of the flame is possible, and you can simmer your broil if you need to.

It comes by default with a beautiful wool pouch and a piezo trigger.

Who is the Primus Firestick made for?

The Firestick is clearly aimed towards the ultra-portable market of hardcore hikers and mountaineers. If you need to save the weight and storage room, the Firestick is for you. It’s powerful enough to handle cooking and water heating, but if you need a full-on camping kitchen, you need a bigger stove.

Facts

Its 4 inches long and weighs around 3-4 ounces. It’s the slimmest canister stove we have seen so far. It looks like a flashlight when retracted, and has air intake holes for fuel-efficiency. And it supports wide pots and gives good wind protection. It can heat with 8530 BTUs, which is quite a lot; an average home stove has only around 7000 BTU per burner!

Detailed Specifications of the Primus Firestick

  • Streamlined cylinder-shape that slides into the pockets
  • Windscreen with an integrated burner with 8530 BTUs
  • Fast and easy setup
  • Safe for outdoor use
  • Wind protection supposed to work great
  • Holds wide pots
  • The flame is recessed in the shelter to give even more wind protection when cooking in stormy conditions
  • Holds small pots too
  • Narrow, strong flame
  • Regulation valve for precise control of power
  • Wool storage pouch doubles as a potholder – NICE!
  • Piezo igniter included too
  • Weight: 3.7 oy (steel) or 3.1 oy (titanium)
  • Dimensions: 1.4 inches x 4.1 inches
  • BTUs: 8350 (Average home stove burner only has 7000 BTUs!)

Read more about some of our camping and hiking topics like how to pack your backpack right and if cargo pants are good for hiking.

Categories
Camp & Hike Mountaineering

Are cargo pants good for hiking?

When I started hiking, I usually just wore jeans or old army cargo pants. But after I went on my first multi-day hike and experienced a bad case of thigh rash, I decided to investigate and find out more. It turned out, cargo pants are not necessarily your first option when you go hiking. Are cargo pants good for hiking? Yes, they are. A cargo pant is good for hiking, as it has a lot of pockets, where you store maps, compass, and gear. But the pant shouldn’t be made from cotton, as this causes problems when hiking. Cotton stores water, and this means cotton clothes stay wet and cold longer and can cause rashes as wet cotton is abrasive. 

Cotton is a mediocre material for hiking pants!

In general, you can use cotton for shorter hikes perfectly well. If you go on a 3-hour summertime hike in your local area, there is no way a cotton pant will not work well. Later down here, I recommend BDU pants for hiking these short trips, and they also use mainly cotton. But if you are serious about hiking, cotton can be a problem.

Cotton retains water

The main problem: Cotton is a hydrophilic material, which means it stores water. Water is retained, and this means your cotton pants will stay wet for a long time when you hike with it. No problem in summer, but in spring or autumn, anytime you sweat, this sweat will keep your pants wet for a long time. And if you hike in the rain, the paints will never really dry once they get initially wet. Wet cotton is also very abrasive, which can lead to rashes and chafing. Chafing sucks, if you have had it, you know what I’m talking about. And the worst-case scenario, chafing can also cause infections. This is especially a problem if you go hiking during the rainy season in tropical climates.

Cotton makes your body lose heat when wet

The worst problem with wet cotton is the loss of heat. Heat loss from the body is a serious problem when you hike in colder climates. The wet fabric next to your skin will transport heat away really fast, it’s the same principle as swimming in the water. This will lead to hypothermia, and that will slow you down and eventually kill you. Hypothermia is one of the things that will likely not be a problem on your typical 2-hour afternoon hike where everything goes well, and you can warm up in your car afterward. But add time, like a 3 to 5 days hike, constant rain, and a cold and wet tent, and exhaustion, and you have a recipe for disaster! In contrast, most hiking paints are made from synthetic wicking materials, which repel water and dry faster. Wicking materials are thus a good choice if you need fast drying pants that repel water – like when you go hiking in wet conditions or sweat a lot.

Wicking fabrics guard against preventable problems in a way that is more reliable than luck. They are a reusable insurance policy that helps protect the safety and enjoyment of your treks.

What type of pants is best for hiking?

So, if we’re talking about it already, mabye you are now wondering how your perfect hiking pant should look like. What type of pants is best for hiking? The best pair of hiking pants should have these features: Lightweight, quick-drying, enough storage pockets with zip closing if possible, and not bulky. In hot climates, you want zip-off legs too. By the way, climbing and hiking pants are not the same, climbing pants have their very benefits, if you need some good climbing pants, check out our review of the 2020 best climbing pants here!

Lightweight

This is a no-brainer. Heavy pants mean you carry around dead weight with you. You already most likely have a heavy backpack, so adding heavy pants doesn’t make sense at all

Quick-drying

In order to avoid the aforementioned problems with hypothermia, good hiking pants should dry fairly quick. This can usually be achieved by using a blend of nylon or other synthetic materials.

Plenty of Pockets

Pockets are great for hikers. Storing often used items like compass, map, GPS, or smartphone in your pants can save you time and hassle. Closable pockets are a must if you have steep climbing sections or down and uphill sections in your hike.

Zip-off legs

The ability to zip off the pant’s legs is great in summer and hot conditions. If you have the option, definitely buy pants with zip-offs if you want an allround hiking pant for the whole year!

Are BDU pants good for hiking?

BDU pants are good for short hikes and walks. They are fairly heavy and made from mostly cotton, which is not ideal for hiking. On the other hand, they have a comfortable cut and a plethora of pockets, so that’s nice. But if you go on longer hikes or in wet conditions, they are not a good choice thanks to the cotton fabric. So keep them in your drawer if you need nice working pants, or pants for a quick afternoon hike. But for serious hiking, get a decent pair of hiking pants.

Can you wear jeans to a hike?

Jeans are nice to wear for work and relaxed walks. But if you go hiking, jeans have none of the options and features you want to see: They are heave, have not a lot of pockets, and the fabric is 100% cotton, which soaks wet and sucks in cold and wet conditions. They are also not very comfortable, nor do they have a lot of legroom or flexibility. If you want to go hiking, generally avoid jeans.

What are some good options for hiking pants?

So, hiking pants are important and should be selected well. You want something that breathes and has quick-drying material, but also a good amount of pockets. They should be warm when temperatures go down and have some zip-off legs at best. Some of the better hiking pants also have built-in sun protection or even keep insects away! The list below is a good overview of high-quality hiking pants.

Brand / Model Legs Style Gender Availability ListPrice
Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Hiking Pants Convertible M | F $60
prAna Stretch Zion Pants Roll-up M $85
REI Sahara Convertible Hiking Pants Convertible M | F $70
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible Pants Convertible M | F $90
Kuhl Renegade Cargo Convertible Pants Convertible M $99
REI Screeline Hiking Pants Full Length M | F $80
Mountain Hardware AP Pants Roll-up M | F $90
Arc’teryx Palisade Pants Full-length M | F $159
Marmot Arch Rock Pants Full Length M $75
Fjallraven Vidda Pro Pants Full Length M | F $150

Related Questions

What are hiking pants made of?

Hiking pants and shorts are made of durable and quick-drying synthetic fabrics like spandex and nylon. The material is usually lightweight without a lot of bulk. They also give a good amount of insulation.

Are military boots good for hiking?

Most military boots are suitable for hiking. They might not be the most comfortable hiking boots, but they give good support for your ankle and are durable and water-resistant while not too expensive. Keep in mind: Some military boots that are made for desert combat might not work well in cold and wet conditions!

Can I wear leggings for hiking?

Hiking leggings and tights are the most comfortable pants to wear when hiking. But if you go hiking in cold or mixed weather, leggings are not good options to wear as an outer layer, as insulation is usually not good nor do they repel water very effectively. They are perfect to wear as base layers, though!

Categories
Climbing Mountaineering

Can climbing rope be recycled?

Old ropes are cool. Remember the neon-bright colored ones from the 90s? Some of that old rope served me very good as a top rope, coiled away in a drawer, ready to be picked up whenever I needed a backup. But after the 3rd new rope, you will end up with LOTS of leftovers. Time to find other ways to get rid of it and recycling is the eco-friendly way I would prefer.

Can climbing rope be recycled? Yes, it can be recycled, but not in a normal recycling facility. To recycle old climbing rope, there are multiple rope manufacturers that offer to recycle for free: Sterling, Millet, and PMI. Some even pay you for your old rope if you buy a new one!

Everyone loves getting new climbing ropes. A new rope is a wonderful thing, and especially if your old rope is worn out, it’s probably safer to replace it. There are tons of good climbing rope manufacturers, but what I was wondering the other day as if it’s possible to recycle their ropes. Not everyone wants to keep old rope, and after cutting parts of it for some obligatory uses, I was still left with 100 feet of leftovers. I am by no means an expert in climbing rope manufacturing or recycling, so I did some research, and this is what I found out.

Can climbing rope be recycled in your normal garbage bin?

But what if you don’t want to send the rope into a manufacturer. I was wondering if you could maybe just use the normal recycling methods to recycle it? For most states in the US, the answer is NO; curbside programs will likely not accept nylon rope. But if you live in Europe, Germany, for example, chances are high there are some local recycling plants or programs you can give your old climbing rope to.

Climbing rope is nothing but old nylon fabric. So you can donate your worn-out rope to an organization that uses old fabric to supplies it to artists and schools. Examples are organizations like Materials for the Arts in New York and the Scrap Exchange in Durham, NC. These organizations are always happy to accept old nylon fabric, and the chances are high that you have a local organization close by if you live in a metropolitan area.

What else can I do with my old climbing rope?

If you cannot find an organization that accepts old nylon rope, you can just think about some other ways to use it. Recycling is great, but the general idea is to find good use of old materials. Recycling is one way to find a good use for old climbing rope, but you could also just re-use or upcycle it.

Make your climbing rope last longer

If you want to avoid having to recycle your new climbing rope, then the easiest way is not to buy a new rope. This means you need to find a way to keep your old climbing rope in good working condition longer. An easy way is always to store your rope inside a rope bag, and if you go climbing, but the climbing rope bag beneath it. Nothing destroys a rope faster than a full day at the crag with the rope lying in the dirt, rubbing sand and stones all over it, and stepping on it with your shoes.

You should also be gentle with it when you wash it, preferably washing it with lukewarm water only, and letting it dry in the air. NEVER throw your rope in the dryer – that’s the fast lane to killing the durability of the rope, as nylon does not take the heat of a dryer well. Keep your light outside of the sunlight, too, as this damages it! And read my other article about things to keep away from climbing rope, you can find it here.

Upcycle your old climbing rope instead of recycling

What is upcycling, you might ask. This definition is spot on, and it basically states that you find a new use for something old in a creative way. Upcycling is basically the opposite of cycling down. Cycling down means to convert material and products into raw materials of lesser quality. This is usually done when you recycle something, as you break the nylon apart into small particles and reuse these particles. But upcycling means you create a new product from the old materials that are of higher quality.

Upcycle your old climbing rope: Make a rope rug

What are some good ideas to upcycle old climbing rope? You can weave a rope rug. This video here is a great tutorial:

Can you use an old climbing rope as a tow rope?

It turns out you can. There are multiple reports of people using an old climbing rope as a towing rope. It’s another great idea, you can just take multiple strains, and it will be very strong, strong enough to tow a car. Just run it backward and forwards 4 to 6 times, which will reduce the load on individual strains and minimize stretch. Minimizing stretch is important if you use your old climbing rope as a towing rope, as you don’t want the towed car dangling behind your tow car on 50 feet of elastic cord!

Use the old climbing rope as a super strong dog leash

This might be overkill, but I found that using the old rope like a dog leash works super good. Thanks to the material of the climbing rope, the dog leash has some nice stretch if needed, but is still strong enough even if you have a big and powerful dog. And it’s a great money-saver if you need a long leash for dog training!

Related Questions

What to do with old climbing ropes?

    Old climbing rope DIY projects

  • Rope rug
  • Dog leash.
  • Furniture
  • Beer koozies
  • Ladder from rope
  • Chalk Bag
  • Scratch post for your cat

IF you need some more ideas about what to build with your old climbing rope, check out this other post about 24 great ideas for DIY projects with old climbing rope. Find it here.

How long are climbing ropes good for?

Polyamide (Nylon) fibers, which ropes are made from, break down over time. Replace old climbing rope after 10 years, no matter how rarely you used it. Replace it after 5 years if you used it often!

Can you rappel with a dynamic climbing rope?

Yes, you can. A static rope is easier for rappeling, as it gives you more control, but a dynamic rope works fine too. They have more stretch, and it might take some time to get used too, but they are safe to rappel with. Never try climbing with static rope though, a static rope is not made for situations with high-impact forces like a fall!