Get mini sized gear for big adventure
“A day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day.” Winnie the Pooh
I didn’t start quoting Winnie the Pooh until we became parents. I love this quote and I love spending time as a family, it may not always be easy but it’s always worth it. To include our children in our outdoor pursuits we try to make the experiences enjoyable and appropriate for their abilities. One of these pursuits is rock climbing so to get our daughter involved we bought her a climbing harness and shoes when she was three. There are lots of safe and fun ways to include kids in climbing. Getting the right gear has been a big part of making the experience fun.
Geared Up and Ready to Climb
There are 3 main pieces of climbing gear harness, shoes and helmet. There are additional items that may make life easier or more enjoyable. We’ve compiled a list of what has worked for us.
Kids climbing harnesses are full body so if they flip upside down they won’t fall out. We have the Edelrid Fraggle II Harness, XXS size. The harness is advertised that you can use as a ski harness as well, which we haven’t tried, we have the lil’ ripper gripper ski harness. The climbing harness leg loops are one size and easy to slip on. You need to adjust the shoulder straps to fit the length of the child. There are two loops around chest high for the rope. The harness seems to fit snug and we haven’t had any complaints on comfort. Our friends 3 year old boy has the same harness and it works well for them as well.
Climbing Harness Roped Up and Ready To Go
Our daughter could have climbed in running shoes but they are harder to try to keep tiny feet on a wall than climbing shoes. There aren’t that many small kids climbing shoe options. We have Evolv Venga Rock Shoes. This climbing shoe fits small compared to running shoe sizes. I recommend either try on in a store or going a few sizes up. We got a larger size and she wears socks comfortably in them. The velcro and wide mouth of the shoe makes them easy to slip on and off. The shoes seem quality made and are working well.
3 Year Old Sized Climbing Harness and Shoes
Our kids wear helmets all the time if playing at the base of a narrow crag and while on the wall. We are very cautious for rock fall. We are lucky our kids love wearing helmets. What parent of a toddler doesn’t feel they should wear a helmet around no matter what some days!
The first time out with our kids they wore their bike helmets. Since then we realized our old climbing helmets fit them! The turn dial tightens enough for their little heads so we have been using our helmets. I’ve looked into children’t climbing helmets but haven’t pulled the plug to buy one yet. Our system right now seems to work.
Chillin’ at the Crag
Our daughter likes to wear my chalk bag for fun but doesn’t use it. An older kid could use one.
If the crag or bouldering is a short approach we often bring a picnic blanket. We have a rubber bottom blanket but are planning to bring a old tarp next time because the blanket and our dog bed got covered in tree sap, which is crazy hard to clean.
Prior to kids we could carry one 30L backpack each for our climbing gear. We now use 50+L bags to carry the extra gear, food, toys, diapers, etc. We enjoy short approach climbs because our 3 year old can hike it herself but it’s a lot easier with a heavy bag and a baby to carry as well.
If you have a baby coming with you a pop up baby tent / play pen that has a full mesh cover is super helpful for naps, stop them from eating dirt and a place to entertain the kid.
Super Mom Ready For a Day at the Crag
Rockin’ It on the Rock
Climbing with Preschoolers - Born to be Adventurous
5 Tips for Climbing with Kids - Off-Road Discovery
Rock Climbing with Babies and Toddlers - Off-Road Discovery