In this new series of short articles, we ask climbers that all-important question that gets a gear freak's eyes bulging: "What's in your gear store?" Generally, "store" could be representative of something ranging from a messy pile on the floor to an obsessively organised, purpose-built storage cupboard adorned with hanging compartments, electrical tape, labels and shiny kit categorised by brand, function and size...or, if you're really posh, you'll have a gear room.
Immediately you will know where you fit into this spectrum of (un)tidyness. You will know if you're a serial gear-hoarder (yes, you - with that vintage Joe Brown helmet you're "saving for the grandkids") with an unhealthy attachment to your hole-ridden, gaudy-coloured first pair of rock boots, which emit an eye-watering stench and are one step away from becoming a biohazard.
Without gear we would be lost, and it's safe to say that the equipment we use plays a crucial and often amusing role in the stories we tell of our adventures and mishaps in the outdoors. So what do the non-sponsored, but keen climbers have in their gear store? We will be asking a variety of climbers partaking in different aspects of the sport at various levels and
shaming exposing their gear habits.
"Talking about gear for climbers, is like talking about the weather for normal people." - Charlie Mackie
Our first victim who has kindly let us foray into his stash of gear is 26 year-old Charlie Mackie. Charlie lives in Glossop and works as an outdoor freelancer. He has been climbing for 10 years now, substantially throughout the UK from gritstone boulders to Scottish Winter and everything in between, along with a few trips abroad for bouldering in Font, Spanish sport climbing and Scandinavian water ice.
"As such, my gear collection has expanded year on year in the pursuit of staying a little warmer/ drier/ comfier for longer. Trying to have the best kit for the job like the richer 9-5 weekend warriors, but on the dirtbag climber's salary!"
Charlie's Gear Room
First bit of kit: My Red Chilli Voodoo's back where it all began. Followed quickly by my set of Wild Country rocks, which are still seeing me up routes today!
Favourite item: Mountain Equipment beanie. Used pretty much every day!
What I couldn't live without: My Sportiva Miuras. Couldn't climb without them, everything else is superfluous.
Most battered/loved kit: Battered would probably be my Alpkit Ohiro synthetic jacket. It's almost more gaffatape than jacket now, but it's still super warm and comfy. Loved would be my Berghaus Ramche down jacket, just as it feels super lightweight and flimsy. Constantly in fear of ripping it...!
Can't bear to throw away: Any of my old rockshoes in the bin. They are all filled with memories of great routes I've done in them.
Most recent purchase: Alpkit Gourdon 20. Super versatile bit of kit. Just used it last week for some winter soloing in T'Sneachda. Just big enough for everything you need. Keeps it all dry and comfy, light and tough.
Item that got me out of a tricky situation: Petzl e-lite that lives in my first aid kit. Got to the top of a 14 pitch rock route in Arran just as the sun was setting. Realised we'd left both head torches in the big bags at the bottom. Luckily had that little saviour in the multipitch bag.
Desert island kit: Are we with someone else? If not then all I'd need was a few pairs of trusty Miuras and some chalk!! Then obviously camping gear, Alpkit tarp, bivi, z-rest roll matt (indestructable) super cosy Marmot down bag etc.
Best cheap bit of kit: Go Outdoors two man tent. Bought for £25, spent another £10 on fabsil and cheap improvements. It's survived a burly night in the Lakeland mountains in grim conditions! We were awake all night waiting for it to die on us, but it just kept on going. We were both very impressed.
Luxury gear item? Something that you always take with you, but really don't NEED: My £5 mini speaker from WHSmith.
Strangest thing used as gear: Not sure on this one!
Strangest use for a bit of gear: I used a piton as a spoon once when I forgot my cutlery...
Hoarder or get-rid-of-it? Hoarder
Organised or disorganised? Disorganised
Brand loyal or best of everything? Brand loyal
Get it scratched or keep it shiny? Get it scratched!
Quick wash or dutifully polish clean? Quick wash
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