Climbing chalk is one of the most important parts of your climbing gear. This is the white substance you rub on your hands to dry off moisture from sweat or excess moisture if you happen to be climbing in a drizzle.
The importance of strong grip cannot be overemphasized. Slipping is simply not something you want to deal with when climbing.
There are a few types of climbing chalk, mainly based on the texture. You can get chalk in form of a fine powder, chunky bits, blocks and liquid chalk with a lotion-like consistency.
We analyzed some of the top brands of climbing chalk and FrictionLab Loose chalk was our top pick. It was followed closely by Black Diamond’s White Gold.
Here is a summary of the Best Bouldering Chalk
1. FrictionLabs Loose Chalk
FrictionLabs is definitely not one of those brands a rock climber can claim to be unfamiliar with. It is a well-known brand whose manufacturer has invested in heavily marketing.
The company also makes a point to keep a long list of professional climbers well stocked with sponsorship material.
Some reasons why this product takes the lead over others are because it is made using a formula which is free of silica, fillers, pigmentation and artificial drying agents.
This makes it safe for both adults and children. FrictionLabs Loose chalk is available in 3 different varieties.
- Unicorn Dust: Fine chalk powder with small chunks
- Gorilla Grip: Medium sized chalk chunks with some powder
- Bam Bam: large chunks of chalk with some powder.
With these 3 options, you can choose your preferred texture without compromising on quality.
Application is easy and gives you a smooth, even coating which lasts long and doesn’t leave your skin feeling excessively dry or cracking.
This is the only chalk product which has been endorsed by more than 100 professionals in different types of sports including gymnasts, powerlifters, weight lifters and of course rock climbers who swear by it for bouldering.
A favorite feature of this product is its packaging. It is packed in a convenient re-sealable coffee bag which makes it easy to store away and keeps the chalk free of moisture.
The pack also allows you to easily pour the chalk into your chalk bag, refillable chalk ball, chalk bucket or chalk pot.
Where pricing is concerned, FrictionLabs is one of the more expensive products of its kind.
Some users say the extra cost is worth it because of its superior moisture absorption and reduced transfer of chalk to climbing surfaces while others say it is a good product but not worth the extra cost.
- Smooth and even application
- Superior moisture absorption
- Available in 3 varieties
- Convenient re-sealable package
- Endorsed by professionals
- No excessive drying
- Safe for adults and children
- Free of silica, fillers and pigmentation
2. Black Diamond White Gold Loose Chalk
Black Diamond’s white gold is a loose chalk which performs well on just about every test criterion. You don’t have to dig too deep into your pocket for a packet and it provides good coverage over the hands.
It stands out as the most effective chalk for moisture absorption and this makes it the go-to chalk for people who sweat more than the average climber or those who expect to be climbing in high humidity areas or in the rain.
This high level of drying efficiency comes at a cost for other users who don’t sweat as much. Prolonged use causes stiffness, tenderness and even cracking on the skin.
Even then, it is praised by users in other disciplines such as weight lifting and gymnastics for excellent friction and staying power.
This loose chalk is of medium texture, as it has a combination of powder and small chunks. It comes packed in a convenient re-sealable packet which eases storage and protects from moisture.
Each packet has a fairly narrow mouth.
It is advisable to pour out as much powder as you need into a chalk bag, bucket or refillable chalk ball for ease of access and store the rest away in a cool dry place. Packets are available in a variety of sizes ranging from 50 grams to 300 grams.
- Very effective moisture absorption
- Fairly priced
- Doesn’t stick on walls or clothes
- Re-sealable packet
- Available in 50 to 300 gram packets
- Pure magnesium carbonate
- Can be over drying
- Unsuitable for sensitive skin
3. Metolius Super Chalk
Metolius Super chalk stands out as the product of choice for budget buyers. It is one of if not the most cost effective climbing chalks with cost efficiency increasing the more you buy.
It comes in 15, 9, 4.5 and 2.5 ounce packets. For instance, when you buy the 2.5 ounce pack you pay about 70 cents per ounce and about 40 cents per ounce when you go for the 15 ounce packet.
It is claimed to be the best selling brand for climbing chalk in America. Another outstanding characteristic of Metolius chalk is that it is designed specifically for rock climbing.
Of course it is used by people in other disciplines like weight-lifting, yoga and pull ups all of whom praise it for its moisture absorption.
However, if you are a rock climber, you can rest assured that they had you in mind when they made it. This chalk is easy to apply and effectively absorbs moisture to retain that essential grip for a safe comfortable climb. It is not 100% magnesium carbonate.
It has an artificial drying agent added to it though it is still safe for your skin. The texture is not gritty but rather chunky and can easily be broken down into a fine powder if that is what you prefer.
You can buy it in a refillable or non-refillable sock. Socks help to make application easier and prevent you from making a mess when applying the chalk. The package used is a convenient re-sealable pack.
One weakness noted is that the chalk doesn’t stay on as long or as well so you may need to apply and re-apply several times in the course of a climb.
- Efficient moisture absorption
- Varying packet sizes
- Easy to apply
- Convenient re-sealable pack
- Option for refillable or non-refillable sock
- Specifically made for rock climbing
- Average staying power
4. Primo Chalk
Primo is relatively new to the chalk manufacturing industry but it joined the game with unique features and bold claims. It effectively absorbs moisture on your hands to increase friction and improve grip.
One of the side effects of effective moisture absorption is that climbing chalks often leave the skin dry and sometimes cracked.
Primo chalk takes care of this by mixing the basic ingredient, magnesium carbonate with essential oils.
It contains rosemary, eucalyptus, cinnamon and lemon oils which are intended to keep your skin moisturized while still providing sufficient friction for good grip.
Aside from essential oils, Primo also contains a dash of Epsom salts which protect your skin, as well as an antibacterial agent to keep infection causing germs at bay.
It even has a pleasant scent to it and feels a bit like lotion rather than chalk. You will notice a real difference in your hands after a few uses of Primo chalk.
Your skin feels smoother to touch and doesn’t feel as dry as it does with other brands. It lasts longer than other brands and application is easy though it doesn’t give you a confidence-inspiring coating.
Staying power is also not impressive though the manufacturer stresses that a small amount is sufficient. Applying too much at a time makes it more difficult to coat and reduces staying power.
Primo chalk is one of the more expensive products of its kind especially when purchased in small quantities.
In larger quantities such as the big 5 pound bucket the cost per gram comes down a notch to a slightly more reasonable figure, but it is still not cheap.
- Efficient moisture absorption
- Has essential oils for skin hydration
- Has Epsom salts
- Has antibacterial properties
- Pleasant scent
- Only a small amount needed at a time
- Good for sensitive skin
- Quite pricey
- Not long lasting
- Not ultra-drying
5. Pur 100% Natural Chalk
We were always taught to leave a place better than we found it. Unfortunately this is not what we do when we leave all sorts of white chalk marks on the crags and rocks we climb.
This is the problem behind Pur 100% Natural chalk’s no-stain philosophy. This chalk comes in several natural shades such as ash, red rock and sandstone to match the kind of rock you will be climbing next.
Shades appropriate for limestone, granite and sandstone surfaces are also available. This way you don’t leave any unsightly marks on the rock, it remains as natural as it was before you got there.
You get to preserve the rock’s beauty for generations to enjoy as they climb. The fact that it is environmentally friendly doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve its primary purpose.
It is made of 100% pure magnesium carbonate so it efficiently works to keep your hands dry and maintain good grip.
It is free of fillers and artificial drying agents.
If you are a traditional kind of rock climber who simply must have white chalk no matter what, Pur 100% Natural chalk is available in classic white. Its extra fine texture is an attribute the manufacturer says is intended to fill all the little ridges in your fingertips and palms for flawless coating.
The packaging is a 100 gram re-sealable pack which can be used over and over again. When it is time to throw it out, don’t forget that the pack is recyclable in keeping with the manufacturer’s eco-friendly philosophy.
The brand has a leave-no-trace commitment and partners with advocacy organizations on this.
It may seem like a lost cause because few climbers opt for this brand so you will most likely be climbing rocks already covered in chalk; but like they say, one person’s effort still makes a difference. You will feel good about using it.
This product’s effective drying ability makes it great for gymnasts, weight lifters and for regular gym workouts.
- Environmentally friendly
- Efficient moisture absorption
- No fillers or artificial drying agents
- Reusable, recyclable packet
- Available in different natural shades as well as white
- Can be used for weight lifting, gymnastics and regular workouts.
- Not necessary for indoor climbing
6. 321 STRONG Refillable Chalk Ball
321 STRONG is one of the most well-known brands of climbing chalk in the market. It boasts of non-toxic ingredients so it won’t cause incessant coughing and sneezing to anyone at the gym.
It also has no pigmentation so you will not have to deal with stains on your gym clothes or the mats. This is a fine powder which improves your grip, keeping your climbs both safe and fun.
For those who don’t like scented chalks, this is an ideal product because it is 100% scent free. This chalk comes in a refillable cotton sock which holds about 65 grams (2.3 oz.) which makes it more convenient to use.
Unlike loose chalk, you won’t make much of a mess when using this one. The sock has drawstrings which keep the chalk ball safely inside the sock.
When the chalk runs out, you can refill the sock with another 65 grams of chalk and keep using is as such until the cotton material gets worn out.
When you buy it, it comes in a resealable zip top bag for convenient storage. This sock is appropriate for rock climbing, regular gym workouts and yoga.
- Efficiently dries hands
- Refillable sock with drawstrings
- Sock holds 65 grams of chalk
- Sock is made of strong, durable cotton material
- Comes packed in a resealable zip top bag
- Non-toxic, no pigmentation, scentless
- Easily fits in a chalk bag
- Doesn’t come with a chalk bag.
7. Mosher Mountain Gear Liquid Chalk
Mosher Mountain Gear’s liquid chalk has a consistency similar to lotion though it quickly dries to feel like regular chalk.
The liquid consistency makes it easier to coat your hands evenly and this means you don’t need much liquid and you don’t have to re-apply it as often as you would powder chalk.
Staying power is impressively high thanks to 2 non-toxic bonding agents which keep the liquid on your hands longer than any chalk powder.
You can say goodbye to sweaty palms because this product assures you of dry hands and more than sufficient friction and grip.
Its Super grip formula is lab-tested to increase friction. Animal lovers will be glad to know it is not tested on animals. No animal had to suffer in the process of manufacturing this product.
Liquid chalk eliminates those irritating clouds of chalk powder which can sometimes fill the gym with clouds of dust in the air.
Powder chalk is banned in some gyms because of this and liquid chalk is a good alternative in such places. It washes off quickly and easily after use.
Rock climbers are not the only ones who enjoy the benefits of Mosher Mountain Gear liquid chalk. It comes in handy in virtually every situation where strong grip is essential and sweaty hands impede performance.
This includes weight lifting, bowling, golfing, baseball, hockey and pole dancing. It comes in a pocket-sized 50 ml bottle which can easily be carried in a bag pack or pocket.
A unique feature is the bonus carabiner clip which makes it easy to clip the small container onto your harness or belt. Having it hanging on a harness makes it easily accessible even in the middle of a climb.
You will have to be very careful to make sure that the bottle doesn’t leak. If it does you will have an unpleasant mess to clean up. A high price tag is another disadvantage of this product.
- Easy to apply
- Quick drying and washes off easily
- High staying power
- Lab tested to increase friction
- No mess
- Small, convenient pocket size bottle
- Bonus carabiner clip
- Potential mess if the bottle leaks
If you are new to climbing, you may get a bit confused by the many options of climbing chalk available in the market. You will find that certain brands provide great overall quality while others have a name for specific strengths.
From our analysis, FrictionLabs Loose emerges as the top product.
This chalk is unquestionably superior when it comes to moisture absorption and is available in 3 different varieties to suit different texture preferences.
It is endorsed by more than 100 professionals and is free of fillers, silica and pigmentation. Black Diamond’s White Gold is known for its very high moisture absorbing power ideal for climbers who sweat a lot.
Primo has made a name for users with sensitive skin because it contains essential oils and Pur 100% Natural is the most environmentally friendly chalk.