Little things make the difference between sending your project and going home frustrated.
Black Diamond LiveWire Quickdraw
Because its beefy dog bone—the sewn webbing that connects the carabiners—is so tough, the LiveWire ($24) has long been a staple of our rack. The latest version has a single metal wire over the nose of the bottom 'biner, which prevents rope snags while you're clipping and cleaning.
Outdoor Research Astroman Shirt
Like most outdoorsy guy shirts, the nylon-spandex Astroman ($85) is light, stretchy, and breathable. What sets it apart? You can fold up the collar and snap it in place to protect your neck from the sun on long, exposed climbs.
Mountain Hardwear Hyaction Jacket
Ultralight waterproof shells often sacrifice durability for weight. Not the Hyaction ($350), which has reinforcement in the shoulders, arms, and hood and weighs in at only nine ounces. The high, harness-friendly pockets are key.
Scarpa Techno X Shoes
Thanks to a microsuede synthetic-leather upper and a U-shaped band of rubber underfoot (designed to relieve tension on your toes), the Techno X ($145) is the most comfortable lace-up we tested. It performed equally well on techy overhanging boulder problems and long, slabby sport routes.
Edelrid Eagle Light 9.5 Rope
Not only is the Light 9.5 ($240) thinner and lighter than previous iterations of the Eagle rope series, it's also stronger than ever before, thanks to microscopic particles of Teflon bonded to the yarn. The treatment also increases the rope's resistance to dirt and water.
Patagonia Stretch Houdini Boardshorts
When you get right down to it, there isn't much difference between pared-down climbing shorts and simple boardshorts. Both are cut from stretchy, quick-drying fabric and, like the Houdini ($129), have welded flat seams that don't chafe, whether you're riding waves or scaling rock.
Wild Country Boost Harness
Most harnesses are built with a single piece of webbing. Wild Country splits the Boost ($55) into two pieces of two-inch webbing, which more evenly disperses your weight during big falls and hanging belays. The result: the most comfortable sport-climbing harness we've tried in years.
Petzl Bolsa Rope Bag
We loved the simplicity of the Bolsa ($40). Throw in your rope, sling it over your shoulder bandolier style, and head for the crag. Once there, it unfolds into a large square tarp to keep your rope clean.
Metolius Ultralight Cylinder Chalk Bag
Thanks to paper-thin silnylon fabric and a barely-there buckle, the Ultralight Cylinder ($23) is 70 percent lighter than most chalk bags. It isn't super durable, but it's an easy way to knock 80 grams off your rack.