The 9 Things Tommy Caldwell Can’t Live Without
We caught up with the climber to talk about his most essential everyday gear
Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+.
Tommy Caldwell is well-known for establishing some of the hardest climbing routes in the country. Back in January 2015, for example, he and his partner Kevin Jorgeson made global headlines for becoming the first people to free climb the Dawn Wall route on Yosemite’s El Capitan.
Right now, Caldwell isn't climbing but instead on a book tour for his New York Times bestselling memoir, The Push: A Climber’s Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond the Limits. During a break from autographing pages, we talked to Caldwell about his favorite gear that has nothing to do with scaling large piece of granite.
Technology is a big one. Since I’m an author these days, my Macbook Pro laptop goes pretty much everywhere with me. It’s small, durable, and reliable.
I use Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones. When I am in coffee shops working or trying to sleep in public places, I run a white noise app on my music player. It blocks out all but the most important sounds.
I have dropped more than one phone off big cliffs. I now use a phone case with a clip-on tether made by a company called Beeline.
The Goal Zero Venture 30 recharger is my go-to for keeping my phone charged. It’s easy to recharge from a solar panel or a wall outlet, and it’s small enough to bring with me wherever I go.
I also always carry a couple of Pilot Precise V5 RT Retractable Ball pens and a small notebook for jotting down ideas.
Backcountry Coffee Maker
The Aeropress coffee and espresso maker is light, clean, and makes super good coffee.
The Hydro Flask 10-ounce mug is a small insulated mug with a lid. I can’t stand disposable cups, so this mug goes pretty much everywhere with me. Its small size limits my caffeine intake to a reasonable amount. I usually drink Americanos.
In the mountains, a 16-ounce Nalgene is my water bottle and my coffee cup. I also mix my Emergen-C, which I take just about every morning, in here. Its wide mouth allows me to fill it fast from faucets, streams, and stoves. It’s dent-proof and easy to clean. I drink liberally from mountain streams, so I rarely need a bigger bottle when I’m moving fast.
I always travel with a pair of running shoes to get in a quick run when I can. I like La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor trail runners.