Go OutsideHard Wear

Hard Wear


Pants or shorts? Skin-tight lycra or baggy capris?  Our cheat sheet will help climbers balance fashion and function on their next trip to the rock.

JEANS Pros: Denim is durable and provides excellent knee coverage. Plus, you can go line dancing after the climb without having to change your pants.  Add a jean jacket to the mix and you’re rocking the full “Southern Tuxedo.”

Cons: Jeans are hot, and we’re not talking Katy Perry “hot” here. We’re talking “stuck on the side of a cliff with the sun baking down and you’ve got freaking denim on half of your body” hot. Prepare to be stifled.

What jeans say about you: “Not only can I send this 5.11, I can lasso a mustang with this here rope.”

Most common accessory: Large Southern flag belt buckle with built-in bottle opener.

SHORTS Pros: Shorts, aka “little boy pants”, are supremely breathable and offer a great range of movement. You can also get a solid calf tan while climbing.

Cons: Your knees are going to come out of the climb looking like raw roast beef. The new lines of shorts with knee coverage is intriguing, but they’re only two inches away from becoming capris. What shorts say about you: “Look at me on this cliff! Mabel! Take my picture!”

Most common accessory: A climbing guide book.

CAPRIS (SHANTS) Pros: You get the knee coverage of a jean but some of the breathability of a short. They also look “sporty, yet sophisticated” while perusing boutiques downtown. Cons: Dude, you’re wearing capris and there are only two reasons to wear capris. 1) You’re very proud of your ankles. 2) You’re a girl who’s very proud of her ankles.

What capris say about you: “Not only am I a badass climber, but it’s likely that I know Kung Fu; otherwise I couldn’t get away with wearing capris,.”

Most common accessory: A man bag with a chihuahua in it.

LYCRA Pros: The mobility of these stretchy pants is unprecedented, and the protection from scrapes is pretty good too.

Cons: You look like you stepped out of the pages of Marvel Comics. What’s your superpower, Captain Tight Pants?

What lycra says about you: “Look at my junk. No seriously. Look at my junk!”

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