Among the unique forms of climbing available, crack climbing requires specialized techniques, dedication, and a special kind of masochism. Crack climbing comes with a certain amount of pain and suffering and one of the best ways to both reduce pain and improve your crack climbing is to invest in a pair of crack climbing gloves.
It used to be difficult to find crack climbing gloves, and they were considered gimmicks. In today’s world, they are an amazing tool for outdoor climbers, whether they are training hand strength at home or sending El Cap. You can choose from a variety of gloves on the market, each with unique features depending on the cracks you climb and the frequency with which you may need to use the gloves. The gloves listed below are our favorites for crack climbing.
The best crack climbing gloves
There aren’t too many companies making crack climbing gloves-most are from Ocun or Outdoor Research. Also, the Black Diamond Crack Gloves, our best crack glove all around, just came onto the market. Other options exist (and we will discuss them all), but those three companies have a monopoly on the market-largely because there aren’t very many companies making crack gloves. What are we waiting for let’s dive in and take a look:
No #1 : Black Diamond Crack Gloves
Best For: All Rounder
Weight: 32.8 grams
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
Made up of: Synthetic suede and adhesive rubber
It is Black Diamond’s mission to create the best fitting, highest performing crack gloves on the market with the Crack Gloves, and the company has certainly accomplished it. As good as tape gloves, they are just as effective. According to our field-tests, these gloves perform incredibly well and win our award for the Best All-Around Crack Climbing Glove. This pair of gloves take a beating while still remaining thin enough to not significantly alter one’s hand size despite their 3D patterning-based fit and flat-stitched pattern (less than 1 mm thick). Lastly, they are the ONLY crack glove on the market that protects the thumb! Small-handed climbers who fist jam more than average climbers are extremely grateful. Crack climbing gloves from Black Diamond are the gloves that many people have been waiting for.
No #2 : Ocun Crack Gloves
Best For: Heavy Use
Weight: 57 grams
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
Made up of: Microfiber stretch suede and adhesive rubber
Buy Now: Amazon
In spite of this Czech company being relatively unknown abroad, they produce crack gloves everywhere. The gloves are well designed, beefy, and protect your hands no matter how rough the climbing gets. Its rubberized strap makes it a super strong and tough option for crack climbing gloves. Keep in mind that the Ocun gloves are thicker than the Outdoor Research Splitter Gloves. If you worry that crack gloves will make your hands too thick to fit into certain crack sizes, you might be better off with the OR Splitter Gloves. On the other hand, the Ocun Crack Gloves are perfect if you need a rugged glove that will keep even the most sharp of rocks from hurting you. During long gym training sessions, these crack climbing gloves are the go-to.
No #3: Outdoor Research Splitter Gloves
Best For : Light Use
Weight: 31 grams
Sizes: XS, S/M, L/XL
Made up of: Synthetic suede and synthetic leather
Hans Florine designed the OR Splitter Glove in cooperation with OR. The glove’s thin, anatomical design feels almost like nothing at all, while still offering the benefits of a glove. Even though they’re lighter and thinner than the Ocun, they still last long and can take a beating. OR Splitter gloves also allow for better tactile feedback than thin-soled climbing shoes due to their smaller profile and thinner design. These gloves are designed for thin cracks and individuals looking to reduce their weight. You might want to go with the Ocun Crack Gloves if you climb in an area with particularly sharp rock (e.g. Joshua Tree) or wide cracks.
In addition to the Grade VII Hand Jam (link below), there are a few other options on the market that we haven’t yet tried. There are several other gloves linked as well, but in our opinion, they don’t compare to the gloves reviewed above. You can see for yourself!
- Grade VII Hand Jam
- ClimbX Super Crack Gloves
- Green Gear Hand Jammies
- Singing Rock Craggy Jamming Gloves
BYO crack climbing gloves out of climbing tape
Interested in the most customized option? Do you want to look particularly badass? Use climbing tape to create crack climbing gloves. With so many ways to tape your hands, you are sure to find the one that fits your needs. The tape takes more time to make, can be painful to remove (for those with hairy arms and hands), and over time they are more expensive to keep buying. It is extremely precise in fit, you can choose the thickness, and they can be used in many sessions if they are well built. See some of our favorite methods for building crack gloves out of climbing tape in these articles.
If you know what you need, finding the right crack climbing gloves shouldn’t be hard. When in doubt, choose climbing tape and gloves that best suit your climbing objectives. Each type will likely have a different use, from thin finger jams to burly off-widths. And if you are on a budget, there is always the no gloves option! You can crack climb without a glove by building up callouses through repetition.
Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs):
Are crack climbing gloves cheating?
The latest cultural offender in the tug of war between cheating and “being a cheater” is a pair of crack gloves (or “hand jammies”). Is protecting the backs of your hands when rock climbing “cheating”? It’s accepted among some crack climbers that regular athletic tape should not be used, and it is a discriminatory act .
Are gloves good for climbing?
Yes gloves are the most important thing while climbing, this is because climbing is really a dangerous sport and you need protection for it. Therefore, gloves are important for climbing.
Is crack climbing hard?
Climbing cracks can be hard because jamming is an important part of crack climbing. Jamming is often the only method to climb a crack, even though it is difficult and painstaking. Practice will improve your technique, as well as the fun factor.
What kind of tape do climbers use?
Climbers use climbing tapes to climb up the mountains.
How do you crack climb?
To know how to crack climb, check out this video.