Sunday, April 13, 2014

Innovative New Chalkbags

One of the founding principles of SICgrips is innovation. We love to innovate and we love innovation when we see it. Not innovation just to be different but innovation that solves a problem or makes something easier or better. Something that is so obvious and makes so much sense that you say to yourself "Why didn't I think of that?!" I've just run across a product like that and it's a chalk bag! But first let me share three scenarios I've experienced that illustrate the need.
  1. Have you ever sat down at the base of a climb, in the gym, or on a ledge and ended up spilling half or more of the contents of your chalk bag? It's not such a disaster in the gym (except for the mess) since a refill source is usually close by. However, if you're out at the base of a climb or several pitches up…a bit more problematic!
  2. A couple years ago, my climbing partners had grown bored with the local gym with its "gigantic 20' walls. We decided to travel an hour+ to a "new" gym, only to arrive and find out it was a "chalk-less" gym. That is, they didn't allow the use of loose chalk only allowed chalk balls due to health concerns because of chalk dust in a confined area and because of the potential mess. I can certainly understand that, but it sure was a hassle emptying out all the chalk out of our bags and then having to buy chalk balls.
  3. And finally…last year I was two pitches up at Seneca Rocks and I'd just put in a piece of pro at a decent stance and was de-pumping before moving on. I looked down to find the best foot hold and noticed out of the corner of my eye what looked like a smoke trail or dust, but didn't pay much attention to it. After several more moves I got to another non-stressful stance and went to chalk up again and it hit me…that was my chalk ball sailing down the wall that was making the "smoke trail". Somehow it had fallen out in the process of fondling it at the last stance. 
Now...full disclosure before I tell you about these great new chalk bags. We recently were contacted by Hanchor, a foreign company who wanted to become a Gstring dealer. In the process of talking with them I found out they also manufacture and retail their own line of soft goods for climbers. They offered us the opportunity to become a dealer for their chalk bags and sent us two chalk bags to evaluate: the Kangaroo and the Hula. Wow, are they cool!

So what sets the Kangaroo and the Hula apart and makes them worthy of mention in a SICgrips blog post? Well…they both have an integrated chalk sock built into the bag. No more mess, spilled chalk, or lost chalk balls.

The Kangaroo has a internal zippered chalk pouch that chalk is added to. It's positioned on the front side of the bag behind the logo. When worn in the traditional position, this places the pouch in the natural place for your hand to grab when you go to chalk up. It's also a dual mode chalk bag, since the chalk pouch can be unzipped and half the mouth of the pouch attached to the other side of the bag to hold it open. This way you can also have access to loose chalk should you want it. The best of both worlds - socked or loose.

The Hula also has two innovations. The first is that it has a 360° chalk sock tube, so that no matter where you put your hand in, you can grab it and chalk up. The second is that it has two 180° external zippers making it super easy to add chalk. For those who frequently reposition their bag (boulderers & trad climbers in chimneys and off-widths), this bag is probably the better option.

Both chalk bags are super burly, meticulously detailed, and constructed out of heavy-duty nylon. Both have a holder for the handle of a small brush if you're a "pad person" and come with a waist belt. I personally like the Kangaroo which gives me the dual option of a chalk in a sock or loose. Other people will likely prefer the 360 degree chalk sock option.

Here's a short video that gives a bit more info:

Here's a link on to the manufacturer's website. Our own store page will also link you directly to their website. Check them out - I can't recommend the bags highly enough. Support your fellow climbers and entrepreneurs. It's through climbing community support of great ideas like this (and Gstrings!) that we can keep innovation alive and great new products coming.

Oh…and I'm not the only one who thinks it's a great product - so does Mr. Honnold!