by Christopher Schafenacker
After shoes, a harness, quickdraws, a chalk bag, and rope, a portable hangboard may be the most important item on a climber’s gear list. While having one won’t save your life (like a rope or harness), it will save you from injury. Moreover, proper use of a portable hangboard will permit you to get the most of each burn and, in a pinch, allow you to train anywhere you go.
Three Ways a Portable Hangboard Will Make You a Better Climber
1. Proper Warm-Ups
If you’ve ever been to Oliana, Ceüse, or any other crag where the pros hang out, you’ll have noticed that everyone is packing a portable hangboard. The reason is that, when you’re working a line like Biographie or Perfecto Mundo, you’re not going to waste precious skin warming up on one of the easier routes next door…and yet, you’re also not going to hop on cold.
A portable hangboard not only allows you to properly prepare your fingers, it also gives you everything required to get your entire pulling musculature into gear. Scapular pull-ups? Check. One-arm deadhangs? Check. Pull-ups on jugs? Easy. A few front lever progressions (or leg lifts for us non-pros)? Yep. With a portable hangboard (and an exercise band) you can do all you need to be climbing ready, without having to do any actual climbing. If you want to both avoid injury and perform at your best, this is crucial.
2. Improved Performance
As just explained, a portable hangboard allows you to warm up in an efficient, skin-friendly way. This means no wasted resources, which, by extension, means you can truly go to your limit when trying hard. However, this is not the only way a portable hangboard improves performance.
Hard climbing requires cold temperatures and ample rest between attempts. This is a problem because you can’t rest for long in the cold without, well, getting cold. Packing a hangboard into the crag solves this by also allowing you to quickly and efficiently warm back up after a long recovery.
Lastly, even for those who aren’t crazy enough to forego fun warm-ups just so they can get the most out of their try-hard attempts, a portable hangboard is useful because it permits targeting of areas missed when climbing easy terrain. If, for instance, your project involves a nasty two-finger pocket, but your warm-ups were all jugs, a couple of sets of two-finger hangs will ensure you’re ready to send when you tie in for a redpoint burn.
3. Training Versatility
We’ve all found ourselves stuck in some climbing desert, desperate to train but miles from any facilities. Owning a portable hangboard solves this by allowing you to turn any conventional gym into a climbing gym by simply slinging your board up on a pull-up bar, or dangling free weights from your fingertips.
Even if you don’t have access to a gym, pull-up bar, or any sort of weight, a portable hangboard can be used to retain finger strength by looping your foot through the attached cord, and creating resistance with your legs.
Taking all of this into account, the only remaining question is which portable hangboard to add to your quiver.
The best hangboards (portable or full-size) are made of wood and feature radiused holds. Furthermore, a good portable hangboard will provide at least a big edge, small edge, and a jug. Finally, a portable board should—of course—be portable, and so the best hangboards of this type should neither weigh much nor occupy much space. Think the simpler, the better.
Our Maverick portable hangboard checks all of these boxes, and is on sale for 20% off right now. We ship anywhere in the continental United States!
Featured Climbing Training Gear
*NEW* The Rocketeer Wall: our free-standing adjustable solution for those who can’t mount a hangboard anywhere in their home or apartment—or who are limited on space. The Rocketeer gives climbers the additional option to set specific climbing holds. Recreate the crux holds of your proj and get ready to send, bruh.
The Rocket Wall: Available in 6’ and 8’ widths, it’s been tough for us to keep up with the demand for this innovative home climbing wall solution. Slightly overhanging, the Rocket Wall is big enough to set routes on, or to build a systems board.
The Rock-Stah: Our handcrafted version of a traditional hangboard, with curving crimp rails to help alleviate unnecessary strain on your pulleys. Because ain’t no one got time for a finger injury…