Gear Kits

Everything You Need for Rock Climbing and Camping in Joshua Tree

Put your trad skills to the test in one of America's most iconic climbing spots.

Curated by Liam McNally

Joshua Tree is easily one of my favorite places I've ever visited. I'm still daydreaming about the trip I took there a few weeks ago. The climbing is amazing - albeit, really tough - but even just camping there is something special. It's definitely worth mentioning that the climbing ratings in Joshua Tree are very old school, AKA super sandbagged. Don't expect to put up any big numbers and start off on something easy (I'm talkin' 5.5/5.6) and see how that feels - I'm sure you'll be humbled. For anyone who is up to the challenge, it's absolutely worth it. Before you go, check out some of my recommendations for camping and climbing gear.

This entire rack is of overkill for sure. You probably won't need anything over 4, although I did use a couple 4s on this trip for building anchors. Guidebooks recommend a standard rack of doubles (for noobs, that means you want two of each piece - combining racks with a friend is typically how you accomplish this). You'll probably never need them all at once, but I ended up bringing way more than I thought I'd need on every climb because protection can be tricky in Joshua Tree. I'm a relatively new trad leader, so I'd rather carry the extra weight and have options.

Temps change pretty quick in the desert. One minute you're basking in the sun then before you know it it hides behind a cloud and you're suddenly freezing. Keep a Rumpl blanket around for the perfect balance of portability and warmth.

These things are super tasty and the perfect supplement to your downtime routine. I snack on them while I'm packing up or planning adventures. When camp dinner is running late, I grab one of these to hold me over.

This is the nicest sleeping pad I've ever owned. Take that with a grain of salt since it was the first one I upgraded to after about a decade of riding out my old car camping pad. All that said, this pad is a solid product and super affordable.

The Outbound Trucker Hat

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Rep The Outbound and protect your face from the desert sun. Win-win. You can beat these things up pretty good and they keep their form and clean easily. Two clutch features for a guy who sweats A LOT and has a tendency to sit on his hats.

In case you do place nuts, you'll want a tool to remove them. This one is nice because it has a gate to clip right on to your harness.

Slings are always helpful to extend your protection and keep your rope out of the cracks.

I bring 12 draws anytime I go climbing and usually bring at least a few up with me on trad routes.

I'll be honest, I bought this helmet because it was the most affordable option. Thankfully I haven't put it to any real test yet but it has protected me from small falling rocks and from bonking my head on overhanging features.

This little guy is expensive, especially compared to an ATC device, but the peace of mind that a Grigri provides is priceless for me. The Grigri has assisted breaking and an auto-locking feature. That means if your climber falls, the Grigri will stop the rope from running through the device...even if the belayer isn't holding on tightly (or at all). Safety first. Then teamwork.

Always carry a few locking carabiners with you. These are great for anchors too.

You can always create a personal anchor with cord, but I really like these anchor chains. They're easily adjustable and super convenient.

I've been wanting a 2-burner camp stove for a while and this trip was good motivation to finally pick one up. There are a ton of different options out there - even from Coleman, alone - this is just one great one.

These shoes are new for me so I can't say a whole lot about them except I love them so far. I thought the higher heel coverage would annoy me but it doesn't at all. They're pretty stiff which I like as a new trad leader; they're very supportive while I decide what gear to use and take my time placing it.

I've had this jacket for going on 3 years now. It's my go-to everyday and I bring it on every adventure.

For longer approaches, I put my rope and then some in this bag. It'll fit a 60m and a decent amount of gear. I usually use a carabiner to attach shoes, water, and harness to the outside and it still feels really comfortable. I've taken this on all-day multi-pitches in Red Rocks and Yosemite and it served me well.

You're not Alex Honnold. Don't free solo. Mammut is a trusted brand and a 60m should do on most routes in J Tree. Just be sure to check the guide books and Mountain Project if the routes you're looking at require a 70m.

These things rule. I had the REI version for a couple years and these are considerably more sturdy.

These also rule. Great for keeping snacks and drinks organized and out of footpaths around the fire.

For when you're walking off a route after a post-climb sunset session, you're going to want to be able to see where you're going. This is a classic from Black Diamond that works great.

This is a solid bag. Plenty warm for spring in the desert. But I do wish I had spent a little more for the 15 or 0 degree.

This is a roomy 2-person tent with really rad designs on the fly. Although I recommend leaving it open for the desert stars.