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Top three ways to mark your gear


Top three ways to mark your gear

As you build up your rack you will have that inevitable moment when you realise your favourite nut, hex or cam is missing. That stomach drop moment comes to us all, so this post is all about how to mark your gear up to minimise the chances of it going walkabout. There are a number of considerations when you’re working out which way to mark your climbing gear so it doesn’t get lost, or so that it gets returned to you if it does end up in your partner’s bag at the end of a long day. 

Questions to consider

When you’re considering how to label up your climbing gear you can consider the following: 


  • Will this method litter the environment when it degrades?

Try to choose an option that doesn’t leave litter either now or in the future. 


  • How tough is it? 

If the markings degrade or disappear quickly, do you have the time to go through your kit, check and re-do it?


  • Will it damage my gear in any way? 

This is a key consideration. You should never mark your non-metal gear with anything other than a manufacturer-provided pen specifically for that purpose. Using a manufacturer-provided pen is not a good way to mark your gear, as you can rarely differentiate between your own markings and other peoples’ markings. 


  • How much does it cost?

Cost can be an issue and we don’t always have funds/don’t want to fork out for tags. A cheaper low-fi option is the answer here. 

Nail varnish
  • How easy is it to apply? 

Some methods are easier than others – think nail varnish all over your carpet! Have you got the time and patience to do a good job with your chosen method, so it works properly and marks your gear in the right way? 


  • Is it different to the people I climb with? 

If you and a friend have identical labeling, then it can be incredibly difficult for things not to go walkies. Consider who you climb with and how they mark their gear before taking the plunge. 

If you’re ready to jump in, here are our top ways to mark your climbing equipment: 

Tuff tags

These hardcore tags, designed specifically for climbing gear are Womenclimb’s #1. They do exactly what they say on the tin.

Minimum order is 2 sheets. The cheapest option is SMALL which gives you 132 tags for £14.95. This will probably just about cover a rack – remember that each quickdraw takes 3 tags – two for the carabiners and one for the sling. So if you’ve got 12 quickdraws, that’s 36 gone already. They go quickly and there’s nothing worse that a set of incompletely labelled gear!

If you want more space for your personal details you can opt for the STANDARD size. Here, you’ll get 88 for £14.95, or if you want to double up it will cost £25.85 for 176.

You can even choose the colour of your Tough tag.

Nail varnish

If money is short or you don’t want to use Tough Tags, then you can mark up metalwork using Nail Varnish. If using this method, be aware that it does wear off, so put the varnish within an area that sees less connection and friction, so that it lasts longer. Do NOT mark up anything soft or anything non-metal with nail varnish. This could cause your materials to degrade and this could cause a fatal accident. 


Electrical tape is another tried and tested way to mark your gear. If you’re going down this road, remember to tape each colour separately along the shaft of the carabiner, as it reduces the likelihood of it being lifted off. Think particularly about your climbing partners and whether they are also using the same colour combination. 

Be sure to pick up the bits, as the plastic litters the environment when they do, inevitably, wear off through the friction during use. This is one of the reasons that tape is our least favoured method of marking gear. 

Have you experience with gear marking? Feel free to share in the comments.

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