Climbing and tape go hand in hand. If you are big time into climbing or even if you are an occasional climber, it is imperative you find a climbing tape tape that’s strong and reliable under all circumstances. There are two major reasons you’ll need tape during climbing: structural support and skin protection. Not all tapes fit the bill. There are certain unique traits to climbing tapes that make them irreplaceable. They do not stretch, are sticky, and can be ripped into thin, long strips – usually about ¼-inch wide. If you are looking for the best tapes for climbing, sports, or any other activity that needs your fingers, wrists, hands, etc. to be protected, the following are our top climbing tape recommendations.
- 1. Armadillo Skin Finger Tape
- 2. Evolv Magic Finger Tape
- 3. White Athletic Sports Tape
- 4. Metolius Climbing Tape
- 5. Black Athletic Tape
- 6. White Sports Medical Athletic Tape
- 7. climbOn Bar
- 8. Mueller Athletic Tape White
- 9. Finger Tape for BJJ, Grappling, Judo, Climbing
- 10. Mighty-X Athletic Tape
- Climbing Tape Selection Tips
- Types of Climbing Tape
- Top Climbing Tape Brands
- Questions and Answers
1. Armadillo Skin Finger Tape
Armadillo Skin Finger Tape has been designed to help grapplers protect their joints from injury and soreness. It offers reliable and robust support to mitigate injury and ensures your hands function longer. Made from pure cotton, the tape is latex-free and offers maximum stickiness, thanks to the more than seven newtons of gluing force at play. Despite this, the tape leaves behind zero residue when removed. It can be applied easily around your knuckles.
Designed and quality-checked in Texas to remain on your sweaty fingers for long, the tape would keep your fingers protected regardless of what you're at. There are six rolls in each pack, with each roll measuring 0.3 inches x 15 yards. It's thin enough to easily and conveniently wrap your finger bones. Also, the tape can be easily teared with your fingers so that you need not carry any cutting equipment specially for the tape.
• Solid taping
• Leaves behind zero residue
• Thin width makes the tape more flexible
• Enough tape in one pack
• Not completely waterproof
• Getting the fitting right could be difficult initially
2. Evolv Magic Finger Tape
The Evolv Magic is a self-sealing, non-sticky, and breathable finger tape that remains sealed even when your fingers are wet. When long sessions of indulging in a particular activity take their toll, the Evolv Magic helps protect and soothe things. The super-secure glue sticks without cutting off circulation or slipping. It's ideal for bouldering, indoor climbing, rock climbing, sports, etc.
If you play tennis, for instance, this tape shall address the splits or cracks in your finger that you could at times get when you're holding the racket for long periods of time. For solid and complete protection, make sure you start the wrapping from your thumb's base and move from there above the joint. You may have a hard time getting the wrapping correct at first, but that's something you shall learn and easily master with consistent usage.
• Sticks well
• Extremely thin
• Easy to tear
• Does not stretch a bit
• Doesn't mitigate bending
• Getting the wrapping right the first time could be tricky
3. White Athletic Sports Tape
This white athletic sports tape by Hampton Adams is a three-pack tape made from cotton substrate. It's soft and comfortable and has good tensile strength. Its unique formula ensures the tape reels with ease. It works perfectly for rock climbers, weight lifters, boxers, etc. The taping is quite strong, but that doesn't mean you'll need a tape cutter to cut it. Simply wrap, pinch, and tear. If you've been using athletic tapes all this while, using this sports tape shall help you see the difference in quality and the impact it creates.
Also, the tape is extremely sticky, which means you can bid adieu to those sports tapes that didn't hold. The insane stickiness also means you can use the tape on bats, hockey sticks, pole vault bars, pull-up bars, and lacrosse sticks. The material used is medical-grade, 100 percent cotton that physical therapists would appreciate. Not to mention, the tape is robust enough to complete an entire session of a CrossFit workout.
• Insanely sticky
• Good tensile strength
• Constant unwinding tension
• Offers maximum compression
• The thickness makes it less suitable for use on fingers
• Adhesive isn't sweat-resistant enough
4. Metolius Climbing Tape
Metolius climbing tape is a 100 percent cotton tape that's equipped with a zinc oxide formula, which helps the tape resist moisture and lends it its super sticky trait. The tape is ideal for an array of climbing purposes. Unlike most other climbing tape products, this Metolius tape comes with a step-by-step instructions manual. If you have never used climbing tape before or you are almost certain to fail getting the taping right initially, you would find the guide quite handy.
Made in USA, the tape is 33 feet long and approximately 1 ½-inches wide. It's like the regular coach's tape, but much more reliable and effective. The strips can be teared in half to cover your fingers. Compared to conventional athletic tape, the stickiness makes it ideal for climbers. The tape does not slide or roll even after several hours of climbing. If you have a finger injury, the tape can be used to support the healing finger.
• Strong and zero stretch
• Stays firmly attached
• Taping instructions provided in the package
• Taking it off could be a bit difficult
5. Black Athletic Tape
The black athletic tape by Hampton Adams is a three-pack cotton sports tape for athletes, rock climbers, and people who are into other forms of physical activities. Most tapes are in white - this black tape is unique, offering an understated look. It's soft and comfortable on your skin. The non-elastic nature means you'll benefit from maximum compression. Make sure you are spot on with the application as incorrect application would pose blood circulation issues in the covered spot.
The tape works as supporting bandage for sprains and strains; fixing bandages for cold, hot packs; compression bandage to stop bleeding and help control swelling; binder for sports equipment; etc. The tape offers additional athletic support that helps mitigate injuries to the knees, wrists, ankles, fingers, and elbows. The tape can be easily teared by hand along its width and length; you'll not require scissors. The tape causes no irritation and conforms easily, making it ideal for physical therapies too.
• Offers strong support
• Leaves zero irritation
• Non-sticky, yet strong adhesive
• Not the best choice for rock climbers
6. White Sports Medical Athletic Tape
This Hampton Adams' white sports medical athletic tape is an eight-pack tape for trainers, rock climbers, athletes, etc. who use tape extensively and do not want their tape supply to exhaust anytime soon. The tape is insanely sticky and can be used to wrap multiple things, including fingers, ankles, bats, hockey sticks, and lacrosse sticks.
The tape leaves behind no glue because it's made using a special adhesive formula. Despite the great strength, you can easily tear the tape with your bare fingers. You would not need scissors or any other cutting equipment for the purpose. Also, the tape is quite thick, which provides solid gripping traits to any equipment the tape is applied to.
This all-purpose tape can be used to protect your joints from injuries, and it also helps accelerate the recovery process when applied onto an injured body part. You may also use this tape on equipment, such as hockey sticks, baseball bats, and bar bells, among others.
• Extremely versatile
• Cotton substrate material
• Solid thickness
• Works on equipment better than fingers and other body parts
7. climbOn Bar
climbOn is a lotion bar for your skin. If you have blisters, scrapes, cuts, burns, etc. on your skin, you would need this skincare lotion. Applying this lotion on the affected areas of your skin before putting on the tape would render using the tape and taking it off less painful. The lotion is 100 percent organic and pure that can be used by rock climbers and babies alike. If your skin injuries are preventing you from climbing rocks, putting this lotion would make things less difficult.
The lotion moves freely within its packaging, which makes it easy to apply it on the areas of the skin that need nourishing. As it is an antiseptic, it's highly recommended you wash your hands prior to using the product. Callus won't go away, but the lotion ensures shaking hands with people would no longer be awkward. With consistent use, the callus would become softer. Not to mention, the lotion is of the right consistency - it isn't too oily or too waxy.
• Nourishes and strengthens damaged skin
• Good consistency
• Your skin may take some time to absorb it well
8. Mueller Athletic Tape White
Mueller athletic tape, as the name suggests, offers extra athletic support that helps mitigate injuries to ankles, knees, fingers, and wrists. The tape is quite thin, yet very tough. Also, it's relatively easy to tear the tape with your hands. For increased adhesion, apply the tape to your fingers or other parts of the body only when they are dry. Wrap your fingers with this tape when playing sports, such as golf, and the tape shall stay there for hours together.
It's solid for wrapping your hands or your gymnastic bars. The thinness makes the tape ideal for use on your fingers. But that turns out as a negative if you're considering using it on equipment, such as pull-up bars. If you are going to use them anyway, make sure you employ multiple layers until you get the thickness you desire.
• Sticks well and is flexible
• Works as a solid masking tape too
• Best to tape athletic injuries
• Not cotton
• Not thick enough for application on equipment
9. Finger Tape for BJJ, Grappling, Judo, Climbing
The Finger Tape by Kuzushi Labs is a solid tape for grapplers, climbers, combat sports professionals, etc. This six-roll pack comes in a tin box, with each tin comprising six tape rolls of various colors - namely red, blue, white, green, and yellow. Each tape is 13.7 meters long and 0.3 inches wide. Looking at the packaging, it's clear the pack has been put together to last long and stay organized when not being used.
The strong adhesive, thanks to the zinc oxide adhesive, ensures lasting stickiness. The non-latex adhesive has been made to be more reliable and durable under extreme conditions. The adhesive doesn't lose its stickiness even when exposed to water. The 100 percent cotton material, along with the zinc oxide glue, ensures the tape isn't hypoallergenic. Wrap this tape around your fingers and negate or decrease the risks of ligament damage and joint pains.
• 100 percent cotton
• Latex-free and non-elastic
• Suitable for all types of skin
• May leave a slight residue
10. Mighty-X Athletic Tape
This pack of athletic tapes by Mighty-X is your tape for climbing, boxing, athletic sports, etc. Made from hospital-grade, 100 percent cotton, the tape can be easily teared apart, with the non-linear edges mitigating fraying. The tape comes with an under-layer that helps prevent abrasion. The under-wrap, when combined with the breathable cotton, offers increased comfort. The product is latex-free - it employs a natural adhesive.
The set comprises four sport tapes: three cotton tape rolls, and a pre-wrap. The tape not just helps with covering your ankle or wrists, but it also assists with accelerating injured muscles' recovery. The tape can also be used to protect and support your joints. You may use it for climbing, boxing, football, gymnastics, and several other sports. During intense activity, the cotton tape shall help prevent twists, sprains, and tweaks. The tape is also useful for hockey, archery, martial arts, baseball, and more.
• Helps avoid skin abrasion (chafing and irritation)
• Latex-free' natural adhesive
• Not the thickest
• May stretch a bit when wet
Climbing Tape Selection Tips
When it comes to climbing essentials, the right type of tape is usually pretty high up on the list. Not only does the tape come in handy for improving grip, but they can also be used to repair other things along the way.
Those looking at the different options out there should know that it is important to examine the different types of tape. Most of the tape is going to be relatively the same as far as stickiness is concerned, but the outer part of the tape can be a little bit different. If the tape does not properly stick to the hand and fingers, it is never going to properly work.
Types of Climbing Tape
For people who are new to using climbing tape, they might feel as though standard athletic tape is the best way to go. That is not necessarily the case, and some people absolutely hate this type of tape to use one climbing. The main reason why this is frustrating is that most athletic tapes are built to stretch. It is actually counterproductive for people to get stretchy tape if they are trying to improve grip. It is fine for support, but not for grip.
Skin Protection Tape
A lot of climbers are going to be using tape as an added layer of protection for their skin. Skin can really go through a lot of pain and ripping if it is not probably treated when climbing. Eventually, many people are usually able to build up calluses on their hands so that it is not as painful, but tape can still help prevent issues from popping up.
The main downside to using tape when climbing on the hands or fingers for grip is that some people complain about not having the right type of feel overall. If a person is used to climb in without tape, they rely a lot on that certain type of feel during the entire journey. It might take a little getting used to in order to really start to be trusting of tape being used.
There is also the case of relying too much on skin protection with tape. Skin is pretty resilient, and in time it will build up callouses and toughen up after a lot of climbing in general. Some people are willing to put in the effort in the beginning before using tape instead. It’s definitely more painful, but also a more natural way to climb, especially if a person is a consistent climber.
If the skin tears, there is really no way around not using climbing tape in order to protect against further damage. There are many people who just want to get right back out there and continue to climb, and sometimes a skin tear happens in the middle of a climb as well. When that happens, a person needs to stop the bleeding first, and then tape up the skin as well as possible. If it really starts to get out of hand, medical attention is needed sooner rather than later.
When climbing, a lot of different extremities are used throughout the body. In order to support some of those extremities, people rely on tape. Due to its versatility and being inexpensive, tape is a great solution to provide structural support for anything from fingers to the wrist.
In particular to climbing, one of the most common injuries happens in the finger area in regards to pulleys. Pulleys are a ring in each section of the finger that help keep all the tendons in place. When there is weight being used, there can be a chance of tearing one of the pulleys and being in significant pain. Many climbers swear that tape can help reduce the pain and also get a person back on track. Even the rest is usually needed in order to completely repair something like this, it does help a lot of people get through tough times.
Having just a little bit of extra structural support can make a huge difference not only physically, but mentally as well. Many will look down at the after support and have a little bit more confidence in general to maybe help push them through a tough climb.
Top Climbing Tape Brands
There are a number of companies that produce tape for climbers, and some of them also just provide general tape for multiple sports. All the choices are relatively inexpensive, so people are encouraged to try different options and see what exactly fits for them.
Mueller has been a well-known company for several years now when it comes to medical solutions for athletes. They provide a number of options for people to turn to, and tape is something they do pretty well. Johnson & Johnson, Evolv, Liberty Mountain and Metolius are a few other brands to look out for when doing initial shopping.
Any type of climbing tape is not going to be all that expensive, unless someone is purchasing in bulk. For a typical order, nothing should be over $10 in most cases. One of the main selling points for tape in general is that it is an inexpensive option for athletic care.
Questions and Answers
Below is a look at some of the most common questions people ask about selecting climbing tape, with answers to those questions. Most people have a basic idea on how to shop for climbing tape, but it’s still helpful to learn as much as possible before committing.
Why do climbers tape their fingers?
Most climbers will tape their fingers to try to avoid or bounce back from pulley injuries. These injuries can be rather painful, and getting through a climb is much more difficult with an injury like that. Some people swear by tape helping with the injury, but others will say that A lot of the tape use is purely mental.
Climbers will also use tape in order to make sure that they get a little bit of an extra grip. If the conditions are a little bit subpar, or if someone has just been struggling in general, that extra bit of grip can be a confidence booster.
How do you tape your hands for climbing?
There are a few different taping techniques climbers use in order to protect their fingers and hands. Some of the more popular techniques include the ring method, the X method and the H method. A lot of it will come down to personal preference and what feels great on the hands in general.
The ring method mostly just covers the pulley areas of each finger. With the X method, it is a criss-cross pattern with the tape that adds a little bit of stability, as well as skin tearing protection. The H method is a slight variation, usually just a single piece and splitting it in half on both ends (making an “H”).
How do I protect my hands when climbing?
Tape, gloves and other options are all available for people who want to protect their hands when they are climbing. Whether they are bouncing back from an injury or just trying to avoid skin tearing in general, the hands are going to go through a lot of abuse when climbing. Treating the skin correctly is going to allow it to bounce back and be very versatile.
One of the best ways to protect hands in the long term is to simply keep climbing. By building up calluses along the way, a person is not going to be tearing open their skin on a consistent basis. The first few climbs are definitely going to be painful, but it is a natural way to protect the hands as much as possible.
What kind of tape do you use for rock climbing?
For the fingers, many climbers are going to be looking for tape made specifically for climbing. It needs to provide enough support while also not really bending that much. The grip also needs to be there, because no one wants to sacrifice even a little bit of grip when they are going for holes.
For structural support, a more athletic tape is usually the choice people go with. That is because it will have a little bit more flex to it, and it is usually easier to take on and off. Some of the athletic tape options out there actually stick to themselves.
How do you make climbing gloves out of tape?
Those looking for the ultimate amount of support can use a lot of tape to make their own tape gloves. This is a method that a lot of people are using if they do not have gloves built for climbing already.
To start out with things, most people will tape up each finger to make sure that it has the proper support. Then, they will focus on the rest area, wrapping it around a few times before then covering the palm of each hand. In the end, it pretty much looks like utility gloves with the fingers cut out.
Elizabeth Sparks received a Masters Degree in geology from The University of Colorado. Elizabeth has been working as a full-time geologist for the past 5 years. In her spare time, Elizabeth participates in rock climbing competitions and frequently goes camping with friends.