Before hitting the trails, make sure you come prepared with this season's most practical outdoor equipment.
Elizabeth Yun; Additional reporting by Dana Rose Falcone 1 / 7
<p>Whether you're an advanced climber who doesn't blink at the idea of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICBrXUuwvgg" target="_blank">climbing Half Dome without any ropes</a> or you're just looking to get started, climbing is fun way to get a <a href="/leisure/outdoor/climb-your-way-to-a-leaner-healthier-body" target="_blank">full body workout</a> while challenging your mental fortitude.</p>
<p>Before you go, investing in the right climbing gear is truly a matter of life or death, so here are some <em>Men's Fitness</em>-tested gear selections to make sure you start on the right foot (literally).</p>
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">La Sportiva Nago ($99)</font></h3>
<p>First things first, a climber needs a good pair of climbing shoes. If you're a beginner who's ready to invest in your own pair (and not stick your feet into sweaty rentals every time you go to the gym), these Nago shoes from La Sportiva are a perfect place to start. Vibram (the makers of the Five Fingers minimalist shoes) soles mean the shoes are extremely responsive as you get accustomed to feeling out different footholds.</p>
<p>Our reviewer said: "It took me a little while to get used to them, and I had to wear them a few times to break them in, but I could feel a positive difference between these and the ones you rent from the gym. They felt sturdier and more comfortable after a couple of wears."</p>
<p>Available at <a href="http://www.sportiva.com/products/footwear/climbingapproach/nago">Sportiv...
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">La Sportiva Futura ($170)</font></h3>
<p>For more seasoned climbers, the La Sportiva Futuras are as good as it gets. La Sportiva's "no-edge" construction and the Vibram sole means your feet are extremely sensitive to surfaces. The agressive design is ideal for the smallest holds.</p>
<p>Our reviewer said: "Very aggressive sole with a good sharp toe design makes it easy to focus your weight on very small holds. Ideal for hard bouldering problems."
<p>See our <a href="/gear/workout-gear/la-sportiva-futura-climbing-shoes-review" target="_blank">full review of the La Sportiva Futuras</a>.</p>
<p>Available at <a href="http://www.sportiva.com/products/footwear/climbingapproach/futura" target="_blank">Sportiva.com</a></p>
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">Black Diamond Equipment Harnesses</font></h3>
<p>Whether you're an outdoor climber who tackles aggressive routes or a casual gym climber, there is a harness for you. The <strong>Focus Harness ($79.95)</strong> is designed for more heavy duty sessions while the <strong>Flight Harness ($69.95)</strong> is perfect for sport climbing. Both feature ventilating foam and fully adjustable straps, for optimal comfort.</p>
<p>Or reviewer said: "This harness spoiled me. When I switched back to the rental harness, the difference in comfort was vast. Plus there's the added peace of mind of knowing that I'm using a new harness without any defects."</p>
<p>Available at <a href="http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/climb/harnesses">Blackdi...
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">Vector Climbing Helmet ($99.95)</font></h3>
<p>Protecting your head is one of the most important things when you're tackling any high-impact sport, so it's worth spending good money to protect the most important part of your body. These Vector helmets are lightweight and breathable without sacrificing durability. </p>
<p>Available at <a href="http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/climb/helmets/vector-hel...
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">Black Diamond Equipment ATC-XP Belay Device ($19.95)</font></h3>
<p>If you're venturing into outdoor climbing, a quality belay device is essential to ensuring the rope feeds through smoothly, but brakes effectively in case of a fall. New construction on the ATC-XP is 30 percent lighter without sacrificing durability and versatility. Its high-friction mode also offers three times greater hold and stopping power.</p>
<p>Our reviewer said: "The high-friction teeth made it really good for braking, otherwise, the rope fed through very smoothly. It was very lightweight, which is always a plus."</p>
<p>Available at <a href="http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/climb/belay-rappel/atc-x...
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">HoodWire Quickdraw ($19.95)</font></h3>
<p>If you're comfortable enough with your climbing skills to venture into lead climbing (when you climb with a partner who attaches protection to the wall that you clip onto as you follow them up), it's important to have a lot of sturdy quickdraws to clip in smoothly as you climb. Hot-forged carabiners with a wiregate design are incredibly lightweight, durable and won't freeze or stick in winter conditions. </p>
Our reviewer said: "The lighter design is a huge bonus and the different colored carabiners is a really nice way of making sure you attach the right side to the wall when you're pumped out and need to make the clip." (Attaching the wrong side of the quickdraw can mean scratching and damaging your rope, which is potentially dangerous for obvious reasons.)
<p>Available at <a href="http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/climb/carabiners/hoodwir...