For beginner route setters, knowing exactly what you need can be confusing. There are a lot of bits and pieces out there that claim to help you become a better route setter. We feel it’s best to start with the basics, and slowly build your kit up from there as you find out what you do and don’t use. To help with this, we’ve gathered the 3 pieces of route setting equipment you should never without.

1. A drill
Makita, Milwaukee, DeWalt – there are so many different brands out there, but one thing we know is no route setter can live without their weapon of choice. Sure, we’ve all set with a T-bar in our time, but this guy will speed up the process of stripping and setting by a mile. Even better, it will help when putting up some tasty screw-ons, big or small. Drill technology has improved over the years, and these days we think an oil impulse driver is the way to go. They’re designed to cut down on noise and reduce vibration – a definite plus when setting!

Picture of a Makita drill


2. A tap
Trying to get a hold in the exact spot you want, but the t-nut just doesn’t want to play the game? A trusty tap will get you out of a sticky situation. Generally, it will save you from a trip behind the wall or pulling out the big guns. Not only will it prevent spinning holds, but a tap will help to maintain your walls – allowing you to continue setting with ease for longer. So don’t forget to take one with you next time you head up the wall. She’ll save you a lot of time and frustration.

Picture of a tap used to re-thread T-Nuts on a climbing wall


3. A good route setting bag
These guys are hard to find, so once you find a good little bag we suggest stocking up! They take out some of the leg work allowing you to do less trips up and down the wall, whether you’re on a rope or a ladder. Make sure when you’re looking, you find one with a wide opening for some of those larger holds, but with some smaller pockets to separate jibs and footers. Don’t forget about all the bits, bolts and screws you need to take up as well. Separate pockets for these might mean you stab yourself under the fingernails a little less when rummaging at the bottom of the bag for the right length bolt. Finally, another important feature to look for is a trusty magnet. It’s handy for hanging onto almost anything your heart desires – screws, bolts, drill bits, bottle openers, you name it! You don’t want to be halfway up the wall without one.