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Our Guide To Using & Choosing Liquid Chalk

All climbers need chalk. That’s part of climbing 101. Chalk improves your grip, especially in hot weather when your hands are sweaty and unable to stick confidently to the holds. Using quality chalk can be the difference between ascending smoothly or slipping off in a sweaty state of despair.

Powder chalk used to be very popular among climbers but this is changing with the introduction of liquid chalk which has many advantages over powder chalk. For one, liquid chalk doesn’t create a mess, is more environmentally friendly, better in damp conditions, and creates a really good, even coating.

You have several options when it comes to liquid chalk and after going over some facts about liquid chalk, I will discuss what to take into consideration when choosing the one you will use. Here we go.

What is Liquid Chalk and Why do You Need it?

Liquid chalk is a solution of the standard climbing powder chalk. The most common solvent used is alcohol as it dries quickly. And when this happens, you have a layer of chalk spread throughout your hands. As you know, chalk improves your grip and makes climbing easier while reducing the risk of slipping.

Liquid Chalk vs. Powder Chalk

When it comes to performance, there isn’t any significant difference between powder and liquid chalk as both will appreciably improve your grip. However, there are other benefits that liquid chalk has over powder chalk.

For one, liquid chalk creates less mess, wastes less chalk, and provides a really good even coating. Also, liquid chalk is better in damp environments and there is low chalk dust in the air when using liquid chalk.

Many gyms are starting to ban powder chalk because of the mess they create and the amount of chalk dust in the air. And this should tell you more about the benefits of liquid chalk over powder chalk.

How to Choose Liquid Chalk?

Below are factors to put into consideration when choosing a snorkel mask:


The truth is that there are subtle differences between liquid chalk from different brands. And how much grip a particular brand provides depends on each climber. However, there are a number of liquid chalk brands that have been used by several climbers and are said to have a great grip and overall quality feel. This is one of the criteria I used to come up with this list.


This deals with how much liquid chalk will be on your hands after an application as well as how long it will stay on your hands before you need another application. Quality liquid chalk will shine bright in this area since you have time to rub them on your hands before they dry. However, the interval of the next application depends on the chalk’s quality.


Liquid chalk tends to have a strong alcohol smell which can be disturbing to some people. If you fall in this category, look for manufacturers that add fragrances to their liquid chalk.

climber liquid chalk

Drying Time

Most liquid chalk products will dry completely on your hands within 30 seconds. The faster the drying time, the better.


The consistency of liquid chalk determines how easy it is for it to rub it on the palm and how much coverage you get when it’s dry. How long the chalk lasts on your hands before you need to reapply it is also dependent on its consistency.

How Long Will the Bottle Last?

You will find the estimated number of uses on the bottles of most liquid chalk bottles. The larger the bottle, the longer it will last. The estimated number on the bottle isn’t 100% accurate but it will give you an idea of how long you can expect the bottle to last.


Any adult should be able to use liquid chalk without causing much mess.

Liquid chalk cuts down on chalk dust and spillages, but it can still make a mess of you and the rock. Some brands are better than others at minimizing transfer and applying a thin layer means there’s less excess to brush off.

Another potential issue with liquid chalk is leakage. Most bottles are pretty secure, though the hinge on flip lids can wear and break over time. If your chalk comes in a tube, try to store it loosely in your pack rather than folding it as this can cause the packaging to split.

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