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The Three Best Portable Hangboards

Portable hangboards help climbs warm up on the coldest of days. Finding the right one for your needs can affect your season

While the winter climbing season provides one the best times to get after your friction-dependent projects, the freezing conditions can make warming up improbable for even the most experienced climbers. Many look toward Hot Hands, thick mittens and puffy jackets to maintain their internal conditions over the length of the session, but one of the greatest challenges remains: How do you warm up your fingers?

Cold hands can make a climber prone to injury, but a proper warm up is difficult to complete in an outdoor setting. The rock is cold and makes it difficult to warm up without expending much of the energy you could need for your next project. As such, many climbers have turned toward portable hangboards in order to get the blood flowing. With so many portable hangboards on the market, it can be difficult to know which to choose. Today we look at three of the best on the market.

Metolius Light Rail

At $39.95 USD ($53.95 CAD), the Metolius Light Rail is easily the most affordable of our options. The simple design features four edge types that provide all a climber might need for a proper warm up. Where competitors feature numerous edge sizes for increased variability to the warm up, the Light Rail keeps it simple and provides climbers with two 38mm edges, an 18mm edge and a 13mm edge. Two metal bands support the device, while a lacing system prohibits rotation during a hang.

The greatest problem with portable hangboards is that their cord systems allow rotation. While the Tension and Digit portable boards come with a greater variety of edge types and sizes, the lopping friction wrap design on the cylinder board often slides between hangs. Although the amount it slides is minimal, it is noticeable and frustrating in the midst of a hang. A flexing grip is not ideal for tendon health as it changes your grip position while under tension. If you are going to hang your board from a tree and put in a light hangboarding session before your climb, the Light Rail offers the best solution to this problem.

Additionally, it can be mounted to a wall for the climber that wants one hangboard to do it all. At its price point, this is the best portable hangboard in the world. What’s more, the 38 mm jug rail provides climbers a comfortable way to warm up. On the other hand, the board cannot accommodate minimum edge training. Buy it here.

Tension Flash Board

It is difficult to argue against Tension. The Colorado-based climbing company is one of the best in the world and their Tension Flash Board is another example of carefully considered quality. The cylindrical friction wrapped design targets more advanced climbers with four edge sizes, all ranging within smaller depths.

The device comes with 20mm, 15mm, 10mm, and 8mm edges making it perfect for the hard grip pulling boulderer or route climber. The small edge sizes mean many will have to warm up on the ground with this device before hanging it from a tree. Some climbers push their foot through the loop and pull against their foot’s opposition to begin their warm up. For many, the process will end there. No hangs are an easy way to warm up in a low impact manner.

Furthermore, the cylindrical design allows rotation making grip angles customizable. While it does not come with a large grip size, a person can complete four-finger hands on the rounded cylinder. Although this board retails at $86 USD ($116.95 CAD), a person can purchase it for $76 USD though Tension if they do not mind a cosmetic defect. As these defects do not affect that performance of the board, this offering from Tension is a generous solution to cost problem.

This board is also designed to be used as a regular hangboard, mostly for the travelling climber. With that said, it should be mentioned that it is not mountable. Buy it here.

Digit Yubiboard

This Canadian climbing company has become famous around the world for its unique micro edges. Based out of Montreal, Quebec, Digit Climbing brought the 4mm micros to popular appeal and has become synonymous with training equipment across Canada.

The Yubiboard has the same cylindrical design as Tension’s Flash Board but offers significantly more edge sizes. It features 35mm, 28mm, 27mm, 22mm, 18mm, 14mm, 10mm and 8mm edges for two handed hangs and 30mm, 24mm and 22mm edges for one handed hangs. The larger available edge sizes allow climbers the opportunity to hang the board and go, as the greater edge sizes are forgiving on warming fingers.

As with the Flash Board, rotation can occur due to the friction wrap design of the product. In either product, the rotation is minimal and manageable, but something to consider. At $99 CAD, it will cost a Canadian less than the Tension while offering a greater number of options. Buy it here, soon.