How much Chalk Should you Put in your Chalk Bag or Bucket?

One of the best purchases you’ll make as a new climber is a nice chalk bag or bucket. On your first fill, you might wonder ‘How much chalk should I put in my chalk bag?’.

The answer to that question is simple:

When filling up your chalk bag, you should ensure that you put enough chalk so you won’t run out of chalk during your climbing session but also not too much so that your hand will still easily fit inside your chalk bag.

how much chalk to put in chalk bag

What is the right amount of chalk to go in my chalk bag?

The right amount of chalk in your chalk bag is a nice layer that doesn’t weigh you down while you are climbing and doesn’t spill when you are grabbing for chalk.

How much chalk is the right amount, will largely depend on the size of your chalk bag. Some chalk bags are on the small side and don’t carry that much chalk. These might have to be re-filled after every climbing session.

If you have a bigger chalk bag, you will last a couple of sessions with a filled-up chalk bag. If you are a boulderer using a chalk bucket, you might find yourself not needing to re-fill your bag for weeks.

Don’t Overstuff your Chalk Bag

If you put too much chalk inside your chalk bag, you might struggle to fit your hand inside without spilling chalk everywhere. This is wasteful and bad for your wallet. Not to mention bad for your health and those around you.

Additionally, an overstuffed chalk bag is heavier, and who needs a heavy chalk bag dangling from their harness? It’s only going to weigh you down.

You really don’t need that much chalk during your climbing session, just don’t forget to re-fill your bag every time.

Tips for Chalking up

1. Use liquid chalk to apply a base coat

If like me, you struggle with sweaty hands, applying a base coat of liquid chalk before using your powdered chalk can work miracles.

I know, liquid chalk isn’t exactly cheap, but if you just use it as a base coat, it lasts for months.

2. Consider using a chalk ball

If you struggle with how much powdered chalk should go into your chalk bag, you might prefer having a chalk ball inside your chalk bag instead.

If you are unfamiliar with a chalk ball, this is basically a little sock that has chalk inside of it. To chalk up, you squeeze the ball and it will apply a nice layer of powder to your hands. Chalk balls are super easy to use and are favored by many indoor climbing gyms.

chalk bags are much better than powdered chalk as they don't waste as much and are much cheaper
A chalk ball is a little sock filled with chalk that lives in your chalk bag

A chalk ball simply sits inside your chalk bag and provides you with enough chalk for months. No longer do you need to re-fill your chalk bag, worry about how much chalk to put inside, or worry about spilling chalk.

Did I mention chalk balls are much cheaper than buying powdered chalk…?

3. Use a bouldering bucket for bouldering

Chalk bags are nice, for lead climbing. For bouldering, they are mediocre at best. If you are doing a lot of bouldering, invest in a proper chalk bucket.

use a bouldering bucket instead of a chalk bag for bouldering.
A nicely filled bouldering bucket

Chalk buckets hold tons of chalk and you don’t need to refill them for days. But that is long not their only charm. They are way less wasteful in usage. Chalk buckets comfortably fit both your hands meaning any chalk spillage will just fall back into your bucket!

On top of that, most chalk buckets have room for brushes and pockets for tape, liquid chalk, your car keys, your phone, and other belongings.

4. Don’t wear your chalk bag while bouldering

Many gyms don’t allow climbers to wear chalk bags while they are bouldering, for good reason. Gyms are already overflowing with dust particles from chalk and this isn’t good for anyone’s health. If you boulder with a chalk bag on, and you fall down, you might fall on your bag and waste chalk all over the mats.

This is wasteful and very bad for the air quality of the gym.

Leave your chalk bag on the mats. Most of the time, boulder problems are so short you don’t need to chalk up during your climb anyway.

In Summary – how much chalk to put in chalk bag

Your chalk bag should have enough chalk to last you a full session but not so much that your chalk will spill everywhere you grab for it. Additionally, you should ensure that your chalk bag isn’t weighing you down.

You definitely don’t want to overfill your chalk bag. As you long as you remember to re-fill your chalk bag before your session, you will always have enough chalk.

And if you ever run out of chalk, you can always use a friends. 😉

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