If you’re planning to bring your climbing gear with you on your next getaway vacation, maybe you’re curious whether carabiners are allowed on planes. 

Can I bring my carabiners on the plane with me?

The short answer is… yes and no. Some climbing gear is allowed in your carry-on, while other climbing gear is considered dangerous and should be packed in your checked baggage. 

Let me walk you through the ins and outs of this topic, and answer additional questions I often hear. 

How about it? Read on for what you’ll need to know to travel with your carabiners and other climbing gear.

Can I Take My Carabiners Onto My Flight?

Yes, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) welcomes you to travel with carabiners, chalk bags, climbing helmets, climbing chalk, climbing rope, and climbing tape in your carry-on bags or checked luggage.* Note that belay devices, harnesses, quickdraws, climbing gloves, brushes, cams, headlamps, and alpine draws aren’t explicitly listed on the TSA’s website, but are also allowed in your carry-ons.

Note that Liquid chalk has to follow the TSA 3-1-1 Travel/Liquids Rule for carry-ons, but it is allowed in both handbags and checked baggage.

The 3-1-1 Rule: All liquids, lotions, creams, gels, etc., should be in 3.4 ounce / 100-milliliter containers or smaller, and be neatly packed with other liquid items in a 1-quart plastic, resealable bag

Sharp, metal objects like axes, spikes, ice picks, hand saws, trekking poles and multi-tools that have knives in them are allowed in your checked bags, but not on board, seeing as how they could be used as a weapon.

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Can you Fly With Climbing Gear?

Yes, you can fly with climbing gear, including carabiners. Much climbing gear can be carried onboard in your carry-on baggage (carabiners, climbing tape, climbing helmets, climbing chalk, etc.). You can even travel with heavy, sharp equipment like climbing axes and ice picks, as long as these items are packed safely away in your checked baggage.

Climbing Gear and Checked Luggage

Airlines have different rules for what types of climbing gear are allowed on board, so it is important to make sure that all of the equipment meets their standards for size, weight, and safety. Additionally, climbers should expect to go through a security check when flying with their equipment. The TSA may need to inspect the climbing gear before allowing it onto the plane to ensure that it does not pose any risk of damage or injury during flight. I recommend, when in doubt, packing any equipment that might possibly be deemed dangerous into your checked luggage, just to be on the safe side.

By understanding these regulations and preparing accordingly, you can safely travel with your gear without delays on any airline without issues. It is essential to check your airline’s specific safety regulations and security check requirements before taking off with your climbing gear in order to ensure a safe and secure journey.

Which Climbing Gear is Prohibited from Carry-on Luggage?

If you’re wondering about climbing gear that is specifically prohibited from being brought on board in carry-on luggage, consider climbing gear that has sharp edges or could be used as a weapon, for example. These items are banned in the United States and most other countries as well. These banned items include nut tools, ice picks, hand saws, ice axes, spikes, pitons, screws, and multi-tools with knives.

What Climbing Gear Is OK to Take in Carry-on Luggage?

Typically, climbing gear that is considered safe to take in carry-on luggage includes items such as climbing shoes, chalk bags, and harnesses. However, items such as quickdraws, ice picks, and belay devices may be considered prohibited in carry-on luggage due to their potential use as weapons. It’s always best to check with the airline beforehand to see what their specific policies are regarding carry-on climbing gear. Equipment that isn’t sharp or heavy is usually OK to pack in your carry-on bag.

Can I Pack Climbing Gear in Checked Luggage?

Packing climbing gear in checked luggage is generally safe, but there are some risks to consider. The main risk is that the gear may damage clothes or other items in your checked luggage. Climbing gear is often made of delicate materials such as nylon and aluminum, and some climbing gear items are heavy and sharp, so it is important to ensure that you pack your equipment carefully and properly to prevent damaging your belongings. 

Additionally, it is recommended to use a sturdy and durable gear bag or container to protect the gear during transport. It is also important to label your gear with your name, address and phone number, in case it gets lost or misplaced. Also be sure to check the airline’s policies ahead of your trip.

How to Pack Climbing Gear in Luggage

Always be sure to pack/wrap your climbing items carefully, especially if you’re packing them among clothes or other items that could be easily damaged. It’s a good idea to use heavy duty luggage, too. Be aware of how much each of your bags packed with your climbing gear weighs.

Tips for Traveling With Climbing Gear

Looking for some pointers for packing your climbing gear? Try these:

  • Pack your gear in a durable, dedicated climbing bag or backpack. This will help protect it from damage and make it easy to transport.
  • Make sure to pack all of your gear in a logical and organized manner. This will make it easier to find what you need when you need it.
  • Consider using compression bags or stuff sacks to minimize the amount of space your gear takes up in your bag.
  • Pack your climbing shoes in a separate bag or container to protect them from getting scuffed or dirty.
  • Bring extra carabiners, quickdraws, and other small items that are easy to lose or misplace.
  • Make sure to bring all necessary tools and repair items, such as duct tape, spare ropes, and a multi-tool.
  • Pack any climbing guidebooks or maps in a waterproof bag or container to protect them from damage.
  • Bring a small first aid kit in case of any emergencies or injuries.
  • Don’t forget to pack any necessary clothing and accessories, such as a helmet, harness, and climbing chalk.
  • Always double-check your gear before leaving to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything important.

So, Can You Bring Carabiners on a Plane?

Yes, you can bring carabiners on a plane. They should be packed in your checked or carry-on luggage and not accessible during the flight. Pack heavy and sharp climbing equipment (axes, spikes, trekking poles, ice picks, hand saws and multi-tools with knives, etc.) in your checked luggage, and lighter items like carabiners, chalk bags, climbing helmets, climbing chalk, climbing rope, and climbing tape, etc. in your carry-on bag. It is best to check with your airline’s specific guidelines before traveling.

*Please note that the ultimate determination of whether climbing gear is allowed on a plane rests with the TSA security officer(s) on duty. It is also important to be aware that some airlines may have additional regulations regarding the transportation of climbing equipment.

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