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Liquid chalk vs friction lab vs. chalk cartel


Original Post
Nick Haha · · Baltimore, md · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 130

What would you consider the leading chalk out of these three contenders?  I haven’t tried chalk cartel, but friction labs chalk is good as well as liquid chalk.  Do you prefer liquid to regular chalk?

Caleb Schwarz · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 115

I have super sweaty hands and chalk cartel is the first thing to keep them dry. I've been using black diamond white gold for a while now because of the quality to cost ratio, but I'm making the switch now.

Briggs Lazalde · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Buddy introduced me to friction labs liquid chalk over other brands. Tried camp and 1 other I forget about but the friction labs drys almost instantly. Smells way more like alcohol so it makes sense. Ive showed it to what seems like a hundred strangers and no one has been dissapointed. Good to start climbs w liquid and use minimal dry chalk during climb. Won't do it any other way now. Well worth the price, easy to find on sale, small bottles but doesn't take much so it goes a long way. Probably last me as long as a 9oz bag of chalk. Haven't tried cartel but I'm sure I'm not missing anything. Dunno how it could improve from here other than cost but I always find it locally for about 40% off  

Nick B · · Anchorage, AK · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 61

Just make your own liquid chalk with isopropyl alcohol.  Way cheaper.

Stephen C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

I make my own liquid chalk using isopropyl alcohol. For me this isn't a replacement for loose chalk, though. 

I have used Friction Labs quite a bit and have used several other chalk brands as well. I have not tried Chalk Cartel. What I can tell you is I see no real difference between Friction Labs and the Black Diamond White Gold chalk that I currently use. Sure, they feel slightly different on my skin, but I've noticed absolutely no performance difference when using Friction Labs vs. Black Diamond. My experience with Friction Labs has really turned me off of the expensive chalk brands. I just don't see a difference. Based on that I will not be trying Chalk Cartel.

Chris Blatchley · · Somerville, MA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

oh god do we really have to do this again?

MrZ · · Colorado · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 270

Friction Labs reps have been very honest with me and others when asked. Their product may not create any more (or less friction) but rather is meant to stay on longer, therefore you will use less and hopefully cost to use ratio will even out, and not damage skin as much.


I have personally noticed the first selling point, especially when sport climbing, I don't need to chalk up nearly as much.

Stephen C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0
MrZ wrote:

Friction Labs reps have been very honest with me and others when asked. Their product may not create any more (or less friction) but rather is meant to stay on longer, therefore you will use less and hopefully cost to use ratio will even out, and not damage skin as much.


I have personally noticed the first selling point, especially when sport climbing, I don't need to chalk up nearly as much.

To each his own. In my experience FL doesn't stay on my skin longer nor does it have any positive impact on skin damage. I'm also friends with a former rep and know many of their sponsored athletes so I've heard about all of the benefits of the chalk. I have simply never experienced them.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

Once I started drying my hands, first with iontophoresis and now with Rhino Skins Dry Spray and/or antihydril, fancy chalk became irrelevant. The cheap stuff works just fine when your hands don’t sweat much anyway.

Jonathan Eames · · Clinton, MA · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 0

 I have tried FL, they are pretty good but I really like Spider Chalk. It just feels better on my hands, less gritty. It also stays on my hands a lot better. 

Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

I just started using the Mammut product, and am totally sold on it. I rub some on before I go up, and then augment periodically with regular chalk. There seems to be a synergy that happens, because I use much less powdered chalk if I apply the liquid chalk first, and my hands are much drier. I may even switch to the dreaded chalk ball.  Of course it is one more piece of crap you need to remember to bring. And you can't haul it up the climb with you.

As for powdered chalk, I still have 5 pounds of Frank Endo gymnastic chalk...enough for this lifetime.

Jeffrey K · · Seattle, WA · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

Friction Labs chalk gives me minimal grip and disappears halfway through boulder problems. I have no idea why as it clearly shouldn't happen. Other people I know swear by it so it's clearly just me but FWIW.

I use BD Gold and it works perfectly. I pre smash it into finer particles, though, as it's ridiculously chunky out of the bag.

Briggs Lazalde · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0
Jeffrey K wrote: Friction Labs chalk gives me minimal grip and disappears halfway through boulder problems. I have no idea why as it clearly shouldn't happen. Other people I know swear by it so it's clearly just me but FWIW.

I use BD Gold and it works perfectly. I pre smash it into finer particles, though, as it's ridiculously chunky out of the bag.

They leave the big chunks cuz they figure you'll use the wrist rocket technique. From the ground u spray beta via slingshot. Aim at next hold and launch. Your leader will love you eternally.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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