Mammut Liquid Chalk lets you maximize your chalk coverage, allowing you to rub the chalk deep into your hands in its liquid form, leaving a uniform layer of chalk stuck to your hands once the alcohol solution has evaporated. Magic! Plenty of experienced climbers swear by a base layer of liquid chalk to compliment the loose chalk in their chalk bags. Chalk tends to stick to chalk; a thin layer of liquid chalk helps loose chalk stay on better throughout your climbing session. We feel the Mammut performs as well as Friction Labs Secret Stuff, and since its much less expensive, it's our Top Pick for liquid chalk.
Mammut Liquid Chalk Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Excellent value, good friction and coverage
Cons: Unusable if you have cuts and abrasions on your hands
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Our Analysis and Test Results
There are some textural differences between Mammut Liquid Chalk and Friction Labs Secret Stuff, but whether or not one performs better than the other continues to be debated among our testers. One thing is for sure, Mammut liquid Chalk is a much better value at about 9 cents per milliliter, versus 25 cents/ml for the Secret Stuff.
Friction & Overall Feel
After squeezing a teaspoon of this stuff on your hands, the strong scent of rubbing alcohol will have you smelling like the doctor's office. Don't be alarmed, it dries in under a minute, and your hands will turn completely white with chalk coating every nook and cranny of your hands. Compared to Friction Labs Secret Stuff, Mammut Liquid Chalk has a slightly more granular feel.
With our blind testing, our testers did not observe a difference in performance. One of our testers applied some liquid chalk after several days of bouldering, and she reported stinging pain on the thin tips of her fingers and a cut on her palm. Never use liquid chalk if you have cracks or cuts on your hands, as per the warning label on the bottle.
A hefty dollop of liquid chalk will provide more comprehensive coverage than any other chalk delivery method aside from dipping your hands in a bag of very fine loose chalk, without any dust or mess. It's best to use as a base layer at the beginning of your climbing session since you're not going to want to wait for it to dry over and over again.
The base layer of liquid chalk helps whatever loose chalk you're using adhere to your hands better, and so potentially, you won't have to chalk up as much. Certainly advantageous for folks climbing at their absolute limit.
In both our experiences and in a study we read, using liquid chalk is the best method for reducing particulates in the air of your climbing gym. A combo of a liquid chalk base layer with a Metolius Super Chalk Sock is a good compromise for keeping your hands dry and sticky without leaving behind a cloud of dust. Liquid chalk avoids the pitfalls of loose chalk since you won't accidentally dump it out of your chalk bag.
Mammut Liquid Chalk is a far better value than the Friction Labs Secret Stuff and our testers experienced little difference in performance. Friction Labs suggests you'll get about 100 uses out of a $19, 75ml tube, so a 200ml tube of Mammut Liquid Chalk should give you 266+ uses for $12. If you are super particular about your chalk, you can try the Friction Labs out on the cheap, since they sell Secret Stuff in $1 single serve packets.
When we used liquid chalk in the gym, out at the boulders, and the crag, we were always pleased to have the extra friction. We doubt we would ever carry a whole 200ml tube of the stuff up a long free climb or deep into the backcountry. If you find a dark layer of grease on the climbing holds after you've climbed on them, and your friends get mad at you, perhaps it's time to add Liquid Chalk to your regimen.
Liquid chalk is a great tool for keeping your hands extra dry in humid conditions or the gym when you don't want to create a lot of dust. Are all the pros using liquid chalk? Nope. Will 9-year olds at the gym still climb harder than you if your hands are covered in a thin layer of dazzling white? Definitely. Can a little extra friction give you the confidence to try your hardest, get deep in the zone, and send your project? Our testers say "Yes!"
— Matt Bento