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How do you mark your gear?

You know that moment at the end of a long, awesome day when it comes time to sort out gear...and suddenly everything looks exactly the same? Smiley LOL

After too many times of getting my gear mixed up with my climbing partners, I started marking mine with two dots of good nailpolish that doesn't flake off.  How do you mark your gear?

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.
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7 Replies

Love the nailpolish route! I mark mine with a shade of electric pink! Also a big fan of electrical tape as an additioal marker. 

After years of not climbing I recently became a BSA climbing instructor.  We usually use "company gear" that belongs to the Scout Coucil but inevitably you wind up with bits and pieces of your own gear mixed in.  Each of us has a particular color or pattern we mark hard gear with.  It might be a single color or strip of patterned tape or a particular sequence of colors.

Soft goods can be tougher as you shouldn't mark them with any dye or ink not recommended by the maker of the gear.  And for sure anything with any solvents, including nail polish and most markers, is a no-no.  Sharpie makes a water based laundry marker called a Rub-a-Dub that should be safe for any soft goods, though.

Best regards,


Lance R


I use gardening tape! It was easy to put on and remove when I needed to. I always lose or run out of nail polish so the tape has lasted longer for me.

I use Harley Davidson tourquoise blue touch up paint. I paint a stripe or a dab, depending upon the type of gear. It's a very unique color so the marking shape is not important. 


My partner introduced me to Tough Tags which include your information on these durable tags. Gotten a number of pieces of gear back that way. However, they still do wear.

I use gaffers tape. It doesn't leave behind residue, it's strong, and you can buy it in different colors. I used to use electrical tape. However, it leaves sticky residue if/when it wears out and falls off which is a big reason why I switched to gaffers tape.

I use a Sharpie marker and put my initials on all my gear. Super cheap yet effective!!