Chalk Junkies are people who spend several hours a week with chalk. Whether it's rock climbing, gymnastics or weight lifting, those of us who rely on chalk for grip have a special relationship with the white powder. That deeply intimate relationship with magnesium carbonate has given us a unique ability to feel the difference between good chalk and bad chalk.
What to look for in your chalk:
Price. $25.00 for 10oz of chalk? I hope it cures the flu. 5lbs of chalk in a bucket for $100? I hope that bucket also does your laundry. Let's be reasonable here, great chalk is still just chalk.
Texture. The science of chalk texture is particle size. Hitting the particle size just right makes all the difference.
Dryness. Moist chalk sucks because it's lost the ability to absorb moisture. Once chalk picks up the moisture in the air, it becomes less effective.
- Purity. Magnesium carbonate has grades based on purity. The more refined the better the grade. And pure chalk has increased friction with better drying ability.
Now that you know what to look for in great chalk let's address how Spider Chalk approaches making superior grip products.
Good chalk costs more than bad chalk, of course. But if you use chalk often then you have to consider if the value makes sense. For instance, if you find yourself using less chalk because you don't want to decide between buying food or chalk this month, then you're paying too much and sacrificing your performance in the process. Alternatively, if you look for the "5 lbs for $15" on Ebay then you're not getting chalk at all but some nasty white powder filler that will do nothing for your performance but make you frustrated with the slimy feel and constant re-chalking. Spider Chalk has 12oz Pure Powder for $15 and 5lb Mega Blocks for $66 with free shipping.
Particle size determines the feel of the chalk. Small particle size rubs into the hand easier but has a slick feeling. Large particle size feels rougher but doesn't stick as well. Our particle size is unique in that Spider Chalk powder (and therefore our blocks and liquid) has a combination of large, medium and small particle size. That unique combination ensures rough friction with the ability to rub into the grooves of the hand.
Dryness & Purity
We use industrial dehydrators to keep our chalk from absorbing moisture. Spider Chalk produces almost completely anhydrous magnesium carbonate with ultra-low moisture content. There's a tendency for chalk companies to cut corners by adding drying agents like Mag Sulfate or Silica to absorb the moisture and make the chalk feel dry even in high-humidity environments. But ultimately those desiccants dry out your hands, make them crack and only help with moisture but do not help directly with friction.
Chalk with additives are popular based on great reviews after a couple days: "WOW, it feels so grippy!" But wait a few weeks and it's a different story. To combat the dryness, some add additional ingredients like essential oils to help heal and moisturize the cracks created from their additives. Now there's another problem. Due to the drying agents and oils, you can't coat the hand with chalk because the additives create a barrier that keeps the chalk from rubbing in so you're constantly re-chalking to get some friction. No layer of chalk, limited friction and some skin cracking, but a really nice cinnamon smell!
Here's a secret: If your hands start to crack after repeated, extended Spider Chalk use, get into a routine of rubbing Vaseline on your hands after a workout. Nothing locks in moisture better than a $1 tub of Vaseline. No fancy lotion or hand salve works better.