School of Rock: 7 Essentials for Beginner Boulderers

How to assemble your first kit.

Bouldering basics. Clockwise from top left: Lapis climbing brushes, Prana Axiom jeans, Kind Strong and Kind bar, Krieg Bouldering Bucket, Scarpa Vapor V climbing shoes, Climbers Against Cancer T-shirt. Orange mat is Motolius's Session crash pad. (Inga Hendrickson)
Photo: Inga Hendrickson

Get the basics right and the rest comes easy. Presenting the seven products every novice boulderer should buy.

Krieg Bouldering Bucket


The Bouldering Bucket ($33) is the size of a soup pot and holds enough chalk for even the sweatiest sessions. A handy zipper pocket lets you safely stow keys, and a small sleeve keeps your Lapis chalk brush within reach. 

Scarpa Vapor V climbing shoes


Down-turned soles are more precise on tiny edges, but they can be painful for beginners. Scarpa’s Vapor V climbing shoes ($159) strike the perfect balance, with a moderately curved arch and asymmetrical design that concentrates power in the toe.

Prana Axiom jeans


Made from a spandex-denim blend, Prana’s Axiom jeans ($85) look like classic blues but are flexible enough for the kinds of moves that have you twisting like Gumby.

Climbers Against Cancer cotton T-shirt

(Climbers Against Cancer)

Founded by British climber John Ellison, Climbers Against Cancer donates the proceeds from this T-shirt ($23) to research efforts around the world. 

Lapis climbing brush


Standard toothbrushes work fine for scrubbing excess chalk from holds, but they wear out quickly and don’t reach the tiniest crimps. The soft-bristled Lapis climbing brush ($8) lasts longer than nylon and won’t erode rock. 

Metolius Session crash pad


Metolius’s crash pad ($149) is the Goldilocks of bouldering protection. At four inches thick and three feet long folded, it’s big enough to save you from a digger but small enough to toss in the trunk. The flap closure and stash pocket make it easy to carry extra gear.

Kind Strong and Kind bars


These savory-sweet bars ($2) come packed with ten grams of muscle-repairing almond and seed protein. We like the Honey BBQ. 

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