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

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(Krieg)

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

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(Scarpa)

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

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(Prana)

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

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(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

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(Lapis)

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

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(Metolius)

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

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(Kind)

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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