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. (Photo: Inga Hendrickson)

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

Krieg Bouldering Bucket

(Photo: 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

(Photo: 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

(Photo: 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

(Photo: 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

(Photo: 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

(Photo: 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

(Photo: 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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