The Best Bouldering Gear of 2017

Work your project from the ground up

Bouldering is a sport that doesn't require a whole lot of gear. The essentials are a reliable crash pad, a sturdy pair of shoes, and quality chalk. (Photo: Inga Hendrickson)
Bouldering is a sport that doesn't require a whole lot of gear. The essentials are a reliable crash pad, a sturdy pair of shoes, and quality chalk.

Work your project from the ground up.

Petzl Alto Crash Pad.
Petzl Alto Crash Pad. (Photo: Courtesy of Petzl)

Petzl Alto Crash Pad ($300)

With three layers of dense foam, the Alto has plenty of cushion for big falls. What’s more, the hingeless design means you can sandwich gear between the two halves before zipping it up—handy when schlepping from rock to rock.

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Edelrid Boulder Bag 2.
Edelrid Boulder Bag 2. (Photo: Courtesy of Backcountry)

Edelrid Boulder Bag 2 ($30)

This cavernous container holds all the chalk you could need for weeks of climbing, and the twist closure mitigates spillage.

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Ortovox Brenta shorts.
Ortovox Brenta shorts. (Photo: Courtesy of Ortovox )

Ortovox Brenta Shorts ($129)

The Brenta’s Cordura fabric lends hardiness, while a touch of spandex ensures stretch when reaching for toe hooks.

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Five Ten Approach Pro shoes.
Five Ten Approach Pro shoes. (Photo: Courtesy of Five Ten)

Five Ten Approach Pro Shoes ($120)

The laces cinch a wide strap of rubber across the shoe’s upper and around the heel, creating a locked-down fit that’s perfect for scrambling.

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Metolius Super chalk.
Metolius Super chalk. (Photo: Courtesy of Backcountry)

Metolius Super Chalk ($5)

Our preference for added grip, this chalk sticks through several rounds on tough, sloping projects.

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Royal Robbins Upward Variations shirt.
Royal Robbins Upward Variations shirt. (Photo: Courtesy of Royal Robbins)

Royal Robbins Upward Variations Shirt ($28)

Enjoy puffing a pipe and sipping wine at the crag? So did Yosemite OG Royal Robbins. Which is why both appear amid the nuts, rope, and carabiners on this breezy tee

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Metolius Shortstop pad.
Metolius Shortstop pad. (Photo: Courtesy of Metolius)

Metolius Shortstop Pad ($37)

Nothing ruins your day like landing between pads. The three-by-two-foot Shortstop covers the gaps, helping prevent turned ankles and worse. 

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Black Diamond Boulder Hoody.
Black Diamond Boulder Hoody. (Photo: Courtesy of Black Diamond)

Black Diamond Boulder Hoody ($129)

This buttery-soft polyester-wool midlayer kept us toasty on chilly fall nights. The retro elbow pads are a nice touch, too.

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Tenaya Iati climbing shoe.
Tenaya Iati climbing shoe. (Photo: Courtesy of Backcountry)

Tenaya Iati climbing Shoes ($170)

The Iati is the comfiest shoe we tested. The snug toe box and cotton-lined inner sock felt great all day. While the sole is a tad chunky for solid purchase on micro-­edges, Vibram rubber ­affords ­sandpaper traction for smearing.

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From 2017 Summer Buyer's Guide
Filed To: BoulderClimbing ShoesClimbing
Lead Photo: Inga Hendrickson
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