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Gear

Gear Guide 2020: Bouldering Kit

Our top eight choices for the best bouldering gear of 2020.

Bouldering is difficulty distilled—you need to bring your A game. These 8 items have you covered, from fingertips to landing zone.

Friction Labs Alcohol Free Secret Stuff

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Liquid chalk sans alcohol

“A quarter-sized dollop of Friction Labs’ new alcohol-free gel spread easily, allowing full-hand coverage, perfect for the 20-move crimp traverse of Orange Top Blue Sky (V8).” Read full review

Metolius Finger Tape

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Sticky tape, zero residue

“Metolius’s wide tape was perfect for wrapping my split tip. Its one-sided stickiness translated to minimal rolling.” Read full review

Patagonia Women’s Hampi Rock Pants

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Super-comfy & light

“Our tester wore the Women’s Hampi Rock Pants climbing in the MegaRoof zone of Roy, New Mexico, kneebarring out the ceiling of Batman.” Read full review

Penguin Fingers

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Frosty or warm relief

“To prevent injury and alleviate swelling, I used the latex-free, nontoxic (filled with polypropylene glycol) Penguin Fingers compresses.” Read full review

 Butora Icarus Approach Shoes

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Bomber approacher, après style

“Our tester talus-hopped in Eldorado, kicked snow steps in the high peaks, and bouldered along a crag base.” Read full review.  

Makita Jobsite Fan

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A breeze you can carry

“Getting perfect conditions is tough. Fortunately, there are fans to cool the body, dry the holds, and make it easier to breathe in a stagnant bouldering zone.” Read full review

Organic Dual Zip Backpack

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Roll-top closure

“I tossed my new Organic pack into my truck and watched it roll down a hill (whoops) out bouldering, all without a ding.” Read full review.  

Edelrid Herkules Boulder Bag

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Deluxe, Bluesign chalk pot

“Winning features were the paired drag/carry handles, zippered stash pocket, and five vari-sized brush holders.” Read full review.

See more 2020 Gear Guide reviews:

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Formerly a thick-legged trad dad, senior associate editor James Lucas suffered a midlife crisis and has transformed into a boulderer. These days, the crux of his projects is keeping his knees off the ground.