10 Bouldering Adventure Essentials

It started with a crashpad. The Black Diamond Impact, to be specific. Tugging it out of its box, tearing off the plastic wrap, my friend and I exchanged glances and grins. We imagine all the places we can take it, the familiar, close-by spots, as well as the ones we’ve been dreaming of all winter. A list began to form. A plan unfolded.

One week later we packed up the pickup truck, stacking boxes and organizing bags of gear. The air was chilly but mercifully dry. My friends and I were itching to rip up our fingers on some sharp, gritty North Eastern granite. The last sleeping bag was tossed in, the Google Maps route was set, and we were off. Four friends (and one dog) headed out on a three week long car-camping adventure to hit the best bouldering spots in the North East. Here are the 10 things we made sure to pack:


1. Black Diamond Impact Crash Pad

Simple, soft, and sturdy; this is by far my favorite crash pad I’ve owned. Its lightness and comfortable shoulder straps make it easy to transport through questionable approach terrain, while its high compression structure provides ample support and cushion from the highest falls. A definite bouldering adventure necessity!  


2. Jetboil Flash 

My favorite of the Jetboil family. Perfect for a quick cup of coffee in the morning or a cragside mac and cheese snack between routes. It’s safe and compact, easy to use in all weather conditions, including those unpredictable April showers.


3. Black Diamond Moji light pack 

These small but powerful lights are a necessity for any camping trip. Scatter them around your campsite, hang them in your tent, even keep them glowing in your pockets. They’re great for evening bouldering after the sun has set.


4. Headlamp

Speaking of evening bouldering, what’s more adventurous that clambering around on rocks all day? Clambering around on rocks all night! You can’t go wrong with a simple, lightweight headlamp to shine the way for your send. I recommend the powerful Petzl Myo.


5. Daypack 

Currently favoring a Gregory daypack, the durable and highly compactable Citro, to be exact. Of course, you can’t go wrong with any of the Gregory packs. I can fit all my gear for a day of adventure in mine, including shoes, chalk bags, extra layers, water, snacks, etc.  


6. FrictionLabs 

Chalk. Chalk! I’m a devoted FrictionLabs user, a brand that is made by climbers, for climbers. They offer a variety of textures, from the fine grained Unicorn Dust to the super chunky Bam Bam.


7. Chalk bag 

When bouldering, a small chalk bag simply won’t do. I like to take a large roll pot or dust bin style chalk bag on my bouldering excursions, like the spacious Roll Pot from Metolius or the Boulder Chalk Bag from Red Chili.


8. Serac Hammock 

During a long day bouldering, nothing is better than a break between climbs in a shady hammock. Serac offers lightweight, easy to compress hammocks in single and double…the more the merrier!


9. Approach shoes 

No matter how far or near those boulders are, comfortable approach shoes are key to the start of a good climbing day. Luckily, CO recently added Salewa to the brands they offer. Check out their large collection of hiking and training shoes, all sporting waterproof, breathable linings and sticky, high performance soles inspired by the rubber of climbing shoes.


10. Gregory daypack 

Gregory makes an assortment of packs, each better than the next. Their Citro series offers a perfect collection of daypacks, roomy and comfortable, with a hydration pocket and nifty little compartments for phones and sunglasses.


Hailing from Queens, Kat is a senior at Bates who left the concrete jungle for Maine’s icy temperament and granite features. When she’s not outside climbing rocks and romping around the woods you can find her hermit-ing it up in the library working on thesis, reading up on ecofeminist literature, pedagogic theory, and the latest alien abductions. (Insert alien emoji here.)