I’ve been wanting to write this DIY article for a while now, but with the economy and jobs being where they are, now more than ever is a good time to put it out there. I generally don’t shop at giant mega-corporation superstores, I try my best to support local businesses as much as possible, but on occasion I find myself at Wal-Mart and over the years found all sorts of gear that's perfect for bouldering. Here's a run down of my current bouldering kit I use to keep gear organized and easy pack in and to move between problems and brush kit I use to scrub dirt and grime off of problems.
When I started developing bouldering areas around the Jocassee Gorges, I always had a tough time finding the right brush to take off that first layer of crud. I didn’t want to use a stiff wire brush after seeing that many of the boulders in the area can be changed drastically when one is overused, so nylon and animal bristle brushes were what I generally used…with the occasional softer brass wire brush for the really tough spots. Regular toothbrushes just don’t work…if that’s all you’ve got, its better than nothing, but overall they just don’t cut it. I bought brushes/brush kits from all of the climbing companies that offered them at the time, spending nearly $100 on the variety, but I could never find the right brush to scrub the dirt and grime off of a the chossy boulders in the Gorges to the point of perfect friction. I started buying brushes in the cleaning isle at the grocery store. But once again, none of these brushes really fit the bill. The well known Metolius/gun cleaning brush was a great brush, much better than a regular toothbrush, but it still wasn’t good for initial cleaning.
-Gun Cleaning Toolset (1 typical bouldering brush + 1 brass brush) $3.97
-1 Denture Brush $1.56
-1 Stripper Brush $2.50
-1 Monopod for stick brush $16.98
-3 Grout Brushes for initial scrubbing $1.47x3= $4.41
Brush Kit: 6 Brushes without the Stick Brush Total Price $9.44
Stick Brush/Walking Stick/Monopod + Brush Kit $29.42
Dry Bag Bouldering Kit:
While at Wal-Mart, I poked around looking for other goodies for bouldering and I came upon one last thing that has been crucial to keep my gear organized…a set of lightweight drybags ($9.96). The Outdoor Products 3-pack Dry Sacks wont add weight to your bouldering kit, but will keep your gear organized and waterproof in case of the random summer thunderstorm. I started packing gear in these out of necessity because every time I went bouldering at the North Side of Looking Glass one summer, I always got rained out of the place…and once ruined my cell phone. So I wanted to get a lightweight dry bag to put my phone, wallet and keys in so they would be safe in a storm. I bought one small dry bag at my local outfitter for around $15, but it quickly wore out after a couple of months of heavy use.
So I looked around Wal-Mart for a more economical solution and found a set of 3 dry bags in the sporting goods department for cheaper than the one from the outfitters. I use the smaller of the 3 to keep my phone, wallet and keys dry, and I use the largest of the dry bags for snacks, water bottle, extra long sleeve shirt, guidebooks and to hold the smaller dry bag for a double dry cell phone.
The middle sized bag makes a PERFECT chalk bucket too…add an old wash cloth from the closet, a chalk ball, a denture brush and some chalk and you have a spill proof chalk bucket for 10% of the cost of an Organic or Flashed rolltop chalk bucket!!!
It’s easy to unroll and get a handful of chalk and after your send just roll it up and attach it to the large dry bag and toss it all in your crashpad.
There is even a perfect place to tuck a gun cleaning brush next to the buckle for convenience.
This is still the basic bouldering kit I use to this day…and if I ever have to replace any part of the kit that wears out, its very economical to do so! Here’s the rundown on the Dirtbaggers Deluxe Bouldering Kit…
Brush Kit includes Denture Brush, Gun Brush, Brass Brush and 3 Grout Brushes $9.44
Stick Brush/walking stick/monopod + $19.48
Chalk Bucket & Gear Bags + $9.96
Total Bouldering Kit…just add chalk, shoes and crashpad $38.88
There is a kinds of fancy gear on the market nowadays, but when you dont have the cash flow to afford it, the Dirbaggers Deluxe Bouldering Kit fills in nicely or provides cheap options to add to your existing kit!