Last updated: August 25, 2021

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Bouldering is an active sport that demands a lot from both the climber and the bouldering pants. The range of special bouldering trousers for men and women is seemingly unlimited. In this bouldering trousers test, we tell you what is important when buying bouldering pants. Long or short, tight or wide? We give you tips on choosing the perfect bouldering pants and answer the most important questions.




Summary

  • When bouldering, the trousers are the most important piece of clothing next to the shoes. They are robust, flexible and do not restrict your movements.
  • Bouldering trousers are not normal trousers, but are made of a special fabric called "rip-stop". This special fabric prevents the trousers from tearing further if there is a hole.
  • Bouldering trousers made of jeans are particularly trendy. They are characterised by their robust fabric and look stylish at the same time.

The Best Bouldering Pants: Our picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for bouldering pants

If you go bouldering often, you should buy the right pants. To find the perfect pants for you, you should think about what is especially important to you. The criteria that help you compare bouldering trousers with each other include:

In the following paragraphs, we will explain what the individual criteria are.

Material

Different materials are used in the production of bouldering trousers. These can have different advantages and disadvantages. The most commonly used materials for bouldering trousers are cotton, synthetic material or denim. The classic material for bouldering trousers is cotton. This material has often proven to be comfortable and yet hard-wearing. Bouldering trousers made of cotton can also withstand cooler temperatures and protect you from the cold outdoors. The material also offers a lot of freedom of movement and robustness. Harder contact with the wall does not directly cause a hole. Disadvantages of cotton bouldering pants occur at higher temperatures. The fabric can quickly make heat uncomfortable and lead to increased perspiration.

Most bouldering trousers are made of several materials.

If you like bouldering in high temperatures, bouldering pants made of synthetic material are good. These trousers are very light, stretch well and are particularly suitable for good climate control. However, this material does not keep you warm in the cold and is therefore not suitable for a tour in the mountains or higher climbing levels. Contact with the wall also creates holes and wear marks more quickly. Bouldering trousers made of denim are very popular mainly because of their high robustness. Even in case of strong contact with the wall, a hole does not appear directly in the jeans. However, the fabric can also restrict your freedom of movement. Some bouldering trousers made of jeans contain a small amount of synthetic material to counteract this. At high temperatures, the fabric can stick uncomfortably to the skin. To find the right bouldering pants, you should think about where the pants will be used most often.

Length

The length of the bouldering pants should also be an important purchase criterion for you. Short bouldering trousers are especially popular in summer or when temperatures are high. Models that end before the knee do not restrict freedom of movement and offer a comfortable climbing experience. However, you should not neglect the protection of your knees. With short bouldering trousers, your knee is not protected and is vulnerable to injuries from the wall. The three-quarter length bouldering pants offer a compromise between a short and a long version. This model is comfortable to wear on hot days, but is long enough to protect your knees from scratches and abrasions.

Details

A good pair of bouldering pants has everything you need, but no extra frills. Here, too, you should think about which additional features are important to you and which you don't need. An important detail of your new bouldering pants is the number and function of the pockets. From back pockets and slide-in pockets to leg and inside pockets, there are all kinds of designs. While some pockets are open and can be closed with a Velcro fastener, others are operated with a zip. Zipped pockets are particularly practical, as nothing can fall out.

Most bouldering trousers have one common weak point: the knee. Both when bouldering in the hall and in nature, there is always unintentional contact with the wall.

This is precisely why there is the so-called knee pad, which is integrated into some trousers. The additional protection is integrated into the trousers at knee level and is intended to protect the knees and trousers from abrasions. In some models, the knee area is even pre-shaped to support the unwinding of the legs. Another important detail is an elastic waistband and leg closure. The elastic waistband at the top of the trousers ensures that they fit well depending on the shape of the day. The leg closure allows you to tighten the leg end of the trousers. This way, you can always see the tips of your toes in difficult places and don't get tangled up in your own trousers.

Design

Even though the design should play a secondary role, it can be a decisive factor. Bouldering trousers are now available in all kinds of colours. You'll find everything from bright colours to subtle shades. A new trend is bouldering trousers made of jeans. These models are not only practical, but also a real eye-catcher. Since tastes differ, you should look at different models and make up your own mind.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about bouldering trousers answered in detail

If you want to buy a pair of bouldering pants, you will certainly have a few questions that you would like to have answered beforehand. In our big bouldering trousers guide, we have selected the most important and most frequently asked questions from customers and answered them clearly. Our guide should help you find the perfect bouldering pants for you on the market.

Who are bouldering pants suitable for?

Next to your shoes, bouldering pants are the most important piece of clothing for bouldering. Bouldering is a movement-intensive sport that demands a lot from both the climber and the pants. Do you even need special trousers for bouldering? In most cases, the answer to this question is no. If you go to the bouldering hall from time to time, normal jogging pants or leggings are sufficient. Only if you go bouldering more often should you think about whether special trousers are worthwhile for you. Because, as you know, the unintentional contact between knee and wall can cost the life of some clothes. Especially clothes made of synthetic materials, such as leggings, can cause severe damage.

Boulderhose-1

If you boulder regularly, you should get special trousers. The trousers protect the knees from abrasions, offer maximum freedom of movement and are also more durable than other sports trousers.
(Image source: Mike Kotsch / Unsplash)

A special pair of trousers for bouldering is made especially for this case. Bouldering pants are usually made of a robust fabric that can withstand even harder collisions with the wall. Some models are also made in such a way that a hole does not tear open further. If you go bouldering, special trousers are not compulsory and normal sports trousers will also serve their purpose. However, if you go bouldering more often, the advantages of bouldering pants can be worthwhile for you.

What types of bouldering trousers are there?

If you want to buy bouldering pants, there are three types of products to choose from.
Type Advantages Disadvantages
Lightweight bouldering pants Breathable and flexible fabric Not robust, prone to holes and wear marks
Short bouldering pants Comfortable to wear, Breathable and flexible fabric No knee protection
Jeans bouldering pants Robust fabric, looks stylish Uncomfortable in high temperatures

If you want to know more about the different types of bouldering trousers, you can read more about each in the following sections.

Lightweight bouldering pants

Bouldering is an active sport. The basic equipment of every bouldering enthusiast should include lightweight bouldering pants. They are characterised by their breathable and flexible fabric. Lightweight bouldering pants can be used indoors as well as for outdoor activities. However, lightweight bouldering trousers are often made of a fabric that is not particularly robust.

Advantages
  • Breathable fabric
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Pleasant in high temperatures
Disadvantages
  • Susceptible to holes
  • Not a robust fabric
  • Does not keep warm at low temperatures

As a result, holes and other wear marks appear more quickly on contact with the wall. Light bouldering pants are recommended for indoor climbing. In nature, where there are often sharp-edged rocks, a more robust fabric is usually sensible.

Short bouldering pants

Short bouldering pants can be very comfortable, especially in high temperatures and in the sun. In addition, they automatically give you more legroom and are therefore more comfortable to wear. Short bouldering trousers also have practical details, such as additional pockets and adjustable fasteners, and are thus in no way inferior to the long models. The only disadvantage is the protection of the knees.

Advantages
  • High wearing comfort
  • Pleasant in high temperatures
Disadvantages
  • No protection of the knees
  • Only suitable at high temperatures

Because of the shortness, the knees are unprotected and contact with the wall can easily cause abrasions and scratches. In this case you have to think about what is more important to you. One option would be to wear additional knee pads.

Jeans bouldering pants

At first glance, jeans don't look like they would be particularly good for sports. However, they do have some advantages for bouldering. The jeans fabric is particularly robust. Even in case of strong contact with the wall, the fabric does not tear as easily as with other models. The bouldering pants made of jeans also score points in terms of appearance.

Advantages
  • Very robust fabric
  • Durable
  • Looks stylish
Disadvantages
  • Uncomfortable in high temperatures
  • No breathable fabric

Only in high temperatures and hot air have many a boulderer wished for a different model. The jeans fabric is not particularly breathable and can quickly lead to an uncomfortable feeling.

How much do bouldering pants cost?

The price of bouldering pants is as varied as the different models themselves. The price varies depending on the material, special details and the design. The cheapest models start at €30. However, these are very simple trousers without any further details. The cheap models are often made of cotton. More expensive models are characterised by a beautiful design and a breathable and light fabric. Often, helpful details such as pre-shaped knees, pockets and adjustable fasteners are integrated. The models are available from €50. Particularly high-quality models from well-known brands are available from €80. They often have integrated UVA and UVB protection and the material is particularly robust. In addition, these trousers are from well-known manufacturers.

Boulderhose-2

There are many places to buy high-quality bouldering trousers. Think about it beforehand and get advice or read some test reports.
(Image source: Alex Motoc / Unspalsh)

What are the alternatives to bouldering pants?

People often ask how bouldering pants differ from climbing pants. Basically, you can climb with bouldering pants and boulder with climbing pants. Since a safety harness is often used for climbing, the waistband is usually much wider.
Type Description
Climbing pants Climbing pants are not very different from bouldering pants. The biggest difference is that climbing pants often still have holders for the climbing harness. If you already have climbing pants, you can also use them for bouldering
Leggings Leggings are comfortable to wear and thin, which is pleasant in high temperatures. However, the leggings are not robust, which makes them unsuitable for bouldering, as holes quickly appear
Sweatpants The sweatpants are also comfortable to wear when bouldering. However, you should make sure that the material is not too thick and breathable. Sweatpants are susceptible to holes when they come into contact with the wall

How do I wash bouldering pants?

You've recently bought your bouldering pants and have had your first session. But how do I wash my bouldering trousers properly? Washing bouldering pants is actually quite simple and important for the breathability and durability of the pants. After bouldering, not only do unsightly stains form, but the smell of sweat also settles in. The good news: you can simply wash the bouldering pants in the washing machine. We recommend using a simple detergent and washing the pants on a gentle cycle, not at more than 30 degrees. However, a look at the composition of the trousers is usually enough. Most bouldering trousers are made of a high percentage of cotton. These are easy to wash and do not require much care. Most cotton trousers can even be dried in the dryer. Bouldering trousers made of denim can also be washed easily in the washing machine. However, you should never use fabric softener, as this can cause the denim to lose its colour. Generally, you should turn the trousers inside out before washing to protect pockets with zips. In addition, you should only wash the trousers with similar colours to avoid discolouration. In summary:

  • Gentle wash at 30 degrees
  • Turn bouldering pants inside out before washing
  • Use liquid detergent
  • do not use fabric softener
  • Only cotton bouldering trousers may be put in the dryer
  • Wash only with similar colours

To avoid unwanted damage, read the care label again and wash according to the instructions. If you wash your bouldering pants properly, they will be your faithful companion for many years.

How long do bouldering pants last?

The lifespan of your bouldering pants depends largely on how you use them. Normally, your pants should last at least two years, better three. If you go bouldering a lot in nature on real rocks, holes and other signs of wear will appear more quickly. Because on real rocks there are more corners and edges that you can get caught on. If you mainly go bouldering indoors, your pants will last longer on average. However, even indoors you will get a hole here and there.

Boulderhose-3

A great alternative to bouldering pants is traditional leggings. However, leggings don't protect your knees when they collide with the wall.
(Image source: yns plt / Unsplash)

Can I sew bouldering pants myself?

Bouldering pants are a special garment with different requirements. Therefore, they are much more difficult to make yourself than other items of clothing. We therefore recommend buying bouldering pants from an online shop or a specialist shop and not sewing them yourself. Especially inexperienced people quickly reach their limits here.

Image source: NejroN / 123rf.com

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