Pockets! Spacious flat front pockets where you can put your hand, your phone, your wallet, your notebook! And on the women’s version!? Already the Alpkit Womens Bloc bouldering pants are off to a good start.
It took while for me to adopt these trousers into my bouldering habit as I tend to wear my bouldering pants down to threads before I wear my new ones. But for more than a year now, the Alpkit Bloc pants have been my daily trouser. And although they may not be made by a bouldering-specific clothing manufacturer (nor bear the associated price tag), they’re now one of my favourite climbing pants.
Firstly, they’re the most durable bouldering pants I’ve owned (and my only pair without patches: a testament to their strength). The fabric is thick, feels rugged and has thus far withstood some pretty ugly gritstone off-widths where thinner trousers have left me with fearing for my bottom with the fabric ripping in places that you really don’t want it to. I have a habit of wiping my feet on the bottom of my trouser legs, which eventually rips them at the knees, but thus far the Alpkit Bloc pants have held it together. That said, being thick they are quite warm and I’d probably opt for something lighter and a little more breathable for summer.
Although the fabric is thick, it’s also surprisingly stretchy and soft. I say surprisingly because the Bloc bouldering pants look almost like jeans, but throughout lockdown they became my yoga pants and have been entirely unrestrictive. In some trousers you have to pull the trousers up at the thigh for a high foot or rock over (personal favourites) but this has not been the case with the Bloc pants. They feel a bit like leggings for when you don’t want to wear leggings.
One thing to note with these pants is that they do bag out a fair bit between washes. Personally I don’t mind this, but if you’re between sizes it’s worth considering (I’m usually between a 10 and 12, and found the 10 to be a comfortable fit).
In the Women’s style the Bloc Pant’s waistband is a deep and semi-elasticated with fly and button closure (in the mens it’s elasticated only). Along with the relaxed cut this gives them a flattering look that doesn’t scream I LOVE CLIMBING, but the downside is that you can’t tighten them up. As the fabric stretches out between washes I do find that I’m pulling them up a bit between climbs. For this reason I probably wouldn’t wear them under a harness, but I guess that’s why they’re called bouldering pants. With a harness I’d opt for something with a higher, lower-profile waistband or something that can be tightened for, you know, modesty reasons.
I’m a big fan of the choice in leg lengths that Alpkit are now offering, and another big selling point was that the Womens Bloc Pants come in Short, Regular and Long. No more chilly ankles at the crag nor looking for your feet inside your trouser legs.
Alpkit have also been offering sizes up to women’s UK 18 for a while now, which is brilliant news and something it would be good to see more of in women’s outdoor climbing.
So, in summary, the Alpkit Bloc pants are the most durable and least restrictive bouldering pants I’ve owned, with the added bonus of a choice in leg length, a good size range and an affordable price tag (£44.99, although at the time of writing these are on sale at £29.99!). I love them in the winter and autumn, but find them a little too thick come summer. The fit is comfy for moving and daily use appropriate, when daily life resumes that is. I reckon that, with a slightly higher adjustable waistband, they would be the perfect womens bouldering pant.
Finally, it would be great to have some obnoxiously bright colours please Alpkit. As much as it’s nice that my trousers don’t scream I LOVE CLIMBING, sometimes I just want to tell the world!
I’d like them in yellow please, in case you were wondering.
If you’d like a good reason to buy some climbing pants, why not join us on one of our Peak District bouldering or climbing courses? You’ll find more information about our Rock Climbing courses here, and more on our Outdoor Bouldering Courses here.
Beyond the Edge Ltd is based in Sheffield two hours by train from London and within easy travelling distance from Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham and other Northern towns and cities.
We are one of the UKs most experienced providers of climbing, walking, scrambling, mountaineering and navigation training courses.
Most of our courses are run in the nearby Peak District National Park which has some of the finest climbing, bouldering, walking and hiking in the world.