The buzz around modern training boards has been nothing short of a bouldering bonanza over the past few decades. Remember the good ol’ campus board? That was our first taste of training tech.
As the climbing community grew, so did the number of basements and DIY training rooms. Climbing gyms started popping up everywhere, and with them, the resurgence of old-school training boards. These were the proving grounds of the dedicated climber – steep walls, gnarly holds, and challenging moves.
But as climbing has clawed its way into mainstream popularity, the ‘new normal’ has become modern climbing gyms and high-tech equipment. And we’re not just talking about any old equipment. We’re talking about app-controlled, LED-lit, ultra-cool boards that would make even Spiderman envious. Or, if we’re donning our professional hats, we’d call them standardized interactive training walls.
These boards are, without a shadow of a doubt, a climber’s dream come true. They’re fun, they’re engaging, and they’re a one-way ticket to climbing gains.
What Is A MoonBoard?
The Moonboard originated in the famous “school room” in Sheffield, UK, the training hub for the UK’s strongest climbers back in the ’90s, including some legendary names, such as Ben Moon. Yes, the very same Ben Moon who took the humble wooden wall of the training hub and catapulted it into the future. In 2005, he standardized the board, giving it a 40-degree angle and naming it the Moonboard.
Fast forward to today, and the Moonboard has evolved from a simple diagram in a book to a high-tech, app-integrated marvel. Climbers from every corner of the globe can now tackle the same problems, share grades, track their progress in a logbook, and even craft their own routes. This pioneering board was the first of its kind in the modern era and continues to be a popular choice among climbers. It’s available in different angles (25 and 40 degrees) and hold sets, making it as versatile as it is innovative.
What Is A Kilter Board?
The Kilter Board has become one of the most popular training boards to date. It’s ultra-modern, versatile, and designed to cater to climbers of all levels, demands, and training goals. Taking a leaf out of the Moonboard’s book, the Kilter Board also connects to an app, allowing climbers to access a treasure trove of problems, maintain a logbook, and set their own routes.
But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a Moonboard clone. The Kilter Board has its own unique features that set it apart. It boasts adjustable angle support, a distinctive lighting system, and comes in a variety of sizes.
Kilter Board vs MoonBoard
- App: Let’s be frank – neither the Kilter Board nor the MoonBoard team will be winning any design awards for their apps. They’re functional, but they come with their fair share of quirks that might ruffle the feathers of the average smartphone user. Both rely on a Bluetooth connection to light up the wall, and both have technical hiccups that might catch you off guard. Here’s a free tip for the developers out there – allowing multiple users to connect to the board simultaneously could be a game-changer!
- LED Lights: The MoonBoard has tiny lights below each hold to indicate the problem you’re tackling. The Kilter Board, on the other hand, has lights encircling each hold. This can be a game-changer for both newbies and seasoned climbers, as it’s easier to spot the hold below you as you ascend. However, some climbers enjoy the added challenge of not being able to see their footholds on the MoonBoard.
- Holds and Skin Care: The Kilter Board has earned a reputation for being kinder to climbers’ skin. While the MoonBoard does offer some softer holds in its different sets, the consensus seems to be that the Kilter Board’s holds are a more comfortable option, especially for those who aren’t quite as diehard about their training.
Sizes & Sets
As the popularity of these boards has skyrocketed, so too have the options. Both the MoonBoard and Kilter Board offer a variety of hold sets and wall sizes to cater to every climber’s needs.
The standard MoonBoard stands tall at around 3-4 meters high (depending on the angle) and stretches 2.5 meters wide. To date, there are three hold setups (2016, 2017, 2019) and two wall angles to choose from (25 and 40 degrees). The debate over the best setup rages on, with no clear winner in sight. Recently, the company introduced a mini-board for those working with smaller spaces.
The Kilter Board is the chameleon of climbing boards, available in a plethora of sizes, hold sets, densities, and even with or without a kickboard. This versatility can be a tad overwhelming for climbers hopping from one gym to another. The Kilter Board’s claim to fame is its adjustable angle support, which ranges from 0 to 70 degrees. This feature transforms it into a veritable all-in-one training wall. At its largest setup, the Kilter Board offers a broader range of styles and options than the MoonBoard. Just bear in mind that the 0-degree Kilter Board does demand a room with a high ceiling.
While it might seem like the Kilter Board has the upper hand with its myriad options, sometimes simplicity is key. Standardized boards are designed to offer a consistent experience wherever you climb. But if I had to pick a board to train on at my local gym, I’d probably lean towards the Kilter Board.
Grades, Accessibility & Experience
The MoonBoard has earned a reputation for its hardcore sandbagging across all hold setups. Its steep angle and challenging holds mean that even the “easiest” problems start at a V3 (6a+ Font), which can still be a tough climb. Even when you opt for the less steep angle, the problems can be a bit daunting for beginner climbers.
The Kilter Board, on the other hand, is a bit more forgiving. Thanks to its adjustable angles and varied holds, it offers a more accessible experience for beginners while still providing a challenge for seasoned climbers.
So, if you’re all about pushing your limits with hardcore moves and problems, the MoonBoard is your go-to. But if you’re after a more varied session, where you can warm up with easier problems before tackling the steep stuff, the Kilter Board is your best bet.
MoonBoard vs Kilter Board: A Climber’s Choice
As a motivated climber, I like to train on both of the boards. Generally, Moonboard setups tend to be cheaper than the Kilter ones, so with a smaller space and extra psyche, you can see them more often in small community gyms or in flats and basements.
The Kilter Board gives a huge spectrum of skills to train on within one setup, which is a luxury I’d like to have when going to the gym.
So, to cut to the chase, Kilter board vs Mooboard, which is best? The short answer is that they’re both great. Which one you use however depends on your climbing needs. Do you want a home set up? A MoonBoard will probably be your best bet. Do you want an abundance of climbing problems with gnarly overhangs, use the Kilter Board at your local gym.
Whichever one you pick, train hard!