Recently I’ve had the opportunity to try out some merchandise from the Sheffield wizard himself, Ben Moon. He’s been busily making clothing, holds and crash pads for a while, but up until now it’s not made these shores. Motiv have been bringing in an assorted range, along with Blurr and the hangboards from Beastmaker.
They kindly shipped me a box, and I’ve unkindly thrashed the crap out of it since. The two items that have impressed me have been the bouldering bucket and the Cypher pant, which I’ll go into first.
For the purposes of this here diatribe, I’ve compared the Cypher to Tools of the Adventure’s Movement pant, which I along with most people who wear them, consider to be the business when it comes to leg-tubes to climb in. Because of my build, that is, similar to a wacky-waving-arm-inflatable-tube-man, most pants made on the face of this planet DO NOT fit. If I go for a waist that’s right, the pants turn into capris for men. manpris. But if I go for proper leg length, I look like I’m constantly walking around in a wind-tunnel. Tota solved this issue for me by making their waistbands elastic. I then tried the Cypher pant hoping they would have some kind of system to measure up. At first the drawcord used seemed somewhat rudimentary, but they held up just fine for wearing about town while on special BeastKong business. The real test, wearing them while highstepping on a Castle Hill boulder, came a few weeks later, with a satisfyingly similar result. Speaking of highsteps, the Cyphers do have a diamond gusset in the crotch, and despite the drawcord, they cinched in around my waist well and didn’t come loose. So on that score both designs were neck and neck.
Fabric-wise, the Totas are a little thinner, meaning they breathe better and are cooler in the hot climes, but don’t stand up for long when all you’re doing is sitting on harsh grained limestone or sandstone all day long. I’ve already gone through the arses of four pairs of Totas, which in my books is a huge downfall. Yes, I spend much of my time bouldering sitting down under problems utterly dejected, but who doesn’t? Both makes are polyester, with a bit of cotton in the Cypher, but even though they sacrifice a little in heat, the Cyphers are made of much sterner stuff than their rivals, and that means MORE sitting around on rocks staring at boulders without having to resort to taping the holes in my caboose with climbing tape. While that may give the aspect of a dirtbag boulderer who tries strenuously hard to look like he doesn’t care what he/she looks like, it does become, almost literally, a pain in the ass.
The Cypher also has a back pocket. No use out at the crag, but good for keeping your wallet in when conducting important business. Having to carry my fat-ass wallet around in a hand pocket is both annoying and unsightly. I may be in greater danger of taking an arrow to the thigh in the Cypher pant, but I’ll risk it willingly to not have a dirty great wad of leather and useless reciepts smacking against my leg when I’m out on the swagga.
Speaking of extra pockets, Totas are low profile. On the Cyphers, you get flaps. You don’t want your stuff falling out, so why not secure the pockets somehow? Everyone has suffered that moment of breathless terror when their phone has slipped from one of Tota’s silky pockets, right? One option is to add zippers; as secure as it gets. Another option is to add dome-clip/rivet things with a flap. Saves on having to hold the material to keep the zipper straight while you’re doing it up, yes? At Moon maybe they couldn’t decide on which method they liked best, so went with both. Or perhaps ordered a thousand of one or the other option by mistake, and to use the surplus they just went with both anyway. Whatever the case, you can keep your moneyclips, knives, snuff boxes, kazoos, or whatever else you happen to keep in your pockets double extra super safety safe by zipping AND clipping them up. Leave them unclipped and you might be prone to either A: severe wind drag, or B: catching them on spiky things.
They also have a drawcord around the ankle, which I probably won’t use, but I can see how it could come in handy, especially if you need to see your hoofs while attempting some delicate foot faggotry out on the rock.
All in all, the one downside to the Cypher is that you’ve got to fiddle with the drawstrings every time you want to visit the little (enter gender specification here) room. Unless you have a normal waist-to-leg-length ratio that is, in which case disregard the above statement.
Tougher and harder wearing than Tota’s movement pant, the Cypher just has more on them for your dollar. An added benefit is that they are not Tota. When you go to an NBS event and realise EVERYONE has the same pants as you, you’ll know why this is important. We don’t climb because it fulfills our inner calling, no, we climb because everyone else in the real world thinks we’re weird and mentally ill-adjusted, aka, ‘interesting’. They also come in a shrunken version which I’ve often heard referred to as ‘shorts’. $125 Bones. $89 for the shorts.
Next is the Moon Bouldering Bucket. Now there really isn’t much point of difference between brands is there? Is there? They’re all vaguely cylindrical, flat bottomed, massive, unwiedly, prone to spilling, and heavy. But where the Moon version actually stands above the rest is the drawcord closure. I’m not sure if I’m cursed or just a fat-fingered muppet, but every chalk-bag or bucket I’ve ever owned has had an absolutely crap method of fastening. Either I have to crank them up so much to actually close them completely they simply break, or the material bunches too much to get them to close altogether, letting a thin trail of chalk spill out onto everything I own. I can’t explain how the Moon version works, but they seem to solve the problem perfectly, and to close with minimal effort. The same goes for their chalkbags too. Rather than just cinching a cord through the fabric, the Moon’s drawcord is double ended. The sheer science involved blows my puny neolithic mind, so I’m not even going to try to understand how it works. That’d be like trying to figure out the finer technical details of a particle accelerator by txt.
Other than the superior closure system, which I’ve dubbed ‘The Superior Closure System on Moon Chalkbags is Way More Dope than Everything Else’, they’re the same as the rest: thick bombproof nylon outers, flat base to theoretically stop spills, slips to hold toothbrushes, and a zip pocket for concealed weaponry, and any other superfluous items a climber might have. If you are one of the pedantic many who carry a full manicure kit for your tender clammy little fingers, that’ll fit too. $65 Bones.