Building a Vault Box



Many parkour practitioners have access to a plethora of obstacles outdoors. Cities dedicate resources to playgrounds and public city parks while the great outdoors have natural rocks, trees, and landscapes to explore. However if you train indoors out of your garage or a parkour facility, you may need parkour-specific equipment for running, jumping, and movement-like skills. The USPK Build Committee has created general guidelines to provide information and aid in building your own vault box. 


A vault box is any stand-alone structure used for the primary activity of vaulting.

We will first cover the trapezoidal vault box as it pertains to vaulting, then add to the document for other designs, shapes, orientations, and uses.

The structure discussed in this document is trapezoidal in cross-section, with a top surface narrower in width than its base. It has a solid front and rear faces.

A typical vault box for adult use is between 30 and 42 inches tall, 4 feet long with a top of approximately 8”-16” width and a base at least 85% of its height. For children, typical heights range from 24” to 32” with a top width of 5-12” and base at least 85% to its height. The smallest width for a top is based on the with of a typical child’s hand.

This document covers equipment up to 54” inches tall, 18” wide at the top, and up to 8’ long. For larger obstacles please see our other recommendations. A minimum suggested angle for the slope of the sides is 20 degrees or greater.

This document covers primarily vault boxes with wood construction. Vault boxes constructed with multiple materials and methods can meet these recommendations.


For upright (tallest) usage as a vault-surface: a vault box should resist tipping when pushed at the top. The top surface of the box must be able to bear forces of an adult landing from the highest possible point infacility or situation. As a practical guideline, it must be able to support a 200-pound person jumping directly down to it from a height of 8 feet without deflecting enough to cause structural wear or damage to the construction.¹ The box should not slip excessively when pushed from the side with a force of a kick from an adult.²

¹ This specification serves to use layman’s terms to ensure the strength of the box in this configuration and may be updated to discuss deflection forces and breaking the strength of materials.

² This specification serves to use layman’s terms to ensure the stability of the box in this configuration and may be updated. Weighting the base of the box may help achieve tip and slip resistance

Use in other orientations: When the vault box is on its side, the box should be able to take the force of an adult jumping at its full force from a running jump.¹

¹ This specification serves to use layman’s terms to ensure the strength of the box in this configuration and may be updated to discuss deflection forces and breaking the strength of materials.


Vault boxes are usually constructed with a frame of dimensional lumber, sheeted with plywood and secured with screws.



Standards of building construction are not standards for construction of parkour obstacles that are specifically meant to take force. Building code standards will not meet the forces placed on parkour equipment and structures.

  • Use screws instead of nails
  • Ease all edges – Route/sand a roundover
  • Use 2X4 dimensional lumber on no greater than 16” centers
  • Build it in a space that it can be removed from (yes, we all learned this the hard way)
  • Finished faces should not be any stranded board or excessively splintery material
  • Do not use nails without screws or glue
  • Do not use nails or screws that protrude to the inside if there is any access
  • Align your joints in the direction of the forces that will be applied most often




  • Interior or Exterior – ¾ ACX or BCX Softwood
  • Interior Only – ¾ Birch Plywood
  • Standard Fir or Pine Dimensional Lumber (e.g. 2×4, 2×6)

Not Recommended​

  • Any chip, particle or pressboard
  • Any non-plywood material should be used only with caution and appropriate testing



  • Open ends which can both act as handles and allow for the placement of additional weight for stability
  • Feet or material to increase friction and or stability
  • Wheels added for ease of transportation
  • Ways to attach to rails / bars


  • Corners wear easily on boxes made of plywood
  • Flat bottoms don’t sit well on uneven surfaces


  • When the box is in use it should not cause splinters/nails/ scrapes by design
  • When box fails it should be partial and not catastrophic
  • We will add specific structural testing recommendations when they become available


This section serves as a placeholder for future information. We will strive to address what does it look like when a commercial entity meets the guidelines, and when it doesn’t.

Example: This titanium self-folding vault box weighs 13 ozs and has a pressboard core, but can support two full-grown gorillas, so therefore it meets our guidelines


Shared by Parkour Visions

End Notes

This document has not been certified by any licensed engineer or architect. Local codes that apply will always override guidelines from USPK. This document may be amended at any time that USPK feels it has better guidance for making this equipment.

Active Committee for this Document:

  • Evan Beyer
  • Elijah Bowen
  • Colin MacDonald
  • Andy Taylor
  • Mark Toorock

First Iteration: 5/13/2019
Current Revision: 2/26/2020