It doesn’t hurt that the Duo is well-cushioned with a beefy and adjustable suspension and weather-resistant fabric. And like most Mad Rock designs, it’s a thick 5 inches and has Velcro strips to connect to other pads for continuous flooring. When you fall, you want to land on something soft to stop injuries to your body and feet. At it’s simplest, a pad is a thick foam core normally with a few layers of different hardness, covered in protective fabric. While other areas of climbing require multiple methods of protection and various preferences for safety gear, bouldering really only needs the one.
With a size of 72 x 44 x 5 inches, the foam offers the widest protective coverage compared to any other crash pad you can find. So, no matter how you land, you can rest assured that Triple Mad Pad has literally got you covered. The bouldering industry recommends a minimum of 4 inches thickness for all crashing pads, but Mad Rock exceeded the standard by an impressive 25% thickness. So, this pad also offers the deepest coverage, hence, you won’t feel a thing, no matter the height you fall from. On top of that, the Triple Mad Pad still maintains a compact and light design.
My first exposure to a crash pad was climbing outdoor with my son and his teammates at Horse pen 40, a popular bouldering area in Steele, Alabama. To fill up gaps, thin but bigger area pads can be utilized as a cover over a greater area. You can choose thicker pad or stacking pads if you do a lot of highballs. Thicker pads are more difficult to carry, but they have a higher impact resistance should you take a hard fall. Bouldering emphasizes strength and technique rather than endurance that you might need for trad climbing.
How Do I Choose A Bouldering Crash Pad?
If you haven’t budgeted at least $150 for a bouldering pad, wait until you can. Any pad cheaper than $150 is not going to be worth the purchase. Other factors that you must consider include portability and thickness. Moreover, it will be useful to know the thickness guidelines when choosing a pad. Zips are the least common closure system but are the best for packing stuff inside your pad.
As boulderers, our approach usually isn’t so bad, but it is still worth noting. Lastly, please be sure to never buy used pads as you don’t know what conditions they’ve been kept in. With the addition of the Sportrock Performance Institute, Sportrock is committed to developing youth and adult athletes of every skill level, from beginner to high-performance athletes. Whether they only climb indoors or want to venture outside, we are committed to educating and preparing climbers to reach their goals. Nevertheless, it is not advisable to use this pad alone, but it is perfect for slipping it under or over your main pad for added cushioning and peace of mind.
Indoor climbing rock walls have recently become a very popular and widely used addition to home gyms, commercial gyms, schools, and recreational facilities. If you are looking to bushwack it, you probably want a taco pad or a new baffled pad to cover those jutting rocks in your landing zone. The hinge design allows for pads to be bigger and fold up smaller. Because of this, we get the tri-fold option which is a great way to get a big pad that won’t take up your entire trunk. They create the safest landing zone when there isn’t much debris. We are one of the first indoor rock climbing gyms in the country.
The 900 denier fabric is tough, but not the toughest around, which doesn’t seem quite right when you consider the price. What the cover lacks in basic durability, though, it makes up for with protection, and the ballistics on the bottom enhance and increase its lifespan where other 900D fabrics would fail. I hope this article is useful for you on your search for your own crash pad.
The shoulder straps aren’t adjustable and the fabric is the least durable of any pad here. As we mentioned with the Duo above, Mad Rock’s foam starts out nice and cushioned but unfortunately does not stand the test of time. With 5 inches of foam rather than 4, the Mad Pad could last you longer than Metolius’ entry-level offering, but that’s only if the face fabric doesn’t fail first. But for those who boulder infrequently or just want a simple design for a few years before making a larger investment, the Mad Pad is a good contender for best budget design. The Drop Zone fills a gap in most pad collections, providing a lightweight, hinge-less addition to standard ground protection.
The Session II’s flap closure has only one hook buckle strap to secure it, while the R3 has two hook buckle closure straps that allow the pad to hold bigger loads. Its larger-than-average size and drum-like shaped taco-style help pack in more gear. The R3 is also unique in that it has a burly suspension system. The shoulder strap on it is sewn-in and has handles on top of the suspension to help lift the pad onto your back when heavily loaded.
For the Every-Day Boulderer,the Metolius Recon Crash Pad has the thickness, size and weight that makes it easy to love. For the Solo Boulderer, theMetolius Magnum Crash Pad is big enough that you won’t need someone to move the pad, which makes it easier for solo bouldering. I actually purchased the Mad Rock Triple Mad Pad which is essentially the same pad but longer. It’s a great pad, but it is super big folded up and therefore is hard to store and hard to transport.
Closed-cell foam does not have nearly as much give as open-cell foam. Closed-cell foam is firm and fairly rigid, as the air inside the cells is not able to escape, even during impact. Expect pads in this category to be less than half the size of open regular pads, and a bit thinner, too. At $270, the Eco Camo Pad is a solid value thanks to the inclusion of the good-sized supplemental Gap Pad.
These flaps most often cover the bottom and side of the closed pad, and sometimes the top, and usually are secured with buckles. The benefits of a flap closure are that items can ride inside the closed pad without the threat of falling out, and the flap can be used to piggyback a second pad. Because of all of these benefits, flap closures are our preferred closure design.
Oversized pads generally are about 48 x 60 inches , with outliers like Mad Rock’s Triple Pad extending a full 72 inches. If space is at a premium in your life, a tri-fold design like the Metolius Recon makes a lot of sense. For a full pad, the Recon’s 22-inch folded width is impressive .
Several factors contribute to the overall protection that a crash pad offers. Size, thickness, foam type, outer material, and hinge type should be considerations for anyone looking to purchase a crash pad. Made with an impressively durable 1,680-denier polyester material and multiple layers of varied-density foam, the Eco Camo crash pad should hold up well in the long term. Well-placed crash pads are vital for safe outdoor bouldering. Now, as new products arrive to meet the growing demands of pebble wrestlers everywhere, there are more crash pad options than ever before. With its secure zipper flap closure system, the Petzl Alto is hands down the best pad we’ve tested for carrying small to medium loads of gear.
Simply put, Organic has the best foam in the bouldering industry. Big shoulder straps and a hip belt make carrying easy enough. For the most part, crash pad suspension systems are elementary compared to backpacks, but features like a hip belt or a chest strap make long approaches much more comfortable. Lightly padded shoulder straps are a plus and common feature, but padded hip belts are a rarity. A concerning aspect of several suspension systems we’ve seen is the location where the shoulder straps are sewn onto the crash pad. Some manufacturers sew the bottom of the shoulder straps directly to the back of the pad, where they pull and stretch the shell fabric.