The Top 5 Bouldering Crash Pads
During the physical strain of boulder climbing, you need a good quality crash pad. Choose the wrong one, and it won’t absorb the force and make life very difficult for you. But the right one will provide adequate crash absorption and stop you injuring yourself, not to mention the fact that the right crash pads needs to be portable, durable, and provide great value for money, which can be a difficult thing to get right. You need one in any aspect of boulder climbing, whether it’s for short falls, medium falls, or for the experienced boulder climbers out there, the very high falls, and here are some of the best on the market.
For those of you in a hurry, our choice for the Best Bouldering Crash Pad is the Black Diamond Mondo Crash Pad.
Best Bouldering Crash Pads
Yes, while the size is pretty mammoth, as soon as you take a fall onto it, you will realize how much it’s worth investing in. And while it’s a massive pad that you will have to hike around with, it’s pretty portable due to the shoulder straps and waist belt. And due to its large size, it can accommodate a lot of gear, like climbing shoes. You can put a backpack in it, but, if you are looking for something a bit more on the compact side, there are various alternatives. As far as the protection is concerned, there’s a lot of foam that provides great cushion regardless of the height in which you fall from. As it’s 5 inches thick and has a layer of closed cell foam on top of open cell foam that’s a little bit softer, this gives an extra sense of softness, just as long as you land in the center (the corners can provide a little bit of an ouch factor). As far as value is concerned, it can seem a hefty price tag, $350. But for its durability and solid performance, it certainly covers a lot of areas, not just in terms of practicality, but in terms of its sheer volume. If you go on a lot of bouldering expeditions, a high-end pad this quality is worth the price tag and will give you a lot of value over the years.
- Clean, three-strap closure with improved buckles
- New suspension system for better transport
- Closed-cell PE foam layup on top, high compression PU foam on bottom
- Hinge-style fold for compact and easy transport
- Padded shoulder straps and waistbelt
A very innovative piece of closed-cell foam, as well as a nice, sleek design, this has a lot to offer the average boulder climber. Transportability is the name of the game with this one; it folds up really well, and it lays out quickly. You can put quite a bit of gear in it, but not in comparison to a lot of the bigger names, and (literally) bigger pads on the market. But you will still be able to store small things like cam units. As the foam pad layers are 1-inch dual density high quality closed cell foam, as well as the soft open cell foam at 3 inches, it gives you a good mixture for those that fall a short distance. As such, it can be questionable with regards to the higher falls. There are some great features, and the handles are very useful. But, there’s no handle to help take the pad off when you’re trying to pack it up. The zipper flap system, as well as the grab handles, makes it a very malleable piece of equipment. It’s very durable, especially if you are heading out on diverse expeditions. You can really give it all you’ve got too, and it holds well after months. Overall, at $300, the features make it worth the price tag. And while there are a lot of extra features that may not be useful to the experienced boulder climber, if you’re looking for an all-encompassing piece of equipment, this will do it for the vast majority of beginner and intermediate climbers and as it’s incredibly transportable, this makes it a very valuable piece of equipment.
- EXCELLENT PROTECTION: Three layers of foam of different densities and structures for better cushioning. One-piece hingeless design for uniform cushioning over the entire surface.
- STORE AWAY: Zippered flap closure covers the carrying system, for greater protection and to create a storage space during transport.
- GOES WITH YOU: The ALTO is a 118 x 100 x 10 cm crashpad, easy to transport and position on the terrain. Folded dimensions: 65 x 100 x 25 cm.
- EASY TO USE: Adjustable bandolier for quick transport between boulders and multiple handles for easy handling of the open crashpad.
- SAFE FROM THE ELEMENTS: Waterproof, ultra-durable fabric is reinforced in exposed areas.
If you looking for a pad that packs easily and works well with rugged landings, this might be the best one out there. Because the foam isn’t just one thick layer but consists of small bits, this makes for a very soft feel all round. That being said, it is pretty heavy, weighing in at 18 pounds. But its versatility will make it a welcome addition to any experienced climber. While it’s a bulky piece of equipment, the shoulder straps and the waist belt have enough padding so it can be portable for the vast majority of people, but also can give you the option to stick extra gear into it. Notably, the chest strap makes it easier for you to transport. In comparison to a lot of pads on the market, there are many things in the way of features. If you’re looking to store small items, like an extra pair of climbing pants, the zipper pockets are a very nifty and easily accessible feature. While it doesn’t have many bells and whistles, it does the job. And while it has been touted as one of the most extensive pads out there, when you are looking at a $200 price mark, its value in comparison to its durability and sheer safety means that it is more than worth the price tag. And for boulderers on a budget, this certainly can provide that practicality, durability, and safety that you want from the best crash pads out there. You will certainly get a workout in carrying this before you even get onto the boulders, but if you are going to more rigorous and uneven landing zones, you will thank your lucky stars that you brought this one along.
- Utilizes a completely new fill system that enables the pad to lay flat, fold easily over features and increases the dampening ability of the impact from falls
- Baffles contain recycled EVA/PU foam that would normally be collected and shipped for disposal
- Rugged 1680 denier nylon shell construction makes this pad THE most durable pad in the industry
The most appealing component of this pad is its price tag. At $149, this makes it a steal. As far as budget pads are concerned, it’s got quite a few great features. But when you test it from high falls, it may not work as well. It’s great for low falls, like ones you may experience indoor on a training hangboard. But once you get a little bit higher, you may find your confidence dwindling somewhat. The 4-inch sandwich foam design and it’s 0.5 inch closed-cell ground layer makes it a uniquely layered component. And while it’s not completely secure, and does feel somewhat thin, you are best using this for small to medium-sized falls. As far as portability is concerned, it is compact in abundance of gear for any lengthy expedition. When you put it into backpack mode, it’s almost effortless in its transportability. While there isn’t a chest strap, which can make it feel unstable on rough surfaces, because of the scenarios in which you would transport this, namely flat surfaces, you will have a far better run with it. The great thing about this material is that it’s long-lasting. When you compare this to the other budget pads on the market, it is great value, just as long as you use it in the right context. For boulderers on a budget, this will provide an extra bit of support, but it may not take pride of place in the most experienced of boulderers out there. But that said, in any boulderers’ collection, this can certainly make it a useful piece of equipment for practice runs in more controlled boulder climbing environments.
- Redesigned flap closure system makes the pad easier to load; it reverses to cover up the shoulder straps while you're bouldering
- 4 new drag handles make it easier to position the pad while it's unfolded
- Tough exterior fabric stands up to regular use outdoors; carpeted logo gives you a place to wipe your shoes clean
- Padded shoulder straps make it easy to carry in to your favorite problems; waist belt included
- Lightweight, updated crash pad for boulder projects
Another great budget pad, and while a little bit more expensive than the Metolius, as far as protection is concerned from sharp rocks under a pad, regardless of the height in which you fall from, this makes it value with peace of mind. It can be very stiff, and if you fall from a low height, this can seem a little concerning, but because of its thick 5 inch foam, which has 3 inches of soft open cell foam between two 1 inch closed cell foam layers, the overall thickness of the pads can make it feel a bit stiff, which is great for more rugged journeys giving you that opportunity to give every part of your body a real workout. It can be a bit harder to transport, before the fact that this can be converted into a couch this may provide respite on the most arduous of journeys. As far as a pad that provides a numerous and diverse range of portability and comfort, you can’t argue with the fact that it becomes a couch on long and tiring expeditions, but this isn’t the main reason to buy it, in fact, the value aspect is really the key selling point here. It doesn’t have as many additional features for extra storage, but it can hold the basic items without any problem. If you have smaller items, they can go through the pad. But if you’re looking to put jackets and shoes in there, there will be no issue. At $175, it’s a steal, and while there’s a limited amount of features, it will provide you with the protection you need, but it’s great for novice and experienced climbers, providing excellent functionality for everybody. As the first port of call for beginner climbers looking to invest in their first-hand, this is great for many reasons. As it provides functionality and within a decent budget, you’ll be hard pushed to find something that delivers so much within a reasonable cost.
How To Arrange Bouldering Pads
Here is a great YouTube video explaining what you need to know about bouldering crash pads, and how to set them up properly: