Ask any enthusiast of bouldering about the importance of crash pads, and they will tell you to look for it first before even thinking about chalk bag and shoes. Crash pads are the most significant investment in bouldering; they are vital for your safety and your approach. A safe and sound crash pad provides confidence in your approach.
Purchasing a bouldering crash pad may appears to look quite easy matter but is a tricky one and requires proper knowledge of the products and their features before buying one. As an adventurous, I have been using them and have a lot of the first-hand experience. Let’s look at some of the notable features of these crash pads.
When it’s a product that is used for safety purposes and can be lifesaving one, you will not go for saving a few bucks and buying a cheap, low-quality one.
Usually, the pads are designed to be tough, to withstand the wrath of dragging, wear tear, and big or small falls. However, there is something to look in before settling for one. Cover thickness is the factor to look; it is also termed as “denier count.” Higher the denier count will be tougher, the cover of bed will be. Almost all of the crash pad covers are made from nylon. Other than that, manufacturers also provide extra protection to covers, which is also featured as sturdy, such as water protection, all seasoned pads, or reinforced corners.
Size, thickness, and material of the foam are the features relevant to the weight of the crash pads. Weight is not the priority of many climbers while buying the pads, but it is also not an aspect to neglect.
Usually, these crash pads weigh around 10 to 20 pounds. The first thing you should do is evaluating your activity, which will help you find the optimal weight of your crash pad per size and other features suitable to your style of climbing.
Going for expeditions or trips, you don’t want to divert your focus from the adventure to tackling the inconvenience. Also, putting other gears and water bottles in it adds up the weight of it as a whole and can be challenging to carry.
Usually, these pads come with shoulder straps and hip belt, some of these are adjustable, and some are not. Try to look for the one that fits you nicely and provide you with ease while moving from one boulder site to another or from parking to your site. Some crash pads can be carried like a briefcase, they are foldable from middle and have a handle on its one side. Provide a lot of conveniences while changing your boulder spots.
Stiffness and Thickness
Generally, in the market, you will find different varieties in terms of thickness and stiffness in these crash pads. They are designed in accordance with the activity in which they will be used.
A thicker and stiffer crash pads are preferable and used for high ball boulders climbing as they provide great cushion while falling from a height. On the other side, if climbing shorter boulders softer and thinners, pads are recommendable as thick pads can be harsh and tough.
considering the crash pads the size and shape, it’s quite evident that these crash pads are needed to be carried after collapsing or folding. There are a few styles of wrapping these boulder crash beds. The following are the few popular ones.
In this style of wrapping, the crash pads tubes are filled with foam such that they are collapsed like a roll or burrito.
Its name can easily understand this type. It is one solid piece that can be wrapped employing buckles.
In these types of crash pads, foam is already divided into two parts that are stitched together and function as one unit, these are easily foldable. These crash pads are very useful as they can carry different gears inside them without fear of falling out. Sometimes zippers are also there to make sure anything does not fall outside of pads.
For quite a time now, I have been in search of the best available crash pads market and have done some analysis overtime on famous brands and their star line crash pads. I have shortlisted five best boulder crash pads for you to look into and decide which one suits or serves your purpose you best.
Cirro crash pad is the bigger and better version of PETZL alto. This PETZL taco-style pads come with a zipper to make sure everything or gear that you inside it while folding is kept intact. At the same time, shoulder straps and waist belt makes it convenient in terms of portability.
A 5-inch thick pad makes sure you have a tension-free approach while climbing high ball and boulders, as it makes sure to provide you a brilliant cushion in case of falling. The product design makes it an excellent component to be used in uneven surfaces. The product comes with three years manufacturer warranty.
- Comes with a zipper.
- Three-year warranty for the product.
- Suitable for a highball.
- Velcro suspension doesn’t adjust to fit.
- The zipper is not of great quality.
This asana pad is primarily dedicated to low height transverse, and it has a soft foam 4-inch thick pad. It has three handles on its sides, making it easy to handle and move while placed on boulder spots. It possesses adjustable padded shoulder straps and waist straps to fit everybody.
The manufacturer of this crash pad has come with a brilliant idea of providing cargo clip in front of the pad, to overcome the problem of stuffing pad with gears while folding. This hinge style crash pad is not ideal for highballs but contains the clip to join other pads with it.
- Comes with a cargo clip.
- Three handles provide easy movability.
- It has a padded shoulder strap.
- Not suitable for highballs.
This large black diamond crash pad covers up to 20 square feet and makes sure that you fall safely on it. Its size automatically gives you the confidence to climb highball without any fear. It is a hinge style folding pad with a thickness of five (5).
The rubber bottom of the pad makes sure that it settles nicely on uneven terrain. It comes with four handles on its sides, which helps you out in its setting and adjusting pad on the surface according to your fall quickly. Though with big size comes more weight also it weighs 20 pounds and can turn out a bit heavy to carry and inconvenient sometimes while putting it vehicles also.
- Rubber bottom provides a firm grip on the surface.
- Massive surface area.
- Handle on each side.
- A bit on the heavier side.
- Durability is questionable.
Mad Rock is a well-known brand in rock climbing gears. The unit has a unique baffle style fold, which provides the best adjustability to crash pad on uneven surfaces. Instead of being single or two stitched pieces together, it has seven separate baffles containing shredded closed-cell foam.
The product is known for its sturdy and durability as polyester for the body is nylon of 1680 denier count and also UV resistant treated. The company allows you the liberty to order new EVA foam when the old one gets soft or lost its cushion. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
The downside is that the unit is 20 pounds, so it has a huge weight to size ratio. Plus, because of its shape, it can give you rough landing even on flat surfaces.
- comes with a warranty.
- The cover fabric has a 1680 denier count.
- Long-lasting and durable.
- Weight to size ratio on the higher side.
- Not optimal landing on flat surfaces,
This Mad rock pad is dedicated for highball as it provides 5-inch thick foam and 3 feet by 4 feet in size. The pillow is on the stiffer side, and although it gets softer with time, it is not recommendable for small falls as it can harsh on your body or feet.
It has a Velcro strap on the back of the hinge, making it able to be firm at your landing area. The pad can also be converted into a chair; it provides you huge convenience when you are tired and want to chill.
- It can be used as a chair.
- It has padded shoulder straps.
- Velcro strap on a hinge.
- Non-adjustable shoulder pads.
- Fabric is less durable comparatively than others.
Well, my suggestion to you will be “Black Diamond Mando Crash Pad.” It is a one-time investment, rough and tough plus durable. I know its size and weight are on the higher side, but that is comparable on the massive area and grip its rubber bottom provides plus ease of setting it on the spot by its handles.