When it comes to bouldering outdoors there is one thing you need for protection – bouldering crash pads. There is a wealth of choice on the market and that is why our team of experts have come up with the definitive list for you to use.
|Bouldering Crash Pads||Open Dimensions||Thickness||Folding||Rating|
|Organic Climbing - Full Pad||122 x 92 cm||10 cm||Hinged||96|
|Mad Rock - Duo Pad||142.5 x 106 cm||13 cm||Hinged||93|
|Organic Climbing - Big Four"||116 x 147 cm||10 cm||Hybrid Hinge||89|
|Black Diamond - Mondo||165 x 112 cm||12.5 cm||Hinge||88|
|Grivel Crash Pad||125 x 90 cm||12 cm||Hinge||84|
As you can see, there are different styles, sizes, and names. We will go into complete detail in the following review. First, we will list the products in detail and say how they performed. Then, we will tell you how to pick your preferred mat and what to look out for.
The Top 5 Bouldering Crash Pads in Detail
- Open Dimensions: 122 x 92 cm
- Thickness: 10 cm
- Closed Dimensions: 90 x 60 x 21 cm
- Weight: 5kg
Organic climbing are synonymous with quality. The pad is sturdy and functional. It has 2.5 cm of hard foam and 7.5 cm of soft foam, as well as updated closure straps. The best part is the 60 x 40 cm pocket flap. You can easily secure all your valuables. The shoulder straps are adjustable and there is also a hip belt. You can also attach other Organic pads to it with its strapping system.
A great pad for every type of boulderer. It is high quality and will last a long time. The 1050d ballistics shell and 1000d Cordura landing zone is its big selling point.
- Open Dimensions: 142.5 x 106 cm
- Thickness: 13 cm
- Closed Dimensions: 71 x 106 x 25 cm
- Weight: 7.5kg
This crash pad is best for carrying multiple pads together. Its flap design is what allows this. It extends to cover a pad of any size and is really convenient when you have to stack up. Other premium features include a built-in mat and water bottle holder. There is also load lifters that help you carry any extra load.
Overall, it is a great bouldering crash pad for those who usually carry a an extra one too. A big downside is the foam is quite soft and this could lead to durability issues.
- Open Dimensions: 147 x 116 cm
- Thickness: 10 cm
- Closed Dimensions: 74 x 116 x 20 cm
- Weight: 7.5kg
The second Organic Climbing crash pad on our list and for good reason. It also comes in a 5″(12.5 cm) thickness. Simply put, Organic has the best foam in the bouldering industry. The pad is closed with 4 metal buckles. Big shoulder straps and a hip belt make carrying easy enough.
It is a well-respected pad and is the favourite of many experienced climbers. It’s size, weight, and price may deter some. However, it is one of the best performers out there.
- Open Dimensions: 165 x 112 cm
- Thickness: 12.5 cm
- Closed Dimensions: 112 x 82 x 25 cm
- Weight: 9.25kg
The Black Diamond Mondo is a redesigned product now featuring a multi-density foam product. It is perfect for highballs and scary top outs and offers a massive area of protection. It comes with shoulder straps, carry handle and hip belt. Although it is still pretty heavy to lug about.
Overall, this is by far the best large crash pad out there. It offers great protection and is a top choice for highballs. There is also water-resistant and abrasive protection, and the bottom is treated to prevent slippage.
- Open Dimensions: 125 x 90 cm
- Thickness: 12 cm
- Closed Dimensions: 62.5 x 90 x 24 cm
- Weight: 3.5kg
The Grivel Crash Pad is the lowest quality on the list. Even so, the price makes it worth it. It is on the market for around £100. It is light and inexpensive. Although the foam quality is lower than elsewhere, it is definitely a good starting point.
It has simple handles and shoulder straps. Metal buckles are used for closure. Overall, this bouldering mat will not last as long as others, but if you are looking for a cheap option this is the place to start.
How to Choose the Best Bouldering Crash Pads
There are a number of factors you should consider when choosing crash pads. Naturally, most of these preferences should directly correlate with the type of bouldering you intend on doing. These are just for reference and only you can truly know what exactly you need.
Categories to Look Out For
Size of the Bouldering Crash Pads
We can break the sizes down to three main types of bouldering crash pads. These are:
Regular or Standard
These are your standard types of pads, and one that you will start with. The size is around 125 cm x 90 cm (48″ x 36″) once the are unfolder. They are about 12 cm thick. If you are new to bouldering outdoors this will be perfectly sufficient. They are also can also be used in combination with other pads and are great for when you are starting out.
These kinds of pads are suited for the more experienced climber. They are a little bit larger than the regular size, as they cover more surface area. Even so, they come at a cost. First, they are more expensive. Second, they are heavier and, as they are bigger, they take up more room in your car!
These are the kind of pads with smaller thickness. Less than 8 cm thick they are used to complement other crash pads we have listed here. Use them to cover gaps between bigger pads, or when you need to add extra protection. You are not meant to use them on their own.
Thickness of the Crash Pad and Foam Type
Depending on what you are intending to use the bouldering crash pad for, you need different thickness and stiffness of foam. Shorter problems require less protection. Highball problems need thicker pads. It is simple science. It is also important to note that crash pads can also be stacked on top of one another for extra protection.
Another important facet is the thickness of the crash pad. Highball problems are more suitable for thicker and firmer foam. As they absorb the impact from a high fall better. Shorter problems do not need such stiffness. Instead, they utilise softer and thinner foam and give you a more comfortable fall.
Closure systems are the things that keep the crash pad closed during transport. These are buckles, flaps, and zips. Buckles are easy to fasten and unfasten but leave smaller valuables vulnerable to falling out during transport. Flaps cover the bottom and side of a closed pad. This is very handy and means you can pack stuff inside. Better yet, you can use the flap to wipe your feet before starting a problem.
Zips are the least common closure system but are the best for packing stuff inside your pad. The main issue with them is their durability as they often rip off and is the main reason why they are not used as much.
Bouldering crash pads come in a varying style of folding systems. These are:
This is one solid piece of foam that you fold in half when you store. This means that storing them is pretty annoying as they do not lie flat. However, on uneven terrain they provide perfect coverage as there are no ‘dead zones’ created with other systems. Even so, they are also curved and on flat terrain this can be annoying and uncomfortable. They are also susceptible to getting a lump in the middle from all the folding.
Two pieces of foam stitched together that fold in the middle. They are covered by one nylon sheet. The big plus of this system is that you can fold it in half and store it without losing its integrity. However, there are some downsides. As there are so-called ‘dead zones’. This happens when a rock pokes up underneath in the middle where the hinge is situated.
Landing on this causes injury. As a result, there have been some attempts to get around this issue. First, an angled hinge was created. This means rocks or roots will be less likely to stick through. Another option is the hybrid hinge. This is like the original hinge with an additional layer of singular foam that goes across the top of the pad.
This is a good compromise and means you will always be guaranteed to have some protection if you fall.
The burrito. It is a series of separate tubes filled with foam and once rolled looks like an edible. The tubes are separated by half hinges that are half the thickness of the pad. The way the pad is designed means that it is good for uneven terrain. It moulds well to its surroundings and provides a softer landing.
Durability of Bouldering Crash Pads
Cheap bouldering crash pads are not the answer. At the end of the day, they are there to save your life or at the very least your ankles. The type of nylon, foam, and fabric will naturally affect its lifespan. The higher the quality, the longer its durability will be. If you start to feel the ground when you fall, it is time to change pads!
The Carry System and General Portability
Walking to the rocks is part of outdoors bouldering. Therefore, a pad with top shoulder and hips straps should be a priority. Easily adjustable shoulder straps that each body type can use are a necessity. Once you have a heavy pack on your shoulders you will be thankful that it has a good carry system in place.
Once you are at the boulder area you will be most likely moving around between problems. Handles or shoulders straps on the side of the pad are a big plus in this regard. You should be able to pack up quickly and move swiftly. There should also be handles to drag your pad around.
Weight is also something you need to look at. The lighter it is, the easier it is to carry. However, this could also mean less protection. A compromise has to be found in this regard.
Pick a Bouldering Crash Pad That Suits Your Style
There are a wide variety of bouldering crash pads. As a result, you have to pick carefully. As with all our bouldering gear reviews we have only given advice on this page. It is up to you to decide what style of boulderer you are. A good rule of thumb to remember is bouldering is dangerous, so the higher you go the thicker and stiffer your pad needs to be!