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Solar Sewn: Organic Crash Pad and Boulder Roll Review

Organic's "for climbers by climbers" attitude shows, in their well considered pads and bags.

Chances are if you are a climber and scroll instagram you have seen them before. They come in all colours of the rainbow, designs and different sizes. They are revered by some of the best climbers in the world, and used by beginners alike. Organic crash pads have become a staple for climbers all over the world. We managed to get our hands on Organic’s Full pad/ Briefcase combo to test over the summer and see what all the hype is about.

Hand made in Pennsylvania in a factory powered only by solar energy, Organic has stuck by their “for climbers by climbers” attitude since they started sewing bags in a garage over a decade ago. The quality really shows when you get your hands on their products. The Full pad and brief case are made from a 1050d ballistic shell and 1000d cordura landing zone which has held up well after being dragged, bounced and carried over all sorts of different areas and problems. Not only is the shell fabric very durable, you can customize your colours and even get one off custom designs. You can also get a matching chalk bucket from your pad’s fabric scraps because A: it’s cool and B: Organic tries to limit the amount of waste they produce and recycle most of their fabric scraps.

Fancy colours are great but the pads do have more to offer. Our full pad and briefcase combo folded up and piggybacked to a carry size of 36”x 24”X 12”. This was a very nice carry size especially when hiking through the Niagara Glenn where errand branches are constantly getting caught on pads. The shoulder straps are nicely padded and adjustable for all size climbers, and the hip belt helps when you add a bag and or extra weight to your load comfortably. Unfolded, the full pad gives a 36” x 48” landing zone of 4” foam. The briefcase adds another 36” x 24” of coverage. The briefcase pad is great for extending the landing zone, but we found it particularly useful for problems requiring landing coverage of protruding and or uneven rock. You can hinge the pads gutter over anything that sticks up or angle it against rock where a larger pad wouldn’t fit. We also enjoyed using the briefcase for sit starts and propping up the full pad on uneven ground. We really prefer the separate foldable pad as opposed to one larger pad. The combo is much more versatile.

Taking falls on the Organic pads is about as good as it gets when talking about falling off boulders. Organic’s foam is part of what makes them so popular and their Memory/Open cell foam combo provide a nice plush landing that feels supportive. Some pads feel stiff and almost bouncy in an attempt to protect from the highest falls which is great, but they don’t feel as comfortable when putting on your shoes or falling from a short distance. Organic have done a great job of making their pads soft and comfortable feeling but also supportive for those big hits. That being said you are still going to want to double up for highballs.

Packing up at the end of a session is easy thanks to the simple straps and metal buckles that cinch the hinged pad closed. The pocket flap not only has room for a guide book but can also be used to cover the backpack straps while in use to avoid getting the straps and your back dirty. It’s also worth noting that the briefcase has straps that allow it to be used as a chair when it’s not protecting a fall.

Organic not only makes some bad ass crash pads they also sew several different models of backpacks and bags out of their Pennsylvania factory. While testing the pads we also put their new Boulder Roll to good use. The 60L ish capacity has plenty of room for all you could need for a session at the boulders and integrates well with Organic’s carrying system. The strap is angled perfectly to sling over your pads and piggy back. The bag is made from super durable materials and the burly seat belt style carry strap can be adjusted to fit over thick or thinner pad setups. The bag rolls down dry bag style and has a simple buckle closure that can be cinched tight. The bag also has a hidden pocket great for smelly shoes and a smaller front pocket we put our keys and wallets in. The bag is so simple in design, but works very well. No longer will we be wearing backpacks on the front while hiking pads in!

In a growing climbing market filled with product, new tech and features often trump usability and sustainability in the quest for sales. It’s great to see Organic providing simple well designed and durable products that will perform well and stand the test of time, that are also being manufactured in a responsible and sustainable way.

Full pad: $189.99 USD
Briefcase Pad: $94.99 USD
Boulder Roll: 89.99 USD (Late Summer 2019 release)