As parks open across the country, an increasing number of indoor climbers are looking to crags to get their fix. Though climbing outside is radical, it is important to pursue the outdoors safely. For many, that will mean bouldering, the most easily accessible discipline.
Though it is easy walk up to a lump of granite and get climbing, it is important to follow those guidelines that will help manage your risk. That can mean climbing with spotters, surveying the area, and almost certainly means purchasing your first crash pad.
Crash pads are by far and away the most useful piece of safety equipment the boulderer can buy. They are defined by inches of foam, wrapped in nylon, and can even double as backpacks in a pinch. If you have looked online, you have probably realized that there are a lot of crash pads on the market. Which one is right for you?
Well, it depends on what you are looking for. If you are wanting to take big ole diggers, then you’ll need a big ole pad, but those things can cost upwards of $500. If you are new to bouldering, or simply need to pad your home wall, it might be best to go for something affordable, portable, and warrantied.
Enter, The Metolius Basic Crash Pad. This bad boy opens to a dimension of 36” x 48” x 4”, or three feet by four feet by four inches or 91.4 cm x 121.9 cm x 10.2 cm. It comes in a scuff resistant black, and folds away easily. Weighing only 7.4 pounds, or 3.35 kilograms, it won’t break your back as you carry it around the crag, and it won’t break the bank at $129.95 USD or around $182.28 CAD.
Though marketed as an entry level pad, it comes fully equipped with a waist belt, padded shoulder straps, and suitcase-style handles. It also features an angled-hinge design that eliminates the “gutter”, a term used to describe the space between the two halves of foam which normally define bi-fold crash pads. That means that even if you fall directly on the seam, you will still be protected.
The pad is also guaranteed for life and features a single aluminum closure buckle that makes opening and closing a snap. It even comes with free shipping and is durable for its light-weight construction. A thicker pad will last longer, but it will also cost more. If you are a beginner, this is the pad for you. It is a low-risk investment that will survive your sessions and store under your bed or in the trunk of your sedan. Definitely worth a look.