2021’s Best (And Biggest) Crash Pads
2021 has shown us some incredible new crash pads, but which one is right for you?
It is here. After what has felt like a yearlong winter, the bouldering season has returned to North America. Spring has begun to peak its head around the continent’s most classic crags and, with this consideration, boulderers have begun to outfit themselves with this season’s newest foam. These are this season’s best crash pads.
While every brand offers crash pads in a range of sizes, the all-season rock wrangler will need something large and durable if they plan to climb each week. Although large pads are radical, they tend toward the upper echelons of cost and create a barrier to entry.
Enter the affordably priced Metolius Magnum. While sandwich shaped crash pads make it easy to carry your climbing gear between the panels, the Metolius Magnum comes with an extra-long tightening strap that makes it easy to strap other pads to its back. Carrying an additional pad requires zero finicky solutions. Simply strap it to the back and go.
In addition to these features, the $340 price tag makes the Magnum an affordable solution among its impossibly priced peers. This 6-foot long, 4-foot tall, and 4-inch deep trifold design is easily the most surface area you can buy for the cost, and its four-inch foam is more than the highly compressible cheap stuff one might expect from a less expensive pad. Instead, the pad comes complete with top and bottom layers of closed cell foam. Closed Cell foam offers a stiffer, more durable, platform that pairs well with this pad’s softer centre to create a momentum braking cushion that the climber can trust.
The Magnum’s trifold design makes it easier to protect climbers from the uncomfortable shapes that frequently define landings. Whether covering roots or rock, talis or tree trunks, the trifold design works with the climber to cover the most treacherous bouldering areas. Furthermore, the centre’s carpet embossed logo gives the climber a place to wipe their shoes. The Magnum makes an excellent affordable bouldering pad. Check it out here.
Organic Full Pad
This mat sets the industry standard. The Organic Full Pad offers beautiful colours, unique designs, and 5 inches of All-American foam. Brand new, the Organic Full Pad feels like a floor due to the almost unbelievable foam density. Though this may sound a bit stiff for falling, the highly resilient, hyper-durable Organic crash-pad makes comfortable landings out of the furthest of falls.
The bifold design has made this pad a crag favourite for years. The fully customizable crash pad comes with a four-strap closure system that makes it easy to fold and unfold. Furthermore, the sheer size of this sandwich lets the climber store their gear within the fold. This pad provides an excellent option for the heavier climber and inspires confidence on taller boulders.
At $315 USD this pad does cost some cash. In addition to duties, this pad can become an expensive option; however, Organic ethically sources their materials, builds their pads in the US, and pays their workers a living wage. While this may not change the cost, it does change the way you feel about spending $400+ CAD. The Organic Full Pad measures around 4-feet tall, 5-feet long, and 5-inches deep and offers better durability than any of the other listed crash pads. Check it out here.
The Flashed Hueco is big. At $525 this two-for-one deal from Canada’s most established crash pad company offers two 5.5-foot wide, 3.5-foot tall crash pads that roll together to create a massive padding system. These two pads break into two separate thicknesses. The Thin Pad measures to 3/4 of an inch of closed-cell PE foam while the Thick Pad measures to a durable 4.25 inches. Together these pads form a 5-inch mattress. As boulderers rarely need the full 5 inches on every burn, many climbers will separate the two pads to create a large floor from where they can burn protected.
Like the Organic, the customizable aesthetics have earned favour among climbers looking to show their style at the local crag. Upload a design or even your own drawing to see it rendered upon the Flashed Hueco fabric. Although the Hueco is tailored toward the most advanced Flashed climbers, its large size makes it ideal for the climber that needs to cover as large an are as they can with as little hassle as possible. though the pad does not fit easily with other mats ina. car, it fits well in a van by itself. As such, the parent that takes their kids to boulder might find that this high-surface area solution might perfectly fit their bouldering trips.
To that effect, its rolling style makes the Flashed pad ideal for the duffel bag carrying pebble wrestler that has several bags worth of gear. Whether the climber needs to carry their own gear plus their kids’, or simply haul all ten pairs of climbing shoes between each boulder, this pad offers superior carrying solutions. One Ontario boulderer would carry their shoes, Makita fan, collapsible latter, and film equipment all within the confines of their Flashed Hueco. Check it out here.
Black Diamond Mondo
This is for the highballer. The Mondo comes with a double layer of foam that measures to a total width of five inches. The top of the pad has a thin layer of closed cell PE foam that breaks the fall of anyone moving at a high speed, while the thicker layer’s highly-compressible composition makes for softer landings.
At 65-inches long and 44-inches wide, the Mondo has become a staple of highball bouldering. If you plan to take falls from high up, this pad will catch you better than any of the previous mattresses. That said, this mammoth comes in at $400 USD. Although BD will cover the cost of duties, this pad costs a crazy amount of money. With that said, what you lose in the order you will save in hospital bills, making this pad potentially the most economical of them all.
The bottom of the pad comes with a tarp-like material that makes it resistant to water damage and abrasions. Although this pad costs too much to fit the needs of every climber, if you require something like the Mondo, no other pad will do. Check it out here.
Featured Image of Noah Walker and Jacquie des Rosiers by Ilya Sarossy.