ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST BOULDERING CRASH PADSCOMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST BOULDERING CRASH PADSBOULDERING CRASH PADS REVIEWSMETOLIUS MAGNUMBLACK DIAMOND IMPACTORGANIC CLIMBING PADMAD ROCK MAD PADMETOLIUS SESSIONBLACK DIAMOND DROP ZONEPETZL ALTOMAD ROCK R3HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BOULDERING CRASH PADSFOLD STYLEHINGETACOBURRITOTHICKNESSSTIFFNESSSIZEDURABILITY Modern bouldering relies on crash pads. Although early boulderers used only shoes and chalk, today’s boulder problems are harder, higher, more obscure and involve crazier landings. So, how do you protect yourself when bouldering? Have the best bouldering crash pad laid out beneath you to protect your fall. Crash pads vary in size, thickness, stiffness and price. The type of boulders you are climbing and where you find them may dictate what type of pad you need. Are you bouldering in Bishop, California where the landings are flat but high balls abound? Or are you bouldering in Squamish, British Columbia, where high balls are rare but the landings are rocky and uneven? Read on for tips on how to choose the best bouldering pad for you. For more of our top climbing gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Ropes | Harnesses | Helmets | Backpacks Climbing Shoes | Approach Shoes | Pants | Shorts | Shirts Carabiners | Cams | Nuts | Quickdraws | Pulleys | Belay Devices Bouldering Shoes | Bouldering Pants | Crash Pads QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST BOULDERING CRASH PADS 1. METOLIUS MAGNUM VIEW AT REI 2. BLACK DIAMOND IMPACT VIEW AT REI 3. ORGANIC CLIMBING PAD VIEW AT REI 4. MAD ROCK MAD VIEW AT AMAZON 5. METOLIUS SESSION VIEW AT REI 6. BLACK DIAMOND DROP ZONE VIEW AT AMAZON 7. PETZL ALTO VIEW AT AMAZON 8. MAD ROCK R3 VIEW AT AMAZON COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST BOULDERING CRASH PADS PICTURECRASH PADBEST USEDIMENSIONSTHICKNESSWEIGHTPRICERATING PICTURECRASH PADBEST USEDIMENSIONSTHICKNESSWEIGHTPRICERATING Metolius MagnumAll Around47 in x 70 in4.0 in18.7 lbs$$$4.3 Black Diamond ImpactAll Around39 in x 45 in4.0 in9.0 lbs$$4.5 Organic Climbing PadAll Around36 in x 48 in4.0 in12.0 lbs$$5.0 Mad Rock Mad PadBudget36 in x 48 in5.0 in10.0 lbs$4.8 Metolius SessionBudget36 in x 48 in4.0 in9.0 lbs$4.7 Black Diamond Drop ZoneUneven Landings41 in x 48 in3.5 in9.5 lbs$$4.6 Petzl AltoUneven Landings39 in x 46 in4.0 in12.5 lbs$$$4.5 Mad Rock R3Uneven Landings35 in x 55 in4.0 in18.0 lbs$$4.4 BOULDERING CRASH PADS REVIEWS METOLIUS MAGNUM Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Large size pad for good landing coverage, high balls DIMENSIONS: 47 inch by 70 inch THICKNESS: 4.0 inches WEIGHT: 18.7 pounds FOLD-UP: Double Hinge MATERIAL DURABILITY: 900d body fabric PROS: Trifold pad made with 1 inch closed-cell top layer, 2.5 inch open-cell center and 0.5 inch closed-cell base layer, rug for cleaning shoes, angled hinge to eliminate gutters CONS: Expensive, heavy, buckles somewhat difficult to tighten and loosen, harder to pack BLACK DIAMOND IMPACT Check out the latest price on: REI BEST FOR: Medium size pad, low ball to medium height problems DIMENSIONS: 39 inch by 45 inch THICKNESS: 4.0 inches WEIGHT: 9.0 pounds FOLD-UP: Hinge MATERIAL DURABILITY: 600d ripstop polyester on bottom and sides PROS: Semi-stiff and sturdy pads made with closed-cell PE foam layup on top and high-compression PU foam on bottom, lightweight, comfortable for falls from low to medium heights, easy-to-use buckles CONS: Expensive for a medium pad, hinge fold is not ideal for rocky or uneven landings ORGANIC CLIMBING PAD Check out the latest price on: REI BEST FOR: Medium size pad, low balls and high balls DIMENSIONS: 36 inch by 48 inch THICKNESS: 4.0 inches WEIGHT: 12.0 pounds FOLD-UP: Hinge MATERIAL DURABILITY: 1050d ballistics shell with 1000d Cordura landing zone PROS: Industry standard for medium pads, functional and sturdy with 1″ hard foam and 3″ soft foam, creative and aesthetic designs that are customizable, long straps enable carrying multiple pads together if necessary, great customer service, USA made CONS: Somewhat expensive for a medium pad, hinge fold is not ideal for rocky or uneven landings MAD ROCK MAD PAD Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Medium size pad, high balls DIMENSIONS: 36 inch by 48 inch THICKNESS: 5.0 inches WEIGHT: 10.0 pounds FOLD-UP: Hinge MATERIAL DURABILITY: Unknown PROS: Inexpensive, sturdy construction of 1 inch closed-cell, 3 inch open cell and 1 inch closed-cell, thick and durable foam to protect high falls, rug for cleaning shoes, turns into a chair for when hanging out at camp, velcro straps can combine additional crash pads CONS: Hard landing for short falls, five inch stiff foam creates dangerous ankle-rolling edges METOLIUS SESSION Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Medium size pad, low balls and high balls DIMENSIONS: 36 inch by 48 inch THICKNESS: 4.0 inches WEIGHT: 9.0 pounds FOLD-UP: Hinge MATERIAL DURABILITY: 900d poly outer fabric PROS: Inexpensive, lightweight, angled hinge to eliminate the gutters, rug for cleaning shoes CONS: Small packed gear can fall out the bottom, buckles somewhat difficult to tighten and loosen BLACK DIAMOND DROP ZONE Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Medium size pad, low balls with bad landings DIMENSIONS: 41 inch by 48 inch THICKNESS: 3.5 inches WEIGHT: 9.5 pounds FOLD-UP: Taco MATERIAL DURABILITY: 1000d nylon on top and sides PROS: Waterproof rubberized backing, very dense and sturdy made of 1 inch closed-cell PE foam on top and 2.5 inch high-compression PU foam on the bottom, no gap in foam on uneven surfaces, great for packing heavy loads, easy-to-use buckles, good coverage for a medium sized pad CONS: Foam is thin, so despite stiffness it will have reduced longevity, no sternum strap PETZL ALTO Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Medium size pad, low balls with bad landings DIMENSIONS: 39 inch by 46 inch THICKNESS: 4.0 inches WEIGHT: 12.5 pounds FOLD-UP: Taco MATERIAL DURABILITY: high-strength Cordura ballistic fabric with waterproofing PROS: Made from triple-layer PE and PU foam of different densities, no gap in foam on uneven surfaces, zippered flap closure covers the carrying system, turns into a chair for when hanging out at camp CONS: Zipper style closure can get gummed up with chalk and dirt in time, does not pack heavy gear well MAD ROCK R3 Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Medium size pad, low balls or high balls with bad landings DIMENSIONS: 35 inch by 55 inch THICKNESS: 4.0 inches WEIGHT: 18.0 pounds FOLD-UP: Burrito MATERIAL DURABILITY: 1680d nylon shell construction PROS: Inexpensive, innovative baffle design, great for covering up tricky landings, baffles filled with recycled foam, no gap in foam on uneven surfaces, great for packing heavy loads, large coverage for a medium pad CONS: Heavy, sharp rocks can cause the baffle seams to bottom out in some landing zones Gear up for climbing, without breaking the bankGet the Latest Deals on Climbing GearSent right to your inbox...GEAR UP FOR CLIMBING HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BOULDERING CRASH PADS So you’re set up with your shoes and your chalk bag is full of fresh white gold. All you need is a crash pad and you’ll be hitting the boulder fields to take down your latest proj. But what should you consider when buying a crash pad? The foam? The pad design? It’s carrying ability? The value? A mix of all of the above? FOLD STYLE Crash pads unfold to provide the protected landing zone you need while bouldering. Pads are big; they come with a variety of closure styles so you can carry them around or fit them in your car. Usually, crash pads have one of three primary fold-up systems: Hinge, Taco and Burrito. HINGE The hinge style is the most common system out there, with a midway seam allowing the pad to fold neatly in half. Hinge pads often have stiff, sturdy foam making it a breeze to pad out your boulder problem. They are also easy to store and carry. However, the hinge can bottom out if you land directly on the seam with a rock or other feature underneath it. Some companies do their best to reduce the chance of a pad bottoming out by incorporating a hybrid hinge design to eliminate the gutter. TACO A taco style pad has no hinge. Rather, it is a single piece of foam that you fold in half to transport. These pads better protect uneven landing zones, but are somewhat more difficult to carry around. BURRITO Like the taco style pads, burrito fold ups have no hinge. It can conform to obscure landing zone features. We recommend a solid foam burrito or taco fold up pad when bouldering over uneven, jagged landings. A burrito style pad is rolled up for transport. THICKNESS Crash pads are usually constructed with either 4 or 5 inches of foam inside a durable outer covering. While 4 inches is suitable for most scenarios, you might want to consider a thicker pad if you know that you’ll be climbing a lot of high balls. Foam also breaks down and softens over time, so investing in thickness may help your pad last longer. STIFFNESS The stiffness of your foam becomes important depending on whether you are climbing high or low ball boulder problems. If you love climbing problems that are low to the ground, a softer pad will make your falls much more comfortable. If you know you might be falling from high up, a stiffer foam will better protect you from bottoming out your pad. Most crash pads are filled with several layers of foam. Polyethylene (PE) foam is closed-cell and very stiff. It provides a stable footing for landing does not distribute much of the energy produced in a fall. Polyurethane (PU) is softer, open-cell foam that is better at absorbing the shock energy from a fall. SIZE A standard medium pad is about 3 by 4 feet (36 in x 48 in) and will meet most of your bouldering needs especially when you are starting out. Medium pads are easy to carry, fit in most car trunks, can protect most boulder problem heights and are a great addition to other pads. While large pads are heavier, more expensive and harder to transport, they offer better coverage with reduced risk of ankle-breaking seams between pads. If you are bouldering solo with only one pad, a large pad could be your best bet. There are other sizes of pads on the market that are meant to complement your main medium or big pad set-up. Mini pads are great for filling gaps, using as starter pads or wiping shoes. We have not covered mini pads in this review as they will not effectively protect a fall on their own. DURABILITY When you’re bouldering, your crash pad is your life line. Make a quality investment. Many pads have durable, water and abrasion resistant bases that will keep them lasting long. Most crash pads are constructed with a high denier material, meaning the outer fabric is thick and sturdy. Durable fabric is important as you will be tossing, scraping and dragging your pad around in addition to landing on it. So, you want your pad to last. ROCK CLIMBING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSROCK CLIMBINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. BASICS 5. CLIMBING CLOTHES 2. KNOTS & ANCHORS 6. TRAINING 3. CLIMBING SKILLS 7. SAFETY 4. CLIMBING GEAR 8. PSYCHOLOGY 1. BASICS 2. KNOTS & ANCHORS 3. CLIMBING SKILLS 4. CLIMBING GEAR 5. CLIMBING CLOTHES 6. TRAINING 7. SAFETY 8. PSYCHOLOGY Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.