This is a review about large sheets of foam, encased in nylon, designed to be worn like a backpack, and prevent injury from falling. Bouldering is weird, isn’t it?
All joking aside, crash pads are the most important piece of gear a Boulderer can have aside from a good pair of Bouldering Shoes.
Crash Pads keep us from getting injured while climbing and allow us to climb higher boulders without a rope.
Aren’t all Pads created equally?
Not quite. If you don’t believe it let your ankles be the judge.
So what makes a Crash Pad good:
- Fall Protection
Obviously good Protection against falling is the #1 quality for a Crash Pad to have. If your pad isn’t good to fall on then it’s time to get a new pad…
Weight is another huge consideration when it comes to Crash Pads. If your pad weights 40 pounds and only covers 3 square feet it doesn’t matter how amazing it is, you won’t be lugging it out to the boulders. This is a bit of a give and takes though considering that more padding often means more weight.
The Size of your pad will determine if you need extra protection and spotter while climbing. This could also determine if you want to get 2 smaller pads instead of 1 larger one.
The last consideration when choosing the best pad for you will be Price. Some Crash Pads can cost almost $500 and that’s a bit ridiculous if you ask me. Having a good balance of performance to price is important in any pad, remember it’s just foam…
If you are trying to Boulder Solo (aka by yourself) check out this review
If you want some more information on Crash Pads see what Climbing Mag has to say.
Calculating the Best Crash Pad
The following tool will help you determine which Crash Pad is best for you. Enter in the information about the pad you are looking at and it will spit out the Area, Ratio, and Performace Score.
The Area is quite simple to understand, this is the space in which you can land on. The more the better!
Weight to Area ratio is simple the Weight of the Crash Pad divided by the Area. The lowest number is best in this case since you want more area per pound of pad you are carrying.
Last, the Price Performace Score will tell you what’s the best bang for your buck. This uses all factors including thickness and price to come up with an overall score. 100 is the ideal number, but the higher the better!
*Note: since prices are subject to change daily the following pads reviewed are not given a score, however, you can easily plug in the specs listed with the best price you have found to determine the score.
Top 7 – Bouldering Crash Pads
*Crash Pads are all rated for each quality out of five (5) 💥
The Metolius Recon Crash Pad is the best overall pad for single pad owners. It offers 17.5 square feet of landing zone and weighs just 14 lbs. That comes in at 0.8 lbs per ft^2 which is very competitive. At just over $250 (at the time of this post) it makes The Recon the best price for the amount of pad you get.
The Recon Crashpad also is a trifold pad, meaning it is more compact to travel with and carry to the boulders.
The Black Diamond Mondo is one of the greatest pads to fall on. It covers a massive 19.9 square feet of ground while weighing only 20 lbs, giving the Mondo a 1 to 1 ratio. The Mondo has a substantial 5″ thick layered foam system that is good for keeping ankles healthy.
The price of the Mondo may make you queasy so it may not be the one for you. The other downside is at this size it can be harder to transport as this pad only folds in half and not in thirds.
The Mad Rock R3 is a revolutionary design in the Bouldering World. By far the best pad to fit over jagged rocks, roots, and holes, nothing else can really compare. The R3 is considered a “regular sized” pad cover 13.3 square feet. The pad is filled with shredded foam instead of foam sheeting making it extra comfortable to land on. That being said the comfort is not without sacrifice.
The R3 comes in at a whopping 18 lbs and 1.35 lbs per ft^2 which is almost double to competition. If you can handle the weight you can’t beat the performance and the Price!
Made in the Good ol’ USA the Organic Full Pad will not disappoint! It has a solid construction with any extra frills. 12 square feet of landing area and weighing 12 lbs this 1 to 1 ratio pad is perfect for almost any situation.
Organic is a time-tested brand that has become one of the favorites in the bouldering community. This may not be a good first pad for you but if you end up getting one you won’t regret it.
The Mad Pad is the best-selling crash pad in the world! It is not the largest pad ever coming in at 12.8 square feet. That being said, it only weighs 13.8 lbs and a 1.07 lbs per ft^2 ratio.
The Mad Pad is 5″ thick so it’s great for all around Bouldering, especially high balls.
The Metolius Session is a favorite for Beginner Boulderers. The pad has a solid construction and weighs only 9 pounds. With an even 12 feet squared landing zone the pad has a 0.75 lbs per ft^2 ratio making it one of the lightest pads around.
At only 9 pounds this is an excellent second pad to add to your collection.
A bit of a wildcard but worth taking a look!
A Backpack that doubles as a Crash Pad. The Tanto is a cool design by Flashed that is perfect for carrying all the supplies out for the day and also for the start of your project.
This pad is not designed to be fallen on from any significant height!
The Tanto is perfect for larger groups where everyone does not have their own pad. This will allow someone to carry all the essentials and free up some weight for the pad haulers.
Make sure you get yourself a good Crash Pad before your next outdoor Bouldering trip. We hope the calculator helps you out in your decision.
If you see something you would like reviewed please leave a comment below.