It does fine carrying the bouldering essentials but small items tend to fall out of the pad when it is folded. To find the best bouldering crash pads, we researched 20 models and bought 10 for side-by-side testing. The pad softens up over time but we found it to be relatively hard through the break-in process. For the same reason, the Drop Zone is not ideal for tall problems, but it was nice on short problems because it was so soft. It was large enough to be a standalone pad, and with an extra pad, this is a great option for those who boulder alone or want to maximize ground coverage. The Black Diamond Drop Zone and Impact pads we tested both have new and improved layers of foam padding that held up very well in our overall fall tests and is still holding up well in our long-term tests.
Comfort Hanging Out Having a crash pad that doubles as a couch can be great for relaxing between burns. The shoulder straps and hip belt are also removable to protect from tripping and for strapping the pad to trees. Our ratings were based on the test metrics of High Falls, Low Falls, Packing Gear, Features, and Durability. The Mad Rock R3, with its innovative baffle design, shredded foam and medium-large size make it the best at conforming to large lumpy spots such as rocks or tree stumps in a landing zone. Both pads were also unique in that they had burly suspension systems. Sean Brady bouldering crash pad testing the Black Diamond Drop Zone on a new V7 at Biddles! Our testers found the Velcro suspension system is also not as tightly adjustable as the old school buckle style and it has no center lifting handle to aid with heavy loads. Notice how the R3 works well conforming to the uneven landing area.
Like the Mad Rock Duo, the Mad Pad's foam has a long break-in period and is not ideal for short falls when the pad is new. We liked the Mad Rock Duo's system for carrying a second pad. There were many different designs and types of materials to consider. Most of the other pads we tested have neither closure flaps or stash pockets so you might want to carry your stuff in a backpack. The pads that hauled the bulkiest, heaviest loads were the Black Diamond Drop Zone and Mad Rock R3. Packing Small Items Hands down the best pad we've tested for carrying small to medium loads of gear is the Petzl Alto with its secure zipper flap closure system. The Mad Pad has extra long straps that make the pad into a lounge chair, which is a cool feature but also means you have extra long straps that dangle around a little annoying.
The testers found the right balance of falling, sending, lounging and critiquing. Mad Rock's uniquely designed R3 padding has shredded recycled foam that is heavy but lasts much longer than most of the pads in this review. Those testers just kept their main items in clothes pockets or a separate pack or bag of some kind from the get-go. The 5-inch thick foam is impressively durable and far more confidence-inspiring than that of thinner pads. Lots of foam and features at a high cost.
Conclusion Crash pads are an integral part of modern bouldering and have the potential to make falls much safer than landing on the bare ground. . The only pad without a waist belt was the Mad Pad. He decides the best way for the two of them to g. Custom Features Most pads had at least a few custom features and some can feel a bit superfluous. Putting the Duo through the paces with a fall from up high.
There was a nice blend of beginner to expert level boulderers to help us on most occasions. The Mad Pad's main disadvantage is its lack of a flap closure to help with carrying gear. They used their battle-tested wisdom from the early days of the crash pad along with highly evolved modern-day experience to give a thorough breakdown of what each pad does best and worst. The Mad Rock Triple Mad Pad, Metolius Recon, and Metolius Magnum were the only pads that failed to handle carrying anything more than a few essentials. All three pads also have the proven quality of their time-tested name brands.
A medium pad is the most common size because it fits in most cars, is relatively easy to carry, and is large enough for most low to medium height problems. The solid foam, non-hinged taco design also meant that your back would not feel any protrusions come through the hinge on steep hard cave type falls. The Alto also had an adjustable bandolier strap that helped to transport the pad between boulders. The suspension system is top-notch and has reinforced shoulder straps with a handle between the straps to aid in lifting when heavily loaded. The Metolius flap closure has only one single hook buckle strap to secure it while the Drop Zone and R3 both have two hook buckle closure straps that allow those pads to hold bigger loads. Straps The straps were about the same on all the pads, generic nylon webbing. Black Diamond Impact Bouldering Crash Pad.
But, the baffles have seams that are less padded making them more likely to bottom out on sharp rocky or uneven landings where jagged objects could protrude through the multiple seams between the baffles. Mad Rock's Mad Pad and Duo, and the Petzl Alto all have straps that can turn the pads into couches when you aren't climbing. It remained a great pad for shorter problems, but we were concerned to take big drops onto it. How thick is the foam? When present was one of our favorite features for a pad to have and it makes them especially useful around camp. The Mad Rock R3 uses recycled shredded foam left over from its manufacturing facility. Or a mix of all of the above? Both had slightly larger square-shaped surface areas, solid foam taco designs, and softer edges.
Uneven Terrain Test We put the pads over treacherous uneven terrain to see how they all managed. The rubberized coating on its back is waterproof, durable and functional, helping the pad stick to angled landings zones. It fits an above average size load pretty well, but large bulky loads don't fit as well. Initially out for blood, the husband finds himself strangely sympathetic to the romantic's plight. All are much better than the old plastic style buckles that would break or the old Velcro closures that would eventually wear out. Read review: Analysis and Test Results After side-by-side tests we evaluated differences between each of the pads with regard to foam, design, durability, and features.
All the pads had padded shoulder straps. We didn't find a significant difference in the comfort in carrying big loads. The layering makes the pads firm on one side for tall high impact falls on your feet and softer on the other side for short hard, jarring falls on your backside. Low Fall Test Our favorite pads for repeated low falls were the Black Diamond Drop Zone and Petzl Alto. Read review: Not ideal for carrying lots of gear The Mad Rock Mad Pad delivers the most pad per dollar of any that we tested and it is a great choice for anyone on a budget.