Flap-tastic: Kinetik Newton Crash Pad

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A first glance at the Kinetik Newton Crash Pad ($210, kinetikclimbing.com) garnered a serious “WTF?” from this tester: What are these flaps? What’s with all the Velcro? But once I took the pad out bouldering, the true beauty inherent in its unusual design was revealed. The Newton’s flaps wrap around the folded pad’s openings, providing a safe cocoon for your shoes, chalk pot, water, and anything else you’d shove inside—no more dropping essentials on the hike. At the crag, once the pad is unfolded, the flaps stick together with Velcro to eliminate the hinge and cover the backpack straps, so there’s nothing to catch on rocks and roots when you drag it around. Brilliant! I must commend the vinyl on the underside as well: This pad was very durable throughout testing in Moab, Hueco Tanks, and Boulder. As a petite female, customizing the size of the carry system is crucial, and this one is available in three torso lengths: 15”, 17”, and 19”. The foam isn’t as hard or thick as on some pads, but it still provided soft landings from reasonable (not highball) heights. And the post-sesh clincher: the soft fabric was perfect for naps. —Jenn Fields