Climbing Holiday Gift Guide: Black Diamond Drop Zone Crash Pad

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The Black Diamond Drop Zone Crash Pad.

The Black Diamond Drop Zone Crash Pad.

After tearing the tags off the mid-size, (41" x 48" x 3.5") Drop Zone Crash Pad, I filled the 9-pound, 8-ounce pad with my gear for the 90 minute hike to Upper Upper Chaos Canyon in Rocky Mountain National Park for a few weeks of abuse. The taco style pad held my heavy backpack securely and the quick closure mesh flap allowed me to stuff just my shoes and chalk bucket in the pad when hopping between the boulders. The mesh wore a bit from dragging it across the rough talus when shuffling it for spotting. However the pad with its rubber coated bottom did a good job of staying in place on slanted landings. The three inches of foam held up well to big falls in the talus field, providing a happy medium between supportive and soft for landings. The taco style also allowed it to smoothly cover sharp rocks without leaving dangerous hinge spots. The pad felt nice and light weight for the long hike. The only real drawback was the small tab closure on the buckles, which was difficult to operate when my forearms would smell like watermelons after doing more than five moves.  The Drop Zone provides a good option for zones with smaller climbs like Horse Pens 40 and Stone Fort or for placing on talus and rocky landings like in RMNP and over the stones in the Ice Caves in Bishop.