Everything You Need to Know About Crashpads (Plus Our Top 11 Crashpad Picks)

Author:
Publish date:
Brett Lowell climbing above a cluster of crashpads on Moss Neisley (V5), Roy, New Mexico.

Brett Lowell climbing above a cluster of crashpads on Moss Neisley (V5), Roy, New Mexico.

My thumb wrapped around a small edge on Crimping Matters (V10), a 20 move series of granite crimps at Guanella Pass, just outside of Georgetown, Colorado. As I exited the cave, my elbows pointed skyward and I entered the upper crux: a cross to one more crimp. The landing’s 30-degree slope and jagged features made it difficult to spot so the pad setup needed to protect me. I forgot about the landing as my fingers hit the hold. I tried to pull through the last move but my hand opened. I was off. I slid down the seven pads we had placed on the slanted granite below. Luckily, our variety of pads, the small ones filling holes and the big ones protecting the slabs and flatter sections, covered the talus pit landing and I fell unscathed. Had my friends and I lacked the proper pads, I could’ve easily broken an ankle and ruined a climbing day, or even my season.

Climbers have long been flattening out landings. When Ron Kauk did the first ascent of Thriller (V10) in the Yosemite, he placed palates under the landing and then nicked some employee mattresses. Other early pad iterations included sofa cushions wrapped in duct tape and creatively placed wooden pallets. Up until the late '80s no one bouldered with a pad. “Before pads came out you had to kind of be a masochist to be a boulderer,” said Hueco Tanks legend John “Verm” Sherman, who was also responsible for the V-scale grading system. In 1992, Verm and his friend Bruce Pottenger, the head of the Kinnaloa crew who made tee-shirts and chalk bags, joined forces to sell the first commercial crashpad, the Sketch Pad. The two had developed it for personal use, but then realized they had the tools to bring it to market. Since the development of the Sketch Pad, subsequent models have enlarged the original design. Like pads today, the Sketch Pad had a nylon sleeve with pack straps, two densities of foam, and was made out of cloth material with a carpet area to wipe your feet. The pad measured 2.5' by 3.5' with around 2" of foam. “By today’s standards those things looked like cocktail napkins” said Sherman. Now, over 50 manufacturers worldwide provide pads with advanced harness systems, room for gear, and high-tech foam setups for maximum protection. “A real revolution in my eyes was when we started padding stuff because that opened terrain like crazy,” said Sherman. “The pad changed everything. It brought bouldering to the masses.”

The primary purpose of a crashpad is to add a foam layer between the climber and the ground, to lessen the impact of a bouldering fall. A standard crashpad has various different attributes including the type of folding system, materials, foam types, size, and special features. Crashpads are used on all sorts of terrain; some pads are better for flat ground while others are better for uneven, rocky landings. The construction of each pad is setup with certain benefits in mind, which makes each pad unique.

Folding systems

Folding systems affect the cushion of the foam, the carrying system, and a pad’s closed size. Depending on the folding system, a pad can be better or worse for a particular landing. From my experience, the fold style impacts my ease of transportation the most. Being able to sufficiently carry the gear that I need in a condensed space is crucial for the long approaches of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). 

Taco

The taco is one continuous piece of foldable soft foam. Although they are generally softer pads, they maintain the same level of cushioning throughout the whole pad, including the fold point. The taco style fold works best on uneven, rocky landings and less so for flat landings. For example, the taco shape folds nicely over the jumble of roots at the base of Sloppy Poppy in Squamish, BC, yet struggles to lie flat at the base of Iron Man Traverse in Bishop, CA. While tacos have a fair amount of room for gear, they are difficult to store because they don’t lie flat. If you have a taco, be sure to store it open to preserve the foam.

Jordan Cannon dynoing on Compression Matters (V7), Guanella Pass, Colorado.

Jordan Cannon dynoing on Compression Matters (V7), Guanella Pass, Colorado.

Tri-fold

Tri-fold pads can act as stand-alone pads because of their large size, yet are hinged in two areas, allowing for some variability in landing zones. The tri-fold system allows large pads to be folded small when closed, making it is easier to carry them or store in a car or closet. Not to mention, they make for a good night’s sleep in the back of a car. While you cannot carry much gear in them, their condensed size makes the large pad easy to carry. The multi-hinge design also allows you to add significant height to a landing when the pad is closed, allowing you to even out sections or use the pad as a step stool to project hard moves a few feet off the ground. 

Hinge

In a hinge pad, a piece of nylon material holds two large pieces of foam together. These pads easily carry as a backpack or as a briefcase, provided they have a side handle. Hinge pads lay the flattest of any type of pad, making them ideal for flat landings. They also fold up tightly and double as spacious gear carriers. On the downside, you could land on something sharp due to the lack of foam in the hinged area. As a result, hinged pads perform worse on uneven terrain or rocky landings. These pads, however, are relatively common and a great addition to any multi-pad landing area with flat space.

Baffled

Less common, but as seen in the Mad Rock R3, are pads with a baffled designed, where partial hinges, creased to half the thickness of the pad, separate several recycled foam stuffed baffles. The shredded, recycled foam molds to rocky terrain, arguably better than any of the other styles. It folds similarly to a taco, yet conforms so much that it essentially hinges as well. This pad is multi-dimensional: it lies flat, folds over rocks, packs a fair amount of gear, and doubles as a comfortable sleeping pad.

Some pad manufacturers, like Asana, construct their pads with a "hybrid" fold. This style provides a consistent layer of foam on top, so it is hard to bottom out, yet still folds easily. 

Pad sizes

The ideal pad size varies when it comes to different climbing areas with varying landing conditions. For example, in RMNP, where talus litters the landscape and flat landings are rare, many small pads work better than one large pad. Areas such as Bishop, known for highballs with flat landings, are best for single, large pads covering as much surface area as possible. Large pads average 4' x 5' while standard pads are 3' x4'. Pad thickness usually ranges from 3" to 5". Smaller pads, like sliders or sit pads, tend to be much thinner, though the coverage area can be larger. The Organic Slider Pad, for example, has dimensions of 23" x 35" x 1". Many manufacturers consider size based on various other elements. Asana bases their sizes on “ease of carrying, overall pad weight, the ability to fit into most cars, and shipping dimension so that we keep the cost of getting the pad to our customers at a respectable level,” said Asana founder Jamey Sproull.

Big pads

Big pads cover large surface areas well and are best for flatter landings. On the downside, they tend to be heavier, more expensive, and take up more room. In the summer of 2017, I traveled to Rocklands, South Africa, where many of the tall boulders have big, daunting falls. On the steep, 20-foot, overhanging cave of Un Petit Hueco Dans Rocklands (V9), I grabbed the sandstone edges, happy to have an array of large pads covering the big landing zone. Having large pads under me gave me the confidence I needed to send. 

Standard pads

Standard-sized pads are usually lighter and can cover more varying terrain, including rocky or debris-ridden areas. Easier to carry, they provide a good option for traveling. Medium pads can easily be stacked using either a manufacturers strap system, rope, or similar strapping setup, allowing you to carry just as much foam if not more than one large pad. I found this size useful when projecting Crimping Matters, where we had close to ten pads with smaller pads covering rocks and cracks, and medium pads for the base. This made for a protected, multi-pad landing zone. Each climber attempting the boulder that day was able to carry in multiple pads, with standard pads being the most easily stackable. 

Small pads and sliders

Small pads, sometimes called “mini” pads, are primarily useful for dabby sit-starts, covering the seams of multi-pad landings, and for spotting. One example of a small pad is Organic’s Half Pad, which measures 2’ x 3’. It adds extra support without the 10 pound burden of a full pad. This thinner, "lilly pad" style can also be used for circuiting on shorter boulders in areas like HP40 in Alabama or Fontainbleau in France. Additionally, these small pads provide a spot to wipe your feet off and a comfortable seat at the boulders. Slider pads function less as a pad to cushion falls and more as a supplementary item. Sliders tend to have very little foam, making them great for covering seams in multi-pad landings and keeping your butt clean for low starts. 

Foam Types

Crashpads are constructed by layering open cell and closed cell foam to disperse the force of a falling climbing.

Crashpads are constructed by layering open cell and closed cell foam to disperse the force of a falling climbing.

Two types of foam, open cell and closed cell, make up crashpads. The two uniquely crafted foams affect falls differently with closed cell offering more support and open cell offering more cushioning. Many pads combine both types of foam to create a safe and sustainable structure. Most crashpads use a sandwich structure where layers of closed-cell foam on the top and bottom surround one or more layers of open-cell foam in the middle. The amount of foam used in each pad varies, ranging from three inches in standard pads to five inches or more in larger pads.

Closed-cell foam

Often made from polyurethane, closed cell foam tends to be stiffer and more resilient. It provides a solid base for bigger falls, as it can endure a fair amount of impact without flexing or bottoming out. This long lasting foam resists weather well because it “helps move energy out toward the edges of the mat,” said Sproull. Most pads have at least one layer of closed-cell foam to provide a solid base, however solely closed cell foam pads would hurt on impact, for they provide hardly any cushion. Because of this, most companies combine both foam types in layers for maximum comfort and protection. Crashpad companies tinker with foam ratios to curate a unique pad, catering to climbers’ various needs and preferences. Pads with more closed-cell foam are sturdier and provide better protection on highball climbs where the impact is greater, and the chance of bottoming out is higher.

Crashpad foam dissected.

Crashpad foam dissected.

Open-cell foam

Like closed-cell foam, open-cell foam is made of polyurethane. Open cell foam actually starts out as closed-cell foam and undergoes a process called reticulation. Textile manufacturers throughout the US use heat to break down the stiffening elements of closed foam to create a more sponge-like consistency. Open-cell foam is slightly softer and more "cushy," which allows it to better absorb the impact of a bouldering fall. However, the softness makes it more prone to weather damage and this foam wears quicker than closed cell. When taking long falls, open-cell foam puts you at a higher risk of bottoming out—it has a fair amount of give, absorbing more impact than it deflects.  

Materials

Crashpads are an investment that’s meant to last years, so consider the sustainability of the material. “The lifespan of a pad depends entirely on the number of times it is fallen on, the height from which someone is falling, and the place that it is stored,” explained Sproull. Most manufacturers use a ballistic nylon material such as Cordura. However, some use polyester, an auto upholstery, or velvet topside. Nylon and polyester tend to be durable for synthetic fabrics. Nylon is bit stronger than polyester, though polyester is slightly more weather and abrasion resistant. The outer casing materials vary from pad to pad. Usually, it is the same Nylon material around the whole pad, however some pads will include special features such as rubber corners, a velvet top, or carpet material to wipe your feet.

Harness/Carry Systems 

With the exception of mini pads and sliders, which can be fit inside other pads, most pads employ a backpack style harness system. The harness system becomes more important the farther you get from your car. Nothing kills psyche like arriving at the boulders sore from hiking with a poor fitting crashpad. Fortunately, manufacturers have beefed up their harness systems.

Modern harness systems include a waist belt (often padded), padded shoulder straps, a chest strap that buckles, and adjustable straps for each of these attachments. Some pads, such as the Backcountry Pad by Organic and Mystery Ranch, implement an actual backpack harness system to ensure maximum comfort when hiking deep into remote areas. When considering a harness system, make sure that the attachments are adjustable and that the straps and waist belt are padded, especially if you are hiking any kind of distance.

Special Features

Additional features vary depending on the manufacturer but may include the material used to make the pad, various closure/strap systems, points to attach multiple pads together, or even rug material to wipe your shoes. Some pads include handles on each side so you can carry it briefcase style, which can be helpful for traveling short distances with multiple pads. Many modern pads also have straps or a Velcro flap that allows for stacking pads together. The Asana Hero and Super Hero pads offer a military grade cargo clip, that allows you to attach you gear to the outside of the pad, avoiding any discomfort from the convex shape that is formed when gear is stored on the inside of the pad. Before committing to a pad, check out how the pad stores gear. I’ve had shoes fall out of the side of my pad before while hiking between boulders at Upper Chaos Canyon in RMNP. This was a major red flag—no one wants to arrive at their project only to find they dropped a shoe along the way. Most pads offer flap closure systems to secure gear. Additionally, consider how much capacity your pad has for carrying gear. If you hike to remote back country areas, you’ll need more than just shoes and chalk. You’ll need a pad that can accommodate a small backpack. 

Crashpad Roundup

Metolius

Jon Wong throwing a high heel on  Bierstadt (V10), Mount Evans, Colorado.

Jon Wong throwing a high heel on  Bierstadt (V10), Mount Evans, Colorado.

Recon

  • Price: $265
  • Type: Tri-fold
  • Weight: 14 lbs, 5 oz
  • Dimensions (open): 42” x 60” x 4”
  • Dimensions (closed): 42” x 22” x 13”
  • Foam type/setup: Sandwich foam design1" closed-cell top layer, 2.5" open-cell center, and .5" closed-cell base layer
  • Connection system/unique features: Dual sets of drag handles, lifetime guaranteed aluminum buckles, closure flap reverses to cover shoulder straps while pad is on ground, stash pocket for shoes, chalk, etc.
  • Overview: This large pad provides more landing area than most, yet shrinks by 4” in width when folded
  • Where to buy:

Session II

  • Price: $149
  • Type: medium-sized, low-cost pad
  • Weight: 9 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 36” x 48” x 4”
  • Dimensions (closed): 36" x 26" x 8"
  • Foam type/setup: 4” sandwich foam design, angled hinges to eliminate gutter
  • Connection system/unique features: Flap closure system (while bouldering), speed-hook aluminum buckles, lifetime guarantee, cross-clipper logo rug, padded shoulder straps, waist belt, suitcase-style carry handles
  • Overview: Versatile, do-it-all medium pad. Good pad for the price
  • Where to buy:

Shortstop

  • Price: $37
  • Type: small pad, covers gaps
  • Weight: 5 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 36” x 23”
  • Dimensions (closed): n/a
  • Foam type/setup: .75” closed cell foam
  • Connection system/unique features: Fits easily in closure systems of standard and full-size pads, has handles for transport or spotting
  • Overview: This affordable small pad fills in the gaps with little added weight. It can act as a slider pad or spotting shield as well. It offers lightweight protection
  • Where to buy:

Backcountry Party Pit Crash Pad (in collaboration with Backcountry.com)

  • Price: $149
  • Type: 900-denier polyester, standard-size pad
  • Weight: 9 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 36” x 48” x 4”
  • Dimensions (closed): 36” x 26” x 8”
  • Foam type/setup: Closed cell foam, combination of high-compression and low-compression foam
  • Connection system/unique features: Carry handles, padded shoulder straps, webbing waist belt, flap closure system to cover shoulder straps when bouldering, carpeted corners to clean shoes
  • Overview: Perfect for projecting all problems including moderate highballs, cave problems, etc.
  • Where to buy:

Black Diamond

Michael Pang reaching on Ludder's Pinch (V7), Mount Evans, Colorado.

Michael Pang reaching on Ludder's Pinch (V7), Mount Evans, Colorado.

Mondo

  • Price: $400
  • Type: Mega-sized highball pad. Hinge-style fold
  • Weight: 20 lbs, 6 oz
  • Dimensions (open): 44” x 65” x 5”
  • Dimensions (closed): 44” x 32.5” x 10”
  • Foam type/setup: Premium, multi-density foam—closed cell PE foam on top, high-compression PU foam on bottom
  • Connection system/unique features: Three-strap closure system with metal buckles. Padded suspension system. four corner grab handles, and two stowable shoulder webbings
  • Overview: This mega-sized highball pad is perfect for scary topouts and solo sessions. Stowable transport features make it easy to shuffle during or between problems. It is a high priced, high quality pad
  • Where to buy:

Impact

  • Price: $200
  • Type: Hinge-style, smaller, all-around pad
  • Weight: 9 lbs, 8 oz
  • Dimensions (open): 39” x 45” x 4”
  • Dimensions (closed): 39” x 22.5” x 8”
  • Foam type/setup: Closed-cell PE foam on top, high-compression PU foam on bottom. Coated 600D polyester on top of PU, and on sides and bottom.
  • Connection system/unique features: Metal buckles, three-strap closure, updated suspension, square corners for optimal placement w/ other pads
  • Overview: Padded belts, easy transporting, standard small pad
  • Where to buy:

Dropzone

  • Price: $250
  • Type: Mid-sized pad, taco-style fold
  • Weight: 10.5 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 41” x 48” x 3.5”
  • Dimensions (closed): Not listed
  • Foam type/setup: Multi-density foam design—closed-cell PE foam on top, high-compression PU foam on bottom
  • Connection system/unique features: Elastic mesh flap with easy-hooking buckles for quick closure. Shoulder straps, waistbelt, two side grab handles. 1000d Nylon on top and sides for abrasion and water resistance. Rubber bottom fabric for better grip
  • Overview: This standard-sized pad gets the job done for most bouldering sessions. It is a do-it-all pad that is easy to transport and can endure some bigger falls
  • Where to buy:

Asana

Rachel Robinson pulling against the arete on Tomahawk (V10), Lincoln Lake, Colorado.

Rachel Robinson pulling against the arete on Tomahawk (V10), Lincoln Lake, Colorado.

SuperHero

  • Price: $285
  • Type: Large, highball pad. Hinge fold
  • Weight: 15 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 58” x 41” x 4”
  • Dimensions (closed): Not listed
  • Foam type/setup: Dual density foam structure; 1" of closed cell, 2" of open cell, 1" of closed cell
  • Connection system/unique features: Suspension system, padded shoulder straps, load lifting straps, chest strap and waist belt. Metal cam buckle closure, super bomber cargo biner, three carry handles
  • Overview: Reasonably priced highball pad
  • Where to buy:

Hero

  • Price: $215
  • Type: Large highball pad
  • Weight: 12 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 48” x 36” x 4”
  • Dimensions (closed): 36” x 24” x 8”
  • Foam type/setup: Dual density foam structure: 1" of closed cell, 2" of open cell, 1" of closed cell.
  • Connection system/unique features: Suspension system, padded shoulder straps, load lifting straps, sternum strap and waist belt. Metal cam buckle closure, cargo clip, three carry handles
  • Overview: This Asana classic is a good choice for climbers of all abilities. It is easy to transport while still covering enough surface area to ease nerves during a heady topout
  • Where to buy:
Jordan Cannon hiking with a stack of three Asana pads.

Jordan Cannon hiking with a stack of three Asana pads.

Sidekick

  • Price: $159
  • Type: small-size, add-on pad
  • Weight: 11 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 48” x 36” x 4”
  • Dimensions (closed): Not listed
  • Foam type/setup: Dual density foam structure: 1" of closed cell, 2" of open cell, 1" of closed cell
  • Connection system/unique features: Slim trim suspension system, webbing shoulder straps and waist belt. Metal cam buckle closure, Three carry handles. 1000-denier nylon cover.
  • Overview: Sleeker, trimmed-down version of the other Asana pads. Great and cheap option for adding foam and surface area to an already built out landing zone
  • Where to buy:

Organic

(All organic pads offer customizable colors and designs.)

Jesse Sklut crossing on Into the Light (V7), Clear Creek Canyon, Colorado.

Jesse Sklut crossing on Into the Light (V7), Clear Creek Canyon, Colorado.

Backcountry Pad (in collaboration with Mystery Ranch)

  • Price: $345
  • Type: Thick and stable, hinge-style/bi-fold, large pad
  • Weight: 21 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 46” x 58” x 5”
  • Dimensions (closed): 46” x 29” x 10”
  • Foam type/setup: 1” memory foam on top layer, 1” urethane rubber closed-cell foam underneath, then 3” of soy-based open-cell foam at base for cushioning.
  • Connection system/unique features: Heavy duty suspension system to handle large loads. Removable and adjustable carrying system. Strap constructed with blend of plastic and foam to help evenly distribute load; 10 adjustment points to remove weight from shoulders. Plastic frame contours your back and allows for easy adjustment of suspension system. Extra attachment point bar for piggybacking multiple pads.
  • Overview: This specialty pad is a combination of Mystery Ranch's backpacks and Organic's foam and crashpad construction. It is designed to carry heavy loads and wear comfortably on longer approaches
  • Where to buy:

Slider Pad

  • Price: $38
  • Type: Small, slider pad
  • Weight: 1.76 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 23” x 35” x 1”
  • Dimensions (closed): n/a
  • Foam type/setup: High density, closed-cell foam covered in a 1000D Cordura Nylon base and a carpet top for cleaning shoes
  • Connection system/unique features: Grab handles on three sides, easily fits inside larger Organic pads (Simple, Full, and Big pads) along with most other brands of crashpads.
  • Overview: Used primarily to cover seams in multi-pad landing zones, this small slider pad is also good for sit starts and just sitting around
  • Where to buy:

Blubber Pad

  • Price: $120
  • Type: Large, blubber pad
  • Weight: 4.4 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 48” x 72” x .75”
  • Dimensions (closed): 36” x 24” x 4”
  • Foam type/setup: Built from 1000-denier Cordura Nylon
  • Connection system/unique features: Tucks easily into pockets/flaps of other pads including the Organic Full pad or under the Load Flap.
  • Overview: This multi-use pad is great for covering the seams of multi-pad landing zone. It can also be used to cover talus, wet landings, or be used as a bed in the back of a van or truck
  • Where to buy:

Big 4/ Big 5

  • Price: $315
  • Type: Large pad with hinge structure
  • Weight: 19 lbs for the 5” foam model, 17 lbs for the 4” foam model
  • Dimensions (open): 46” x 58” surface with 4” and 5” thicknesses available
  • Dimensions (closed): 29” x 46” x (8” or 10”)
  • Foam type/setup: 1050-denier ballistic nylon shell and 1000-denier Cordura Nylon landing zone
  • Connection system/unique features: Four simple metal buckles, balanced shoulder straps, hip belt, three carrying handles
  • Overview: Large pad with design elements offering lots of support for easy transport
  • Where to buy:

Full Pad

  • Price: $185
  • Type: Standard-size
  • Weight: 12 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 36” x 48” x 4”
  • Dimensions (closed): 36” x 24” x 8”
  • Foam type/setup: 1” hard foam, 3” soft foam. 1050-denier ballistic shell and 1000-denier Cordura landing zone.
  • Connection system/unique features: 24” by 15” pocket flap for gear, metal buckle connection, adjustable shoulder straps, 2” hip belt. Closure straps allow carry of an additional standard-size crashpad
  • Overview: The full pad, with its solid foam and average size, is perfect for adding to highball pad stacks, sliding into talus, or using on flat landings.
  • Where to buy:

Half Pad

  • Price: $80
  • Type: Clean, simple, half-size mat
  • Weight: 4 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 24” x 36” x 3”
  • Dimensions (closed): Not listed
  • Foam type/setup: 1” memory foam, 1” closed cell foam, 1” soy foam base
  • Connection system/unique features: Three balanced carrying handles, easily carried under flap of Full Pad
  • Overview: Great for adding extra support or coverage in a landing zone. Can fold over rocks and provides more lightweight foam for a better landing
  • Where to buy:

Load Flap

  • Price: $33
  • Type: Straps that quickly bundle up to three crashpads onto your back with ease. Allows you to piggyback all sorts of pads together for easy transportation
  • Weight: n/a
  • Dimensions (open): n/a
  • Dimensions (closed): n/a
  • Foam type/setup: 400-denier Nylon material
  • Connection system/unique features: Bar tacked stress points and D rings for durability
  • Overview: Designed for those carrying a lot of foam into the backcountry. Allows you to combine all sorts of pads together on your back for easy transportation
  • Where to buy:

Kinetik

Michael Pang pulling hard on The Ladder (V2), Mount Evans, Colorado.

Michael Pang pulling hard on The Ladder (V2), Mount Evans, Colorado.

Kilonewton 3.0

  • Price: $320
  • Type: Oversized pad
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Dimensions (open): 46” x 48” x 5'
  • Dimensions (closed): 28” x 48” x 10”
  • Foam type/setup: Dual-density foam, hybrid hinge design
    • Catch layer: 1” closed cell high-density foam
    • Cushion layer: 4” open cell
    • 1680-denier ballistic Nylon exterior
  • Connection system/unique features: Adjustable and padded shoulder straps, 2” nylon waist belt, pack system is concealable, omni-flap system for stacking, two drag handles while open and one while closed. Customizable color; each pad is made to order.
  • Overview: An oversized, all-season pad that is reliable and covers much ground. It is easily transportable with various adjustable carrying features.
  • Where to buy:

Mad Rock

Mickael Mawem grits his teeth as he moves up an overhanging boulder section. His teammates look on.

Mikael Mawem crimps down on Outer Space (V12) near Bear Lake, RMNP.

Duo Pad

  • Price: $239
  • Type: Hinge fold, medium-size pad
  • Weight: 17 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 56” x 42” x 5"
  • Dimensions (closed): 28” x 42” x 10”
  • Foam type/setup: 1:3:1 sandwich foam formation: 1” closed-cell, 3” open, 1” closed
  • Connection system/unique features: Built-in carrier flap for multiple pads, robust suspension system, welcome mat, water bottle holder, load lifters, excess strap pouch
  • Overview: Premium carrier of multiple pads
  • Where to buy:

Hera Mad Pad

  • Price: $175
  • Type: Medium size, hinge fold
  • Weight: 14 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 48” x 36” x 5”
  • Dimensions (closed): 24” x 36” x 10”
  • Foam type/setup: Sandwich, 3-layer foam: 1” closed cell, 3” open cell, 1” closed. 600-denier Nylon on top and bottom
  • Connection system/unique features: For every pad purchased, Mad Rock will contribute $6 to fund ovarian cancer research
  • Overview: An all-around, functional bouldering pad that helps contribute to a good cause
  • Where to buy:

Petzl

Alex Puccio crimping edges on Terre de Sienne (V13), Hueco Tanks, Texas.

Alex Puccio crimping edges on Terre de Sienne (V13), Hueco Tanks, Texas.

Alto

  • Price: $300
  • Type: Hinge-less design for uniform cushioning
  • Weight: 12.5 lbs
  • Dimensions (open): 46.5” x 39” x 4”
  • Dimensions (closed): 25.5” x 39” x 10”
  • Foam type/setup: High-strength Cordura ballistic fabric, triple-layer PE and PU foam.
  • Connection system/unique features: Adjustable bandolier, three handles when open, one when closed for carrying, adjustable shoulder, waist, and chest straps, easily adjustable metal buckles. Waterproof, protected corners, protected seams for those in contact with the ground. Petzl patented folding system: zippered flap closure covering carrying system for protection and storage space
  • Overview: Offers protective cushioning through triple layer-foam and hinge-less design. Great all-around bouldering pad
  • Where to buy:

“What are you carrying on your back?”

It's a common question hikers ask. The possible responses are endless. While most commonly referred to as “crashpads,” the question has thousands of answers:

  • Elk saddles
  • Tree bandaids
  • Bear shields
  • Massage tables
  • Foldable kayaks
  • Parachutes
  • Base jumping mats
  • Solar panels
  • Sleds
  • Mountain wrestling pads
  • Lightening deflectors
  • Marmot traps
  • Adult film setups
  • Bear dentistry kits
  • "For ninja warrior training..."