Crash climbing pads are a boulder climbers best friend. Depending on how difficult and dangerous climbs are, you’re going to want to have a really reliable crash pad to fall on to keep yourself safe and also to be able to challenge yourself even more.
Check out the guide below to find out what crash pad would be best for you. Here are a couple of general features to consider that you can peruse and then do a deeper dive in the guide below, when buying the Best Crash Pad.
- Pad thickness
- Amount of handles
5 of the Most Useful Best Crash Pad
Black Diamond Drop Zone Crash Pad
The Black Diamond Drop Zone is an awesome crash pad for your bouldering adventure.
It has a lot of storage for your approach shoes, your chalk, and any of your other climbing gear.
Easy to Carry
The suspension system really helps out when you are carrying this crash pad from place to place. Lugging it around will be much easier than most crash pads.
It’s also a pretty big crash pad but it ends up being lightweight, which is a pretty essential feature for any crash pad to have since you will be constantly moving around with the pad going from climb to climb.
Awesome Compatibility With Other Crash Pads
Also, the corners are a much better design and are pretty compatible with other crash pads. This way, when you want to cover more area, you can get other crash pads and not worry too much about how it fits in with them.
Padding is Thin
You may not want to use it for higher climbs as the thickness is only about 3.5 inches thick. This might present a problem when falling from higher up.
Also, the U-shaped fold of the pad sometimes presents a problem because it tends to curl up a little when sitting on uneven ground. You’re going to have to be a little more discerning when you are picking a place to put your crash pad so that the ground will be compatible with the taco shape of your Drop Zone crash pad.
The pad is also a little pricey. Although it does have some good features, its padding is too thin and it not being able to sit evenly on uneven ground is going to be a problem since you don’t ever know the kind of terrain you will need to put the crash pad on.
- Easy to Carry
- Good Storage
- Thin padding
- U-shape folding is uneven
Metolius Session II Crash Pad
The flap closure system on the Session is one of the best. With this system it ends up being way easier to load than most. It also is reversible which covers up the straps while you are climbing.
The handles are pretty great. There are four of them so where and how you can drag the crash pad.
A pretty cool feature of the Metolius Session Crash pad is that it has a carpeted section where you can wipe your feet to get rid of any excess debris on your shoe that could make you lose traction on your climbing shoe.
As with a lot of other crash pads, you want to make sure you break it in pretty well and not expect it to be hard for the first few outings. Usually, especially when you are doing higher climbs, you want a harder surface. But the only way you will know if the surface of the crash pad stays hard or is actually softer is to break it in before you have your main climb,
Probably the best thing about it is the inexpensive price. The pad is still thin, at only 3.5 inches, so it isn’t the best crash pad. But even with the thinner pad it still has great value for the money.
With a slightly thinner than normal hinge, it isn’t the best for falling on. But every crash has trouble with its hinges unless they are very thick velcro keeping the sections together, or there are less sections.
It has a good amount of packing space for your water bottle, food, light gear, etc. so it makes it a great crash pad for longer climbs or multiple pitches.
Metolius Recon Crash Pad
With a larger than normal surface area, the Metolius crash pad is a great pad if you really want a pad that’s big and can protect your pretty well.
The taco shape also gives the pad better integrity and a more solid structure when you fall.
There’s a pretty cool rug that spells out the logo so you can brush off your shoes before a big climb to make sure you can still have good traction.
Good Option of Backpacks
There are backpack straps which give you a good amount of versatility on how you want to carry the pack. Sometimes it isn’t the best option to carry like a backpack because it’s a little awkward to carry like this, but some people really like the option to carry the crash pad this way.
This one can stand up to low and also medium falls, but probably not higher falls. The absorption of higher falls isn’t going to be great and you may end up hurting yourself if a higher bouldering climb is what you are going for.
The crash pad is a little bit too rigid, however. When the ground you plan to put the pad on is uneven it can be hard to get in the right place. It’s obviously great for flat services or to bridge a crevice.
Affordable, But Not Great Value
As for affordable, it definitely won’t break your budget, but that may be a bad thing. It doesn’t have great features and it’s a little tough to place, so it might not have great value for money.
- Backpack straps
- Not great value for money
- Too rigid
Petzl Alto Crash Pad
The Petzl has three different layers of foam, all with varying degrees of thickness to add to your protection when you fall.
It only has a single hinge which adds a lot to the integrity of the paid and creates a strength that stays better across the whole pad more than crash pads with more hinges.
The backpack style of strap makes it really easy to take on weight. The best kind of strap makes sure that you can easily carry it around and slip it on and off without much hassle.
It can hold a pretty good amount of gear as well. It’s not as spacious as some other crash pads, but it still has a pretty good carry capacity for your shoes, chalk, food, etc. You will want an adequate amount of space to hold gear so that you can extend the amount of time you can spend bouldering.
Velcro straps can be really strong, but they run the risk of wearing out before the other parts of the crash pad. Also, they may not be as reliable as a holding system like buckles would be.
Folding ability is pretty high with the Petzl Alto. It folds almost flat, unlike some other crash pads, even ones with multiple hinges and “taco” style fold.
Can Take Higher Falls
This crash pad can take low, medium, and also relativity high falls. The three layered system makes it able to soften your blow. The thickest part of the pad is actually on top, and the softest nearer the bottom. This seems counterintuitive, but actually is the best way to protect you from a higher fall.
- 3 layer foam pad
- Velcro straps
Black Diamond Mondo Crash Pad One
Buckles are installed on this crash as opposed to a velcro system that some other crash pads feature. Most agree that the buckle system is more durable and a little more reliable than velcro.
In the new model, the improved suspension system they’ve added adds a lot to the ease of carrying the crash pad. You’ll need a great suspension system with this one especially since it’s a bigger pad than most.
You can fall from a pretty high height as the foam in the Mondo is really thick. When paired with other pads it does a great job of not having any gaps because of its square corners. You won’t always need to use extra crash pads to supplement your main pad, but your climb may not be just straight up and down. You may want a longer or oddly shaped surface area to be able to fall on.
Tough to Carry
Since it is so big, it’s a little bit of a problem if you want to carry it to several different climbing locations. Also, it doesn’t have much support in the backpack system so it’s pretty hard on your back. It’s probably a good bit easier to just drag it along instead of carrying it on your back.
It doesn’t have a separate handle which you could use to carry it by your side. It’s definitely not a deal breaker, but it would be a nice little addition to the Mondo crash pad.
It’s A Little Expensive
Since it has so many great features, it’s not a surprise that it’s a pretty expensive crash pad. But it’s worth it for having a really thick pad and a large surface area.
- Thick pad
- Hard to carry
How to Choose the Best Climbing Holds
There are a lot of different things to consider when choosing the best crash pad. Safety is a big concern because you are literally meant to fall onto your pad.
However a few other things should be taken into consideration when choosing the best climbing crash pad.
This is definitely a big one. You’re going to have to decide what kind of climb you’re going to go on. If you’re going for a pretty low climb, you might not need a crash pad that covers a lot of surface area, as you’ll probably be able to fall right on it.
However, if you’re going to be climbing to medium and high heights, you’ll definitely want a large pad that covers a lot of surface in case you don’t fall perfectly straight down.
You’ll also want to possibly get a certain size depending on how even or uneven the terrain is.
If you’re going to be climbing at low heights you will probably be just fine with a pad that is soft and not too thick.
However, if you are wanting to be able to fall from higher heights, you’re going to need a pad that is not only thick, but a little bit harder in the top layer.
The softer the pad, the less it’s going to absorb your fall and possibly hurt you.
Most crash pads have several sections with several hinges holding them together. How easy the crash pad is to fold up lends itself to how easy it is to fit in your car and its carrying case if it has one, and also affects how easy it is to carry.
The Best Questions About Climbing Holds
Q: Is it better to have backpack shoulder straps or carry it by handles?
A: The best option is to have both available to you. If the crash pad doesn’t have great support in the backpack area or if the crash pad is larger than normal it may be tough to carry on your back. You’re going to want to have an option of carrying handles.
Q: Can I use this to rest on a climb?
A: Yes. One of the best things about crash pads is they are usually comfortable enough to rest between climbs or after climbs.
Q: Is it better to have a large crash pad?
A: Depending on how high or low your climb is, you may want to change the size and thickness of your pad. Low climbs can use softer, smaller surface area pads, and this is true in the opposite for higher height climbs.