While we all know you can stick a figure 4 to a mono pocket on a 20-move project you’ve been working on that’s roughly a V11 or so, it is still nice to have the safety of a crash pad below your feet. Crash pads do a great job of protecting boulderers from injuring themselves, but they are just so awkward to carry around.

Even though lugging around a huge pad on you back can be a nuisance, here are some ways to make the most of your crash pad:

crash pads


1. Crash pads make great “crash pads”

Many summer nights at the crag I choose to sleep between two trees in my hammock. I don’t usually sleep on my back, but sometimes I manage. On the restless nights that I can’t find a comfortable spot, or I would prefer to sleep closer to the fire, I grab a couple crash pads, push them together, and allow their comfort to drift me to sleep. They are called “crash” pads after all. So next time you’re at the crag and you want to sleep under the stars, but you don’t want the extra weight of a sleeping pad to weight you down (or you don’t want to buy one). Grab those two crash pads you have in the trunk of your outback and enjoy your night under the stars.


2. Lounging in the outdoors has never been this comfortable

Few can deny the beauty found in the wide expanse of the outdoors. Some of us would rather be watching the sunset instead of marathoning seasons of The Office on Netflix. For the same reason we put a couch in front of our TV’s, we should be putting comfortable seating outside to enjoy the sights. Bringing a couch outside doesn’t seem practical, and those Coleman collapsible chairs are just … well they’re ugly, that’s what they are. So throw down the pad and enjoy the sights.


3. 30L pack not enough for your rack? Crash pads have a solution

So there you are, all packed and ready for an awesome weekend of climbing. Just before you leave you realize you forgot to pack the guidebook, all of a sudden a flurry of questions like “did I bring enough coffee?” and “do I really have enough gear to look cool?” start to take you by storm. After deciding it’s probably safe to take an extra 20 pounds of gear (you know, because who doesn’t need more gear?) there’s only one problem: you have no more room in your pack! Luckily your crash pad conveniently folds to store extra gear, and there’s even places to clip more gear on the outside!


4. No rope bag? No problem!

Rope bags and tarps can be an expensive luxury when you’re homeless and you just spent your last expendable cash on freeze dried Mountain House meals and coffee. And while throwing down a couple sweatshirts to protect your rope from the elements is an option, why not use the crash pad that’s already on your back carrying your gear instead of getting your Black Diamond hoodie full of mud? I can’t think of a reason not too either.

So sure you’ll look like an idiot walking around with a crash pad everywhere. It’s not like you haven’t gotten strange looks from people carrying them around before. And yes, people will ask if you were new to the area because clearly “experienced climbers” would NEVER bring a crash pad with them anywhere. The benefits of having a crash pad might outweigh the condescending looks, and when you’re lounging on your pad enjoying a warm bag of Mountain House, just smile and wave at the obviously less comfortable climbers.


Related: Rock Climbing Gear Guide: Crash Pads