The beauty of bouldering is in its simplicity: a crash pad, a pair of shoes, and some chalk are about all you need. And to help guide your crash pad buying decisions, we’ve narrowed down all the crash pad options into just a few—the ones we feel are best based on price and performance. Recommendations are unbiased and the buying links are affiliate links—purchases made from them support our free content.
Last update: August 22, 2017. Get our climbing newsletter for a weekly dose of awesome content and check out our deals page for today’s best sales.
The purpose of a crash pad
Used for bouldering, crash pads are your cushion when you fall. It’s worth limiting the amount of sleeping, cooking, climbing-film-watching, and general hanging out you do on your crash pad in order to better preserve the foam. But, who are we kidding … crash pads make stellar sleeping pads!
Most crash pads are a fairly standard size of roughly 4ft x 3ft x 5in, but you can also find thin, small pads designed to fill the cracks between regular pads that are aligned beside each other under a climb. If you don’t mind hauling the load, oversized pads are useful for providing a larger safe landing area—especially for highball boulders!
Finding the right crash pad for you
Use the chart below to see our crash pad recommendations, depending on your needs and price point:
Top crash pads
Mad Rock Mad Pad (best for value)
If you’ve bouldered outside anywhere, chances are you’ve seen a Mad Pad at the base of boulder. And that’s because as the world’s most sold crash pad. This crash pad ticks off the checklist when it comes to meeting the price, performance, and durability that make it a high value pad. Mad Rock’s Mad Pad features two different high-grade polyethylene foams that pair together to provide an ultra shock absorbent surface.
And to keep things comfortable and compact when you’re on the approach, the Mad Pad folds in the center; allowing you to stow your chalk bag and shoes in between for the ride. This crash pad also features shoulder straps with durable metal buckles so that your hike out to the boulders remains an enjoyable one.
Organic Crash Pads (best for customizability/design)
Made in the USA, Organic Climbing crash pads are a solid option for boulderers seeking high-quality foam and fabrics. Their Simple Pad, made of a 1050D ballistics shell and 1000D pad top comes with three convenient handles, a hybrid hinge, as well as large adjustable shoulder straps with a sternum stabilizer and hip belt for added comfort when you’re on the move.
Color and pattern customizable, the Organic Simple Pad closes securely by the use of four simple metal buckle closures along the outside of the pad. With this special Moja Gear/Organic Climbing collaborative pad, you can select your background and accent colors, and get a one-of-a-kind, high-quality pad with sleek Moja Gear and Organic Climbing patches.
Metolius Magnum Pad (best for big landings)
When you’re looking to tackle boulders that require protection for wide landing zones, Metolius’ massive Magnum crash pad gets the job done. This 4′ x 6′ tri-fold crash pad actually condenses into an easy-to-carry structure, with ultra padded shoulder straps and dual sets of handles to make it easy to move.
Its sandwich foam design offers maximum impact absorption with both closed and open-cell layering to give you a sturdy yet comfortable pad to fall on. Its 900D body fabric offers impressive durability and it also features a cross-clipper logo rug for you to brush off your shoes in between goes.
And to lessen your need to haul around extra bags, the Metolius Magnum comes with a convenient stash pocket on the exterior and a larger interior pocket to store your shoes and chalk bag. Also, when times get desperate, this one serves as a pretty baller crash pad mattress.
Explore MoreRelated articles you'll love
Free Rock Climbing eBooks on Technique, Knots, Training, and More
Video: Bouldering as a Training Tool — Tips from Adam Ondra
Gear Guide: Best Climbing Equipment for Beginners
12 Tips to a Successful Bouldering Strategy
6 Best Training Recovery Tools for Climbers
Our 30+ most popular articles ever
Community Discussion: Most Popular Climbing Shoes
23 Best Gifts for Rock Climbers
Get daily content updates by Liking us on Facebook