The beauty of bouldering is in its simplicity: a crash pad, shoes, and 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. Also, don’t forget to check out our other buying guides by clicking the dropdown below.
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The purpose of a crash pad
Used for bouldering, crash pads are your cushion when you fall. It’s wise to limit 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 4in, but you can also find 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.
Top crash pads for bouldering
Best value crash pad: Metolius Session II
Dimensions: 48″ x 36″ x 4″
Weight: 9 pounds
At just $150, Metolius’ medium-sized Session II crash pad offers all-around performance at a friendly price. This pad offers a variety of improvements over the classic Session, America’s best-selling pad.
Notably, a redesigned closure system makes the pack easier to load and reverses to cover shoulder straps. An included logo rug is useful for wiping your shoes clean of debris and burly, guaranteed-for-life buckles ensure a smooth and solid enclosure. Three pounds lighter than our all-purpose recommendation (Organic’s Simple Pad), some climbers find the Session II’s foam to be on the softer side, resulting in the risk of bottoming out from high falls. If you don’t intend to be climbing high ball boulder problems, this likely isn’t of great concern.
Best all-purpose crash pad: Organic Simple Pad
Dimensions: 48″ x 36″ x 4″
Weight: 12 pounds
Made in the USA, Organic Climbing crash pads are a long-time favorite among 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.
Best pad for big landings: Metolius Magnum
Dimensions: 72″ x 48″ x 4″
Weight: 19 pounds
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.
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