/ Bouldering mat / crash pad Advice needed
I'm just starting out bouldering and until I find a group or partner will mostly be doing it alone, I'm looking for bouldering mat recommendations as well as what the best size thickness ect to look for. I am a student so I am looking for something more affordable however I'm willing to pay extra for the perfect mat that is durable and will withstand good regular use.
I've used loads of different mats over the last few years and have a couple of favourites.
The Moon warrior is definitely my first choice. I have used it a lot recently and if I was buying a mat now I would go for that one. It is pretty big and the foam is quite firm so it's good to use if your just gonna take one mat. From what I've heard the foam is durable too. It has great shoulder straps and a foot wiping mat that covers them when not carrying it. This foot mat wrapes around the bottom when carrying which is great when putting you rucksack or something inside so it won't fall out the bottom. It's taco design also lends itself to storing stuff inside the mat and also means there is no join where the two halfs meet. At around £160 it's probably average price if not towards the more expensive end but in my opinion it's definitely worth spending more for a great mat like this with durable foam than buying a cheaper mat that isn't as good and might not last as long.
The metolius session would probably be my other choice but for different reasons. It's smaller, which is sometimes good if you don't have much space. It has good shoulder straps and a great closure system which is really good for stuffing things inside of, like you shoes and chalk bag. I think the foam is slightly softer than the moon pad but it's a good thickness and I've never had a problem with it. The diagonal join means there's less of a "gap" on the folding point. It's a bit cheaper. I think it's available atm for £115 at gooutdoor but I bought mine a while ago for £135, A reasonable price.
There are cheaper mats for £100 or less but if your gonna be using it regularly and want it to last then I reckon these are a good choice.
I chose my Organic Climbing pad based on it's great straps with waist and chest straps, comfy even with a heavy pack stuffed inside, appreciated on longer approaches.
Haven't used it enough to comment on it's durability, but it feels very sturdy and well put together.
Snap thats all I need to say!!
The snap ones are high quality but I find them pretty heavy. And they ain't cheap. I've a moon Saturn which has lasted a long time. It's bomb proof and the new model looks even better. I have a friend's DMM highball at the moment and I've been well impressed with it. Small enough that you could get 2 of them and they strap together. Keeps your stuff nice and secure inside. Foam is nice and thick. On sale recently and £140. I'd be tempted to get 2 of them over a big moon or snap pad. Same price, way more flexible. Not sure on the longevity of the foam though. Which is a major factor in the decision obviously.
Snap bun or equivalent. The former is on sale at a well known online retailer right now, I recommend it. Expect to spend at around £150. Why spend 50 quid less on something subpar that is such a crucial component in your bouldering kit that is going to last you years?
As the old adage goes buy cheap buy twice.
I've worn out loads over the years, and the brand which seems to be the best made with long-lasting foam is probably Moon. I've currently got a Warrior and a Saturn (so has Mrs Paul in Sheffield).
tbh, it's the Warrior which goes out to the crag the most, unless it's a reasonable walk in in which case the Saturn is the best out there. Bear in mind the size, and the fact you need to get it in a car!
My son has an Organic pad which looks really well made too and the foam is excellent, but hasn't been used enough to comment on longevity.
I've had some Snap pads, Bun and Burrito which were really good but weren't as robust as Moon. I also had the huge Snap pad with the air pockets inside, it was the Wrap I think. This was the very best pad I've ever owned for both sit starts and highballs, however the price is eye watering. The other problem is that I found the foam and air system in the pad degraded really fast. I just happened to walk on one in Outside and realised how bad mine had become!
Overall, if you can get it in your car, get a Saturn, otherwise a Warrior will do nicely. Enjoy.
There was a review on here very recently that might be useful:
I use a Mood Saturn and after 11 months (i only climb outside and the pads get used for my home moon board too) the foam went really soft (credit to Moon they replaced the foam free of charge, they have excellent customer service). The Foam is better in the Warrior but I found if i go out alone on occasion the Saturn is great and i usually strap my warrior to my saturn if I'm alone. Although generally theres a few of us and even then the size comes in really handy (i wouldn't go back to a small pad now as my main pad).
Although the fact its a Taco it needs to be stored unfolded (It does annoy my wife with 2 Saturns and a warrior unfolded in the conservatory)
Personally if (and when) I need to buy a new pad i would go Organic.
Just my experience so hope it helps
I do a lot of bouldering on my own, and love my DMM Highball. Durable and sturdy.
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