GROUP TEST: Mid-Sized Bouldering Mats

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 UKC Gear 03 Apr 2018
How many is too many?, 4 kbBouldering mats have come a long way since the beer towel. Not only do modern pads give a better landing, they are also bigger, easier to carry and boast useful extra features. This test highlights the range of options currently available.

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 Dennis999 03 Apr 2018
In reply to UKC Gear:

Worth looking at the Mammut Slam too, bit harder to get hold of but really well made. Had mine 4 years or so and its still like new other than the mud.

 Lord_ash2000 03 Apr 2018
In reply to UKC Gear:

Interesting to see the moon winning out over the organic. I guess it's just a matter of value over quality. (I own a moon, but climb with people who use organics)

In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> I guess it's just a matter of value over quality. (I own a moon, but climb with people who use organics)

It's a little bit more than that: it's larger (in terms of surface area), deeper (in terms of padding), and has a more comfortable carrying system (not to mention one that stays dry). The fact that it's good value only adds to what in my eyes was already a very strong contender. When using all of the pads (and believe me, I used all the pads) the Moon Warrior really did come out as the obvious winner. In fact, having just got back from a three week trip to Bishop it is quite telling that I took the Moon Pad with me...

That said, back at home I tend to favour a bigger pad, which coincidentally is an Organic Big Pad (which I reviewed back in 2015), but couldn't justify taking a pad that large to the States.

 ianstevens 04 Apr 2018
In reply to UKC Gear:

If you want a DMM Highball but want to save £10 -£15, buy an Ocun Moonwalk instead. They're virtually identical, but the latter is, for some reason, cheaper.

 UnkArl 04 Apr 2018

And no Metolius Session? Surely one of the best featured and certainly best priced pads available.

 BobbyH 04 Apr 2018
In reply to UKC Gear:

Think you've got confused with the Snap pad - the one appearing to be tested is the 'French Toast', but the dimensions quoted and the initial picture, are of the 'Maxi Toast', which is bigger and thicker than the basic French Toast

 markalmack 04 Apr 2018
In reply to UKC Gear:

I belive Organic pads got there reputation for excellent, long lasting foam when they used to be imported from America. Now the ones sold in the UK have the foam sourced locally, and is not as good. If you're on a trip to America and have some spare baggage allowance, I would suggest you buy one over there.

This is just a rumour I heard, but having used pads from both continents, something rings true.

 Lord_ash2000 04 Apr 2018
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Must admit I quite like not getting a muddy back carrying the moon and there is less messing about in general. But I do like the stiff foam and solid build of the organics. Good to see a comprehensive review anyway I'll feel less out outclassed next time I throw my moon down with the organics now.  

Post edited at 14:01
In reply to markalmack:

That is an amazing rumour, but sadly untrue. The pads are still imported from the US (in fact, there's a shipment due in any day now) and are the exact same foam/materials.

Maybe using an Organic Pad in the States is like drinking a pint of Guinness in Ireland


Post edited at 18:42
 Alkis 11 Apr 2018
In reply to UKC Gear:

I wonder if BD has actually improved the longevity of their foam. Every single BD mat I have encountered, including my own and many friends’ over several years, has become a dangerous floor mat to wipe your shoes on in an unacceptably short period of time of less than a year.

For reference, my Moon Saturn is stiffer after 5-6 years of heavy use than my BD was after 6 months.

One guy brought a BD Impact to Font that I could only describe as a thick towel, as I could fold it in 4...!


Post edited at 11:10
In reply to Alkis:

Having used the old BD Impact Zone (n.b. the old light blue Franklin-esq model) I would say that the foam within the current Impact is a significant improvement. That said, it is still quite thin - especially by more modern standards - so not overly inspiring once you're up high, but what foam it does have will (in my opinion) last longer.

Not sure which model your friend was using mind you?

 Alkis 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Googling, it seems it was the previous generation of Drop Zone, not the Impact. In fact, all of the ones once encountered, including my old one seem to just be different revisions of the Drop Zone.

It had gotten to the point where anyone asking for pad advice would get my recommendation to not touch BD with a barge pole.

Edit: further googling shows that the models have been shuffled around and changed names a bit, so god knows which one is which...!

Post edited at 11:33
 SDM 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Alkis:

They changed their foam quite a few years ago, some time during the orange colour design.

My mate bought one of the early orange design pads somewhere around 2011 or 2012 and it is as flat as a pancake despite only being used a few times a year. It's only purpose now is to keep your shoes clean or to use as the bottom layer of a stack of pads for a highball.

I bought one about 6 months later that gets used every week. It has softened a bit and I wouldn't use it as my only pad on something high but it has held up far better than the foam in the earlier Black Diamond or Alpkit pads.

The updated foam isn't up to the standards of Organic/Moon/Snap but is far better than the earlier ones. I don't know what the foam is like in the newer Yellow design, it feels fine when I've landed on other people's but I cant speak for its longevity.

Post edited at 13:36

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