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My first bouldering crash pad - advice please

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 pwhitmarsh 22 May 2020

Hi,

Sorry if this has been asked a million times before. I did try having a search but couldn't find anything to answer my specific questions.

My girlfriend and I are going to start doing some outdoor bouldering, after 3+ years of indoors. Looking to buy a decent crash mat which will serve us many years into the future - not just something cheap and basic that I'll want to replace in a year.

Few notes

  • My girlfriend is pretty nervey about the whole thing, so I think something that offers a lot of support will be helpful for her, even for quite low falls.
  • I've got a reasonably big car (Hyundai Ioniq) so space shouldn't be an issue.

It seems that stock is limited in some places, but here's what I've come up with as a shortlist of pads that I could buy today:

  • Ocun Paddy Dominator - £204
  • Snap Rebound - £193
  • DMM Highball - £205
  • Organic Full Pad - £225
  • Psychi Quake - £160
  • Petzl Alto - £195

I'm currently leaning towards the Ocun based on the reading that I've done. The Psychi seems like a really good price but I'm struggling to find a huge amount of info about them online. Organic seems universally well rated but not sure if I'm getting any more for the extra money. Snap have loads of pads but again, struggled with researching the quality. And Petzl is obviously a premium brand but only 10cm thick so I wondered if it would offer as much cushion as the others.

Does the Ocun seem like a sound choice? Or would you recommend any others from that list?

I'd also liked the look of the Moon ones but they aren't in stock anywhere right now.

Thanks very much!

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 tjdodd 22 May 2020
In reply to pwhitmarsh:

I have the Ocun and it is really good.  Big and thick and instils confidence.  One think I really like about it is that you can change it from short and fat to long and thin.

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 pwhitmarsh 22 May 2020
In reply to tjdodd:

> I have the Ocun and it is really good.  Big and thick and instils confidence.  One think I really like about it is that you can change it from short and fat to long and thin.

Thank you! That's really good to know. Out of interest, do you know what you paid for it? It seems that prices might be a little higher at the moment due to various stock issues. Happy to spend a little more than usual but don't want to be completely ripped off.

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 Andypeak 22 May 2020
In reply to pwhitmarsh:

Not a massive bouldering fan but I do a bit and I've been quite impressed by my alpkit pad. They are locally made and they can replace the foam when it wears out which I've not heard of other brands doing

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 tjdodd 22 May 2020
In reply to pwhitmarsh:

I paid £250 about 2-3 years ago.  So I think £204 is a good price.

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 pwhitmarsh 22 May 2020
In reply to Andypeak:

Thanks. I did have Alpkit on my initial longer shortlist, but ended up removing just due to lack of reviews or info. I'm not desperate to make the list any longer so unless a bunch of people tell me that Alpkit is the way to go then I think I'll just stick with my initial thoughts. Appreciate the input though

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In reply to pwhitmarsh:

Not much specific help with any of those models as I do precious little bouldering outdoors but have you seen the group review from a while back?

https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/climbing/bouldering_mats/mid-sized_bouldering_mats-10017 

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 pwhitmarsh 22 May 2020
In reply to angry pirate:

> Not much specific help with any of those models as I do precious little bouldering outdoors but have you seen the group review from a while back?

Thanks for sharing. Yep I had a good look through that for my research and it allowed me to remove some which were previously on my list. Unfortunately the Moon Warrior isn't available anywhere or I would've probably gone for that. 

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 Phil79 22 May 2020
In reply to pwhitmarsh:

Currently looking for a new mat as well. My two pennies worth having owned a few (albeit cheaper ones, mainly Alpkit) and fallen on a few more:

Ocun Dominator - well made, thick, big, versatile, expensive. You see alot of them around for a very good reason. A safe choice if you don't mind the cost.

Snap, Organic, Petzl - always think of these as fairly top end brands, pretty cool etc, not sure you get a great deal more for your money in some cases.  

Psychi - I'm intrigued by these. Outwardly they look very good for the money, and well designed. The tri fold ones looks huge. I've seen a few in use, but not tried one. They seem to be gaining a following. I'd like to know how durable the outer is, and what the foam quality is like. 

Also, perhaps stating the obvious here, but having two mats (or more) is often very useful. Great for traverses, high balls, covering awkwardly placed boulders etc.   

Post edited at 16:36
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 spenser 22 May 2020
In reply to pwhitmarsh:

I've got an Organic Pad which I got second hand from someone on here, it's a really solid pad.

The Alpkit pads are also decent quality and UK manufactured (if that's a big deal for you). Whichever pad you do buy, if you find that the foam is getting really soft and squidgy in a few years time you can always give Alpkit the dimensions for your pad and they will cut you an appropriate sized piece of foam to sell you (or at least they were willing to do this for my university club's bouldering mats which were all a bit shagged when I became gear secretary).

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 k_os 22 May 2020
In reply to pwhitmarsh:

I'm currently in the same decision making process, and dropped the alpkit options because they're currently out of stock, and will be for some time according to the person I spoke to at alpkit as their factory isn't currently running (they're UK made)

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 mrphilipoldham 22 May 2020
In reply to Phil79:

I’ve had my psychi for 3 years and it’s lasted brilliantly with use maybe 2-3 times a week. The outer is pretty much as new.. if it wasn’t for the fact it was baby blue it’d probably be the original colour too! The foam is still good, and no reason to question it. Probably not as good as new but after thousands of landings it wouldn’t be

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 pwhitmarsh 22 May 2020
In reply to Phil79:

This is super helpful. Thanks so much for your insight!

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 Phil79 22 May 2020
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

Cool, thanks. In which case I may well invest in one! 

Do you have the quake or standard one?

And does yours have the triangular flap, and can you use it to strap a second mat in?

Thanks 

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In reply to pwhitmarsh:

Pads are like ropes, you will end up owning several so no need to overthink it.

It often takes several pads to protect a problem.  If you only have one and don't expect to be climbing in a group where other people have brought pads too make it a big one so you are more likely to be above it when you fall off.

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 HeMa 22 May 2020
In reply to pwhitmarsh:

Only getting one pad. Get a big one. Organic Big Pad would be my suggestion. Lovely, robust and big. 
 

I also like Snaps, the P’tit Wraps I have are still on good condition despite a lot of abuse (same as with the Big Pad). The only major con with these is the fact when you’re doing sit starts. With no impact, the things will come flat and almost feel like you have no pad at all.

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In reply to pwhitmarsh:

I currently use an Organic Full Pad and an Ocun Dominator.  The Ocun is substantially bigger and thicker and a lot spongier than the Organic,  So it is a larger and more comforting landing zone, particularly for short, sharp falls.   The Organic is denser and firmer.  Short falls can be a little jarring but it feels more reassuring for long falls and I suspect it will last longer.  It also has a much better carrying system - decent padded straps with a waist belt. 

Not sure which I would pick if I was limited to one pad.  Probably the Ocun if I went to crags with short walk-ins and wanted optimum coverage and comfort, and the Organic if I was primarily interested in durability or did a lot of long yomps to moorland crags. 

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 mrphilipoldham 22 May 2020
In reply to Phil79:

No mines the older model now.. just called the bifold from what I remember! 

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 olddirtydoggy 22 May 2020
In reply to pwhitmarsh:

I have a Dmm Highball and I bought it because it was half price. Is it a great pad? It seems to work. I can't imagine there is a huge amount of difference between the pads unless you're looking at specific larger sizes. Depending on how wealthy you're feeling right now, I'd go hunt a deal or buy second hand.

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 George88 23 May 2020

Anyone got a Psychi tri fold? Kinda tempted by it. Not really done any outdoor bouldering because everyone I know who's been injured climbing has done it outdoor bouldering. It's scared me off a bit. Like the fact the tri fold seems to be massive. 

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 lceman 23 May 2020
In reply to George88:

I bought a Psychi quake tri fold just before the start of the restrictions.  It's the first pad I've owned or used, so I can't make any comparisons to other pads.  So far its holding up well to being scraped along a breeze block wall three times a week, some stitching is looking a bit fuzzy, but it hasn't seemed to have a big impact yet.  The fabric still looks like new.  In the limited time I used it, I found the suspension system comfortable enough, although it did sit quite high (I'm 6' FYI).  I'm not sure how much I trust it for carrying items too and from the crag.  It seemed like stuff would be able to work its was out of the sides.  I haven't properly fallen on it yet, only feet first and in a controlled manner.  The foam is quite stiff, and would probably absorb high falls well, but low falls may be a bit jarring.  At the end of the day I bought it because it was a lot of foam for not a lot of money, and I'd probably buy another one, if I ever need to.  

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 ianstevens 23 May 2020
In reply to George88:

They’re absolutely hateful to carry and not noticeably much bigger than a large snap or moon pad. Also far less nice to land on. Cheaper for a reason!

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 pwhitmarsh 23 May 2020
In reply to pwhitmarsh:

Thanks everyone for the advice. I've gone ahead and ordered the Ocun Dominator. I'm sure I'll end up buying a 2nd pad sooner than later, but happy that I've spent time researching this one so it should make things easier next time.

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In reply to pwhitmarsh:

I'm sure that will work fine.

Just for other's benefit when we started bouldering we bought the giant Petzl pad as we didn't have any 'boulder buddies' and wanted the max area for the money.

In hindsight that was a mistake as it's heavy to carry any distance and is awkward to fit in the car along with dog, kids etc. It's now working really well under our system board, however, so no worries.

I think getting two smaller pads would have been a better idea.

For the same money I think I would now go for the SNAP Guts pad reviewed here...

https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/climbing/bouldering_mats/snap_guts_bouldering_mat-12334

as I really like the idea of the 'airbag' feature. (I'm a big coward when bouldering!)

Enjoy and Stay Alert!

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