SNAP Guts Bouldering Mat
Rob Greenwood justifies his recent trip to Font with a thorough look at SNAP's latest pad, the curiously named 'Guts'.
My initial thought when I first saw the pad was 'wow, that's chunky.' For the past few years I've been a cheeky bugger and made the most of my friends' extensive supply of pads. The only pad I've ever bought lies disused on the floor of the shed, lamenting how thin its foam has become. What a change the Wrap Original Crash Pad from SNAP made! My lasting impression is that it packs in as much foam as possible, while maintaining a comfort whilst carrying that I have rarely seen in bouldering pads.
"When you fall from a low height, air is driven out through small holes in the wrapping, giving you a nice soft catch. For larger falls, less air escapes due to the speed at which you are travelling, making the foam feel firmer"
Where better to test the Wrap Crash Pad than the bouldering Mecca of the world? No, not Caley.
On our first day in Font, we laid the pad out on the sand and sat down to put on our rock boots (eat croissants). The foam felt soft, which in my experience has never been a good sign. Tentatively, I began warming up and started jumping off. Surprisingly, the pad felt firm and at no point did I fear for my heels. After further research into the pad's construction, I've found out this is due to twenty wrapped individual foam cells. When you fall from a low height air is driven out through small holes in the wrapping, giving you a nice soft catch. For larger falls, far less air escapes due to the speed at which you are travelling, making the foam feel firmer.
By today's standards, the pad is roughly in the middle of the size range. At 100x70x45cm when closed, it's not big enough that you have to consider buying a new car alongside it, but it's also not made to run around the red circuit at Rocher aux Sabots in 45 minutes. It is an all round versatile mat which can be used by itself in most situations. The 'taco' style folding system means that it can easily pad out uneven landings, making it particularly ideal for many UK venues where you're not climbing above a perfectly flat, sandy beach.
I've found when wearing some pads in the past that the weight of the foam (especially when carrying a rucksack inside the pad) causes the pad to sit quite uncomfortably on your back, and that it refuses to align with your back unless the straps are cutting off most of the blood supply to the arms. I was relieved to discover that the Wrap was comfortable to carry even with a rucksack stuffed in the middle, which seems to be normal behaviour for most boulderers. Presumably due to the durability of the outer material and the positioning of the straps, the pad (nearly) feels like a large rucksack when being carried. Essentially, there is also the option of a waist strap - which in my opinion all pads need, especially for longer walk-ins. This has to be bought separately which is one drawback.
The Wrap Crash Pad is an extremely versatile and durable pad and after using it for several months now, it shows no signs of giving up any time soon. It comes into its own on particularly long walk-ins due to its reasonable size and exceptional comfort. The system the pad uses to create comfort for small falls and firmness for larger ones appears to work seamlessly. The mat is ideal for those looking for something that they can use on their own and still have the confidence to go a bit higher than usual. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an all round product.
For more info see snapclimbing.com
This is a revolutionary crash-pad with a patented variable hardness.
The "tournedos" is an exclusive construction: a reinforcement in 'ballistic' polyester (1680 denier, the thickest on the market) goes all the way round the crash-pad. No seams along the edges – try to find a harder wearing pad. Climb or boulder without a backward thought!
This makes the WRAP ORIGINAL relatively soft and comfortable for sitting starts and low falls, but the higher you get and the longer the fall, the more the pad firms up. This is because the PU foam is separated into 20 individual cells, each measuring 30x25x12cm. Each foam cell is enveloped in a taffeta wrap which is lightly pierced. A small fall will cause the air to be driven out through these holes, but not so with a higher fall! In this case the air is retained by the wrap because the speed of impact is higher and the air has not sufficient time to be evacuated. The net result is to have a firmer pad for a higher impact fall. Simple but so effective!
It is a one piece model, so no danger of going over on your ankle.
|Snap crash pads now available, with FREE UK delivery|
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