The best crash pads in the test

Over the past few weeks, we have regularly visited the bouldering areas of Magic Wood, Brione and Cresciano and tested numerous crash pads for you. Among the tested crash pads were the Cirro from Petzl, Impact from Black Diamond, Full Pad from Organic Climbing, Incubator from Ocun and Guts from Snap.

What the rope is for sport climbing, is the crash pad for bouldering: An indispensable security element. Placed properly and spotted correctly , the crash pad helps to avoid injury. To save you the agony of choice, we have tested various crash pads for you, describe each model in detail and tell you what purpose is best for which model.

The Crash Pad Cirro by Petzl

The orange mat by Petzl is a pad that is commonly found in bouldering areas. At the Cirro with its masses of 148 x 118 x 12,5 cm is the largest model from Petzl. It has a continuous landing area (no kink in half, lower risk of injury) and consists of three different foam layers.

The carrying system with its wide shoulder and hip straps fits perfectly and is comfortable to wear. Thanks to the special coating, the belts can be covered during bouldering. The danger of getting caught in a loop and stumbling in the event of a fall is thus eliminated. The foam is very durable, according to friends who have long had the pad. This is where cheap models save, which in a relatively short time results in the foam losing its cushioning effect.

The Cirro from Petzl: a loyal companion for many boulderers - with good reason.

Very practical we found the system with the coating not only when bouldering, but also when carrying. You can confidently stick your shoes or brush in the top of the bouldering mat without slipping out of the bottom. The only downside to this system: If you regularly change the Boulder spot, it takes a little more time to pack the pad with its cover.

The practical cover of the Petzl Cirro protects against stumbling accidents.
The practical cover of the Petzl Cirro protects against stumbling accidents.

Petzl Cirro - summary

  • Comfortable carrying system with good hipbelt
  • No catching in the straps thanks to plating
  • High quality and durable foam
  • No kink in the half of the pad
  • Thanks to the cover, even loose items can be stored in it
  • To pack with more frequent change of location
  • Dimensions: 148 x 118 x 12,5 cm
  • Weight: 9 g
  • Price: 409 CHF

The Bouldering Crash Pad 'Full Pad' by Organic Climbing

The pads by Organic Climbing are probably the most beautiful models on the market. And the coolest part of it: you can choose the colors of the pad yourself. At least, if you order the pad directly at Organic Climbing in the shop. In local sales, colors can no longer be selected. But that's not tragic either, because the mats almost always look pretty and are always good at photos.

Beautiful, nicer, most beautiful: The Full Pad by Organic Climbing.

But now to the more important aspects of the pad. The organic pad's foam, like the Petzl Cirro, is known for its longevity. A special feature is the top foam layer (Memory Foam), which in the Full Pad and helps to prevent you from slipping a little when you fall on an incline, but sinking a little bit. The Full Pad is quite light in size, so it can be used in combination with a second small pad. A little tip: If you are traveling alone and want to take two pads with you, you can tie them together with a clamping set from the hardware store.

Top foam, solid workmanship.

The carrying system of the Full Pad is of high quality and very comfortable with hip and chest straps. In contrast to the Cirro, the structure of the pad is designed with a kink. This construction method is gentle on the foam because it is not bent and reduces the pack size. At the same time, however, it is also a risk in a certain way because, depending on the positioning along this "kink line", the upholstery is not optimal. It is important that no sharp stone protrudes into the gap from below. Since most pads are designed with a kink (see below), this is not a special disadvantage of the full pad, but rather an aspect that must be taken into account when laying out most bouldering mats.

Organic Climbing Full Pad - Summary

  • You decide the colors
  • High quality foam
  • Comfortable carrying system with hip and chest strap
  • lightness
  • In the lid a pocket is integrated, in which small us loose objects can be transported.
  • Dimensions: 122 x 91 x 10 cm
  • Weight: 5 g
  • Price: 315 CHF

The Crash Pad Incubator by Ocun

The Incubator from the Czech manufacturer Ocun is probably the largest and at the same time the smallest crash pad on the market. When laid out, it covers 2 meters and 10 centimeters in length and one meter in width. Its length makes it ideal for traverses or steeper passages (for example with the bouldering sofa surfer, snow board in Magic Wood) or when you are traveling alone. In the carry mode, however, it resembles a falafel. The two outer ends are folded inwards and the middle part is folded around it. So you won't get stuck between blocks or trees while walking - Magic Wood sends its regards - despite the generous dimensions of the pad. But: Thanks to the compact folding system of the Incubator, you cannot pack a backpack or large object between the pad layers.

This is how the crashpad incubator folds up.
This is how the crashpad incubator folds up.

Due to the system with the two folded ends, the Incubator has two points that you have to pay attention to when laying out (see more on the topic of "kinks" in the Full Pad model from Organic Climbing). Otherwise, the incubator with a thickness of 10 centimeters and a solid foam provides optimal protection in the event of a fall.

Covers a huge area: The Incubator by Ocun.

The carriers of the Incubator Pad are comfortably designed and breathable thanks to the holey construction. Somewhat getting used to is the roundness of the back part, which arises from the folding. By the way, the Incubator has neither a hip belt nor a chest belt. A nice and not to be despised feature hides in an intermediate layer of the pad: a carpet. This will allow you to clean the shoes before getting in. This not only helps you to get through but protects the rock. For those who climb with dirty (in Fontainebleau usually sandy) climbing shoes, polishes the kicks unnecessarily strong!

The rounding in the back area of ​​the Ocun Incubator Pad takes some getting used to.

Ocun Incubator - Summary

  • Good punch-through protection
  • Practical addition: carpet integrated in the pad
  • Comfortable shoulder straps. No hip and chest straps and getting used to the round shape of the back
  • Dimensions: 210 x 100 x 10 cm
  • Weight: 8 g
  • Price: ~ 300 CHF

The Bouldering Crash Pad Impact by Black Diamond

The model Impact by Black Diamond is the absolute lightweight in our test. The colorful and compact crash pad is suitable for boulder problems on smaller blocks or in combination with larger mats. The support system of the Impact is comfortable and has a hipbelt that allows weight to be shifted from the shoulders to the hips.

The attentive reader will now say that is not necessary because the impact is a lightweight. Yes and no. Because of its kink construction (similar to Full Pad and Guts) you can push a backpack or bag in between. And so the load on your back gets faster.

Small, lightweight and ideal in combination with larger pads: The Black Impact Bouldering Mat by Black Diamond.

The foam of the Impact has completely convinced in use. On one of the test days we have that Impact of Black Diamond combined with the Full Pad by Organic Climbing (see picture below) and were more than satisfied. Also when we jumped from the top to the impact, which was on roots, we landed safely. In the starting zone we have the two mats with two Starterpads by Petzl added. If you need a bit more mat surface, you can Impact also with the Black Diamond Mondo combine. As already mentioned, the Impact can be easily strapped to the Mondo with a tensioning set.

Black Diamond Impact - Summary

  • The Impact is compact and lightweight
  • The colorful design is striking
  • ideal for small blocks or to combine with a second pad
  • Smaller items cannot be transported in a "sandwich". There is no special pocket for small items.
  • Dimensions: 100 x 114 x 10 cm
  • Weight: 4 g
  • Price: 209 CHF

The Crashpad Guts by Snap

Bouldermatte_Crashpad_Snap_Guts_Test_

The crashpads from the French manufacturer Snap can also be seen more and more frequently in Swiss bouldering areas. They stand out not only because of their color, but also because of their material. The shell of the foam is - better than all the other pads in the test - highly water and dirt repellent (TPU). The inner workings are also special. Due to its chamber construction, the pad becomes harder in the event of a high impact and thus better cushions high falls. With its height of 15 centimeters, that belongs Guts to the thickest boulder mat of our test. It is therefore very well suited for higher boulder problems.

The Snap Guts with its unique air cushion system convinces.

The shoulder straps are, as with most pads in the test, convincing. Somewhat disturbing we found the thick velcro of the shoulder straps in the neck area. This is there to remove the shoulder straps without further ado and to stow them in the pad, thus preventing the risk of tripping when jumping off. But this thick velcro presses something on the neck when worn. Like the incubator is at Guts of Snap also a carpet on board.

View of Crashpad Guts with Velcro in the neck area.

The guts like the Full Pad, Incubator and Impact is constructed with a kink. An intelligent detail of the French reduces the danger of injury along the line: Several velcros hold the pad together in the unfolded state along this crease line.

Snap Guts - Summary

  • Excellent for high blocks thanks to chamber construction
  • Lockable kink thanks to Velcro
  • Practical addition: carpet integrated in the pad
  • Smaller items cannot be transported in a "sandwich". There is no special pocket for small items.
  • Dimensions: 150 x 100 x 15 cm
  • Weight: 8 g
  • Price: 274 CHF

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