Crash pads - Quality vs. quantity


Original Post
Anson Call · · Provo, UT · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 30

I was looking through this thread

Crash pad suggestions

and it got me thinking...

What are your opinions considering the quality vs. number of pads you buy/use? I don't boulder that often, but when I do, it's usually with my wife or maybe a couple of sport climber friends who don't have many (if any) crash pads.

If I really want to be safe, should I spend money on one nice big Organic ($300) or four to six second-hand mad rock/ metolius pads ($50-100 each)?

I understand that a crappy pad isn't any better than hitting the dirt if you still break your ankle, but think about it... you could cover more area, two pads deep, with 4-6 used/cheap pads than you could with one big, expensive pad. Plus, you have more flexibility with separate pads to cover up that wierd rock, the traversing moves, the sit start, or whatever. And in many, many cases, a crappy pad is WAY better than no pad at all - so that extra surface area is important.

On the flipside - sometimes having one big pad is better because there are less pad edges to roll your ankle on. And 6 pads don't fit well in a small car or studio apartment. And a good spotter should to be able to move the pad to keep it under you.

How many of you have been hurt because you missed your pads? How many of you have been hurt because you hit your pads, but they didn't do their job?

Thoughts?

EeT · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 0

I myself like to carry one pad along with my shoes, snacks, ect.... so I like my big stiff organic pad.. its not as stiff as rocks and earth but it works

Rob Gordon · · Hollywood, CA · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 105

The organic big 5" is the way to go. Its not just about surface area. It's about longevity. The other pads will be bottomed out in a season of heavy use.

But surface area is also important. When you put two pads next to each other, the connection point ends up being right where you are likely to fall. And Murphy's Law applies when it comes to landing in between pads.

It's also really nice to just carry one big pad.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

I guess the cop-out answer is "both". Really, though, this is a sensible and common approach. It is nice to have a high quality "A-team" pad, i.e. the one you take if only one pad is going along. This is especially true if there is a decent hike in, and carrying more than one pad would be impractical--so its nice if the one you do carry in is a good quality and large pad. Then, to supplement this, you can fill in with a collection of older, cheaper, and/or second-hand "B-team" pads that you bring along when you need a lot of foam, or when doing a solo session, or when roadside, etc.

A good setup is to have a big pad (such as the Organic Big Pad) for the main landing zone, and then a smaller satellite pad to pad the start, fill in a gap, etc. The smaller pad can either strap on the back of the big pad, or potentially be folded inside.

RockinOut · · NY, NY · Joined May 2010 · Points: 100

Question...how are you going to carry in 4 - 6 crash pads. Im just thinking that you'll get tired of doing that everytime you want to boulder. Isnt having your pad under you your spotters job...or to redirect you back onto the pad so you don't hit the dirt?

Mike Brady · · Van Diesel, OR · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 681

I feel that regardless of the pad(s) you have the most important thing is knowing how to use them. Padcraft is just like protection in other facets of climbing, there are very few absolutes and knowing how to adapt to a given situation is much more important than having shiny gear, and just like climbing with a rope, you the climber are your best piece of pro. With that said, quality is always a good choice, quality of stitching, straps, shell, and foam. It will be worth it in the long run. I have a flashed pad that is going on ten years of heavy usage, well worth the cost.

Anson Call · · Provo, UT · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 30
RockinOut wrote:Question...how are you going to carry in 4 - 6 crash pads.
Yeah, good point. I guess a lot of places I go are pretty much roadside, but a few aren't. So that's a +1 for the big pad.
Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,610
RockinOut wrote:Question...how are you going to carry in 4 - 6 crash pads. Im just thinking that you'll get tired of doing that everytime you want to boulder.
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Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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