How to Choose the Best Crash Pads
Perhaps the quarantine inspired you to build a home climbing gym, or you had already built one and are just looking to complete it with the proper safety gear. Whatever the case is, choosing the best crash pad is one of the most important steps in perfecting a home climbing gym. Read on to find out everything you should keep in mind when choosing your crash pads, along with our recommendations for the 8 best crash pads for a home climbing gym.
Features to Look Out For
Crash pads come in a variety of different sizes and materials. Because a crash pad that will be used in a climbing gym doesn’t have to be moved, its weight won’t be as important as a consideration. However, you’ll want to pay close attention to the size of the crash pad, as you’ll need it to protect an entire climbing wall.
Additionally, it’s important to pay attention to material of the crash pad, as this will determine its durability and the ease with which it can be cleaned. Finally, pay close attention to the thickness of the crash pad. While thinner crash pads can be good for covering awkward corners or gaps, you’ll want to make sure that you have a thicker crash pad to cover areas where you’ll be taking higher or less controlled falls.
There are a number of precautions that you should take before using and purchasing a crash pad. To begin, as we mentioned above, ensuring that the crash pad is the proper thickness for its purpose is very important. If you are using too thin a crash pad to protect a high or awkward fall, you run the risk of injury. However, using a crash pad that is too thick to fold over a corner can also be a safety hazard.
It is also very important to make sure that none of your crash pads are overlapping, as falling on an uneven surface can cause a twisted ankle. Inversely, you must be sure that all areas of ground are completely covered by your crash pads. Leaving even a small gap that isn’t covered can turn what would be a harmless fall into a serious injury.
How to Properly Use a Crash Pad
There are a couple of things that you must keep in mind when properly using a crash pad. First off, it’s important to remember all of the considerations listed above regarding thickness of the crash pad. Additionally, you’ll have to make sure that there are no overlapping spaces or gaps between crash pads.
On top of that, you’ll want to measure out the potential fall zone of where you will be climbing before placing your crash pads. Depending on the incline of your wall, your crash pads may need to be placed closer to or farther from the wall than it seems.
8 Best Crash Pads for a Home Climbing Gym
In a hurry?
If you want to find out what the best crash pad is, then I’d recommend the Petzl Nimbo as the best one.
The Black Diamond Drop Zone Crash Pad is sure to hold up to the test of time. It is a lightweight crash pad that offers basic fall protection, making it a hardy and great crash pad for your outdoor bouldering or your home wall.
- Lightweight but high quality
- Durable and long-lasting
- Limited colors (pink and yellow)
- Relatively small surface area
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This lightweight crash pad, which comes in two colors (green or grey), is your standard, durable crash pad, fit for both a home gym and for taking to an outdoor bouldering area. At a reasonable price of $170, it’s a great option for someone looking for basic protection for their home climbing gym.
- Drag handles allow for easy positioning of the pad once its unfolded
- Firm and sturdy but offers a soft landing
- Threads may come loose after little use
- Not as soft as certain other crash pads
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If you’ve got a home climbing gym and also love bouldering outdoors, the Black Diamond Pipe Dream 45 Crash Pad Pack may be your best option. Some of its best features are its multiple storage pockets for bringing everything you need to the crag, but its soft landing is fit for falls both at home and out in the wild.
- Great for climbers who also boulder outdoors
- Doubles as a backpack
- Not as large of a surface area as other crash pads
- Extra storage space not necessary if you just plan on leaving it in your home climbing gym
The Beal Big Air Bag is a unique crash pad design that is especially fit for a home climbing gym thanks to its foldable layers. Its rolling and folding design helps to eliminate blank spots, and you can choose a harder or softer landing depending on the height of your wall.
- Versatile and adaptable to a number of different sizes
- Possibility of a very large surface area
- Hard to transport
- The larger the surface area used, the less padding offered
The Mad Rock Mad Pad is a compact crash pad that offers an incredibly soft landing, even at five inches-thick. Fit for high and low falls alike, the Mad Rock Mad Pad is everything you could want in a basic crash pad. An added plus, it comes in a wide variety of colors, so you can coordinate with your home wall if you please.
- Compact and lightweight
- Comes in a variety of colors
- Looses firmness over time
- Can’t be folded or spread out, so if it doesn’t fit in your home gym area it would be hard to make adjustments
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Thanks to the fact that it folds up into three sections, this crash pad has an extensive surface area that is sure to cover the majority of your home wall fall space. However, due to its large surface area, it is relatively thin, so you won’t want to use it to protect high falls. It may best be used as a supplement to other crash pads.
- Large surface area
- Perfect for low falls
- Thin padding not appropriate for high falls
- Tri-fold hinge can be awkward depending on the shape of the space that you are looking to protect
This traditional crash pad has some unique features that make it a great addition to any home climbing gym. Its high friction corners help to keep the pad in place, ensuring safe coverage for falls. Additionally, its special closures system prevents the pad from breaking down or forming dead spots. At only $150, it’s one of the more affordable options on the market.
- No-slip friction corners
- Even firmness is ensured across the whole pad, reducing the possibility of dangerous dead spots
- A bit on the heavier side (8 pounds)
- Not as large as other crash pads on the market, so may not be suitable for a wide/tall home climbing wall (or you will have to supplement with other crash pads)
The Petzl Nimbo is another crash pad that offers a lot of surface area but not so much padding. It’s a great addition if you already have other thicker crash pads in place, as its thin and lightweight design is not safe for high falls. It is best used for protecting open space between two crash pads.
- Large surface area
- Comfortable and thin enough for sit-starts
- Not fit for high falls
- Ideally used as a compliment to other crash pads
At the end of the day, our best pick for your home gym would have to be the Petzl Nimbo. It is one of the most affordable options, meaning that you could combine it with other smaller crash pads if necessary. It offers friction corners to minimize movement, and its design and firmness eliminate dead spots. Though it is on the heavier side, leaving it in your home climbing gym will mean that you don’t have to move it around, so its weight is a non-issue.