preparing for climbing with instructer and harness put on

Best Crash Pads for Your Home Climbing Gym

What is the Best Crash Pads for Your Home Climbing Gym in 2024? Here's a list of the Top 9 crash mats based on our experiences and expertise.

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 measures and equipment in place. Whatever the case is, choosing the best crash pad and bouldering mat 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, material, thickness, crash absorb factor and more. Follow along with our recommendations for the 8 best crash pads for a home climbing gym.

Best Crash Pads for Your Home Climbing Gym

What are the Best Crash Pads for Your Home Climbing Gym?

Below you’ll find the list of the top 9 Best Crash Pads for Your Home Climbing Gym. We compiled this list from crash pads we have used, asked others about, and researched further to give you the best possible roundup. With many years of experience with crash mats you can be assured that this article will give you what you’re looking for.

We also wrote a buying guide and answered some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) at the end of this article.

1. Black Diamond Drop Zone

Black Diamond Drop Zone
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Size: 35.4 x 23.6 x 23.6 inches (90 x 60 x 60 cm)
Material: PU-coated 1000d Nylon
Padding: Closed-cell PE foam
Pockets: Yes

The Black Diamond Drop Zone is a good beginner pad, durable, and perfect for low falls, and complete with a special waterproof backing. It is comfortable to carry into the wild, but 3.5 inches is not enough for higher falls. It works well as an additional pad to enlarge the fall zone or to protect the climber from rocks, or for lower to moderate routes

Pros

  • Good for low falls
  • Lightweight
  • The back is waterproof

Cons

  • Not a good mat for high falls,
  • Thinner foam than other pads,
  • Could be used to accompany other bigger pads

2. Metolius Recon

Metolius Recon
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 14.31 pounds (6.49 kg)
Size: 42 x 4 x 60 inches (106.6 x 10 x 152.4 cm)
Material: 900d body fabric with ballistics on bottom
Padding: 4″ / 100 mm Sandwich foam design
Pockets: No

The Metolius Recon is an extremely portable and durable pad engineered to keep you safe after low to moderate falls. While not the thickest of pads, the large surface area will give you confidence that there will be a soft landing should you drop off the wall. It works especially well as an additional mat as it is easy to carry, so is perfect for protecting you from rocks or enlarging the drop zone around a thicker pad.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Easy to open and close
  • Comfortable to carry

Cons

  • Not great for high falls,
  • The hinge can be rigid on uneven landings,
  • Not a lot of place to carry your gear

3. Petzl Nimbo Slider Foam Crashpad

Petzl Nimbo Slider Foam Crashpad
Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 1.54 pounds (0.7 kg)
Size: 29.5 x 19.7 x 1.2 inches (75 x 50 x 3 cm)
Material: Waterproof ultra durable Cordura ballistic fabric
Padding: Foam
Pockets: Yes

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.

Pros

  • Large surface area
  • Comfortable and thin enough for sit-starts

Cons

  • Not fit for high fallsIdeally used as a compliment to other crash pads

4. Mad Rock Mad Pad – Black

Mad Rock Mad Pad - Black
Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 17 pounds (6.25 kg)
Size: 25 x 37 x 12 inches (94 x 30.5 x 6.3 cm)

The Mad Rock Mad Pad is a sturdy all-around crash pad that climbers can rely on while bouldering. Although falling in the hinge could be an issue, it does give you a decent amount of protection. Newer pads can be a little on the stiff side, particularly for lighter or younger climbers, however, this does soften with use over time. The pad has a very generous five inches of padding, perfect for those slightly higher routes.

Pros

  • Great for high falls,
  • Compact and portable,
  • Thick and stiff foam

Cons

  • Could be too hard for kids,
  • Loses firmness over time,
  • Falling in the hinge won´t protect you as much

5. Metolius Session 2

Metolius Session 2
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 8.82 pounds (4 kg)
Size: 91.4 x 10.2 x 121.9 inches (122 x 10 x 91 cm)
Material: Burly 900d poly outer fabric
Padding: 4″ sandwich foam
Pockets: Yes

The Metolius Session 2 is a great pad for lower boulders and traverses that meander close to the ground. It is a lightweight pad that comes complete with a detachable piece of carpet for conveniently wiping off all the dirt that accumulates on your climbing shoes while being outdoors, which is one less thing you will have to remember to take with you. It is not the best pad for high-balls but will still provide some level of protection.

Pros

  • Good for medium and low falls
  • Useful carpet square to clean your shoes
  • Drag handles allow for easy positioning of the pad once its unfolded
  • Firm and sturdy but offers a soft landing

Cons

  • Carrying heavy loads could break the closure strap,
  • Not the best pad for high falls,
  • Stops the fall roughly
  • Threads may come loose after little useNot as soft as certain other crash pads

6. Petzl Alto

Petzl Alto
Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 12.57 pounds (5.7 kg)
Size: 118 x 10 x 100 inches (118 x 10 x 100 cm)
Material: Waterproof ultra durable Cordura ballistic fabric
Padding: 3 Layers Foam
Pockets: Yes

The Petzl Alto has some innovative features like its zip-up closure and rubberized corners, but it does have its drawbacks. The zip-closing system is great for securely carrying a limited amount of gear, and the lightweight compact design makes the portability of both the pad and your other bouldering gear a huge selling point in comparison to other pads on the market.

Pros

  • Innovative zip-up closure
  • Lightweight and big surface
  • Closure system keeps gear securely stored

Cons

  • Zipper could wear out prematurely,
  • Doesn´t fit a lot of gear inside it,
  • Needs to reinforce the rubberized corners

7. Black Diamond Pipe Dream 45 Crash Pad Pack

Black Diamond Pipe Dream 45 Crash Pad Pack
Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)

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.

Pros

  • Great for climbers who also boulder outdoors
  • Doubles as a backpack

Cons

  • 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

8. Beal Big Air Bag

Beal Big Air Bag
Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)

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.

Pros

  • Versatile and adaptable to a number of different sizes
  • Possibility of a very large surface area

Cons

  • Hard to transport
  • The larger the surface area used, the less padding offered

9. Evolv Iceman Crash Pad

Evolv Iceman Crash Pad
Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)

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.

Pros

  • No-slip friction corners
  • Even firmness is ensured across the whole pad, reducing the possibility of dangerous dead spots

Cons

  • 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)

Verdict

Based on all of our experience with crash mats, we found that Black Diamond Drop Zone is the best crash pad available today.

Our Premium Option is Metolius Recon with all the best features and high-quality materials, but that’s only if you have more money to spend.

However, if you are on a slightly tighter budget, you can also consider the Petzl Nimbo Slider Foam Crashpad as an affordable alternative.

Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:

What You Should Know Before Buying crash pads

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.

Precautions

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 or the campus board set up you installed, your crash pads may need to be placed closer to or farther from the wall than it seems.

Questions and Answers About crash pads

Besides a crash pad, what else do I need to climb?

There are several pieces of gear that you need in order to practice de sport. Check our article on getting your first set of rock climbing gear to know more about it. For those who do not have enough time to read another article, the short answer for outdoor bouldering is as follows:
Approach shoes
Climbing shoes
Climbing chalk (where it is allowed to use it)
Brushes to clean the holds
Comfortable climbing clothes
Drinking water
Something to clean your shoes with (helpful but not vital)
A friend to spot/film you (helpful but not vital)
Multiple cameras to document your awesomeness for the gram.

How do you fall properly bouldering?

While the best way to fall is not at all, falling is an inevitability, and while crash pads reduce the impact considerably, injury is still a possibility. The best way to fall is to flex your legs as you land, distributing the force of the fall, and eventually to sit. So, in other words, first your legs, and then your butt.
Try to avoid falling forward, although this is not always possible. Always try to throw your weight behind. If you are unsure of the best falling technique, try asking the staff at your local bouldering gym who will, more than likely, be happy to show you the safest way to dismount the wall.

How thick should a crash mat be?

There is no universal measure for the thickness of the crash pad. Thinner pads can be around inches and thicker pads can be around five, both of which have their pros and cons. The thickness you should use depends on how hard the fall may be. The higher the fall, the thicker the climbing mat needs to be to keep the climber safe. And, if you are in doubt, thicker pads are always better.

What are organic climbing pads?

Organic Climbing Pads is a brand of crash pads that makes bright-colored, high-quality, custom crash pads in the USA. They are renowned for having some of the best padding and prettiest colors on the market, however, are much more expensive than all of the pads on our list.

How do you carry multiple crash pads?

Not all crash pads come complete with a strapping system like the Mad Rock Due to carry more pads with, and so the climbing community has invented multiple creative methods for getting numerous pads to the boulders without the need for multiple trips to the car. You can often use the handles on the side of the pad to tie them together with carabiners. You can also stuff smaller pads inside larger pads. If it has backpack straps, you also have two spare hands for carrying gear and more crash pads. You can also tie them together with compression straps… The possibilities are endless!

How many crash pads do I need for bouldering?

This depends entirely on the route that you wish to climb, and how good you are at placing crash-pads. High boulders that travel more or less vertically require a thicker landing but less surface area covered, and two, well placed, well-padded pads should do the trick, or one pad and an expert spotter or two to move it accordingly. Lower traverses or boulders where you could fall in a range of directions require more of the ground to be protected but usually less padding. Again, this problem can be solved if somebody is expertly moving the pad as your climb. Be sure to fully evaluate the route, how you might fall, possible cruxes, possible dangers, and how to best protect the climber before placing pads and beginning each route. If in doubt, pad it out.

Lydia Y

Lydia Y

Lydia is an avid outdoor lover and wildlife enthusiast. She loves all kinds of nature escapades and enjoys immersing in the mountains and landscapes, hence the name Lydiascapes was born from there. She embarks on outdoor adventures like camping, hiking to skiing and water sports. She has travelled to 49 over countries to date and is waiting to conquer Norway in 2024.

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