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The GO Outdoors Guide To Bouldering Pads and Crash Mats

Bouldering is a style of climbing with no ropes, where falls tend to be more frequent than with standard climbing activities. 

With bouldering routes at varied heights, bouldering is an excellent place for beginners to get started as climbers, as well as a sport in it’s own right. For falls, boulderers need a soft landing pad. 

Bouldering pads (or crash pads), are designed to protect you on a fall and cushion you from impact. Created from shock absorbing foam, bouldering pads are an essential piece of safety equipment.

Disclaimer: Although bouldering pads are designed to protect you in a fall, you should be aiming to fall in a controlled fashion to avoid damage to both yourself and your pad. Safety is not guaranteed by using a  bouldering pad, and you should rely on spotters as you boulder for your safety, as well as common sense.

Bouldering Mat

Construction Of Bouldering Pads

Bouldering pad are thickly padded construction with layered foam. 

The outer layer is designed to be abrasion resistant free from rips and tears on impact. 

The inner is created from one layer of high density foam which can cope with impact, which is moulded to a medium density foam to take the full force of your fall. 

The foam’s thickness varies between sizes and designs, but is usually around 8-10cm thick. For severe landings, you can also double up on pads, although this may affect the stability of the pad when impact hits, so make sure they are fully secured.


Sizes of Bouldering Pads

Bouldering pads come in a variety of sizes, usually around 1-1.5m when unfolded.  Smaller pads can be purchased as subsiduary pads for use when the landing zone includes protruding rocks and tufts of grass.


Transporting A Bouldering Pad

You will need a bouldering pad that you can transport with ease. These come in three styles: 
  • Backpack Style: A backpack style with shoulder straps.
  • Sidestrap: for your shoulder.
  • Basic: A handle for carrying.


Additional Features In Bouldering Pads

Some bouldering pads have the ability to hold other essentials inside the bouldering pad (when folded). With secondary pockets you can keep items such as water bottles and your chalk and your cash safe as you climb.