With bouldering arguably the easiest form of climbing to get into, the world has seen a surge in the popularity of bouldering pads (or mats or whatever they are called in your part of the world). The concept is simple: some thick, closed cell, high density foam to stop you from walking away with 2 snapped ankles.
Yet, buying a bouldering mat is like an art. You need a degree to understand the complexities at play. Taco anybody?
So what are you looking for? Price, density, overall size? Our research into the current bouldering pads on offer brought about some interesting and noteworthy points.
Bouldering Pad’s are big, and whether to buy a hinged mat or a Taco (seemless) is a buyers nightmare. Hinged pafs have a distinct fold line. This makes for a more compact mat as there is no dead air when the mat is folded in half. The disadvantage of this fold is that there is a slight dead spot where no padding exists.
The other type is the ‘taco’ type of fold. This is ensures that full mat area is padded with no dead spots. This creates some problems in terms of how you store these items as the ‘closed’ volume of the pad tends to be bigger. Companies like Snap have created concertina systems that allow for a neater storage solution, but these tend to be at a premium.
How Thick Are You?
On the inside of your pad is a layer or hard, high density foam mixed with thinner foam to give excellent shock absorbance. The harder foam helps spread the force of the impact. Thicker pads, like Ocun’s Paddy Dominator lead the way in construction style.