For a boulderer a good crash pad is essential, and now, with more options than ever, choosing the right crash pad can be tricky. We’ve taken some of the work out for you and tested three pads from some of the top climbing companies in the world. Today we’ll run through the pros and cons, specs and features of the Organic Simple Pad, Metolius Session Pad, and Evolv Maverick. Before we get started let me give you a quick intro to each pad. The Organic Simple is exactly that, a simple design with high quality, stiff foam, tough, durable exterior, customizable features, and is made completely in the US of A. The Metolius Session is the most affordable of the pads, and features some extra bells and whistles like a flap closure system with a stash pocket and carpet for wiping off dirty shoes. The Evolv Maverick is a slightly larger pad, with a width of 40″, has a flap closure system, and is built to take a beating. Now, let’s get into the details.
Fit: All three of these pads fit comfortably and each have padded shoulder straps. Both the Organic and Evolv pads have a two level suspension system, so if you’re a shorty like me, you can move the shoulder straps down for a better fit. Here are the major features of each suspension system:
The Metolius pad weighs in lightest at just 9 pounds, Organic falls in the middle, and Evolv is a hefty 12 pounds. In the Maverick’s defense it is 4 inches wider than the other two pads, which may account for the extra weight.
Form: All of the pads are aesthetically pleasing, but we absolutely love that you can choose the colors and design of your Organic pad. Want a heart on it? How about your state flag? Organic has got you covered.
As for the Evolv pad, we have a blue version (see photo above), but the newest model is orange on the inside and green on the outside. While Metolius keeps it sleek and simple with a gray and black color scheme.
Function: Here’s where we really get into the meat of the comparison, so let’s get going piece by piece.
- Organic – 36″ x 48″ x 4″
- Metolius – 36″ x 48″ x 4″
- Evolv – 40″ x 48″ x 4″
- Organic – Constructed from USA-made Ballistic nylon, which also happens to be used in making bullet proof vests! Needless to say, these covers are durable.
- Metolius – Moderately durable cover, but if you’re really going to beat up your pad you may want to go with one of the other pads or with the Session pad’s burlier big brother, the Metolius Boss Hogg.
- Evolv – Made of a tough, study fabric with high friction corners, which help keep the pad in place and protect from wear.
- Organic – Very high quality, firm foam, made of three distinct layers designed to provide you with a safe landing time and time again. The foam in this system seems like the most sophisticated and highest quality of the three pads.
- Metolius – Firm and sturdy. This system is made of three layers, but only with two different types of foam.
- Evolv – Softest foam of the three pads, and like the Metolius is made of three layers, with two different types of foam.
- Organic – Three metal hook and loop buckles along the side and one on the bottom to help keep your belongings inside the pad.
- Metolius – Flap closure system with just one metal buckle. I found the flap difficult to stretch around the pad, but others have no problem with it. Just having to buckle once is definitely a plus when you’re on the move.
- Evolv – Flap closure system with two buckles.
- Organic – Double handles on open side and single handle on hinged side, giving you the most options for carrying.
- Metolius – Single handle on hinged side.
- Evolv – Double handles on open side.
Finances: The Metolius Session Pad is the most affordable, coming in at $149. Then we have the Organic Simple Pad at $175. And finally coming in at a little more is the Evolv Maverick at $195. All of these are fair and reasonable prices for bouldering pads, your choice will simply come down to what you’re looking for in a pad.
The Takeaway: Choosing a pad can be tough, so here’s a little recap of each one.
- Organic – Perfect for the girl (or guy) who knows what they want. Known for their outstanding customer service, the folks at Organic will get you the exact pad you want and it will be made of the highest quality materials to keep you safe.
- Metolius – Great, affordable pad, for the climber who wants to hit the boulders with nothing but a pad. You can store all of your small goods in the stash pocket and the rest of your stuff will be held securely inside the pad by the flap closure system.
- Evolv – Good for the boulderer who likes softer foam and plans on putting their pad through the ringer. This pad is the largest of the three and is made to take a beating.
Which pad is your favorite?!?