Metolius Basic Pad
Metolius Basic Pad

Bouldering on a Budget? This Is the Pad for You

Metolius stripped down its Session II Crash Pad to create the Basic Pad, released last week. The big news is the price; with an MSRP of $130, the Basic Crash Pad becomes the least expensive crash pad that’s legitimately effective. And free shipping makes it even more enticing.

Metolius’ Basic Pad retains the foam layup and size of the brand’s best-selling Session II. The new crash pad renders proven and effective landing characteristics at a phenomenal price, with a bonus of lighter weight. Better value in a crash pad will be hard to find.

Metolius Basic Pad
Metolius Basic Pad

Metolius Basic Pad Specs

The Basic Pad retains these features of the Session II:

  • 4″ of foam: 1” (25mm) closed-cell top layer, 2.5” (60mm) open-cell center, 0.5” (15mm) closed-cell base layer, and an angled hinge eliminates the gutter
  • Open size: 36” x 48” x 4”
  • Closed size: 36” x 26” x 8”
  • 900-denier polyester cover fabrics
  • Suitcase-style carry handles, padded shoulder strap, webbing waist strap
  • Single aluminum closure buckle, guaranteed for life
  • Verified weight: 7 pounds 11 ounces

The elimination of the closure flap and carpet square on the Session II nets a loss of 1 pound 5 ounces and reduces the MSRP by $30. The Basic Pad is only available in black.

Metolius Basic Pad Review: In the Drop Zone

The Metolius Basic Pad served duty under my campus board and MoonBoard for multiple group training sessions. Besides stating that the pad was new and relatively inexpensive, I didn’t divulge anything else.

Metolius Basic Pad review
Metolius Basic Pad

With campus boards and MoonBoards, falls in awkward body positions can be unexpected, as everything done on these boards focuses on pushing your limits.

When the Basic Pad protected climbers on the MoonBoard, it was part of an array that included Metolius Recon pads, which have the same foam layup. Many times, landing involved coming down on the Basic Pad and Recon pad simultaneously.

Never once did anyone notice a difference between the pads.

Basic Pad: Against the Competition

The collection of pads included models that were up to triple the cost of the Basic Pad, a full inch thicker, and much more cumbersome. Although the falls weren’t highball in nature, nobody said anything about landing on the Basic Pad versus landing on any other pad. While servicing the 12-foot-tall campus board and the slightly shorter MoonBoard, the Basic Pad never left any climber wanting.

The most significant testament was the largest climber of our usual dirtbag training sessions happens to fall the most unexpectedly and never tries to change body position on his way down. When he hits the pads, his body is always in the same position it was when he peeled off the last hold touched. This lack of response causes him to land in extremely awkward ways, and never once did he say a word about the Basic Pad.

The Metolius Basic Pad uses the brand’s angled hinge design that eliminates the dead zone of the standard gutter. Although the angled hinge is an improvement, all hinged pads are prone to protrusions of stones from underneath. Partially hinged (at least one layer of foam is left intact) or taco-style pads are a better choice for jagged or uneven landing areas or the addition of an accessory pad like the Metolius Shortstop to cover the hinge.

Metolius ‘Basic’ Crash Pad Durability

The Metolius Basic Pad has the same foam layup as the brand’s Recon pad. I’ve had a Recon pad in service for 7 hard years, and the foam hasn’t appreciably softened. It’s dirty on the outside, but nothing structural shows damage.

Plastic buckles can crack from being stepped on, and Metolius eliminates this in the closure system by using an aluminum buckle it guarantees for life. And I’ve never broken one on any of my Metolius pads.

Basic Pad Conclusions

The Basic Pad went unnoticed when it was easy to compare it to more expensive pads, in a setting where disparities were easy to identify. The structure of the crash pad is well-proven by the Session II and is appropriate for non-highball bouldering. And the durability of the Session II and other Metolius pads has been proven.

The significant feature is the price; at $130 and free shipping on the brand’s website, I think the value will be tough to beat for a medium-size crash pad. I predict Metolius has a new best-seller.

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Seiji Ishii
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Seiji Ishii has enjoyed a lifetime of outdoor adventure and sports, from participant and competitor to coach and trainer, and finally as an editorial contributor. His interests have spanned cycling, climbing, motorcycling, backpacking, trail running, and the training involved for all of it. He has also designed outdoor and off-road motorcycling gear. He lives in a wildlife refuge in Wimberley, Texas, with his daughter, itinerant dirt bags, a dog, and a cat. Read more of his musings at seijisays.com.

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