The O.R. has its moment. The easiest climbing discipline is the influx of new climbers, especially because of its accessibility. All you need is a pair of shoes and a bag of chalk until the lure of a real rock takes you outside. If there are stones in the open air, an airbag (or multiple airbags) is essential to be able to lift them safely. And now, more than ever, there are more possibilities, from elegant special models to the popular designs of heavyweights like Metolius and Black Diamond. Below you will find the best fall protection for 2020, from the largest to the largest and all intermediate sizes. You will find more information in our comparison table and in the purchase tips that follow your selection.
Best emergency location
1. Promotion from Organic to the Big Four ($299)
Category : Open dimensions: 46 x 58 inch.
Great: Four inches. Whatever we want: There’s no such thing as organic foam.
What we don’t do: Heavy and poor traction on rough terrain.
The Big Four of organic climbing will get our first place for 2020 and can boast what is widely recognised as the best foam in the game. It features a three-layer construction of memory foam, closed cell foam and open cell foam that offers an impressive balance between value and durability. In particular, we think the memory foam cushion is a shiny material – it shrinks well as it holds the cage, and it doesn’t wear out as fast as the open-cell foam found at most competitors. And Organic manufactures each of its stamps to order, so you can customize your Big Four with unique colors (and even ask for specific patterns or shapes). Moreover, the same cushion is also available in a 5-inch thickness, aptly called the Big Five Pad, as you may have guessed.
What are the faults of the Big Four? Some people think that organic foam needs to be harder and needs a break-in period before it becomes a real pillow. What’s more, the Big Four is heavier and lighter than most airbags – if you prefer extra bags or organisational facilities, you won’t find them here. Finally, the pull of the Organic on uneven landing fields is not satisfactory. On the same field our Black Diamond Mondo remained under fire while the Big Four spun around in circles. But he presents the most important part of the equation to himself: the quality of the foam. And as a bonus, the company sells replaceable foam, allowing you to minimize and reuse your favourite pillowcase.
Look at the organic ascent to the Big Four.
Best emergency transport platform
2. Duo Crazy Rock ($249)
Category : Fully open format: 42 x 56 inches.
What we like:. The construction of the flap makes it possible to safely carry two cushions.
What we don’t do: Excess straps and fabrics hinder unpacking.
Wearing two rescue cushions can be cumbersome, and sometimes the configuration is so unsafe that you fall halfway. But thanks to a simple valve that slides over a second block of any size, the Mad Rock Duo makes it possible to carry several blocks like no other. It’s a small movie, but enough to make Mad Rock one of our favorites. It doesn’t matter that the duo is well equipped with a muscular, adjustable suspension and weatherproof fabric. And like most Mad Rock designs, it is 5 inches thick and has Velcro strips to connect it to other pads to create a solid floor covering.
The strength of the duo also creates one of its weaknesses. After unpacking, a packet of straps and flaps hangs from the platform. In addition, the filling is softer than the organic Big Four on top or the Black Diamond Mondo at the bottom, which tends to soften over time. The nylon face cloth is much less durable than the competition’s, and the duo is heavy for a full cushion, although the muscle suspension provides comfort even if you add a second. But if you usually collect a few cushions on casting fields, it’s definitely worth thinking of a duo.
Discover the duo Mad Rock.
Greater budgetary urgency
3. Method II Session ($160)
Category : Normal open dimensions: 36 x 48 inches.
What we like:. High quality emergency cushion for a low price; integrated shoe gloss mat.
What we don’t do: Foam is softer than most and the fabric is not very strong.
The session is the most accessible platform on our list, but Metolius did not hesitate to redesign it. We especially like the diagonal Velcro closures, which are only available on Metolius cushions. They have all the advantages of an articulated construction, but reduce the possibility of hitting the gutter in the event of a fall, even on uneven ground. The slightly redesigned version II also has two additional pull levers to facilitate traction when unfolding. In addition, the lower and side straps are now easy to attach with a single buckle and are easily adjustable to protect the shoulder straps when climbing rocks. As with all Metolius protections, there is a comfortable mat for cleaning shoes before climbing.
Don’t forget that the Metolius foam is much softer than most other foams and therefore this pillow is best suited for small falls. You can lose consciousness if you fall from a height, but at least the small area of 36 x 48 inches is designed for shorter problems. In addition, the meeting was characterised by the presence of some of the least sustainable outdoor substances on the list. But for $149, the cost is simply unbeatable – it’s perfect for a wide range of rocks, from water sports enthusiasts to seasoned veterans who want to complete their oversized installation. And because it’s so quick and easy to pack up, a session is also an ideal platform for programs.
See Method II meeting.
Best Oversized Emergency Platform
4. Mondo with black diamond ($350)
Category : Dimensions
Outer dimensions: 44 x 65 inches
What we like:. Confidential size; remains on an irregular surface.
What we don’t do: Irregular exposure; not very strong.
Black Diamond’s Mondo is an undisputed favorite, and not for nothing: Almost 20 square meters of 5-inch moss make this seal incredibly confident. And with the 2019 upgrade, the new Mondo lowers the price by $50 and now has square corners so you can combine cushions to create a chair without space. Mondo stays in place significantly better on rough terrain than our topcutter, the underside of the organic Big Four has a rubber coating for better grip and the open-cell foam base layer adapts well to the surface. It’s too simple – which we like to have in the pillow – with sturdy, easy to close buckles and a few extra decorations.
What are the pitfalls of Mondo Black Diamond? First of all, the large size means that it doesn’t fit everyone and may not even fit in your car. And given his weight of 20 pounds, we would like to have adjustable shoulder straps (Mondo is a bear that can be worn over long distances if it doesn’t fit in your frame). Last but not least, durability. Open-pored foam on the underside of the belt wears out faster than closed-pored foam, and reports of cracks in the fabric at the belt attachment points cause us to take a break. But for many of them, these shortcomings are worth the firm trust of the great and noble Mondo.
Look at Mondo with the black diamond.
Roughest emergency zone
5. Ronin Flash ($306)
Category : Total open size: 38 x 50 inches; thickness: 5 inches.
What we like:. Flashed Air technology is robust and easy to use.
What we don’t have:Not as widespread as U.S. corporate buffers
Ronin’s Flash is unlike any other crash cart on the market. Their innovative Flashed Air (FAT) technology, which consists of a series of cells inflated around a small central foam core, creates a soft but important landing zone. Hit it hard, then it’ll freeze, hit the light and you’ll get a grip pad. Anyway, you’re not gonna walk around like a normal emergency pillow. The flash claims that this technology works three times longer than open-cell foam, and we believe it. We tested our favorite five year old seal with FAT and he was as muscular and gentle as our new seals.
Flashed predicts that their technology will change the rocks as we know them, but we haven’t seen how it will actually change the market. It is hard to say why the seal is robust, has been thoroughly tested and can even be compressed to meet the standard dimensions of aircraft baggage. It is possible that Flashed is in Canada (although they deliver their cushions to the United States for a reasonable price). And Ronin is a bit expensive for a complete notebook (about $306 at the rate in effect at the time of publication) and a heavyweight in his size. It may be incredible, but we still have to meet someone who doesn’t like his speed camera.
Look at the flash Ronin.
The best of the other
6. Newton Kinetics 4.0 ($190)
Category : Normal open dimensions: 36 x 48 inches.
What we like:. A robust seal at an affordable price; the tight valve protects the straps during use.
What we don’t do: Due to its small size, you will probably need a second laptop.
KinetiK’s Newton is a rescue cushion reservoir whose usefulness and durability are paramount. Its appearance is made of durable 1680D nylon coated with Mad Rock R3, making it the strongest emergency sign on our list. In addition, the valve cover is made of extremely durable vinyl and is flipped over when unpacking to cover the straps, creating a smooth, waterproof base that protects against dirt and moisture. And as with other hybrid designs, such as the Mad Rock Duo and Black Diamond Mondo above, a continuous one-inch layer of closed-pore foam covers the Newton loop, eliminating the gutter and spreading the force of the fall.
KinetiK will have updated Newton by the autumn of 2018, removing the industrial strength Velcro (our 3.0 head handle) and replacing it with an easier to use buckle. Remarkably, this new flap closure also makes it possible to wear a second pillow without extra straps. Moreover, unlike many other popular cushions, the Newton spring system is fully adjustable and offers impressive comfort in a wide range of sizes. Given the small size of the KinetiK, we believe that its use is somewhat limited by low-level problems or by those who want to add a second buffer to their tube. But for just $190, Newton 4.0 is a good investment that, unlike the Metolius session above or Mad Pad below, must stand the test of time.
See KinetiK Newton 4.0 Path.
7. Asana Superheroes ($285)
Category : Fully open format: 41 x 58 inch.
What we like:. Simple and functional.
What we don’t do: The spring system is not adjustable.
Asana cushions are cushions from the ancient world of stone. Nothing happened in the superhero world: Asana always uses voluminous straps for the locking system, a simple fold with hinges and standard sandwich foam. But with its 1000D ballistic nylon, sturdy buckles and soft shoulder straps the SuperHero is up to the task. Moreover, by closing the flap you can safely carry your equipment or attach another pillow without any unnecessary jokes. In general, Asana is one of the few brands that is really committed to rock building, and their knowledge and experience is highlighted.
SuperHero covers the basics so well that we have no complaints. Of course, foam is not as revolutionary as organic foam, and yes, the valve closure is not as comfortable as a simple Mondo buckle and not as reliable as the Petzl Alto zipper (below). The price is also quite moderate, but competitive – less than $ 300. One of the changes we would like to see is an adjustable suspension system to make transport easier. But for rocks that appreciate a simple and attractive pillow that will stand the test of time, asana should not disappoint.
Discover Asana Superhero.
8. Drop Zone with black diamonds ($230)
Category: Open size: 41 x 48 inch.
Thickness: 3.5 inches.
What we like:. Light; can drape rocks and wrap around trees.
What we don’t do: Not such a good independent location.
Drop Zone fills the void in most pillow collections and is a simple, seamless addition to the standard floor protection. With a weight of only 3.5 kg, the second mat is slightly less difficult to win and is a great option if you and your children want to help carry it. In addition, a flexible mesh flap allows a large amount of fishing gear to be secured in the fold of the taco’s cave. And just like its big brother, Mondo above, Drop Zone has a rubberized bottom for a good grip on uneven surfaces and a polyurethane coated top for durability and weather protection.
Drop Zone got the same update as Mondo in 2019, with improved loops, soft suspension and square corners for better plywood coverage. But with the same taco curve, you give up comfort. When you open it for the first time, it will not be flat and you will want to keep it open to avoid damaging the foam. And with a thickness of only 3.5 centimetres, we do not recommend the drip zone as a stand-alone area, unless you keep it low above the ground. Finally, a smaller amount of foam that absorbs each fall means it wears out faster than most. But as a top layer for covering holes and without a hinge option, which can be draped over sharp rocks or wrapped around trees, the Drop Zone is a good addition to any rock chute.
See Black Diamond Fall Zone.
9. Petzl Alto ($300)
Category : Normal open dimensions: 39 x 49 inch.
What we like:. Multifunctional and easy to transport.
What we don’t do: Converted for emergencies.
In terms of shape, Petzl has developed an innovative compound for crash testing with the highest level of detail. Alto answers almost every question about pillows with stones: My equipment falls off the floor, the buckle forms a weak spot, the shoulder straps get stuck when I try to pull on my pillow. That’s not the case for Alto. The unique design of the zipper allows you to carry your stuff safely and squeeze out tacos better than most. Once on the rocks, a zipper around the suspension system creates a smooth, drip-free cushion that can be turned over and used from either side.
All this, and we’re still not convinced that Alto stands out. In short, it’s too complicated. The pillow is difficult to adjust compared to other pillows and can be difficult to pull. We are also worried about the strength of the zipper – we have seen Cirro (the largest tatallion pillow) with a broken zipper making it almost impossible to transport the pillow. Moreover, the Velcro suspension does not adapt to the different body sizes. Alto is of course well done, but for almost double the price of Metolius Session II mentioned above, it is difficult for us to recommend it to anyone other than the bouldering technicians.
Look at the Petzl Alto Toad.
10. Crazy Rock Tramp ($175)
Category : Typical dimensions
Open: 37 x 50 inches.
What we like:. Thicker and slightly larger than in the Methodius II session.
What we don’t do: Mad Rock foam is not super strong.
Like the Metolius Session II above, the Mad Rock Mad Pad is perfect for new boulders or for those looking for a cheap second path. It has a slightly larger surface area than a session and is made of standard 5 inch Mad Rock sandwich foam (not 4 inch Metolius). And like all Mad Rock cushions, it is equipped with Velcro for a continuous floor covering and can be transformed into a sofa.
For less than $200, you can get what you pay Mad Pad for. The straps are not adjustable and the fabric is the least durable of all pads. As we said in the duo above, the Mad Rock foam starts well and slowly, but unfortunately it doesn’t stand the test of time. With 5 inches of foam instead of 4, the Mad Pad can last longer than Metolius’ entry-level model, but only if the face cloth isn’t broken first. But for those who rarely or simply want a simple design for a few years before making a large investment, Mad Pad is a good candidate for the best low-budget design.
Look, you idiot.
11. Metolius Recognition ($280)
Category : Total open format: 42 x 60 inches.
What we like:. The small size of the packaging and the corner hinges practically exclude gutters.
What we don’t do: Poor means of transport.
If space is at the forefront of your life, then a triple design like Metolius Recon makes a lot of sense. For a full cushion, the 22-inch folding width of the Recon is impressive (compared to the Asana SuperHero, which has slightly less space but is 29 inches wide). And thanks to the Velcro fastening, which effectively seals the two corner folds of the hinges, the gutter problem is virtually eliminated. In general, the reconnaissance area is easy to pack and unpack, and the flaps are reversed to keep the suspension system clean during climbing.
The triple design of the Recon makes several compromises. First of all, the equipment is not properly packed, you can hardly fit a pair of shoes and a bag of chalk in the folds. Secondly, sealed and sticky hinges provide a stiff surface with minimal adhesion that does not adhere well to uneven surfaces (we generally prefer the taco design to cope with difficult seating situations). However, if the hinges remain unsealed, the narrow panels on the right side of the field correspond to rocks where many standard cushions (e.g. Mondo) protrude into the air. For the same style in the larger version, look at the Magnum, which is 47 x 70 inches wide and can be up to 25 inches wide.
Look at the Metolius Recon tablet.
12. Asana Pro Tracking Mats ($95)
Category : Optional
Outer dimensions: 44 x 74 inches
Thickness: 0.75 inches.
What we like:. Extremely versatile additional seal.
What we don’t do: Not always necessary for small rocks or flat landings.
The Asana Pro Spotter is an optional laptop that combines an impressive number of functions in a compact size. With a thickness of 3 inches, the pillow under the unpacked organic case is an excellent starting pillow or can push your entire pillow by moving it. Turn it over and you’ve got just over 22 square feet of closed 3/4 inch cell foam that you can stack on other fillings to cover cracks, wrinkles and bumps. Moreover, the Pro Spotter is long and wide enough to be used as a camping pitch.
If you need multiple cushions or blocks in places where the fit is uneven, it is worth considering using the Asana Pro Spotter. Of course, it cannot replace a second full seal in terms of protection, but an additional seal like the Pro Spotter will make any rockfall more versatile. And don’t forget that Asana offers a $25 suitcase for the Pro Spotter, making it more comfortable to wear and you can turn it into a point shield to accompany a falling climber.
Look at Asana Pro’s sampler.
13. Crazy Rock Triple Conspiracy ($269)
Category : Dimensions
Outer dimensions: 44 x 72 inches
What we like:. Large surface area and large quantities of foam at low prices.
What we don’t do: It’s heavy and of poor quality.
If you look at the specs of Triple Crazy Rock, you might wonder why it’s so far down the list. This site has a spacious 44 x 72 inch landing area, is packed in thin 22 x 44 inch plates, has 5 inch foam and costs only $259. It’s a steal, and the insane triple pillow is long enough to be used as a dual-mode mattress. What’s that?
Mad Rock certainly carries the load in the available crash pads, but the more pads they have, the more their lack of quality becomes apparent. The triple Mad Pad weighs an impressive 24 pounds (the heaviest of all on our list), and the strength of the Mad Rock fabric is not increased to support such loads. In addition, the heavy foam (the same as that of the Duo and Mad Pad) becomes soft when used. And, as mentioned above in the Recon, the triple design does not allow to carry a lot of equipment. If you want to be great, we think it’s worth investing in a better quality Mondo strip.
Triple Crazy Rock.
14. Black diamond necklace ($150)
Category : Typical external dimensions
: 35 x 47 inches
Thickness: 3.5 inches.
What we like:. Affordable seal from a reputable manufacturer.
What we don’t do: Three-inch foam is not ideal for stand-alone connections.
We’ll get straight to the point: The new black diamond is not a big seal. It is quite small, only 3.5 centimeters thick and not very strong. There is nothing special about the foam and it has no notable characteristics in terms of transport or organisation of the seals on top of it. But in one of the critical areas, there is a price to pay. For inexperienced boulders or gymnastics crates considering switching to a real rock, Circuit is a respectable option from a reputable manufacturer who will not blow up the bench.
However, we are reluctant to make a recommendation for one important reason: The 3.5 foam simply doesn’t provide enough cushioning for many falls. The Metolius Session II costs just $10 more and comes with 4-inch foam and an angled hinged closure to prevent the gutter from forming in the center of the cushion. And the Mad Rock Mad Pad ($175) has a colossal 5-inch foam and a much larger footprint (although the circuit has quality advantages). All this suggests that Circuit is a viable option as a schematic installation when you are unlikely to fall from the height of the bridge, or as an additional platform.
Look at the Black Diamond Circuit.
15. Crazy Rock R3 ($199)
Category : Firm/Complementary
Open dimensions: 35 x 55 inches
What we like:. Robust and resistant to surface irregularities.
What we don’t do: Not such a good independent location.
The Mad Rock R3 is a special option that lies in line between the standalone and extra pads. Instead of the traditional open-cell and closed-cell foam layer we are used to, R3 is built with seven individual flaps filled with shredded Bibendum foam or down. The advantage of this design is that R3 can compensate for uneven surfaces while providing a padded seat. Place it on a jagged rock, on the openings in the pillow or fold it to fill the pillow. And thanks to its flexibility, the R3 can also be extended to carry better equipment than most other inserts.
However, we hesitate to recommend R3 as a stand-alone pillow for anything but the shortest problems. The lack of a solid, closed foam layer with pores increases the chance of sinking into the ground, and bumpy bulkheads create an uneven landing surface, even on flat ground. Although each joint between the bulkheads contains a small layer of foam, R3 has six small gutters instead of one large one. And with almost 20 pounds it has a poor weight to height ratio (almost twice as heavy as a comparable drop zone). But the durable 1680D polyester coating and replaceable foam means that the R3 will last a long time after the other Mad Rock cushions have been removed.
See the screenshot of Mad Rock R3
16. Biological case ($95)
Category : Optional
Outer dimensions: 24 x 36 inches.
What we like:. Small and light, but still serves a different purpose.
What we don’t do: Thin and small.
The Bio Case is a small and easy to carry airbag kit with a wide range of applications. Throw it away as an extra pillow for extra protection in case of a short circuit or place it in the beginning to keep your feet and clothes clean. Fold it to fill holes with cushions, or wrap it on rocks in the landing area. It is small enough to fly and thin enough to fit between the folds of most standard cushions.
With only 3 inches of foam and a small area of 24 x 36 inches, we do not recommend the use of the case alone. Moreover, the Asana Pro Spotter is more versatile under the extra cushions that cover it. But many will appreciate the simplicity and the continuous upholstery of the case. At first glance it may seem like a luxury item, but we think that extra high quality filling is a good paperclip for any pebble fighter.
Look, look, look, look, look, look. Organic case.
Comparison of block excavation area Table
Purchase of rock excavation platform
- Categories of emergencies
- Types of foam
- Laying foam
- Thickness of the filling
- Bending of types: Hinge, Angle connection, Hybrid connection, Taco
- Containment systems
- Portability: Suspension system and carrying straps
- Conventional airfields and air travel
Categories of emergencies
The degree of protection provided by an emergency cushion depends on many factors, the most obvious of which is its size. Simply put: The larger the surface of the pillow, the more soil it covers. In the case of a short circuit or slight short circuit, where a drop is small or unlikely, a normal surface area is sufficient for many blocks. When it comes to large boulders, firm and oversized boulders (and often several) are preferable to others. We have divided the block size into four categories: extra, normal, full and oversized. Keep in mind that most companies produce blocks of different sizes, so you can probably increase or decrease the size while maintaining similar characteristics and quality.
Often more than one seal is needed to fully protect the problem.
Ordinary seals are the first level standard seals. On average they are 36 x 48 inches (3 x 4 feet) thick when unfolded and have the same thickness as the large joints (4 to 5 inches). For beginners in rock building or the public sector, this size is absolutely sufficient to protect themselves from most problems, and experienced rock builders will consider it a valuable second step. If you need to bring two cushions, the normal cushions are ideal for attaching the oversized cushion to your back. Moreover, they are perfect for circuits or blocks only for non-functional or light (for you) problems. For reasons of specificity, our usual category includes cushions up to 13 square metres.
The transport system of the Mad Rock Duo can contain cushions of any size.
If you are looking for a size from the regular category above, but you do not want something too solid, solid joints offer good balance. We see it as a unified and comprehensive design for the world of rocks. Put a pile of seals under the problem and you’ll probably feel safe. Full upholstery often has more possibilities than its usual brothers (e.g. the agile Mad Rock Duo or the innovative triple Metolius Recon). If you’ve bumped into someone else’s pillow for years and think it’s time to get your own pillow, we’ll set you up here first. In this article we have given the full names of the cushions from about 13 to 20 square meters.
With names like Mondo and Highball, giant blocks cannot hide the fact that they are giants in the world of crash test blocks. If you stand high up on the deck and rely on the joint for protection, it is best to make a mistake on the side of a very large joint. Normal, full cushions, especially those that are bound together (like the cushions at Mad Rock) or covered with an extra cushion, can do their job, but nothing is more reassuring than seeing an oversized mattress 5 centimetres lower (most, but not all, oversized cushions are 5 centimetres thick). Large cushions are generally about 48 x 60 inches (20 square feet or more) in size, with variations such as the triple Mad Rock cushion that spans the entire 72-inch area.
The large Black Diamond Mondo is ideal for protecting large waterfalls.
You have to think: Why should I even consider a normal or full-size laptop if I can have a full-size laptop? Large cushions are expensive and heavy and often weigh as much as 20 pounds. For simple rocks and lobola shots they are more annoying than they are worth. The large cushions also take up space. More than anything else, the size of your car can determine the type of laptop you buy. A normal living room probably has a maximum of two full cushions and no passengers on the back seat. Some of the larger pads (such as the Black Diamond Mondo) may not even be suitable. If price, space, height and weight are not important, then of course you should alleviate your problem as if you were in a gym. But most consumers will want to weigh everything for and against joints of different sizes.
We use the term Extra as a collection category for stamps that are not for personal use. These seals are generally small and no more than 3 centimetres thick. For example, an organic spotter measures 24 x 36 x 3 inches, while the Asana Pro Spotter measures 44 x 74 inches and is larger, but only 0.75 inches thick. Additional cushions are often used to start the seat, double the seat surface, level the seat or turn to close cracks between multiple cushions. We also like these pads to keep our feet clean and dry when there are stones in the mud or snow. Although they cannot be used alone, additional seals can be very valuable in combination with larger seals.
Duo of Crazy Rock walkers and the Big Organic Four.
Types of foam
As far as the filling is concerned, the game has two important elements: the type of foam used and the way it is laid. Depending on the type, the foam can be divided into two categories: open and closed. As the name suggests, each cell of the foam is sealed by closed pores, making it stiff and strong and not too compressed in the event of a collision. Open-pored foam, on the other hand, is flexible and resistant, with cells that allow air to flow in and out. If no pressure is applied, the open-cell foam is filled with air. When a force is applied, these cells release air and form a cushion.
Open pore foam, closed pore foam and memory foam.
Although most airbags are made from a combination of open and closed cell foam, there are several differences, including Flashed Ronin (Flash Air technology) and Mad Rock R3 (recycled EVA foam boards). Ronin takes the open cell foam to the next level, with a series of cells each containing a small core of breathable foam (essentially one cell within a cell). Because of the membrane that surrounds it, it takes longer to inflate this foam than a typical variety. It also empties more time, so there are a lot of pillows available. On the other hand, the R3 bulkheads are filled with recycled and crushed foam with closed pores. This seal uses the open-cell science of foam to create closed-cell pockets, shock-absorbing foam between small pieces, providing flexible and resilient floor protection. Finally, the organic gaskets have a strong, durable and comfortable memory foam layer that provides superior protection.
When you fall on the field, you hope for two things: not to sink into the ground (feeling the ground) and have a pillow to catch up with. Most airbags can be removed by a combination of open and closed pore foam layers. Ideally, the top layer of hard foam (closed cells) absorbs the force and sprays it onto the middle layer of the softer foam (open cells), which allows air for damping. In short: Closed pore foam gives off strength, open pore foam absorbs it. Most compounds have another layer of closed cell foam at the base to further prevent leaching and protect the open cell foams from moisture and roughness in the soil (closed cell foam does not absorb water).
Closed-cell foam releases force, open-cell foam absorbs it.
Thickness of the filling
All standard pads on this list are between 3.5 and 5 inches thick. Usually: The thicker the cushion, the greater the barrier between you and the floor. Cushions such as the 3.5 Black Diamond drop zone will not inspire confidence (or safety) with the problem of high balls while you enjoy watching a 5 Mondo waiting for you to fall. As a general rule: The more traps you expect, the thicker the space you have to buy. Don’t forget that the pads can be stacked for even more protection.
The rock cushions are designed so that they can be folded into a more compact shape for easy transport. Although this packaging is absolutely necessary, it also forms a weak link in the foam. Manufacturers have played with all design variants to solve this problem, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. In what follows, we distinguish four main types of folds: Hinge, corner hinge, hybrid hinge and tacos.
Blockade at the Marcupials in Smith Rock State Park.
The hinge is the most common way to fold an airbag. The hinged lid consists of two superimposed and completely separated foam chambers, which are connected by a nylon cover and form a single fabric fold at the folding point. The advantage of the hinge closure is that the foam in the fold is not repeatedly compressed. This means that the seal is durable and can be stored when folded without the foam coming loose along the fold. In addition, this design makes it possible to fold the cushion completely, making it one of the most compact of the four systems.
The disadvantage of the folding cushion, however, is that a channel can form between two pieces of foam, especially on uneven surfaces. The location of the ankle is probably the most common injury in a block, and slips and slides are often the cause. Some cushions, such as the Mad Rock and Black Diamond Mondo, have Velcro strips at the bottom to enlarge this hole – a good solution, but not perfect. If your landing zones are strong, we do not recommend simple suspension. But for flat floors, this design seems like a ruse. Their chances of ending up in the gutter are slim, and in such circumstances the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Hinge bearings can form a dangerous channel.
Metolius is the only company that produces its corner connectors, but we think they are doing well. It looks like a standard loop with two pieces of foam, but the two pieces are cut diagonally on one side. This means that when the cushion is folded up, the upper part of the foam protrudes downwards while the lower part protrudes under the top. Metolius attaches Velcro strips to these hinges so that the seal can be sealed flat. This is a smart solution to the hinge problem – not perfect (especially on rough terrain), but close by. When closed, Metolius cushions remain compact and can be folded away without shortening the life of the foam.
Hybrid Hinge Bushings follow the design of the hinge bushings and add a thin, continuous layer of foam over the entire surface. While the 3-4 inch joints are always folded separately, 1 inch foam covers the hinge space. These cushions are great: They are not as compact as simple foldable cushions, but they do better than taco cushions. They eliminate hinge holes, but not as completely as tacos. But with foam, which usually bends, durability becomes a problem (it is best to keep these joints open). Strategically, Organic uses the memory foam in its cushions – the same material we know and love in cushions and mattresses – as a continuous blanket. Memory foam has the ability to shrink without losing attic space, and we find it a brilliant material for a hybrid underlay.
The taco style pillow is made of continuous open and closed pore foam, which is folded in two for transport. It is not surprising that it is a delicate task to pick up and fold 4 to 5 centimeters of foam and these pads often require all the effort of the body to adhere. One of the main advantages of Taco gaskets is that they do not have a groove, giving them a continuous and safe surface to protect against falls. If you are constantly on rough landing sites, the Taco-Pad is particularly suitable for removing sharp rocks and reducing crevices. And because taco blocks naturally have space between the two sides in folded form (imagine a real taco), they can carry a backpack better than most.
The Petzl Alto Foldable Taco is perfect for packaging lines.
But these benefits come with a list of failures. Most taco pads do not lie flat when opened – they may need to be flipped over or given a few minutes to blow up the compressed foam. Secondly, they are generally made of a softer type of foam than hinged cushions, which gives less confidence when falling from height. In addition, the part of the foam that is compressed in the fold loses its attic over time, thus endangering the life of the Taco seal (these seals should also be kept outdoors if possible). Finally, because of the nature of the important folds, the taco shaped bandages carry a slightly shifted killer on the back. Our favorite tacos are VooDoo and Flashed.
Each seal in this area has a slightly different design so that it can remain folded and closed for transport. The most common closure consists of a series of loops on the side (and sometimes on the bottom and top), which can be found on cushions such as the Organic Big Four and Black Diamond Mondo. Remember that some loops are easier to use than others. Belts for example for asana bearings are super strong, but not as comfortable as the hook buckles from Mondo. The buckles are easy to attach during transport, but do not form a particularly safe compartment for carrying small objects. Some of these cushions, such as Mad Rock’s Mad Pad, have a Velcro strip at the base to prevent objects from falling out.
The Asana SuperHero model is equipped with wide and sturdy buckles.
Another common system is the valve used by Kinetik Newton, Metolius Session and others. These scarves usually close off the lower and lateral part of the closed area, sometimes also the upper part, and are usually fastened with loops. Closing the valve has the advantage that objects in the closed cushion can move without risk of failure, and the closure can be used for piggyback transport with a second cushion. Often the pillow is folded into a sweeping mat or wrapped around the circumference of the pillow to protect the suspension system from the ground, so you can pull the pillow to keep it under the climber without getting stuck in the rocks and roots. Thanks to all these advantages, flaps have our preference for the design of the closure.
Final Zipper System, and Petzl’s innovative Alto is the only connection in the list above with this unique design. The advantages of the zipper are obvious: it creates a perfect compartment for free transport of small items of equipment without the risk of falling out. In addition, the valve is unbuttoned and rotated around the cushion to protect the suspension system from the ground and create a smooth surface that is not caught by stones when pulling (similar to a simple valve closure construction, but more effective). In this way Alto can be used upside down without disturbing the suspension system during the fall.
Durability is the most important feature of the zipper. Lightning is a common failure point, and we personally used an old Petzl seal separating the fabric from the lightning, making it almost impossible to take it with us. It can also be a bear to close, but after closing a flash compresses the taco pad better than any other locking system.
Petzl wrist guards have an innovative zipper.
Portability: Suspension system and carrying straps
The suspension system may not be the first thing you think of when you buy an airbag – after all, it’s designed to rest on the ground and protect against falls. However, these cushions are large and can weigh up to 24 pounds. With the equipment and the water inside you can look down on a very rebellious 30 pound bag. Even if you only walk to the cobble field for five minutes, it’s quite an ordeal.
The Black Diamond Mondo has no adjustable waistband.
Therefore, it is important to evaluate the shoulder and hip straps of the pillow before purchase. The more stamps there are, the more support you’ll want. In addition, in some cases the height of the shoulder straps can be adjusted for a good fit, while in others the shoulder straps are fixed. Finally, Organic, in collaboration with Mystery Ranch Backpacks, has created a protective cushion that is comfortable enough to dive into the alpine rocks.
After pushing your pillow into the rocks, you will probably still move it for short distances between climbers or between problems. Here the cushions are available in different levels of comfort. Some have side straps, while others have a folded handle to carry with one hand. It is also useful to grasp the handles on the sides or in the corners to pull the cushion. In our opinion, the Black Diamond Mondo is particularly suitable for transport, with large handles placed at the top of the shoulder and four handles at the corners.
Large clamps are useful for moving sidewalks over short distances.
Most airbags weigh between 10 and 20 pounds, depending on the size, foam thickness and performance. In general, the weight of the block will not be one of the most important parameters when deciding to purchase a particular model. If your climbing style requires an oversized pillow, settle for a 20 pound load to move around safely. However, if weight is an important factor for you, places like the Black Diamond Drop Zone are impressively light for their 9lb 8 ounce size, but compromise on some with a thinner 3.5 inch design.
If, in addition to a large pillow on your back, you have to wear nappies, water, climbing shoes and chalk, it is worth thinking about organisation. With most joints, you can place various objects between the folds, with tacos being the most spacious and triple joints that are the most difficult to pack. You will also find that worn or soft gaskets fit your equipment better than new, hard gaskets. Of course, cushions with zippers or velcro on the bottom or side ensure the safest possible transport of all your goods. The Petzl Alto even has a zipper, so you can throw objects of any reasonable size into the playground without having to worry about them falling out.
The Mad Rock duo’s flap closure allows the material to be carried safely in the pillow.
Some Pads are more complete in this respect than others. The usual extras are daisies or other eyelash signs to hang your stuff in, a water bottle holder (Mad Rock Duo) or a key bag (Metolius Recon). We have noticed that some of these features are practical, while others are simply too many. As in most cases, this is a compromise. For example, we like the optional valve on the Mad Rock Duo for the run-up, but once on the rocks the flaps are uncontrollable and cumbersome.
Emergency cushions are sturdy kits designed to be thrown, towed, mounted and of course to withstand large and small waterfalls. They all have a coating that surrounds the foam, and most of these coatings are made of nylon. In general: The higher the number of deniers (measured by the thickness of the fabric), the stronger the nylon is. In addition, the pads can be provided with a reinforced fabric for extra protection, for example with a waterproof coating on the Black Diamond pads or reinforced Ronin Flash corners. Kinetik’s Newton is sold all year round and is one of the strongest cushions in the range, with a 1680-inch ballistic nylon cover.
Emergency cushion covers are made to knock.
But it’s not just the airtight lid. In fact, it is likely that the foam filling will decompose first. Over time and prolonged use, the foam tends to become soft and lumpy. If you have a taco or hybrid pillow, make sure it stays unfolded to extend the life of the foam. The good news is the emergency book will let you know when it’s old. When chopped, the cushions inevitably become soft until they reach the optimum pillow height and then begin to descend to a kingdom that is too soft. When you start to feel the floor through your pillow, it’s probably time to give it a second life as a dog or van mattress. Organic also sells replacement foams for its upholstery fabrics and Mad Rock suede for its R3 model.
The lining cushions can also be used as mattresses or sofas.
Conventional airfields and air travel
The flight with protective cushions is one of the biggest cruises of the trip like a rock. In general, the fit of the checked baggage is 62 linear inches (length + width + height), which means that your 4-inch laptop should be less than 24 x 36 inches. It’s too little to be of much use. So if you’re not willing to pay for expensive excess luggage, forget about flying with your pillows. A notable exception is an erupting ronin with foam cells compressed and packed in a garment bag. Moreover, the Spotter makes the 4 inch Airline Pad 4 inch thick, but because of its small surface it is essentially an extra pad.
Back to our selection of main emergency locations Back to our comparison table for emergency locations
organic crash pads,metolius crash pad
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