ORGANIC FULL PAD $185
As the foremost hipster of Carbondale, Colorado (population 6,000), I accept that people look to me for what’s avaunt-garde, trendy and cool. Believe me, it’s a lot of pressure. I was thankful, then, that when I brought the new Full Pad by Organic Climbing—an underground bouldering-pad company based out of Laramie, Wyoming—to the local bouldering hot spot, I heard a lot of words like “unique,” “sweet,” “bling bling” and “incredibly cushioned landing.”
Because Organic Climbing builds its product in the United States, this company is able to provide boulderers a chance at pad individuality and self-expression. Besides offering the freedom to select where you want the shoulder straps (depending on your height), Organic pads can be ordered in a color scheme of your choosing. Also, for an additional fee, you can add a waist belt and even devise a personal pad design with your aura-complementing colors.
These cosmetic frivolities are really nice, but it just so happens that the Full Pad is also structurally sound. This puppy—four inches thick, with an area of 36-by-48 inches when opened—uses two different types of foam. The first three inches of the pad are made up of the high-density, open-cell foam standard in most pads. Then, curiously, there is one inch of high-density polyethylene foam just beneath the landing-side of the pad. This foam is hard and squishy; it’s very similar to the rubber used in the soles of tennis shoes and sandals. When you land on the Full Pad, you definitely notice something different going on: the landing is soft, yet supportive. It’s a strange sensation, like falling asleep aboard an airplane—you don’t know how it works, it just does.
One personal pet peeve with crash pads is their mobility—how quickly it takes you to put away your shoes, chalk etc., and fold up the pad. The Full Pad is definitely one of the most ergonomic designs I’ve seen. It closes with just two two-inch Velcro straps that you loop through metal hooks, eliminating the (breakable) plastic buckle on most pad designs. The long straps also give you something to hold onto when you want to relocate the pad quickly to spot your climbing bud. Part of this closure system is a zippered flap that is big enough to hold a couple of pairs of shoes and chalk bags, making packing up even faster.