Portable training rigs have been around for as long as climbers have been living on the road, but only recently have they jumped from homemade splinter boards to fully featured (and convenient to travel with) finger boards. Awesome Woodys, out of Australia, raises the bar for portable hangboards with its Cliff Board series. These two-sided, lightweight wood boards are the most packable and usable travel rigs on the market.
The Mini delivers a wide variety of grips in a small package, from incut and rounded edges, to three-, two- and one-finger pockets, all of various depths. The board also has cutout slots that function as full-hand grips, like a pull-up bar.
Setup is a cinch. The Mini comes with pre-tied cord and a single quicklink to hang it from a bolt or eyehook, or you can sling it to a tree branch, railing or beam. Since the board free hangs, it swings, and that takes some getting used to. But if you weight each hand evenly and tighten your core (a bonus workout), you’re golden. The attached cord can also be switched between two positions to alter the angle of the board if you’re looking for a more incut or slopey feel.
With its variety of grips, the Mini could hold its own in any training cave, but its size and weight make it ideal for travel or warming up at the crag.
The Mini easily fits into a bag or pack, and weighs only 19.4 ounces. I recently took the board on a trip to Rocklands, South Africa. While I was stuck in Cape Town before I could get to the boulders, to stay fit, I set up the Mini on a balcony with ocean views. Can’t beat that for a hangboard workout.
This review originally appeared in Rock and Ice issue 238 (November 2016).