Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Organic Crash Pad Review

Organic Climbing

A few weeks ago, I did the unthinkable and sold all of my crash pads.  I was fortunate enough to unload them all to a local climber so I didn't have to worry about shipping and I was confident that they would be put to good use.  The liquidation of my crash pads resulted in a pretty significant loss in money, but that was something I was prepared for...I was in the process of upgrading to a full Organic Crash Pad lineup.  This was something that I had planned to do since last fall when the owner of the company, Josh Helke was kind enough to send me a box of Organic items to give away as prizes at last year's bouldering comp.

Now for the juicy details on the new crash pads.  The pros, cons and everything in between.

With all of the solo bouldering sessions that I sneak in and the occassional highball boulder problem, I decided to go right ahead and place an order for three of the four crash pads made by Organic Climbing.

The "Big Pad" is 46" wide by 59" long and comes in either a 4" or 5" thickness.  It was ane asy decision to spend the additional $15.00 to upgrade to the 5" thick model.  This is the largest crash pad made by Organic Climbing and would be the staple in my outdoor bouldering sessions.

Here you can get a sense of scale of how big this crash pad actually is.  Take note that the crash pad utilizes a hinge closing system which is preferred if you know ahead of time that your crash pas will continually be folded shut.  This was an issue I always had with other crash pads...I would leave them folded shut when I stored them in my car which caused the foam to develop a crease and actually weaken the foam along this crease.
This crash pad offers a generous landing zone.  The scratch mat in front of the crash pad was thrown in for free by Organic Climbing as a "thank you" for the sizeable order.

On all of my previous crash pads (Voodoo, BitterSweet, Stonelick, Black Diamond, Metolious) I installed a custom chest strap to help distribute the weight of the pad off of my waist when I had the crash pad loaded with misc. gear.  Organic Climbing took the time to install a chest strap on my Big Pad and Full pad which was a big bonus.  Also take note of the reinforced stitching on the waist belt and shoulder straps.  This thing in built to last.

There are two things that I would have liked to see on the "Big Pad", I would have liked some sort of flap on the bottom of the pad to help keep loose items inside the pad during transportation.  I have a tendancy to bring a bunch of gear with me on routine bouldering sessions so my crash pads are always filled to capacity.  Another thing that I would have liked to see would be a flap similar to the Full Pad (see below) that could cover the shoulder straps and waist belt when the crash pad was being used.

The Full Pad measures 36" wide by 48" long and is 4" thick.  This crash pad is an excellent supplement to the Big Pad or functions great as a stand alone crash pad.  It is much lighter than the Big Pad and easier to maneauver through the forest and boulder fields.  I went ahead and got the Full Pad and Half Pad combo because if I were going to leave the Big Pad at home and just session with the Full Pad, I knew that I would need an additional pad for at least the sit start to boulder problems or to use in potentially dangerous fall zones.  The Full Pad and Half Pad combo is a great little package deal and was a solid addition to my new crash pad lineup. 

The Full Pad and Half Pad Combo

The Full Pad and Half Pad combo.  Neat little stitching design and colors, almost looks like the lines along a major highway.  Keep in mind that the colors and pattern utilized on each Organic Crash Pad is determined by the customer which makes each crash pad made and sold unique in comparison.

The Half Pad is 24" wide by 36" long and is 3" thick.  This is a great starter pad, a supplemental pad to help fill in gaps in other crash pads, a pad shield to hold as a spotter in dangerous fall zones or even just a nice circuit pad.  This small pad also has three handles to help maneauver the pad beneath the climbing while spotting.

Here is the crash pad combo ready for transport

Another image of the Full Pad and Half Pad combo.  Look at the reinforced stitching on each of the crash pads, the bullet-proof buckles and the superior material used on the exterior of the pads.

This picture shows my favorite detail on the Full Pad.  The front pocket that is used to attached the Half Pad to the Full Pad can be reversed once open to cover the shoulder straps and waist belt.  By doing this, the should straps and waist belt are no longer exposed which usually results in them getting caught on random items while trying to maneauver the crash pad underneath the climber while spotting.  This cover material also keeps the crash pad dry where it will sit on your back while carrying it.  This is a great product feature and something I will always use.

The only thing that I would have liked to see on the Full Pad would be again some sort of fabric to cover the bottom of the crash pad to keep misc. items in the pad during transport.  I would also like to see the pouch/cover material use something more textured like the crash pad cover itself.  There have been instances when I have had the Full Pad on top of the Big Pad for a reinforced landing surface and had the Full Pad slide off of the Big Pad abruptly once fallen on because the current pouch/cover acts like a tarp.  Other than that, this crash pad combination is at the top of the crash pad game.

Here are some additional photographs of the new Organic Crash Pads.  I also had a friend take a series of images portraying me climbing on top of my Big Pad to show just how durable and sturdy this pad is.  I have attempted to utilize this technique before when trying to inspect or brush upper holds on a boulder problem.  All of my other crash pads would fold over immediately...the Organic Crash Pad and its' superior foam stood up to the test to say the least.


  1. The big problem that I had with there Big Pad which I to just purchased was that in there previous advertised. Until I complained to them about the difference in the actual dimensions of the pad that I received to the pad the advertised and paid for was a full 2" in the length and the width and at 5" thick comes out to cubic feet in inches.There is a whole story about the custom boxes and shipping that he did not know the web site was wrong since 2009.Even though he changed the dimensions they still do not reflect the actual dimensions the length is not 59" it is 58". The dimensions on the box reflect this in the half measurement and I took a tape to mine when I received it 58". All in all a good pad yes just don't like the funny business with the advertising.

    1. Kyle, I am unaware this discrepancy in size because I never actually measured my Big Pad, nor do I intend to. I purchased the Big Pad because, well it's pretty damn Big and I have used them before while bouldering with people who had them. Crash Pad companies all use stock templates to manufacture their pads which results in the same size product every time. The Organic website says that the Big Pad is ~(roughly) 4'x5' and measures 46" wide by 59" long. If those are not the exact measurements, then I am confident that Josh Helke will update his website to reflect the actual size of the final product. He is an easy-going guy who runs a solid US based climbing company so I doubt he is trying to rip anyone off. Just touch base with him to relay the measurement discrepancy that you have encountered and I'm sure he will try to make it right with you. As an Organic customer, Organic was very easy to work with for me. They responded to emails and calls almost immediately and they finished my large crash pad order with a weeks notice. Let them know the Big Pad measurements and they'll most likely update the advertisements. 58" long, 59" long, whatever...that crash pad is one big mo' fo' that is constructed way better than any other pad that i've ever owned.

      Cheers buddy!

    2. HI Kyle I emailed you about your above concerns when you sent an email to our company. I did not receive a response. We offered to return your order so you could go purchase a pad that better met your needs. I thanked you for bringing this to my attention and have fixed the site. I Just wanted to post here as you paint a unfair picture of our small company.

      In my email I explained to you the change that was forced upon us (and other pad companies) by UPS and Fedex. I also detailed that you also received many upgrades on the pad that you received like metal buckles, ballistic nylon and many other great features that are mentioned in this review, but not in the photo on our site.

      We are a very small artisan company owned by passionate climbers and do not have the deep pockets of many of our commercial competitors to have a super flashy site. We aim to charge a fair price for a top notch product. Currently our quality pads (made in the USA not Asia like many of our competitors like BD and Metolius) are priced far less than many of the other upper end pads on the market. I would rather keep our prices as low as I am able to and quality high than to compromise on either of these to be able to pay to have a super nice flashy site. I am with you that the old wording was confusing and I thank you for bringing that to my attention.

      I work sewing gear all day and like may biz owners had not even looked at my site fully since the day in 2007 we launched it, there are so many things to get done in ones day, so in no way was trying to cheat ya so I hope you can forgive me.

      Again, I am very sorry that you were troubled by this at all, I dont like people to have any bad experiences. I do want to stress that I feel our quality materials, sewing and worksmanship far make up for our lack of a flashy website online : )

      Thanks for your concern, sorry for any stress and again you have my email and phone number if you have any further things I can answer for you. Thank you very much. Josh

    3. i guess everyone can use an extra inch. great organic review, im on way to Rock&Snow to buy the big pad, that prison boulder looks like it can use plenty of pads. Ive been using Organic pads for the last couple of years and, like everyone else who uses them in the gunks (everyone), I have no complaints

  2. I've had my organic for 4 years now and climbed pretty heavily on it. The foam is JUST starting to wear which is WAY more time than i'd get from any other crashpad. Josh was super polite and really easy to talk to about my pad and even gave me a bit of a hook-up. Good business and a good product.

  3. thanks for the review

  4. Just sent a request to Josh for a pad and had an e-mail response in less than two hours. Josh was friendly, professional, and seemed super psyched about helping find me the colors I wanted and then designing a nice pad. On top of that he gave me a bit of a hookup, and then followed up telling me that he was going to be able to get the pad to me in 1-2 weeks, rather than 3-4. Josh then blew my mind by sewing and shipping the pad 3 days after our first conversation. Great pads, amazing customer service, and made here in the USA by climbers.