At the end of the summer, I was fortunate enough to receive a gear package from Metolius Climbing thanks to one very kind employee. In addition to the items that were sent my way, I decided that I would provide product reviews for some of their products that I already owned as well (I mean Metolius Climbing has been a company in the forefront of the climbing industry for longer than I've been alive. Their products are legit and can compete with any company on the market today and have been in my climbing gear arsenal from the very beginning).
Here is a list of products that were generously sent my way to review:
- Metolius Bailout Crash Pad (http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/session-crash-pad.html)
- Metolius Super Chalk (http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/super_chalk.html)
Here is a list of products that I already owned and wanted to add to this product review page:
- Metolius Crag Station (http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/crag_station.html)
- Metolius Bouldering Bag (http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/bouldering_bag.html)
- Metolius Bouldering Bucket (http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/bouldering_bucket.html)
- Metolius Powder Horn (http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/powderhorn.html)
Here is a list of products that I received but have not had a chance to properly review yet (so stayed tuned for future updates...)
- Metolius Gatekeeper Carabiner (http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/gatekeeper.html)
- Metolius Hand Balm (http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/climbers-hand-repair-balm.html)
Metolius Bailout Crash Pad
This crash pad has recently been replaced with the new Session series crash pad. I can speak for the Bailout pad that I reviewed and only anticipate that the redesigned Session crash pad is just as good, if not better than the older model. I have noticed from a picture of the new model that some of the design components that I critiqued on the Bailout cash pad have been modified and improved upon.
The Metolius Bailout Crash Pad is a great starter crash pad mainly because of its' extremely competitive pricing and durability. This pad retails for $149.00 which is well below many of competitors prices for a pad similar in size (36" x 48" x 4" thick). While bouldering with this crash pad, a few of the design elements immediately stood out as being superior to other crash pads that I've used in the past. For starters, this pad is light (only 9 lbs.) making it great for a second pad but still capable of providing soft catches by itself. Another feature that caught my attention was the hinge folding design. The Bailout crash pad utilizes a Velcro closure system on the outside of the pad cover where the pad folds in half. Typical hinge closure style pads struggle to safely protect a climber during a fall if they land right on the seam where the hinge is to fold the pad in half. These added Velcro pieces allow each side of the crash pad to adhere to one another to reinforce the center of the crash pad by preventing the crash pad from folding. Additionally, Metolius has designed an attractive logo carpet patch that is sewn onto the inside of the crash pad cover. This provides as area to wipe climbing shoes clean before each attempt without having to worry about misplacing a carpet mat. The outside cover is made out of a burly material that has yet to show any signs of wear or tear and the stitching is thorough around all of the seams.
- Great pricing
- Extremely Light (Only 9 lbs.)
- Durable Materials
- High Quality Foam Providing a Soft Landing Zone
- Integrated Carpet Mat on the Pad Cover
- Velcro Closure System to Strengthen the Center of the Crash Pad at the "Hinge"
- Quality Stitching
The Bailout Crash Pad fully opened and ready to catch a fall. Note the
attractive Metolius logo carpet stitched into the cover of the pad.
The exterior velcro patches that help secure the pad when it is in an open position.
This was one of my favorite features on this Crash Pad.
Things that I noticed while using this crash pad that I felt could use some slight modifications or improvements are as follows. First off, there is no material flap to help secure any items that you pack into the crash pad for your approach hike. This is understandable seeing that this crash pad is a smaller model crash pad and was probably not designed to be packed full of gear as well. A piece of fabric used as a lashing strap on the bottom of the crash pad would help secure gear that is stored in the crash pad. Another design element that I thought could be revised was the buckle closure system. The Metolius aluminum buckles are bullet proof an I have no concerns about them ever breaking (plus they are guaranteed for life by the company!). My only issue with closure system was that the aluminum buckles were designed to attached to a flap of rubber material that was sewn into the pad cover. This material flap was flat and had two slits in it to accommodate the aluminum buckle. After a long and tiring bouldering session, it proved to be quite the task to accurately secure the buckle through this rubber flap. Perhaps a simple nylon loop sewn to the pad cover would offer an easier solution for the closure system, this way the aluminum buckle has a larger "target" to attach to.
The last design feature that I thought could be modified were the shoulder straps. On the Bailout crash pad, the shoulder straps weren't sewn directly to the crash pad cover. I know numerous climbing companies are designing their pads in this fashion so the shoulder straps can be removed or even replaced if ever broken, but my personal preference is to have the should straps sewn securely to the crash pad cover. By being sewn directly to the cover, the shoulder straps won't be able shift if the crash pad is loaded with gear like they did occasionally with the Velcro attachment used on the Bailout crash pad.
Ideas for Improvement-
- No Material Flap to Help Secure Gear Stored in the Crash Pad
- Buckle Closure System Can Be Difficult
- Shoulder Straps Can Shift When Loading Pad Onto Back
Altogether, I thought that the Bailout crash pad was a great bargain crash pad. The Bailout was competitively priced, it was large enough to be used by itself but also light enough making it great as a second pad. The materials used proved to be extremely durable and well stitched with no major signs of wear and tear after four months of continuous use. It looks like the new Session Crash pad already addressed some of the design elements that I identified above and should be a solid addition to anyone's bouldering arsenal. With it's new flap closure design and upgraded buckle closure system, it is going to be difficult to find any flaws in the Metolius Session Crash Pad.
Here is the closure system on the Bailout Crash Pad. It appears to have been upgraded on
the new Session Crash Pad.
Metolius Crag Station-
The Metolius Crag Station is an extremely versatile pack. The Crag Station is build out of ballistic fabrics and DurathaneTM making it strong and durable. With a unique duffle bag style opening system and twin compression strap closing system, this pack can be easily loaded and unloaded without having to dig through gear and its sized to meet the carry on dimensions for airlines. The shoulder straps and the waist strap can be tucked away inside the Crag Station to help slim down its exterior making it perfect for traveling. There are two outside storage pockets, one is a full length pocket and the other is a deep pocket in the upper corner of the Crag station. These are useful if you need to keep particular items separated or even easier to access. There is 2500 cubic inches are storage in the Metolius Crag Station (28"x13"x10") and it weights only 2 lb. 10 oz. In addition to all of the internal storage offered, the two exterior compression straps can be used to attached your climbing rope, a tent, a sleeping bag, extra gear...pretty much anything else that you need to haul. I have been using this pack for over three years now to haul climbing to remote crags, camping gear into the woods and for carrying my luggage on vacation and have not had an issue with it yet. It is a first class product and has even received Climbing Magazine's Editor Choice Award for being "the ultimate crag pack". Make the investment on Metolious Crag Station, it will be well worth it!
- Durable Materials and Design
- Duffle Bag Style Opening for Easy Access
- 2500 cubic inches of Internal Storage
- Exterior Compressor Straps for Additional Packing Options
- Outer Ziper Pockets
- Straps Pack Away For Easily Travel
The only additional element that I wouldn't mind seeing added to the Metolius Crag Station would be a few smaller internal storage pockets and maybe an integrated tarp for a climbing rope or for foul weather. I have added both of these to my Crag Station and utilize them constantly.
Ideas for Improvements-
- Could Benefit From Additional Internal Storage Compartments
- An Integrated Tarp Would be a Neat Feature
Metolius Bouldering Bag-
The Metolius Bouldering Bag is an over the shoulder bag for hauling gear that was designed to also lay flat in your crash pad for easy packing and transportation. It measures 16" x 16" with two large zippered pockets and one smaller zippered pocket. There is a nylon shoulder strap so the bag can be carried over the shoulder when it is not in a crash pad. This proved to be very convenient for hauling gear to the climbing gym and throughout boulder fields. The Metolius Bouldering Bag is made out of thick canvas material and all of the seams were thoroughly stitched. I have been using this bag since 2008 and there are still no signs of wear and tear. It has tumbled down hillsides, it has been submerged in a lake and it has fallen off of boulders on more than one occasion. The Bouldering Bag was built to last and is a great piece of gear if you find yourself continually packing stuff into your crash pad.
- Lies Flat in Crash Pads
- Can Be Used as an Over the Should Bag
- Made out of Durable Nylon Fabric
- Three Zippered Pockets
If anything were to be modified on the Boulder Bag, I would want to see a version where the overall size increases. During the winter months in the northeast, outdoor bouldering forces us to bring lots of additional gear outdoors during a session; propane heaters, down jackets, gloves, hats, stoves, etc. If the Bouldering Bag were sized to match the overall dimension of the crash pad, it would maximize the amount of gear that can be packed and hauled. A Boulder Bag this size would not be able to function as an over the should bag, but with the amount of gear that I occasionally haul it would cut my two smaller Bouldering Bags down to one. How sweet would that be? Also, an external mesh compartment for climbing shoes might work well. This would easily add additional storage to the bag while keeping the climbing shoes where they can breath and won't fall out of a crash pad.
Ideas for Improvement
- A Larger Version Would Provide Additional Storage
- External Mesh Storage Compartment for Climbing Shoes
Metolius Bouldering Bucket
The Metolius Bouldering Bucket is on oversized chalk container designed to remain on the floor/ground. It holds a considerable amount of chalk (I have had six pounds in mine at once during the beginning of the winter training season) and it remains upright when opened for easy chalk access. There is also a carrying handle for easy relocation. The Bouldering Bucket that I have been using for about seven years was sewn out of a canvas material and it had two exterior velcro pockets and two brush holders. One of the velcro pockets is on the bottom of the Bouldering Bucket and the other is on the side. Velcro closure systems have been my preference on chalk bags. In the past, I have broken zippered pockets on chalk bags because they bind up with the chalk. The velcro is easy to clean out and still adheres with chalk in it. At first I never used the pocket on the bottom of the Metolious Bouldering Bucket because accessing it involved flipping the bucket upside down with the potential to spill chalk. After a my first winter bouldering season, I realized that this bottom pocket was perfect for holding hand warmers to keep the interior of the Boulder Bucket warm for heating your hands each time you chalk up. The most current model uses a different material but appears to be equally as durable, has two brush holders, and still has the side and bottom exterior pockets. Grab one of these Bouldering Buckets for holding all of your chalk and those hand warmers during the winter months.
- Good Chalk Capacity
- Stands Upright (Unless Kicked Over)
- Carrying Handle
- Two Brush Holders
- Durable Construction
Again the Bouldering Bucket that I am reviewing is not the most current model, but there was a design element that I thought could be improved. The dual brush holders that are sewn onto my bucket are pretty narrow. There are certain brushes that I own that do not fit into these holders. Wider brush holders or some type of velcro storage area could be beneficial. Other than that, this is an excellent chalk bucket.
Ideas for Improvement-Remove Bottom Velcro Pocket
- Wider Brush Holders
The Metolius Powderhorn was designed as a chalk storage bag that I quickly started using as my outdoor bouldering bucket. It is much smaller than the Bouldering Bucket, so it takes up less space in the crash pad and fits easily into the Metolius Bouldering Bag. I can easily fit 2 bricks on the Metolius Super Chalk in the Powderhorn which is more than enough chalk to last a couple of weeks of outdoor bouldering sessions. One of my favorite features of this product is how it velcro's shut and then folds down on itself to ensure that no chalk spills out during transport. It also keeps all of your chalk intact if you have to throw it up to a friend who is preparing the top out of a problem. I have even taken it to the next level by placing a small carabiner on the webbing next to the buckle so I can easily attach it to my belt or pant loops if I have to carry it around the boulder field. There is also an external accessory pouch that velcro's shut to hold misc. items while you are out climbing. For it's low cost and incredible functionality, the Metolious Powderhorn is an excellent bouldering accessory.
- Good Chalk Capacity
- Secure Closure System to Keep Chalk Intact
- Durable Construction
- External Storage Space
Ideas for Improvement-
- Remove Bottom Velcro Pocket
- Deep Exterior Pocket to fit Brushes at Full Depth
Metolius Super Chalk
I am not sure that this product even needs an introduction. It has been my "go to" climbing chalk since I started climbing back in 2004 and it always helps keep my hands dry for my send attempts. It seems like other companies keep trying to formulate new chalk products, but my motto has always been "if it isn't broken, don't try and fix it". My personal preference is the Metolious Block Chalk. It has the same properties as the Super Chalk except it comes in convenient blocks so bringing a couple extra with you into the woods isn't a hassle. I usually place them in a zip lock bag to help keep all of the chalk contained prior to putting it into my Boulder Bucket, Powderhorn, or Chalk bag.