Hands-on Gear Review

Compare bouldering crash pad ratings side-by-side >

Black Diamond Drop Zone With Custom Foam Insert Review

   

Bouldering Crash Pads

  • Currently 4.0/5
Overall avg rating 4.0 of 5 based on 1 review. Most recent review: March 22, 2011
Street Price:   Varies from $184 - $230 | Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Great foam, big landing area for medium pad, big flaps to store stuff, easy-to-use hooks, cool waterproof backing.
Cons:  Shoulder strap blew out, expensive, had to spend time finding foam and cutting it.
Best Uses:  Lower boulder problems where you take repeated falls.
User Rating:       (0.0 of 5) based on 0 reviews
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond + our own shenanigans
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ March 22, 2011  
Overview
The Black Diamond Drop Zone was one of our favorite pads with one big downside: thin foam that wore out fast. The foam that comes with the Organic pads is our favorite. So we went to a local store, bought a $30 piece of one-inch "memory style" closed cell foam that looked and felt like the Organic foam. We then inserted it and were very impressed. Because we had compressed the original BD foam so much, we were able to barely slide in the new foam without having to remove any of the old. The result: instead of a wimpy 3.5 inches that the pad originally comes with, we now had 4.5 inches of great foam.

Of all the pads we reviewed, our creation was one of the best medium size pads. That said, it cost us $250+, which makes it one of the most expensive pads out there. The fact that we broke the shoulder strap was a bummer and kept us from recommending that everyone go out and make one of these. So all told, we only recommend you make this pad if you really love the features on the BD Drop Zone and don't load up your pad too much. Otherwise, you can buy almost two Mad Rock Mad Pads for about the same price. Or, if you don't need a taco design and the closure system, just spend $190 and get the Organic simple pad.

View our complete bouldering crash pad review to see how this compares to others.

Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >

  • Photos
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge


OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
There is a lot to like about the original Black Diamond Drop Zone and our new Super Drop Zone is even better. We tested a lot of pads before we chose the Drop Zone as the best to use for a mad science experiment. We liked the taco style design, handy features, and the closure system. We thought all it needed to be better than its competitors was the addition of an extra layer of quality foam. For the most part this was true. Suddenly we were no longer afraid to take big falls.

Black Diamond Drop Zone HYBRID - EXTRA LAYER OF CLOSED CELL FOAM SANDW...
Black Diamond Drop Zone HYBRID - EXTRA LAYER OF CLOSED CELL FOAM SANDWICHED BETWEEN THE SOFTER ORIGNAL LAYERS
Credit: drunkenmaster

Dislikes
After adding the foam and using it in the field for about one year, the only dislike was that the shoulder strap broke. We do carry a heavier loads than most boulderers, so if you don't carry a lot this may not happen to you ever. That said, there are a lot of pads that we have abused much more and never had even a minor sewing failure let alone a major one.

Value
This pad cost us $250 $220 for the original pad and $30 for the extra foam. That doesn't count the gas money to track down the foam and our time spent. So once you are done it is a fairly expensive pad, especially considering we broke the shoulder strap after a year.

Chris McNamara and Chris Summit

Compare this product side-by-side to top competitors >

Where to Buy?


Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.


OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: March 22, 2011
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used the Black Diamond Drop Zone with Custom Foam Insert?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
Click to enlarge
Black Diamond - Drop Zone
Credit: Black Diamond
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
Eastern Mountain Sports $183.96  -  20% off!
Amazon $199.99  -  13% off!
Backcountry $229.95
Compare prices at 4 sellers >

*Help support OutdoorGearLab. If you click on one of the seller links and make a purchase, a portion of the sale helps support this site
Related Best-in-Class Review
Crash Pad Review: The Best Bouldering Pad

Crash Pad Review: The Best Bouldering Pad

An overview of the best medium bouldering crash pads in the climbing market.
Video video review
Helpful Buying Tips
How to Choose the Best Bouldering Crash Pad - Click for details
 How to Choose the Best Bouldering Crash Pad

by Chris Summit, Chris McNamara
Get More OutdoorGearLab
Follow us on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook!
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Related Gear Reviews