Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $365
Pros: Great suspension system (adjusts and fits well and is securely attached) and a nice no-hinge, multi-purpose/one-size-fits-all-size landing zone.
Cons: The burrito shape rather than the taco style is often too wide to fit into a vehicle without opening the pad or making extra room. somehow.
Best Uses: All-around lowball to highball bouldering, especially when you only want to bring one pad.
This is a very good all-in-one pad by itself or as a main piece of a multi-pad, highball landing zone. At 66" x 42" x 4" it is not the biggest pad we tested but is much bigger than average. What mainly separates the Shogun from the other hinge-less large pads is how it rolls up into a burrito shape rather than folds up like a taco. This dual fold/roll up design has pros and cons. The dual folds open up a bit more quickly and easily than the single fold on a taco design, which tends to stay in the folded position until it is stepped on, fallen on, and forced to lay flat. The down side to this design is that the pad has such a wide overall circumference when rolled up that it is often difficult to fit into a vehicle. We had to either open the tailgate of the Toyota Tacoma and slide most everything to one side to fit it into the average size camper shell, or open it up and lay it flat underneath or on top of everything else. The roll up design also tended to roll downhill when tossed from rock to rock, often ending up in a creek or crevice. The burrito shape may have a wide circumference and doesn't fit into a lot of smaller vehicles well but it makes up for it by having a fairly narrow side to side width compared to most of the large hinged pads and even most of the taco pads when in backpack mode. This narrow width makes the pad easy to carry on tight, bushy, overgrown areas on a trail.
The modular (removable) suspension system on the Shogun was well secured and it fit the average (5'10") torso of our testers very well. This is one of the only pads we've ever tested with shoulder straps that have dual (top and bottom) adjustments. As figured, it adjusted to fit quickly and easily. The entire supension system is strategically placed in the middle of the pad so the backs of your legs don't hit the pad's bottom when walking on steep terrain but the top isn't so high that it hits things above you. For heavy loads and longer approaches this is a great attribute. It often felt like we were carrying a much smaller pad. Considering the pad's size it is relatively easy to carry.
The Shogun has more useful features than all the other pads we've tested. Straps and handles are bright and easy to see in the dark. The handles are also conveniently placed on three sides to make it easy to lift onto your back when heavily loaded. The handles also help move the pad from boulder to boulder. The customized hook buckles work smoothly. A small, internal, fleece-lined zip-up pocket stores keys, wallets, and other soft valuables inside the padding and reinforced wear points all combine to make a very functional, larger size pad for all skill levels and all around use.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
One inch of dense closed cell foam on top of three inches of less dense open cell foam work well together for high falls. Layering the dense foam on top optimizes force dispersal from higher impact falls and minimizes bottoming out. This is an above average scorer for high falls.
The three inches of open cell foam on the bottom allow the pad to compress and squish softly for back-type falls. It is hard to fall on your backside on a pad with the harder closed cell foam on the top, but this pad is not so hard that a fall is too abrupt. You can always turn the pad over for the softer side. Since the shoulder straps come off fairly easily this is a viable option. Overall average for short and jarring type falls.
Packing Big Stuff
This pad has a nice big flap on the side to hold stuff in, three side straps and a bottom strap. From the middle up the pad gets an above average score for packing stuff but if the pad is loaded with a lot of stuff and the bottom strap is not securely closed, all of the stuff will slide right out. Easy to remedy by rolling the bottom up extra tight and then pulling the strap extra tight, but still another step to remember. The silver lining is when the bottom strap is securely closed the pad holds a lot of heavy stuff very well.
Packing Small Stuff
The side flap holds most small things well, providing that a backpack or blanket or something is placed on the bottom to hold stuff. This because there is no flap on the bottom, just a single strap.
Comfort Hanging Out
This pad is very comfortable to hang out on but the one-inch thick dense foam padding on top makes it a bit stiff and rigid until it breaks in and softens up after several months. The newer version comes with an upholstery top.
The foam still feels like new after about four months of repeated use (2-3 times a week minimum). So it is above average so far. This means that foam durability will probably be above average in the long run.
— Chris Summit
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 15, 2012
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