Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $142
Pros: Easy to transport, easy to carry, easily closed/opened, lays flat, useful carpet square, well made, durable.
Cons: Velcro closures on the hinges do not seal it tight enough, a handle on both sides (not just one side) would be handy.
Best Uses: Great first bouldering pad as well as perfect second pad to combine with a big n' burly pad.
The Metolius Bailout is our favorite budget bouldering pad and wins our Best Buy award. This pad is simple, well made, and ideal for both entry level boulderers or for experienced boulders who want a smaller pad for traveling or carrying around with their main big pad. It narrowly beats out the Mad Rock Mad Pad because we like the ease of carrying stuff and the attention to detail. The Mad Pad does give you more foam (five inches versus four inches on the Bailout) and has some cool features not found on even expensive pads. So it's a tough call between the two. While the Bailout is an awesome deal and the most pad for the money, we also urge you to check out the Organic Simple Pad, which won our Editors' Choice award. The Simple Pad costs another $40 but is still an awesome value for a great pad. View our complete Crash Pad Review to see how this product compared to others.
The Bailout replaces the Metolius Stomp as Metolius's entry level pad. It is different in many key ways. The Bailout is four inches thick while the Stomp was only three inches. This addressed our main dislike of the Stomp, which was that after a few months it became way too soft and did not offer enough protection. The Bailout also has auto upholstery in the center and uses more burly fabric. The different foam layers are now welded together. There are three layers of foam where the Stomp only had two.
The Metolius Boss Hogg is the next step up. It is the same size but comes with and extra half inch of foam and auto upholtry across the entire top. It also comes with reinforced edges (cool but not really necessary) and a one-hook closing flap that is fast to use and keeps small things from falling out. However, the Boss Hogg is almost two pounds heavier and not as good at holding big stuff. We generally put all our shoes, chalk, water, and extras in a small backpack and put that inside the pad. We found the Bailout was much better at handling this. If your pack is too big the Boss Hogg just can't hold it. The Boss Hogg is also $60 more expensive, so we generally think it's best to get the Bailout and then spend money on a truly big and deluxe pad.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
This pad is good if you're on a budget, or not. Because the handle is so comfy and the pad is so lightweight we carried it around with our other big pad like a briefcase. This handle is one of the most comfortable of any pad we have tested.
The foam is welded or glued together, which improves the pad's durability. Over time the layers don't separate and move around. It has a nice firmness not too soft and not too hard. It works right away and does not take breaking in as with some super firm pads.
The removable suspension is of standard comfort and comes with a two-inch unpadded hip belt.
Like most new Metolius pads, there is a handy auto upholstery patch in the center to clean/dry off shoes in between burns. This patch also gives you a bulls eye when you fall to help guide you toward the center of the pad.
All hinged style crash pads present the possibility of a rock or something poking through a hinge. The Bailout has small Velcro patches inside the hinge to hold it closed but they only work so so on really uneven terrain like coastal bouldering. But even better is when there is piece of Velcro on the bottom that seals the hinge like is available on the Metolius Recon. That is one feature that would be great to have added.
Because there is no closing flap, small items can fall out of the bottom of the pad.
— Chris McNamara, Chris Summit
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: July 28, 2011
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