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Hands-on Gear Review
Cons: Sometimes flap opens at the bottom if packed a lot, hinges can sometimes be less secure than a taco design.
The Metolius Boss Hogg comes with a few things not found on any other crash pads we tested: an added foam layer covering the angled hinge we call an "angled hybrid hinge", car upholstery top, and reinforced corners. This pad is durable and it's comforting to know that your pad is not going to get scratched or ripped when thrashing around the boulders and crags. The upholstery top works great for cleaning/drying wet/dirty shoes and is also nice for sitting on.
It is all about the features and foam stiffness with this bouldering pad. It has some of the best feeling foam to fall on when brand new. Its foam is forgiving without being too soft. If you don't care about the features and want a stiffer pad with foam that will last longer, we recommend the Organic Full Pad or Organic Simple Pad. If you want a stiff and cheap pad with tons of foam look at the Mad Rock Mad Pad.
View our complete Crash Pad Review to see how this product compared to others.
RELATED: Our complete review of bouldering crash pads
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The foam is not so hard that you have to brace yourself on a fall but thick enough to take high falls relatively confidently. For some reason both the Metolius Stomp and Boss Hogg are listed as 4 inches thick on the Metolius web site. By our measurements, the Stomp is 3.5 inches thick and the Hogg is 4.6 inches. It is a big difference and the Boss Hogg inspires a LOT more confidence on big falls. At the same time the edges are relatively soft when compared to the Mad Rock Mad Pad, which makes it less likely you will roll an ankle if you land on the edge.
This pad's outer fabric has durable Hypalon (burly rubber stuff) reinforced corners and smooth shaped, easy-to-use aluminum buckles and an upholstery top. The upholstery is great to hang out on and wipe your shoes on. It does collect sticks and dirt more than any other pad, but we don't see this as a big deal. The Boss Hogg is second only to the Voodoo Highball 4000 pad for "lounge around" comfort. This is the only pad we tested with an "angled hybrid hinge", which is getting closer to a best of both worlds design combining a traditional taco style and a hinge style. It has a satisfying rubber handle in the middle of the hinge for grabbing and dragging around to problems of all the handles we tested, this was the most comfortable to grab. It is relatively fast to close up because it requires mating only one piece of Velcro and one buckle. The bottom seals up completely, which keeps small stuff from falling out. It also comes with an extra stash pocket.
The shoulder and waist belts are comfortable but not completely secure. The waist belt fell off one time because it is just "looped" at the attachment point. While the closure system works great for small items, it failed to hold big backpacks. If you like to cram a bunch of bulky stuff into your pad, you may be disappointed. The foam starts out at a perfect stiffness but over time it gets a little soft with frequent and heavy use. It softens much faster than the quality Organic foam in the Organic Simple Pad, Organic Full Pad and Organic Big Pad or the thick foam in the Mad Rock pads, Mad Rock Mad Pad and Mad Rock Triple Mad Pad. This makes it less inspiring for highballs on uneven terrain after six months of heavy use. That said, we like stiff pads for high problems and many people may find the way this foam softens up to be perfect.
This pad is ideal for average outings on small to medium sized problems or in conjunction with other pads for highballs. It works well on most terrain except extremely jagged uneven landings where a non hinged pad is often better to conform and cover the sharp rocks or roots.
This is the most expensive hinged pad we tested. It has a ton of features to justify that price - if those features are important to you and you don't expect to be too hard on the pad or use the pad too often and don't mind the less durable foam (many users didn't wear it out at all). Because this is a widely carried product, you can usually find this crash pad on sale.
Metolius Bouldering Shield
— Chris Summit, Chris McNamara
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: March 26, 2015
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