Black Diamond Mondo Pad Review
Cons: No sternum strap, outdated hinge closure
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Falling while bouldering is guaranteed, and having the Black Diamond Mondo beneath you will put your mind at ease. The massive surface area and 5" of foam is perfect for those times when the crux is high and you want to focus on the climbing and not your landing. The updated Mondo's foam feels much firmer than the previous iteration. We suspect this is due to an increase in closed cell foam on the top layer. This firmer landing removes that soft sinking feeling when taking big falls, which could result in a tweaked ankle. Another update for the Mondo is the square corners. The new square corners remove dead spots in landings zones where there would be no padding with a round corner. If you are looking for a crash pad to pad big falls from big boulders, then the Mondo is an excellent option.
The Mondo is built with durability in mind. The fabric used is durable 1000D nylon on all of the sides. All of the buckles are made of metal except for the large 2" waist belt buckle. New for the 2019 Mondo is a rubberized back panel, non-existant on previous versions of this pad. This new material is designed to aid in preventing the pad from sliding on angled landings. We also found the new material to be durable against sharp rocks.
The Mondo does not have any added features to assist in packing gear. That being said, due to the Mondo's large size a day pack can easily fit inside the pad when folded. Many of our testers feel that the one pad and one pack set up is the perfect way to go for a day of bouldering by yourself or while joining a group.
The Mondo's backpack suspension system is very bare-bones. The padding on the shoulder straps is thin yet comfortable as long as you are wearing a shirt. The waistbelt is just 2" webbing, but it did take some of the weight off our shoulders. We wish there were a sternum strap, especially with such a large pad, but it isn't a deal-breaker.
The BD Mondo is designed with elegant simplicity. There are four handles at the corners for shifting or dragging the pad. Testers found these handles useful when setting up a landing of moving between problems on the same boulder. The Mondo also features two shoulder straps that double as drag loops. We used the shoulder straps to drag the pad along the ground to make sure the climber was centered over the pad.
There are a few features we feel that the Mondo is lacking. One of the first features our testers all searched for and didn't find was a handle to lift the pad by when it was folded. This feature is on most of the other pads in our test. While the Mondo does have two large shoulder straps that accomplish the same task of moving the pad short distances, a small handle would have been nice.
The BD Mondo is an excellent crash pad for the boulderer looking to climb big or hard boulder problems. The 20-pound weight and cumbersome size of the Mondo make us hesitate to recommend this pad as a daily driver for everyone, although some of our testers generally grabbed the Mondo if they were only taking one pad. They chose the increased protection that came with the Mondo and accepted the weight and size penalty.
The Mondo is one of the most expensive pads in our test bunch. The Mondo's updated features, as well as the superior feeling foam, make the increased cost justifiable for those seeking an oversized pad for big problems.
For climbers seeking a massive pad that will allow you to stay composed high off the deck, the Black Diamond Mondo Pad may be right for you. With its large surface area, firm 5" foam, and updated features, it's a great pad for all-around use. If you don't mind the 20-pound weight or the sizeable price tag, that is.
— Henry Feder