Hands-on Gear Review

Black Diamond Mondo Pad Review

Black Diamond Mondo Pad
Price:  $400 List | $299.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Nice suspension, tons of foam, long landing area, many handles, smooth working metal hook buckles.
Cons:  Soft middle seam, thick foam can roll an ankle, old fashioned hinge can bottom out.
Bottom line:  Lots of foam and features at a high cost.
Editors' Rating:   
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Size (inches):  65 x 44
Thickness (inches):  5
Weight (lb):  20.5
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond

Our Verdict

The name says it all: the Black Diamond Mondo Pad is one mondo piece of foam. It's a crash pad that seems like overkill in the store, but when you take your first big fall on one you wonder how you could boulder again with anything smaller. In addition to a ton of foam, the Mondo carries a lot of gear and comes with good suspension and handles to drag it around with. If you are a serious boulderer and want a big landing area this is one of the best pads out there. The Mondo has a softer and more forgiving feel especially on abrupt low-ball falls on your backside as well as some handy features for spotters. Overall, the Mondo is a high-quality pad and worth a close look if you don't mind its high price tag.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Chris McNamara, Chris Summit, Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Friday
February 2, 2018

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Performance Comparison


Mark Nicholas above the Black Diamond Mondo Pad at the Deli Slicer  South Lake Tahoe.
Mark Nicholas above the Black Diamond Mondo Pad at the Deli Slicer, South Lake Tahoe.

Padding Falls


What makes the Black Diamond Mondo Pad stand out is how big and thick it is without compromising all-around functionality. It comes with a ton of cushy foam and of the big pads we tested, this is soft and forgiving out of the box. It is great for problems of all heights, and comfortable to sleep on. Because of its size the Mondo works well as a standalone pad and is much more manageable while spotting than trying to move around two smaller pads. It is 5" thick, with a layer of closed-cell foam on top of softer open-cell foam. Unlike Mad Rock's system of two closed-cell layers sandwiching a thick open-cell layer, the Mondo's open-cell foam on the bottom layer feels much softer on short falls or back-first landings. We recommend the Mondo over the other two large pads, the Mad Rock Duo and Triple Mad Pad, if you want foam that is thick but not overly stiff.


If you land with your foot exactly in the center, you can feel the hinge more than with other big pads. This happens because the foam is a little softer than that of other big pads, so your foot can really find its way into the seam. Rather than a full-length Velcro flap to close its hinge, the Mondo only has two buckles to prevent the pad from folding. This works well on flat landings but isn't as safe as pads like the Mad Rock Duo, which have a full-length velcro flap to close the hinge.

With very thick foam, you need to be especially careful about landing on the edge of the pad and rolling an ankle. Also, because this pad is so wide, you need to make sure your car is big enough to transport it. It can be a struggle to get in the back seat of a compact car but unlike taco style pads it does fold into a thin space.

Packing Gear


Even though it doesn't have any closure flaps the Mondo can fit a lot of gear when closed because of its large size. A small backpack fits well inside the folded pad and loose items can be squeezed in if the closure straps are tightened down. Carrying a second pad can be difficult since there are no straps for attachment and we recommend the Mad Rock Duo for this application.

Features


The Mondo has large handles on two sides end that are big enough to get over your shoulder, which helps when moving the pad short distances. There are also two handles on the corners that help when moving the pad from problem to problem. We liked how the suspension is sewn in and comes with a grab handle above the center of the shoulder straps. When you stuff your pad full of gear prior to putting it on, that extra grab handle helps a lot. The hook buckle on the hip belt was a unique feature that our testers liked; the hook buckles on this and all Black Diamond pads were some of our favorites.

Durability


The Mondo demonstrated medium durability and its soft foam broke down a bit faster than Mad Rock's 5"-thick pads, yet we'd still expect to get a few good years out of it. The nylon material that covers the foam was less durable than that of Mad Rock pads and we've heard of it tearing in several cases. This is a significant issue if you boulder in areas with sharp rocky landings.

Best Applications


This pad excels at high problems yet still soft enough for lower problems. It is best suited for experienced boulderers who want a jumbo-sized pad in their quiver as well as a small pad. If you're willing to spend the money and want a massive pad then the Mondo will be a nice addition to your collection of crash pads. The Mad Rock Triple Mad Pad is 5" wider and significantly less expensive if you are okay with compromising on features and just want to cover the most ground possible. Novice boulderers or those on a budget will probably want to buy a smaller pad and then invest in a big pad later. The Mad Rock Mad Pad is a good inexpensive pad to start with and has Velcro attachments to connect with other Mad Rock pads. The other good small pads are the taco style Black Diamond Drop Zone and uniquely built Mad Rock R3, which is filled with shredded recycled foam rather than traditional open and closed cell foam layers.

Value


At $399, the Mondo is the most expensive pad in our review. The Mad Rock Triple Mad Pad is slightly larger, the same thickness, and lists for $259; $141 less than the Mondo. Aside from the Petzl Alto, the Mondo has the highest cost per square foot and the cost is hardly justified by its performance. It's a solid pad that works well but we think that better value can be found in the Triple Mad Pad, Metolius Session, or Mad Rock Duo.

Conclusion


We recommend the Black Diamond Mondo if you seek a plush pad that covers a massive area. Its the most expensive pad we tested and is best for boulderers who are looking to invest in a large high-end pad.
Chris McNamara, Chris Summit, Steven Tata

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Most recent review: February 2, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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  • 5
 (4.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)

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   Aug 30, 2010 - 12:56pm
weschrist · Climber · left sac
I have an older version. I like everything about this pad, except moving it between problems. Looks like they have solved this issue in the current model.

The stitching on the waist belt is coming undone. I know Revolution (cordless) fixes that kind of thing for free, don't know if bd does.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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