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Black Diamond Mondo Pad Review

An excellent large pad with a big price tag.
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Price:  $350 List | $349.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Great foam, large surface area, lots of grab loops
Cons:  No sternum strap, outdated hinge closure
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Henry Feder ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 16, 2019
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 10
  • High Falls - 30% 9
  • Low Falls - 30% 6
  • Durability - 20% 7
  • Packing Gear - 10% 7
  • Features - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Mondo is just that, a huge crash pad. We liked it so much we sometimes wondered why smaller crash pads even exist. The updates on the new Mondo made a classic pad even better; there were only a few setbacks we wished they had changed. The padding is much firmer than the old version, leading to a more stable landing when falling from height. The square corners allow for no gaps when placed next to other pads. The updated corners are a welcome change when setting up a large landing area on tall, modern boulder problems. The four drag handles at the corners as well as the two shoulder straps work well for sliding the pad along the ground. The Mondo is notably more expensive than other big crash pads in our test, though. We also found the large size of the Mondo annoying to carry when climbing smaller problems. Overall, the Mondo was one of our favorite pads in our test, but its high price tag may make some think twice when compared to other models.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great foam, large surface area, lots of grab loopsStraps to attach a second pad, plush suspension, sturdy foam for high fallsVersatility, soft but dense foam with multiple hinges conforms to uneven landing surfaces and cushions short to medium length falls very well. It also hauls a lot of gear well and has handy featuresSuper durable, amazing foam, lightweightFolds open and closed better than any other taco-style pad, innovative zip-up flap closure system securely stores gear, well made, sleek look
Cons No sternum strap, outdated hinge closureFoam is hard for low falls, stiff for uneven landingsSpecialized, the soft, squishy, shredded foam and slightly lumpy "baffles" are not the best for some long, high falls - they could possibly roll an ankleLack of features, doesn't pack much gear wellDoes not pack large or bulky loads of gear well, no center lifting handle, Velcro and zipper could wear out prematurely
Bottom Line An excellent large pad with a big price tag.Great crash pad distinguished by its innovative strap system for carrying a second pad and many other features that other pads lack.A unique pad with plush foam and plenty of space for packing gear.The best crash pad of its size.An expensive pad given its size and thickness.
Rating Categories Black Diamond Mondo Pad Mad Rock Duo Mad Rock R3 Organic Simple Petzl Alto
High Falls (30%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
Low Falls (30%)
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
7
Durability (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
Packing Gear (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
7
Features (10%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
8
Specs Black Diamond... Mad Rock Duo Mad Rock R3 Organic Simple Petzl Alto
Surface Size (inches) 65" x 44" 56" x 42" 55" x 35" 48" x 36" 46" x 39"
Thickness (inches) 5" 5" 4" 4" 4"
Weight (lbs) 22 lbs 17 lbs 18 lbs 11 lbs 12 lbs
Hinge/Taco Hinge Hinge Hinge(s)/Baffles Hinge Taco
Closing Flap No Yes Yes No Yes
Warranty 1 Year 1 Year Lifetime limited None, but they do repairs. 3 Year

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Testing the Black Diamond Mondo  Drop Zone  and Organic Simple on a technical V9  in South Lake Tahoe.
Testing the Black Diamond Mondo, Drop Zone, and Organic Simple on a technical V9 in South Lake Tahoe.

Padding Falls


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 uses a top layer of closed cell foam (black) and open cell foam (white) for the bottom.
The Mondo uses a top layer of closed cell foam (black) and open cell foam (white) for the bottom.

Durability


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 has a grippy rubber surface that helps keep it in position on angled landings.
The Mondo has a grippy rubber surface that helps keep it in position on angled landings.

Packing Gear


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 Mondo has no handle when folded on the hinge side.
The Mondo has no handle when folded on the hinge side.

Features


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.

Our testers felt comfortable climbing high above the Mondo.
Our testers felt comfortable climbing high above the Mondo.

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.

Best Applications


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.

Value


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.

Climbers at the quality boulder in South Lake Tahoe boulder above the BD Mondo  Drop Zone and Organic Simple crash pad.
Climbers at the quality boulder in South Lake Tahoe boulder above the BD Mondo, Drop Zone and Organic Simple crash pad.

Conclusion


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