The Metolius Recon is a medium-large crash pad that folds into three sections and is easy to carry, hence the name Recon. It was not one a favorite, as we prefer either a light and affordable pad that can hold a lot of gear or something more substantial. The Recon gets lost in the middle.
Metolius Recon Review
Cons: Does not carry very much gear (barely even the essentials), tri-fold hinge is often flip floppy or overly rigid on uneven landings
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|Price||$279.95 at REI||$104.25 at Amazon||$149.25 at Backcountry|
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|$210.00 at REI||$299.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Easy to transport, easy to carry, easily closed/opened, handy carpet square, well made, durable||Straps to attach a second pad, plush suspension, sturdy foam for high falls||Versatility, 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 features||Super durable, amazing foam, lightweight||Folds open and closed better than any other taco-style pad, innovative zip-up flap closure system securely stores gear, well made, sleek look|
|Cons||Does not carry very much gear (barely even the essentials), tri-fold hinge is often flip floppy or overly rigid on uneven landings||Foam is hard for low falls, stiff for uneven landings||Specialized, the soft, squishy, shredded foam and slightly lumpy "baffles" are not the best for some long, high falls - they could possibly roll an ankle||Lack of features, doesn't pack much gear well||Does not pack large or bulky loads of gear well, no center lifting handle, Velcro and zipper could wear out prematurely|
|Bottom Line||A decent large pad that didn't stand out.||A unique strap system, useful features, and thick foam make this model a fantastic all-around pad.||One of the softest pads we tested, it shines for low falls and carrying equipment.||The best mid-sized crash pad.||A good medium-sized taco pad that comes at a high cost.|
|Rating Categories||Metolius Recon||Mad Rock Duo||Mad Rock R3||Organic Simple||Petzl Alto|
|High Falls (30%)|
|Low Falls (30%)|
|Packing Gear (10%)|
|Specs||Metolius Recon||Mad Rock Duo||Mad Rock R3||Organic Simple||Petzl Alto|
|Surface Size (inches)||60" x 42"||56" x 42"||55" x 35"||48" x 36"||46" x 39"|
|Weight (lbs)||14 lbs||17 lbs||18 lbs||11 lbs||12 lbs|
|Warranty||1 Year||1 Year||Lifetime limited||None, but they do repairs.||3 Year|
Our Analysis and Test Results
With 4" of foam, the Metolius Recon did not stand out for its cushioning abilities. Similar to the Mad Pad layering, but thinner, the Recon has 2.5" of open cell foam between stiffer closed cell foam layers that are 1" on top and 0.5" on the bottom. It was plenty thick enough to cushion medium and low falls but we preferred the thicker foam of Mad Rock's Mad Pad and Duo for high falls and rocky landings.
The Recon becomes very rigid when the Velcro hinge flaps are secured, but this is often as helpful as it is annoying. It is hard to lay flat on uneven terrain and with the flaps secured it can sometimes be too rigid — it slides out of place or sits unevenly. If you frequently climb over uneven or rocky landings, this pad is not the best choice. When the flaps are secured the rigidness also makes the pad work great as a back pad against a vertical surface or to flatten the landing over a crevice.
The main drawback with the Recon's tri-fold design is that it holds very little gear. This pad barely fits the essentials (shoes, chalk bag, etc.). Our testers found most of our pada that folded in half worked well to carry a small daypack with all of the essential items, the recon was unable to do this. Our testers preferred the Mad Rock Duo for its ability to carry multiple pads as well as a small day pack.
When folded up for carrying the Recon resembles a suitcase and can be carried like one, making it a great secondary pad. A separate main pad can be used to carry the group's shoes and extra gear. The carpet square sewn onto the center of the pad works well for drying/cleaning shoes and makes a sort of bullseye to aim for when jumping/falling.
With multiple layers of foam and relatively thick body fabric, the Recon proved to be a durable pad. Its foam softened up gradually and seemed less sturdy than that of the Mad Pad or Black Diamond Mondo.
The Recon is best for bouldering in areas with flat landings and works especially well as a supplementary pad because of its ability to be carried like a suitcase. The tri-fold design is similar to that of the Mad Rock Triple Mad Pad, but with thinner foam. The Recon is one of the best secondary pads with its quick single-strap closure, compact design, and easy-to-transport shape.
The Metolius Recon is about the same price as comparably sized pads, yet not as thick. The Mad Rock Triple Mad Pad is 1" thicker, 2" wider, and 10" longer with a lower list price. If you're looking to maximize area per dollar the Triple Mad Pad provides a better value and is better for cushioning hard falls.
While it wasn't a favorite, the Recon worked well covering a large area for flat landings. We liked the Mad Rock Triple Mad Pad better as a standalone pad because of its larger area and thicker foam but would use the Recon as a second pad.
— Steven Tata