Organic boldly says on its web site that you could wrap this foam in a burlap sack and it would still be the best pad on the market." Maybe a little cocky, but this is our favorite foam and we imagine how much better a pad like the Black Diamond Drop Zone would be if you could sneak into it a layer of the "memory foam." Not only does it hit a nice balance of being sturdy yet forgiving, it is very durable. All pads eventually have their foam break down, but this is the most resilient to getting packed out and going soft. This foam is some of the stiffer stuff, but we like that. We would rather have the confidence of taking a big fall on rocky terrain and not feeling a sharp rock come through. Because it uses a hybrid hinge, the pad lays perfectly flat and you don't have to worry about the foam deforming in the middle and the separate sheet bunching up. This design is part of why the foam lasts so long.
The Full Pad is the same as the Organic Simple Pad with the addition of a closing flap. This flap allows you to stash small gear and designed to allow easy transport of their Half Pad that measures (24x36x3). The Half Pad is only $65 if you order a Full Pad. When purchased together, you get a lot of foam for $250. We like systems like this that are a more versatile alternative to owning a big pad. Big pads are great, but sometimes you want that small pad for a big hike, quick session, or space contraints you might have in your car.
The shoulder straps have two settings for climbers of varying height. We generally don't like Velcro and prefer sewn-in shoulder straps but we have yet to see a pair of these wear out. Shorter climbers will appreciate they can move the suspension down a few inches.
Because this pad is usually made to order from the manufacturer, you can get custom color choices for free. Also, you can pay extra to have your own personal design.
The more crash pads the better. Bishop, CA.
As with any hinged pad, you have to be extra careful when the pad is on uneven terrain. Yes, there is a hybrid hinge of one inch of soft foam. But that is not enough to save your ankle if a sharp rock sneaks directly under it. Also, when you walk on the pad on uneven terrain it acts a bit like a bear trap (see photo above). It's debatable whether the Metolius Recon does a better job of addressing this issue with its angled hybrid hinge. This is not a deal breaker, it is just something that you have to be aware of with all hinged pads. When on uneven terrain, it is best to have another pad underneath it. If you buy this pad with the Organic Half Pad, that is a nice way to deal with the issue.
With the exception of a few places like Touchstone Climbing Gym Retail Stores, you must order this pad directly from the manufacturer. This has some benefits (mentioned above) but it also means you can't feel the pad yourself before buying and you must wait to get it. Also, the return policy is such that you can't return the pad if you don't like it. This makes the purchase more committing than with retailers that have more generous return policies. Organic's owner told us that part of the reason it has to be made to order is that foam is just so expensive. They would have to charge a lot more for the pad if they sold it through retailers. Also, like many pads made in the USA, its just a lot more expensive than getting them made in Asia.
This is a great all-around pad for problems high and low. The quality foam and workmanship will usually last for years of ritual abuse and the custom color combinations will help you express yourself.
This is a good value at $185 considering the quality foam and workmanship. Only the Mad Rock Mad Pad is less expensive, but they do not score as well.
Anna Joseph bouldering crash pad testing on Fly Boy Arete, Bishop, CA.