Organic Simple Review
Cons: Lack of features, doesn't pack much gear well
Manufacturer: Organic Climbing
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The feeling of falling on the Simple is better than any other pad in our test overall. From taking short, jarring falls on bums, landing on backs on sit starts, or falling from up on a high ball problem, our testers found that the foam Organic uses out-does the competition. Most other pads (and the foam therein) tend to protect one better than the other — either they are good for high falls but mediocre for low falls, or vice versa. The Simple nails them both, which is a strong reason for their popularity.
Other pads in our test used more open cell foam which produced a bottoming out feeling. The Simple uses a combination of 1" memory foam on top of urethane rubber and finally a large amount of open cell foam. The Simple is 4" thick yet feels much thicker. Our testers consistently set up landing zones so that the Organic would be at the crux of the problem since they enjoyed falling on it so much.
An area of debate in the world of crash pad design is how to fold a crash pad in half so it can be carried on your back. The hinge method splits the pad to be carried like a suitcase. This folds together neatly for easy carry, but creates dead space in the middle of the pad as it packs out. Other crash pads have no split in the foam and are folded in half, taco-style, which makes them awkward to carry. The Simple uses a hybrid hinge closure system to ensure there is no dead space at the folding point. Our testers feel that this closure method was the best closure compared to the taco and hinge style designs.
The Simple was made with durability in mind. The materials utilized are super strong. The nylon that Organic uses is like a pair of canvas work pants, whereas the nylon that other companies use feels like a pair of thin jeans. Both are pants but the jeans will wear out long before the purpose-built canvas work pants. All crash pads will eventually pack out; however, Organic is the only company in our test that sells replacement open cell foam for their pads. For the dedicated boulderer who uses their gear frequently, they will be glad that Organic used such durable materials on the Simple.
The only complaint our testers had was how easily the bright blue color of the pad we tested became dirty. We recommend that buyers pick a pad with more earth tones so that it will not show the dirt as much. At the time this article was published, REI.com does not allow buyers to choose the color of their pad. On Organic's website, buyers can choose what color they want their pad to be.
The Organic pad has no extra features to help pack gear. There isn't any material to stretch over the bottom of the pad to keep smaller items stuffed in the middle from falling out — a feature several other pads have. However, the backpack suspension system is the most comfortable out of all the pads in our test. Without features to carry gear, our testers loaded the Simple with a day pack in the center of the pad, which consistently stayed put after tightly cinching the pad closed. Using this method, testers were able to carry everything they needed for a day of bouldering comfortably.
Our testers enjoyed the two shoulder strap settings that adjust for small to large torsos well. We also liked using the sternum strap on the Simple's backpack system. Many of the other crash pads in our test do not come with a sternum strap. The sternum strap helps prevent chaffing by our armpits while carrying the Simple long distances. If the boulders are roadside, then it does not matter how comfortable the backpack system is. Of course, not all climbs have a short approach. The climber who enjoys bouldering backcountry blocks with arduous approaches, the quality of the backpack system is paramount. Our testers never complained about straps digging into their armpits or waist. For the boulderer who is seeking out boulders far from civilization, Organic also offers an even more robust backpack system made by Mystery Ranch, a backpack company.
The Simple's main feature is that it is made with super durable materials. The pad uses 1050D nylon for everything except the top which is 1000D nylon. The pad is closed with four buckles, three along the side and one along the bottom. Our testers found that the closure buckles and the nylon Organic use were the easiest to operate. This may seem like a small detail, but the metal closure buckles on pads get used countless times while packing and unpacking.
The Simple also features grab handles on the top and bottom of the pad. These handles are held together in a suitcase fashion to move the pad and your gear short distances between problems. The Organic is limited on extra features such as gear storage or having a place to wipe your shoes. The Simple makes up for this fact by using the most bomber materials, foam, and carrying system on the market.
The Simple pad is a great pad for the beginner or expert looking to add a midsize pad to their quiver. It is a great standalone pad when used under small to medium-sized problems. When our testers headed out to do their favorite circuit of smaller problems, they grabbed the Simple every time. Its size is enough to cover the most crucial parts of a landing area while not being too cumbersome to carry. The Simple also pairs well with other crash pads when creating a large landing zone because of its square corners. Whether the simple was under our butts during a sit start or in the drop zone from a high crux, we were glad it was beneath us every time.
The Simple costs less than several other crashpads in our test with a similar surface area. When compared to the competition the Organic Simple has great value. It protects falls well and is built to last, without a staggering price tag. We dig that. However, it's not feature-laden, nor is it the best for carrying a ton of gear. We consider those issues as secondary, though, and feel that most folks will find a great deal of value in having this "simple" pad as their daily driver.
The Organic Simple is our favorite mid-sized crash pad among the test bunch. The quality of the foam allowed us to keep our head clear and focus on climbing instead of thinking about falling. Boulderers are known for beating up crash pads, and the Simple is ready to take the abuse. If you are in the market for a mid-sized crash pad, you can't go wrong with the Simple.
— Henry Feder