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Metolius Project Review

Among the least expensive models on the market that still offers decent functionality and mount-anywhere dimensions.
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Price:  $55 List | $41.19 at REI
Pros:  Very compact dimensions, inexpensive, nice pocket depths
Cons:  Fewer grip options, most-used edges located in the center, not great for stronger climbers
Manufacturer:   Metolius
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 5, 2019
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Our Verdict

The Metolius Project is among the most compact and value-oriented hangboards currently on the market. It is particularly good for folks who don't have a lot of space to mount a hangboard or are just looking to spend as little as possible on a piece of training equipment that they are maybe unsure how much they'll use. Its small size means it has fewer edges and pockets than many others, and the placement of its edges forces your arms to be a bit too close together. After a lot of use, our team feels this board is best for many climbers in the 5.10 range to low-to-mid 5.12 range. However, for those short on space and not wanting to throw down nearly twice the dough down on a seriously excellent board, the Project could be a good option.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The Project is the most compact and lowest priced hangboard we tested and while it does offer some okay performance to some extent you get what you pay for. Its super small dimensions limit the number of grip options and those that it does have to tend to be on the bigger end and not as good for medium-to-higher end users.

Performance Comparison


You can see how the Project (shown in blue below) stacked up against the competition. While it is the least expensive product in our review for just a little more money you can get a lot more hangboard and see what while this product was in contention its limited grip options kept it from winning our Best Buy award.

Rock bottom pricing on a board that will fit nearly anywhere - though its hold selection is less ideal for serious users.
Rock bottom pricing on a board that will fit nearly anywhere - though its hold selection is less ideal for serious users.

Edges and Pockets


Edges and pockets are the foundation of any good hangboard and a lack of diversity of both on this model is what is holding it back from being a great board. This model has an okay collection of edges and pockets that are geared for more entry-level users and will work 5.11+ climbers but we think there are many other better models available, even if you don't want to drop a ton of dough.

This board is one of the smallest models we tested though it still offers a decent number of holds despite its compact design.
This board is one of the smallest models we tested though it still offers a decent number of holds despite its compact design.

Edges

The Project has two primary edges located in the center of the board: a 0.75 inch edge above a 0.5 inch edge. There is also a pair of 1.25 inch four-finger edge/pockets on either side that we think are great for warming up. Where this board lets us down is in the location of the two main edges - in the center. While even a person with very large hands can easily get both of their mitts on this center edge, its location in the center of the board lends itself to poorer ergonomics. With your hands so much closer together, this puts additional strain on your shoulders and elbows and forces you to practice poor form. Additionally, we also wish there was one more full-sized edge between 0.25 and 0.5 inches to really round out the practicing options.

This board has two 3-finger pockets (1.5" and 0.75") and two 2-finger pockets (1.5" and 0.875"). These depths build on one another nicely and provide a nice overall progression that will work for most 5.10 to low/mid 5.12 climbers.
This board has two 3-finger pockets (1.5" and 0.75") and two 2-finger pockets (1.5" and 0.875"). These depths build on one another nicely and provide a nice overall progression that will work for most 5.10 to low/mid 5.12 climbers.

Pockets

This model has four additional pockets to go along with its three primary edges. It has two 3-finger pockets that are 1.5 and 0.75 inches and two 2-finger pockets that are 1.5 and 0.875 inches deep. Both the depths of the three-finger and the two-finger pockets work well for a wide cross-section of users from first-time hangboard buyers to climbers in the low-to-mid 5.12 range.

The Project sports two warm-up jugs  one pair of slopers and a nice  central rounded sloper that's nicely shaped for working on one-armed lock-offs.
The Project sports two warm-up jugs, one pair of slopers and a nice, central rounded sloper that's nicely shaped for working on one-armed lock-offs.

Slopers and Jugs


Like most other non-wooden models this product features two sets of slopers and one pair of jugs. We found the jugs perfect for warming up on or simply cranking out some pull-ups. The two slopers are also nice for warming up or building up that burn towards the end of your workout. Compared to the many other boards we tested, this model's slopers average and fine for the things we have mentioned above but aren't really offering a big challenge for climbers pushing 5.12+.

Texture


Good texture refers to a balance of not being so slippery that your hand slides off the moment you start to get pumped but not so grippy that it tears your skin up or makes hanging on too much easier. Built with plain old polyester resin and finished with a moderately fine-grained texture the Project is on par with the rest of Metolius's other non-wood models which is above-average among all boards we tested. Its texture is slightly more skin-friendly than a few other similarly constructed models, but only marginally so.

This model is one of the easiest to mount and it can fit places few other hangboards can.
This model is one of the easiest to mount and it can fit places few other hangboards can.

Ease of Mounting


This model is among the easiest to mount on the wall (aside from models that simply hang and require no mounting at all, of course). It's eight included screws secure it almost anywhere. This model has very compact dimensions, measuring out to be around 23.5 inches across and 6.25 inches tall. These relatively tight dimensions help it fit in above doorways with low 7 foot ceilings. Its smaller size also helps to keep it from being quite such an eyesore by dominating the room. If being able to fit your hangboard pretty much anywhere is a priority for you, this small model might be just your type.

If you have below-average height ceilings or are looking to mount your board in a basement  closet doorway  or other cramped space this model's tiny dimensions let it squeeze into places few other models can.
If you have below-average height ceilings or are looking to mount your board in a basement, closet doorway, or other cramped space this model's tiny dimensions let it squeeze into places few other models can.

Value


As one of the least expensive hangboards on the market, this board does have a certain draw. Sure we like other boards better, but we think this board offer's a decent enough selection of holds that for folks just getting into it or if folks are willing to get a little creative then it could work out well. However, if you know you want a fingerboard and you've got the space to mount a larger option, we think that you'd be happier going with another board. But if you need to thread that needle of cost, space, while still squeezing in a workout, this option might be just the right fit.

The main reason to buy the Project is its' price or its compact size.  While you can certainly buy a nicer model for more money or one that has a larger array of holds its pretty near impossible to find one for less money or that will fit in as many places as this one.
The main reason to buy the Project is its' price or its compact size. While you can certainly buy a nicer model for more money or one that has a larger array of holds its pretty near impossible to find one for less money or that will fit in as many places as this one.

Conclusion


The main reasons you buy this model are its price and its compact size. If you're after a lot of options for your workout or a board that facilitates proper form with helpful ergonomics, the Project is unlikely to satisfy. However, if you have a tight space or only plan on using your board infrequently, this inexpensive, compact model may be just what you've been looking for.


Maggie Brandenburg