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Metolius Project Review

Among the least expensive models on the market that still offers decent functionality and mount-anywhere dimensions
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $55 List | $41.21 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Very compact dimensions, inexpensive, nice pocket depths
Cons:  Fewer grip options than most, some of the most-used edge depths are located in the center of the board, not great for stronger climbers
Manufacturer:   Metolius
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 7, 2020
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Our Verdict

The Metolius Project is among the most compact and value-oriented hangboards currently on the market, winning our Best Buy Award for those on a tighter budget. It's also great for tighter spaces — we found it particularly good for folks who don't have a lot of space, due to its smaller-than-average dimensions. Its low cost and small size do mean 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 for ergonomic comfort on some of the grips. This board is best for many climbers in the 5.10 range to low-to-mid 5.12 range and not ready to commit to the higher-end (and higher-priced) products but still want a legitimate, quality product.

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Project is among the most compact and lowest priced hangboard we tested and while it does offer some good performance, you do get what you pay for. Its 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. If you're getting into hangboarding for the first time and are not ready to commit to a bigger, more expensive board, this is our top recommendation.

Performance Comparison


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 beginner to moderate-grade climbers. It will work 5.11+ climbers, although it's not our first recommendation for climbers at this level.

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 are 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.
This model is one of the easiest to mount.

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). Its 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 this board offers a decent enough selection of holds that for folks just getting into it or those willing to get a little creative with their fingerboard workouts. 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. A lot of people looking at this board will also be looking at price-pointed Get Out! Doorway hangboard as both are some of the most reasonably priced boards on the market. They share a lot of similarities and appear to be made of identical materials with an extremely similar texture. Between the two we like the Project better, mostly because we like the progression of holds better. Also, while they are both similar widths, the Project is just enough shorter that it will fit above basement doorways or in homes with lower-than-average ceilings.

While you can certainly buy a nicer model for more money or one that has a larger array of holds  it's pretty near impossible to find one for less money or that will fit in as many places as this one.
While you can certainly buy a nicer model for more money or one that has a larger array of holds, it's 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. For folks willing to spend a little more money and have space, we usually recommend other models, as they offer more holds with more depth options which give the user more incremental options to increase strength. However, for folks not wanting to spend the money the Metolius Project is the best of the least expensive boards and will still get the job done for an impressively low price.

Ian Nicholson