The Mad Rock Duo crash pad is our go to main crash pad for outdoor bouldering. We love it for its thick foam, ease of carrying, and ability to be combined with multiple pads.
Check out our list of the best crash pads on the market today and see how the Mad Rock Duo stacks up compared to the competition.
Mad Rock Duo Crash Pad
If you’re looking for your first main bouldering pad, then we recommend the Mad Rock Duo.
We love it for your first main bouldering pad because it provides 5 inches of foam as well as closed cell foam layers, comfortable shoulder straps that can easily incorporate multiple pads, and has a welcome mat so you can wipe dirt off your shoes before you send. In our experience, we’ve found that the Mad Rock Duo crash pad has the best balance of protection and features to get your bouldering career started off on the right foot.
- Padded shoulder straps for comfortable hiking and additional straps to carry multiple pads
- 16 feet of landing surface area to protect you when falling
- Welcome mat to wipe dirt and mud off your shoes before sending
- Velcro flaps to create a flat and stable landing zone when using multiple crash pads
- Not the best crash pad for low ball boulders due to the stiff foam
- Tough to protect uneven landings that have rocks or roots
- Heavier than the Mad Rock Mad Pad
The Mad Rock Duo bouldering crash pad is great for falling due to two reasons:
- The pad has a landing surface area of 16 feet, bigger than most pads but smaller than large pads like the Black Diamond Mondo
- Five inches of thick foam provides great catches on high falls but is a bit firm for low falls
The Duo is provides great protection thanks to its larger landing surface area and its foam setup. The pad has five inches of foam. The pad utilizes a foam sandwich construction to create a firm, secure, and safe landing zone.
The Duo pad has 3 inches of open cell foam sandwiched between two one inch layers of closed cell foam. In my bouldering experience, I have really grown to appreciate the firm closed foam because it gives your foot a firm landing. That firm landing may seem counterintuitive at first, but it helps prevent you from rolling your ankle.
The main downside to this foam construction is that falling on the pad from a low height feels extra firm and stiff. But when you’re falling from higher up, you won’t feel your feet bottoming out through the pad and hitting the ground, rock, or other obstacle that the pad is protecting you from.
The Duo pad also has velcro flaps all over the edges so you can connect the pad to other mad rock pads. These flaps help create one large pad without any nooks and crannies for your feet to get caught in.
Mad Rock Duo Tech Specs
|Open Dimensions||56" x 42" x 5"|
|Closed Dimensions||28" x 42" x 10"|
|Manufacturer Warranty||Limited lifetime|
|Pockets||Integrated carry flap, water bottle holder|
|Features||Hip belt, load lifter straps|
The construction process that Mad Rock followed helped a ton with durability. We found that the stiffer closed cell foam is helping a ton maintain the stiffness. The foam construction will stay stiff for a long time and you won’t have to worry about the foam getting too soft and your feet sinking through on a large fall.
The pad has reinforced stitching which will help the longevity of your pad. But I have always been more concerned about the foam on a bouldering crash pad compared to the outer material. The worst case scenario is that I may have to do a patch job if a seam breaks, but I don’t want to go through trying to replace foam in my bouldering crash pads.
Another underrated durability feature on the Duo pad is that it comes with the welcome mat to wipe crud off the bottom of your shoes. Wiping your shoes off before stepping on the pad will keep rocks, dirt, and mud off your pad and get a little extra life out of the pad while still looking fresh.
The features on the Duo pad are one of the reasons we love it so much:
- Welcome mat to wipe dirt and mud off your feet. I love using this mat to clean my shoes off before I send, but it also helps keep my pad clean and free of debris which improves its lifespan.
- Padded shoulder straps. These padded straps make it much easier to carry the pad on long approaches. And they’re a godsend when I load up with an additional pad and all of my gear stuffed inside the pad
- Daisy chains to carry additional pads. The duo carrier flap easily carries an additional pad on your back when you’re hiking out to the crag. You won’t have to fiddle with ropes or slings.
One lifehack that comes with the Mad Rock Duo pad (and other pads) is that the pad will double as a backpack when you’re hiking. All you’ll need to do is open the pad, place your water bottle, snacks, and guidebook in the pad, and then close it up and cinch it down.
In my experience, I’ve been able to fit an entire backpack within the crash pad. One tip that I’ve figured out is to make your gear within the pad as flat as possible before you close it up. This will distribute the weight evenly on your back and help the pad close up evenly. If you don’t want to shove a backpack in the pad, it will easily fit in the area thats designed for carrying a second pad.
Transporting and Carrying
The Duo pad is awesome for carrying between boulders because it has straps for carrying multiple pads, backpack straps to wear the pad on your back, and a robust suspension system that makes carrying the pad almost feel like it’s just a backpacking pack. The Duo pad has the following features for carrying:
- Well padded suspension (shoulder straps and hip straps).
- Adjustable hip belt
- Chest strap
- Carrying handles for quick adjustments at the boulders
Best Intended Use
In my experience, I’ve used the Mad Rock Duo crash pad as my primary pad. Because it has such stiff foam, a large area for landing, and the ability to add connecting pads, it is a great to be front and center of the pad pile when you’re bouldering.
The pad is not your best bet when you’re climbing above uneven landings or have obstacles underneath. That’s why we recommend getting the Mad Rock Duo pad as your first pad and then picking up a second or third pad that is best suited for the area where you’ll be bouldering.
With the Mad Rock Duo Pad you’re getting a great primary pad that every bouldering crew will be glad to have around. It’s a great value if you’re looking to get your first pad that can do it all. We don’t recommend it if you’re looking for a pad for uneven terrain, try the Mad Rock R3 instead.
Where To Buy the Mad Rock Duo
The Mad Rock Duo Pad can be bought directly from the Mad Rock website or from your local outdoor retailer. It can also be bought online from major outdoor retailers like REI, Backcountry or Moosejaw, but be ready to pay a bit extra in shipping charges since the item is bulky to ship.