Bouldering Mats or Crash Pads as they are often called are designed to create a soft landing area when bouldering or soloing. Bouldering Mats can be carried on your back, much like a rucksack and laid out underneath the boulder problem you are trying, to cover uneven ground and any protruding rocks that you would otherwise land on should you fall.
Bouldering mats also protect the ground and their use is actively encouraged in busy bouldering areas where ground erosion is an issue under popular boulder problems. Bouldering Mats come in many different sizes and styles. The smaller mats are often referred to as Spot Pads and are generally used to supplement a larger Bouldering Mat, but can also be used on their own as a lightweight alternative.
Most bouldering Mats either fold in the middle using a kind of fabric hinge, or just fold 'Taco' style enabling you to fit a small amount of kit in-between. Both styles have either a single shoulder strap or rucksack type carry system and are easily portable.
A key consideration when buying your mat is transporting it. Whilst the bigger the mat is the better it will be for landing on, there's no point buying the biggest mat we stock if you own a Fiat Punto!
Probably the most important part of a Bouldering Mat is the foam padding. Bouldering Mats utilize dual or even triple layers of foam. Dual foam Boulder Pads have a top layer of, thinner, harder, denser foam and a thicker bottom layer of softer foam which provides the main padding. The top layer of foam is very dense firstly to stop the falling climber sinking into the softer foam below by spreading the impact across a wider surface area, and secondly you are less likely to twist your ankles landing on a slightly firmer foam.
Triple layer Bouldering Mats work in a similar way but consist of a softer layer of foam sandwiched between two dense layers of foam. This disperses this impact through the softer layer from both sides helping to stop knobbly rocks or roots penetrating from below.