As the smallest of the Black Diamond crash pad range, the Impact is designed to be a compact alternative to the bigger Drop Zone and Mondo. But can the Impact hold its own when it comes to the rigours of the outdoors? Read on for my impressions.
Having previously used crash pads from the Ocún brand, I was pleasantly surprised by the Black Diamond build. Strong and firm but with enough bounce to support mistakes, this pad feels solid. The polyester cover also does a good job of keeping the dirt off and can be easily cleaned, while wrapping tightly around the foam padding.
The pad folds in half and can either be carried with the shoulder straps and waist belt or with the two side grab handles. The shoulder and waist straps are fully adjustable while three straps secure the pad from opening, two length wise and once across the bottom. These feature neat Black Diamond buckles that slot into hooks on the opposite side. Again these are fully adjustable, so if you are one of those people that like to stuff climbing gear into the closed pad, this will work for you.
Size wise, you’ll notice that this is a smaller pad (100 x 114 x 10cm). It’s designed to be light (4.33kg) and used for problems with more forgivable terrain. It wouldn’t be wise using this for high balls or anything with a wide fall radius. The low weight means you won’t mind carrying this during longer approaches though which is a plus.
There are a couple of downsides to this model that are worth mentioning. When unfolded the shoulder and closure straps will lie underneath the pad. This means that potentially they could get trapped under rocks and terrain when moving the pad while spotting, which isn’t optimal. Secondly, the hinge-style folded design means that on uneven surfaces the mat may not be able to lie flat, or will fold inwards when landed on. Again, all mats with this cut will have this issue. The only way around this are the wrap around hingeless mats like Black Diamond Drop Zone or the Petzl Alto and Cirro.
In summary, if you’re looking for a medium sized all-around crash pad, light in weight for your every-day bouldering, this might be the pad for you. The Impact will set you back around GBP 130.00 and can be purchased from all major outdoor retailers.