Black Diamond Mondo, Review

If you find yourself bouldering alone every now and then, or doing particularly scary high-ball problems, Black Diamond has you covered with their Mondo crash pad. This mega sized mat will set you back a fair few dollars, so is what you are getting worth it, considering some cheaper alternatives from Ocún and Edelrid exist?

As the largest pad in the Black Diamond range, the Mondo tops out at a whopping 112 x 165 x 12.5 cm and weighs in at just under 10kg. Small this thing certainly ‘aint. It features a dual foam structure inside covered by a black/red outer top made of Nylon and bottom rubber Layer. The pad definitely looks great outdoors. I really do enjoy the feel to Black Diamond materials, however, the Mondo doesn’t feel as “tight” as the Impact or Dropzone, as if the material has a little too leeway to bend and give way. I’ve seen some feedback that this causes the material to tear or rip, which hasn’t happened to me, but I can see how this could!

Now, carrying this monster is a little tricky and probably the weakest design aspect of this pad. If you’re looking to carry this with the shoulder straps you’ll need to keep in mind that the top of the shoulder straps do not adjust, so you’re stuck with just adjusting the bottom and hoping the belt straps fits you. Being tall myself this doesn’t bother me too much but I can see how this could cause issues for smaller folks. Additionally, due to the sheer size and weight of the pad, you’ll notice how the shoulder straps outright “tug” at the outer rubber layer when worn. I’m always a little worried they’ll tear at some point.

Which is why personally, I use the two very good shoulder webbings that you can sling around your shoulders to carry this thing sideways. This is definitely not convenient for long approaches, but it works well for me in my local bouldering area with 5-10min walks.

So how good is the pad when it’s down on the ground? Excellent! I love the size, and as I often boulder alone, this just adds a ton of security for me, especially when I combine with my Impact pad. When you look down as you struggle up a particularly high or hard boulder, this thing just inspires confidence.

For price tag I’d really say this one is a try before you buy. Head to your local shop, strap this thing on your back and see how it works with you. If I’m travelling public transport or doing steep and long hikes, I’ll leave the Mondo at home and opt for the Impact or Dropzone, but for my afternoon practice at the local crags, it works really well for me!

What I liked:
+ Surface area is huge
+ Shoulder straps for carrying and moving the pad
+ Springiness of foam padding

What I disliked:
– Weight makes it unappealing for longer approaches
– Price compared to competitors
– Shoulder strap mechanism not very flexible

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