Metolius Session Crash Pad
- Slanted hinge design
- Flap closure system
- Heavy duty carpet square on the landing surface
- Soft Foam
- No height adjustment on shoulder straps
- Marginal shell durability
- Rounded corners
The Metolius Session is a no frills crash pad made for the value conscious consumer. Testers really favored the flap-closure system for securing loose gear during transport and the angled hinge design for eliminating the common dead space in the center of the pad. However, the Metolius Session pad boasted the softest foam of the test pads which was liked by some testers for short falls but disliked by many testers for longer falls or when covering uneven terrain.
Every tester noted the difference in firmness of the Metolius Session versus the other pads. Testers remarked how much they liked the soft foam for flat landings and short falls under five feet. However, depending on the climbing area, landings are rarely perfectly flat or rock free. Thus, the soft foam wasn’t a tester favorite.
The Metolius Session was the only pad we tested to use 900 denier nylon shell, the least durable of the test group. Testers found some early signs of wear and tear in the shell when used in talus or around sharp rock.
The Metolius Session earned kudos in functionality for packing convenience, being lightweight and easy to load in the car. The flap-closure system was simple and easy to ensure that smaller items like water bottles would stay inside the pad. Testers liked the durable metal buckle for the closure. The soft foam made it easy to stuff a full backpack inside the pad and have it form fit around the pack.
The Session has a carrying system similar to the other pads in the test. It consists of a single-piece padded shoulder strap with a webbing waistbelt. Several testers wished it had a sternum strap and the ability to adjust the height of the shoulder straps.
As the lightest pad in the test, the Session was easily maneuvered around rocks and roots. It lays flat thanks to two velcro patches in the hinge. However, testers were looking for webbing handles to make it easier to grab and move on the fly.
How We Tested It
The crash pads in this test were used in Boulder, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Joe’s Valley, Utah, and Red Rocks, Nevada. Each test lasted from one hour to all day bouldering sessions with at least three to four participants carrying, throwing, landing, and eating lunch on every crash pad. They were also tested in a variety of weather conditions and different climates. Finally, the crash pads were loaded with five to fifteen pounds of gear and food and carried a few miles to attain the most thorough possible test of each product.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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