Saturday, October 16, 2010

2011 Mission Crash Pad

First of all, let’s start off with a little spray from our current catalog:


This is our forte. Nobody has developed more innovations to bouldering gear than our team of designers. We have introduced some 60 different Crash Pad models for five companies over the years, more than everyone else combined.

The burrito fold, the taco fold, reverse folds, the hinge/taco combo fold, closure flaps, full suspension pack systems, XXL highball pads, lightweight ‘circuit’ pads, upholstery tops, almost all of the standards, benchmarks and advancements have come from this small, dedicated crew.

That would be enough for us to sit back and rest on our laurels. But we have no intention of doing that. In fact, we have some more design breakthroughs in the works; we’re just sorting out some of the fine points. Just wait and see.”

And with that, we would like to introduce the Revolution 2011 Mission Pad.

This little blog post is mostly writing and a few photos, not as many crude jokes and Photoshoppery as I usually include. I'll throw in a little humor, but please try to stay awake...

For those of you who’ve been keeping up to date on Crash Pad designs over the years (which means almost nobody), you may have noticed that I like to redesign the Revolution line on an annual basis. Those changes usually mean better foam, different closure systems, more versatile carrying systems or maybe just new colors.

But this year, we’re doing a big change to our two most popular Crash Pads, The Mission and The Commando. For anybody who’s been bouldering for a fair amount of time, you probably recognize that the “taco” fold is the safest design for a Crash Pad, as it does not have any built-in weakness, gaps or hinges down the center of the Pad.

But taco folds do have some faults, most of them aesthetic. Since the stiff foam is on the top of the foam layers, it’s on inside of the fold. That makes folding the Pad a little more difficult. Also, the top layer of foam can develop a warp or a slight crease, meaning the Pad never fully lays flat unless you bend it the other way first. And if you’re using a very firm foam on top, it can lead to the corners of the Pad “tweeking” out a little bit when folded.

To keep the landing surface completely clear, the backpack straps are on the outside of the fold. But that means the backpack area will be facing the ground. This is not really a big deal if you’re in dry areas like Bishop or Hueco, but if you’re in a rainy area like England, your back will eventually be covered in mud from carrying the Pad.

And chicks don’t want to hang out with grimy, muddy bastards…. so now you see the problem.

In 1999, I came up with a potential solution to this problem with the Cordless Evel Pad. It had a “reverse taco fold”; meaning the top stiff layer of foam was on the outside of the fold. And the shoulder straps were removable, so there would be no obstructions on the landing area. But it wasn’t perfect.

So for the last few months, I’ve been wanting to work with the “reverse taco” design again, but I couldn’t think up a way to keep the pack area off the ground and still have a landing area that was clean, clear and ready for business.

But somebody else did figure it out. And due to the previously described mud dilemma, it makes sense that the idea came from the UK.

The crew at Moon Climbing came up with a solution to this problem that is so simple and obvious, that I feel like an idiot for not thinking of it first: The bottom flap is the pack area. Duh!

(side note: unlike certain douche-bag companies that are content with only biting other people’s designs and contributing zero to the bouldering world, I prefer to give credit and support where it’s due: Nice one, Ben.)

The backpack set-up of the new Mission Pad consists of 3/8 inch (1cm) thick padded shoulder straps with metal buckles and an adjustable 2 inch (5cm) wide hip belt. The shoulder straps are removable and adjustable for climbers of different height, ranging from torso lengths of 15 inches (37cm) to 23 inches (58cm).

Here’s our male model Johnny showing of the latest in fall fashions with his Zoolander inspired look “Sleepy Magnum”…

See that silver ring and strap behind his head? That’s what pulls in the top and bottom flaps. Just one strap goes from the top flap, through the ring and attaches again to the top flap. The ring acts like a pulley to keep the tension on both flaps. And it’s all hooked together with a single metal buckle.

Since the stiff foam is on the outside of the taco fold, the corner “tweeking” has been eliminated, which means the sides and corners meet with a tighter, cleaner fold.

And if you didn’t notice in the above photo, the flaps are in opposition; the side flap closes on the opposite side of the Pad as the top and bottom flaps.

Big deal, you say? Well, here’s the benefit; with almost all other Crash Pads that are available, the top, bottom and side flaps are all dependent on each other to close up the Pad, that's if they have any closure flaps at all.

Having the flaps close independently from each other means just one buckle can close up the Pad, for a short stroll between boulder problems or a quick approach. It also means you’ll have an easier time stuffing all your gear inside.

So what about the whole “keeping-the-backpack-area-dry-and-clean" or "keeping-the-landing-area-open” situation? Here’s the answer: the top and bottom flaps can hook together on either the top or bottom side of the Pad.

If you don’t mind the backpack laying on the ground, hook it up like this…

… or if you prefer to have it out of the dirt, hook it up on the top side…

… or if you think both of those methods totally suck, there’s a third option. Just roll up the bottom flap/backpack thingy…

… and take the built-in Velcro strip to cinch down the roll (by the way, the Velcro strip is behind the flap/pack, so you won’t even notice it when it’s not in use)…

… and there you go, the whole thing is out of the way and will stay dry and clean. It’s even been suggested that this backpack/bottom flap rig would work great as a clean area for sit-down starts, but that’s up to you.

Yes, I know that this means 1 or 2 extra steps to get your Pad all prepared for a super-kick-ass bouldering session. But trust us, it's worth it.

The 2011 Revolution Mission Pad
is 48" x 41" and 3.5" thick (122cm x 104cm x 9cm), same dimensions we've been rolling with since 1995. The new photos and info will be on the website in the next few days. We're starting production on these rigs in about a week, so feel free to contact us with any questions you might have. And your credit card number.

And for all you guys in the E.U., Norway, Japan and Australia who need to get hooked up with the best bouldering gear in the world, get at these guys:

Friction Walls (Scandinavia)
Crux Co. (Japan)
Big John (Australia)
and our Euro office, Revolution Climbing EU

Thanks Everybody, and say no to drugs!


  1. HA! look at Johnny. So pissed you made him wear that pad for the picture... Classic

    Jon G.

  2. Dear Revolution,

    Please set up an office in Korea.