At a recent trip to Font, I ended up using quite a variety of crash pads over the weekend. Having recently sold my AlpKit Phud, I was in the market for a new mat and as soon as I got back to Chamonix I went out and bought a Black Diamond Impact (my favourite of my friends mats we were using at Font), so here is a full review of why I bought it, how it’s held up and if it could the right bouldering mat for you…
I had a pretty specific idea of what I wanted from a bouldering mat, I wanted it to fold easily (not a taco style) and just about squeeze in the boot of my car, the idea being to get the maximum protection from the most compact pad that will last for years to come. I like Black Diamond, I have lot of there kit and it’s lasted well, and with a mid to low price point for it’s size the Impact ticked all the boxes.
The Impact uses a closed-cell PE foam layer for the top sheet, and a high-compression PU foam for the bottom. This more solid top sheet provides protection against rocks, spreads the weight and assures your foot doesn’t crush through the lower (softer) layer, the PU foam lower then absorbs the impact very well. The outer is made from PU-coated 600d ripstop polyester which is both abrasion and water resistant and has been really tough showing absolutely no signs of wear so far.
For portability, the mat folds shut very easily (unlike the tacos) and is secured with 3 metal buckles, although you only really need to use 2 of them. Round the back the shoulder straps and waist belt are comfortable enough (the mat only weighs 4.33kgs) and the grab handles provide easily transportation as well as something to quickly grab the mat with when you’re spotting someone and need to give it a little shuffle over.
Being the sociable sport bouldering is, usually there will be a handful of mats when working a route, so in a way it doesn’t really matter what you have but the Impact provides enough protection to go bouldering on your own, maybe not quite highballing, but for most circuits I’m pretty happy with it underneath me providing the fall is pretty clean.
So should you buy the Impact? For the price, portability, protection and quality, I am very happy with the Impact and have no intention of either replacing it or buying additional mats for the time being. It is simple, rugged and the falls on it completely fine. Folding lengthways to approx. 100 x 57 x 20 cm (tape measure verified) if it fits in your car I think it’s a fantastic product, especially at this price point.