Affordable and performance aren’t usually words that go together but Alpkit are quickly becoming a leading brand in affordable performance outdoor kit. Each season they seem to expand their product selection and have recently moved into the world of bouldering mats. We’ve been taking a look at the compact and lightweight Phud Crash Pad to see how it performed.
As with our previous experience with Alpkit (albeit Head-torches and Sleeping-bags) the Phud feels well made with a thick 600d PU coated UK woven polyester fabric that isn’t going to wear through in a hurry. With Aluminium buckles, chamfered corners and YKK zips the complete package is a hard wearing mat that can dragged around the crag at your hearts content.
With the help of 4 aluminium buckles the Phud folds into a closed Taco of 100 x 50 x 25 cm (we love that Alpkit called it that) which seems a bit crude but certainly does the job (plus we just tended to store it expanded to preserve the foam a little), the grab handles and shoulder strap make for easy carrying. At 4.1kgs it’s also pretty light so good marks for portability!
The Phud features a twin layer construction (so bare in mind it has a ‘top’) with a 50mm base layer of HLB PU open cell foam (with a density of 30kg/m3) paied with a 33mm top layer of cross-linked PE closed cell foam (with a density of 25 kg/m3 – we have no idea what that means either). The Phud measures in with an open size of 100 x 100 x 8 cm so is on the small end of a ‘full-size’ mat but with careful positioning the twin layer design cushions moderate falls well without any tendency to bottom out.
With the excellent portability comes the slight downside that the mat is a little thin so perhaps no highballs here – however, the size of most bouldering mats is a major problem for most climbers (I’ve bouldered without a mat for years because of this – don’t do that kids), so if the size and affordability of the Phud means people in my situation will start going out to buy one that’ll fit in the boot then we think that’s fantastic.
If you’re getting into bouldering, or just havn’t got round to buying a mat yet for space reasons – the Phud is a fantastic entry into mat ownership (your ankles with thank you for it) that won’t break the bank and will last a very very long time. To buy a Phud, visit Alpkit directly at: www.alpkit.com/products/phud