How to Buy a Crash Pad

When purchasing a crash pad there’s many things that you need to consider before buying. Today crash pads are becoming more expensive. In order to fully test any crash pad you need to be able to open it and observe its features.

What is a Taco Crash Pad?

A taco style crash pad is one solid sheet of foam that folds in half. This is popular because there are no weak sections in the foam. The down side to a taco pad is a major crease in the center foam which eventually damages the unit. Never store a taco style crash pad in its closed mode.

What is a Hinged Crash Pad?

A hinged crash pad is basically two units of foam side by side with material or webbing holding them together with the cover. The down side to this system is the center fold or spineĀ is missing foam and is to weak for full protection.

What is a Hybrid Crash Pad?

A hybrid Crash Pad is both a taco styled crash pad and a hinged style Crash Pad put together all in one. The top sheet of a hybrid crash pad is one solid sheet of foam spanning from end to end. This protects the hinge or spine which is the weakest section of the pad. In order to truly be a hybrid Crash Pad it must be covered with a sheet of high density foam, this foam can not be an open cell or sponge like foam. Open cell or sponge foam will not provide adequate protection for the center hinge and only mimics true hybrid crash pads. This imitation can be found amongst many top brands.

Crash Pad Foams

Never pinch a crash pad to test its foam. Place the pad against a solid surface and punch or land on it with your fist or knees. Most firm foams are not dynamic enough to provide a safe landing for most applications. A widespread misconception is to purchase firmer foam. Firm foam is just that “firm” it does not provide adequate protection for landing from short or tall distances. Quality Crash Pad foam needs to be dynamic. Dynamic foam provides safety for short and tall landings. Simple physics are used to increase the foams proprties by placing a high density foam on top an open cell softer foam in the core and an additional high density foam on the bottom. When the impact hits the top sheet of the high density foam it spreads in a horizontal plane instead of reflecting back to its source. The center softer core foam absorbs the impact using air. Then the final bottom high-density layer of foam protects from bottoming out into the ground. You’ll notice that Dynamic pads can be punched, kicked and landed on harder than firm foam can. Firm foam tends to reflect the energy back from its source. Firm foam does not last any longer than softer foams or layered foams. All foams that are used for crash pads are synthetic petroleum-based materials and breakdown relatively at the same cycle.

Cover Materials

Synthetic nylon materials are getting more advanced. The best abrasion resistant textiles on the market today are Ballistic Nylon’s and Cordura Nylon’s. They are rated by thickness or durability by a term called Denier. The higher the number the thicker the material. 500 Denier and higher are best suited for crash pads. Typically crash pads are made with 500D, 1000D and 1680D. Other substandard material are nylon pack-cloth, rip-stop and poly-blends or China generic knock-off’s.

Crash Pad Hardware

Buckles – Crash Pad Buckles should be made of metal for longevity. Most use a light weight aluminum (which can bend) and others use steel (lasts longer). Plastic buckles are a big waste of time and money. Most high end crash pad manufactures make buckle straps that cater to replacements. If the system doesn’t allow replacements, it could cause big issues in the future if one happens to break.

Crash Pad Suspension System

The trick with a good quality backpack system on a crash pad is to have comfort and durability all in one. This can be hard to find. Most that are comfortable are not durable enough to withstand the abuse they get on the ground side. Others that are durable are bulky and uncomfortable. Keep these factors in mind when testing out crash pad suspension systems. Try to find one that’s both comfortable and durable.

Coming Up…

Crash Pad Bells and Whistles

Crash Pad Weight

Crash Pad Size

Crash Pad Prices

Crash Pad Shipping

Traveling with a Crash Pad