The Fat crash pad lives up to its name; the 4” of foam is noticeably more comfortable to land on over uneven ground than many other pads. The thickness is also excellent when folded for ‘gap filling’ on truly appalling landings when you have another pad chucked over the top.
Metolius’ 45 degree hinge design attempts to address a perceived problem with hinged pads having a weak spot where they fold. I’ve never had a problem with hinged pads doing this.
However, the 45 degree hinge does not seem to confer any particular disadvantage. It does perhaps make the open pad a little stiffer though; which is another good feature when trying to flatten out bad landings.
The storage flap makes it easy to stuff all your gear inside the pad without losing it on the way to the crag; it also has a handy pocket for spare brushes and tape.
The standard Metolius metal buckles make the pad quick and easy to do up. They do sometimes slip out if not done up tightly though; in this respect the DMM / Lowe Alpine metal buckle design is better.
The Fat pad has a carpeted top, which will make it slower to dry if you get it really soaking wet. I’ve not found this to be too much of an irritation though, the pad is so fat you’d have to throw it into a real lake to soak the top.
More of an annoyance is the way it dispenses little bits of black fluff onto your boots; not ideal for sticking to poor smears. This will probably stop when the carpet wears slightly.
This pad is a noticeable improvement on Metolius’ popular classic large pad, which was one of the first crash pads to be easily available in the UK. It is thicker, and easier to use and appears more solidly built, particularly the cover material. The ‘flame’ design is erm, individual I suppose; at least it makes it easy to see which pad is yours.
The minor reservations do not really detract from what is an excellent product. It is pricey, though. £160 puts it at nearly £20 - £30 more than its main rivals, (Black Diamond Dropzone, DMM Dyno, POD large etc). Whilst large pads in the £100 price range tend to cut some corners, and be significantly inferior to the standards around £130; the Metolius is not all that much better than the standards.
The ‘Cheap’ Metolius pad has the same foam, but a lighter weight outer, no storage flap and no carpet. If you aren’t too heavy on the cover of your pad, this would be a good buy at £135.
In summary, the ‘Fat’ is awesome, if you don’t mind paying for it!
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