Morphix Crash Pad by Bendcrete

Review by planetFear
Tuesday 27th February 2007

Morphix Crash Pad by Bendcrete

The Morphix pad is a versatile no nonsense hinged design bouldering mat. Some details:

* It measures approx. 3’ x 4’ (0.9 m x 1.2 m) opened out and 3’ x 2’ folded.
* It’s has a decent fall absorbing thickness of 4” (10 cm), which is made up of two dense 1” outer layers of foam sandwiching a 2” lower density centre.
* It’s got a handle on either half, which makes carrying it folded between problems a cinch.
* It has plastic buckles and a couple of D rings for attaching a shoulder strap. Admittedly metal buckles are sturdier, but both halves of these buckles are mounted on ‘free’ ends so are easily replaceable should the worst happen.
* It’s got a nice (in my opinion), easy to spot from a height, red top and sides with obligatory logos on all faces and a sensible black bottom to blend with the mud it will inevitably pick up. The cover seems pretty hard wearing and fairly water resistant – a very wet trip to Cresciano proved a good test with the mat easily drying overnight.

Talking of mud – this is where this pad differs from others. Now, at the end of your session most pads leave you in the quandary of how to get it back to the car without plastering yourself with the mud it has saved your shoes and bum from during the day. With the Morphix pad you simply slide it in to the purpose made carry bag, which includes rucksack straps and simple waist belt. Perfect! You can safely stow the rest of your kit there too with no chance of it shaking out. This is particularly useful when flying as you can encase your mat along with plenty of other kit insode a sealed bag. There is even a substantial zipped pocket in the lid flap for smaller items – no key retainer though. A neat touch is the reflective strip across the back so you can be seen on the road after a late finish following that ‘just one more go’ problem…. You can also get a handy additional smaller bag which clips to the front of the shoulder straps when you need to carry that bit more. This is plenty big enough for a couple of pairs of shoes, food, drink, chalk bucket and a windproof, and is easily accesible when walking along.

The bag is not entirely perfect – it can be a bit of a struggle to get the mat in and out until you’ve got the knack. I’m not sure if these were designed in or not, but there are some handy D rings at the bottom to stand on whilst you pull the mat out (just visible in the photo below right). They also make it easy to tie to the roof of your hire car should you find you’ve brought one too many mats, which can happen – believe me!

To hinge, or not to hinge? That, as they say, is the question. Well, I have never had a problem with standard hinge designs and the same goes for this pad, I’ve (possibly fortunately) never once gone through the middle to rocks – although careful positioning is probably worth remembering here though. However, if you really have a concern in this area other pads on the market (taco or diagonal hinge) will give you greater piece of mind – which could be crucial on the top moves a somewhat sketchy highball. The advantage of the hinge, other than you don’t have to wait for your taco to unfold, is that it is very easy to fold the pad upside down over inconsiderately positioned rocks and make use of the fact there is high density, load spreading, foam top and bottom.

Overall, this is a straightforward, well made pad with some novel additions that set it apart from the crowd. The bag system is a huge plus in my book and I’m surprised others haven’t come up with similar. Durability of materials looks favourable. With regards to value, the Morphix website gives a RRP of £159.99 for the pad and £59.99 for the bag. I think these are a bit steep compared to other decent offerings on the market, although I do think the bag is worth paying more for – just maybe not that much more.

Further to publishing this review we heard back from the manufacturers with the following comments:

1) The retail prices are what they would cost in the shops and these are:-
    Crash Pad £159.99
    Pad Bag £59.99
    Chest Bag 39.99
However, at present we only sell them directly from Bendcrete at discount prices which are:-
    Crash Pad £99.99
    Pad Bag £37.99
    Chest bag £24.99

2) The ‘D’ rings are deliberate.  To get the ‘Pad’ out, simply grab the ‘D’ rings and turn the ‘Pad Bag’ upside down and shake.  To put the ‘Pad’ back in, stand the ‘Pad’ on one end, grab the open end of the ‘Pad Bag’ with the lid facing away from you and fit the open end over the end of the ‘Pad’.  Pull the ‘Pad Bag’ part way down the ‘Pad’, turn upside down and shake to make the ‘Pad’ slide down into the ‘Pad Bag’.

3) The ‘Pad Bag’ can also be used as an emergency shelter by simply climbing in whilst sitting on the ‘Pad’ to insulate you from the cold ground.  It is a bit cramped but better than nothing in an emergency.

4) The shoulder strap for the ‘Pad’ can also be attached to the ‘Chest Bag’ to create a small shoulder bag.

5) The waist straps on the ‘Pad Bag’ can be attached to the bottom of the ‘Chest Bag’ to keep the whole lot stable when climbing up or descending steep ground.  This also helps the ladies as they can keep the waist straps fairly tight and loosen the top straps on the ‘Chest Bag’ to give them more,  err,  room to move.....

6) The ‘Pad’ can be turned upside down to be placed over the edge of boulders.  This is one of the reasons why there are two layers of dense foam so that the ‘Pad’ works equally as well either way up.

7) The two layers of dense foam help to reduce the chances of ‘grounding-out’ through the ‘Pad’ and bruising heels as I did using a thinner, two layer, mat during my research prior to designing the ‘Morphix Pad’.

8) The ‘Pad’ covers can be washed in a washing machine after removing the foam.  However, I must issue a warning at this point as returning the foam to the covers can be a serious hazard to the health of your body and to your sanity.  The more perverse climbers out there may see this struggle with the forces of nature as an extension to their training regime or even the pinnacle of their climbing career!  You have been warned!

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