UKC Review the New Range of Bouldering Pads

Origin taco bouldering mat is a premier choice for boulderers

By Talyn Williams>

Rob Greenwood of UKC holds the Origin bouldering mat from Alpkit in high regard, particularly praising its design and functionality. As Alpkit's premier Taco Pad, the Origin offers a substantial surface area of 100x134cm with an 11cm foam depth, making it aptly designed for general use. Rob notes its appeal to first-time buyers seeking quality without breaking the bank.

Whilst the debate between taco vs. hinge is undoubtedly a personal one, the Origin tends to be the pad we reach for first as we think it's the best all-rounder.

The design of the Origin is minimalist, focusing on essentials rather than ornamental frills. This simplicity augments the pad's efficiency. Some of the standout features include shoulder straps for easy carriage, big grab handles, and an ample amount of foam. A notably ingenious aspect of the design is the squared-off edges that enable seamless side-by-side placement of pads, effectively preventing gaps.

The benefits of a Taco bouldering pad

Taco pads, like the Origin, have their unique advantages and disadvantages compared to hinge pads. Rob identifies the lack of a 'dead spot' in the middle of taco pads as a distinct benefit, as it ensures a safer, more consistent landing. Moreover, the taco design's fold creates a convenient space to store bags during approaches, adding to its functionality. The design's only drawbacks concern storage convenience and the time it might take for the mat to lay flat.

Rob likes how we have addressed a common issue faced by British boulderers, muddy backs, by designing the pad to face upwards. This not only maintains the cleanliness of the back/straps but also ensures the firm layer of foam is on top, critical for safe landings. This design does require the removal of the straps to avoid tripping hazards, a minor inconvenience for the added safety.

Rob understands the importance of the foam used in bouldering mats. The Origin consists of two layers ne is an open cell for absorbing shocks, and the other is a closed cell, which distributes impact load and prevents bottoming out. While two layers might offer a softer landing compared to three layers, Rob suggests that the Origin is solid pad for most bouldering scenarios.

Rob concludes that while preferences between taco and hinge designs remain subjective, the Origin stands out as an exceptional all-rounder, and it's often his go-to choice. Read his full review Taco bouldering mat review.

Bouldering Mats

Small bouldering pad for sit starts and up-close impacts, 80 x 50 x 6cm
Taco bouldering mat for your local circuit, 100 x 100 x 8cm
Large taco bouldering pad for frequent boulderers, 134 x 100 x 11cm
Hinge style pad ideal for frequent boulderers, 100 x 132 x 11cm
Large hinged pad for high falls and big projects, 127 x 160 x 15cm
£249.99 £299.99
Self-standing bucket with roll top, large pocket and webbing loops
£22.99 £37.99
Cordura® chalk bag with waist strap for sport, trad or bouldering
£16.99 £27.99
A 100% natural balm for repairing tired and damaged skin
Moisturising skin creme to keep active skin hydrated

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