Winter is almost upon us. Waking up early means waking up in the dark, our winter clothing is making its way out the back of our closets, and this all means the bouldering season is here! 

Climbers from all around the world are eagerly awaiting their annual migration to Rocklands and the conditions in Cape Town are finally getting good!

Want to join the hype? Well, first you need to get kitted up…

What boulder pad are you going to buy?

I have a suggestion….

I have had my Madrock Duo boulder pad (well technically two of them) since the start of 2019, and here I am sitting on an almost new pad in Fontainebleau in Feb of 2019. For anyone who doesn’t know, I climb A LOT, and they are both still going strong!

Some insight and experience gained after a couple of years with these boulder pads…

The foam in the duo is sturdy. 

There are three layers of foam. 3 inches of soft open cell foam sandwiched between two 1 inch layers of stiffer closed cell foam. The foam doesn’t soften much over time so it is best suited for relatively high falls where softer pads would likely bottom out. 

This is comforting high up off the ground and over landings with sharp rocks that would be felt on softer pads.  Better yet, the large surface area lowers your chances of missing your pad on the way down!


Cape Town walk-ins can be REALLY long and even some of the Rocklands pass walks can weigh you down after a while! You want to feel on top of your game when you reach the boulders and ready to climb! The last thing you need is a back injury from carrying an uncomfortable crash pad around! 

The Duo mitigates this with a thick removable hip belt, fully adjustable shoulder straps, and comfortable shoulder padding. At 7.71kg and significantly heavier with a second pad attached to it, the Duo isn’t lightweight. Yet, despite this, it is one of the most comfortable pads because of its plush suspension system and load lifters. These features evenly disperse weight between your shoulders and hips. 

Just a note: With a weight of 7.71kg, it is lighter than all of the pads in this size range and has a far superior carry system compared to any other boulder pad I have seen on the market recently!

The Duo is 71 x 107 x 26cm closed and 142 x 107 x 13cm when open. Meaning that while it is larger than a standard boulder pad, it is  not so big that storing, carrying and transport become an unnecessary chore.


Madrock is well known for  putting thought into design and ergonomics, providing product innovations ahead of the pack, at a very reasonable price.

Madrock crash pads have had integrated velcro flaps on all sides for many years, enabling all of their pads to be connected together. By connecting pads you essentially create one giant crash pad with covered seams. No, falling through gaps in the pads!

Further innovations came with the release of the Madrock Duo. We now have a new strap system allowing you to easily carry a second pad on the outside along with all of your climbing gear inside. This is an awesome new addition to their boulder pad innovation! 

This strap system can be a little cumbersome to carry between boulders in close proximity, as this carry system does tend to snag and drag on the floor if not tied up each and every time you move it. 

In addition to its standout suspension and pad attachment system, the Duo has two daisy chains on the back for clipping gear. There is also a water bottle pouch on the outside of the pad, so that you can stay hydrated on the approach without having to take the pad off.

A built-in mat serves as a place to wipe your feet before stepping on the pad and starting up your problem. This is a nice feature that keeps the pad clean and saves you from cleaning your shoes. The mat also doubles as part of the closure system when the pad is closed, ensuring your equipment is safely stored inside. 

There are several handles on the pad and it is very easy to move around. These include a centre lift handle and two handles on opposite sides. Having plenty of handles is helpful for moving the pad when it is fully loaded with gear especially with a second pad loaded onto it as well!

And now for a handy tip for between or after your boulder sessions. When you’re taking a break in between burns or hanging out around the fire, the Duo can double as a couch with two straps that connect opposing corners of the pad!


Ok, have I convinced you that the Madrock Duo is for you?

At approximately R5500, I can understand why committing to buying a Madrock Duo may be daunting! Considering the attention to detail in the design of this pad though, it is very competitively priced.

 Another thing to ease you into the decision is how worthwhile this investment is. This boulder pad gives you countless bouldering seasons and offers you the freedom of exploring and climbing in the most beautiful places! When you walk into those wild spaces time and time again and climb world class boulders, it will be well worth every penny!

I am certainly looking forward to many more sessions with mine!

All Duo Product photos taken by Catarina Monteiro