Super durable, practical, easy to carry, and stuffed with long-lasting premium foam, The Warrior recently came out best in test against eleven other mid-sized pads reviewed by UKC. Read the full review below...
The Warrior uses a single sheet of 25mm closed cell foam on top of a single sheet of 95mm open cell foam, totalling an overall depth of 12cm. The result is a good balance between firm and fair, with good initial spread from the harder foam and good absorption from the soft stuff. Due to the taco design there is - perhaps unsurprisingly - a little bit of a bump when first opening the pad out, but nothing that isn't easily remedied by flattening it out.
The one peculiarity about the foam is that it is encased in plastic. This is there for two reasons, the first being that it keeps the foam nice and dry and the second being that (apparently) it makes the pad a lot easier to put together. Whilst we're a little sceptical about how much water foam actually absorbs, we can see the case for it; however, the end result is a very crinkly sound every time you walk on it.
Penny Orr testing the Moon Warrior in Bishop, © Rob Greenwood - UKC
Penny Orr on The Nadser at Kyloe in the Woods, using the Warrior Pad, © Rob Greenwood UKC
The back system of the Warrior was redesigned last year, making what was already a comfortable system into something far more state of the art. The straps now resemble something you'd expect to see on a mountaineering pack, with a good amount of padding, a chest strap, and a minimalist/unpadded waist belt.
As a result of the taco design there is plenty of space to slip a pack down the middle of the pad for those long days out. Due to the addition of the felt overlay (mentioned below) it is also quite secure, as it's unlikely to fall out. Coupled with the fact that the back system is already very comfortable, these features combined make the Warrior a great pad for any crag with a walk-in.
Aside from the back system, there is also a variety of grab handles for you to use if you're just ferrying the pad short distances.
The Warrior Pad with the felt overlay covering the back system
Here in the UK we are blessed with a lot of good bouldering, but also a lot of wet weather and mud - as such it is frequently the case that one's bouldering mat gets covered in the stuff. The result, historically, has been for the whole of the back system to get wet as a result, but not so for the Warrior due to the cunning use of the felt/velcro cover, which protects the back system, keeping it nice and dry once folded over and into place. The felt also doubles as a foot mat, upon which you can clean your shoes before climbing - a nice touch.
Aside from that the closing system is simple, with three easy to use buckles. The good news is that they stay in place, the bad news - if we are being picky - is that they can be
The Warrior is built to last, with 600 denier nylon used throughout. So far it has stood up well to the test of time, with the zip on the side spontaneously springing open once, but not having done so since.
The base of the mat features an anti-slip fabric, which is really useful when stacking pads. Nylon on nylon can create something of a skid pad, especially when on a slope, and that has no doubt led to more than one intrepid boulderer surfing their pads back down towards the car. Lordy, Lordy in the Llanberis Pass is a fine place to test this out). The rubberised fabric on the base helps to minimise this problem.
The Warrior definitely hits the spot on a number of levels: it's well made, features high quality foam, is comfortable to carry, and is easy to put a pack and extra gear into the middle of. Looking at it like this it is hard to find a fault unless we're really picky. Even the price is reasonable!
Thanks to UKC for the honest and comprehensive review. Want to read the full article? Find it here.