Awesome Woodies is an Australian company that produces a line of really cool portable hangboards. Light and versatile, these boards a great for warming up at the crag, or for maintaining a fingerboard regime while on the road. We had a chance to field test two of the boards and here is what we had to say.
Awesome Woodys Portable Hangboards
Awesome Woodies makes four models of portable fingerboard, all with the same basic design, differing mainly in size. We tested the two smallest boards: The Cliff Board Mini and The Cliff Board Micro. Both boards are very light and compact. The micro even fits easily into my bouldering bag. They are very well made and all the edges are comfortable to hang from. Both boards feature a number of flat edges as well as pockets and handle bar type jugs. The main difference between the two models is that the micro has one fewer flat edge (the smallest one on the mini).
The boards come complete with a sling which connects to a single hang point, allowing for quick setup, easily attaching to any overhead structure such as a tree branch, a beam or a bolt. The sling can either run behind or in front of the big edge at the top, allowing the board to be positioned at two angles. When the slings are behind the top run the board hangs vertically, so both the pockets and edges are flat. This orientation is the one we tend to use the most. One thing that is a bit unfortunate is that the top edge, which is visually the most obvious one, can’t be used in this orientation. The balance point is below the edge, so when you try to hang from it, the board tips and the top run turns into a horrible sloper. You can hold it, without tipping by reaching over from the side with the pockets, but it feels like the edge wasn’t shaped to be held that way. The second orientation makes all the edges on the front extra incut. Tilted, the top rung becomes and nice comfortable jug, great for warming up on, but it would be nice if this hold worked when positioned flat as well.
The pockets on the back are very comfortable. The monos are no joke. Unfortunately, on the micro, when I hang from the pockets, my knuckles bump against the bottom edge. As I tend to prefer the edge on front anyway, I may solve this issue by simply removing the rung on the back.
Both boards feature cutout slots which allow for a bar type grip. As there are plenty of exercises that are more suited to a bar than a fingerboard, this adds a lot of versatility. On the Cliffboard Mini, the slots are very close to the small edge on the back. Because of this, my fingers can sort of poke through and it makes it easy to cheat on that rung, which is annoying when your trying to be precise with your hangs.
I would recommend this board for two main purposes: for warming up and for training on the road. In my opinion a hanging board is never as nice as an anchored one, so if you are looking for a board for at home, I’d recommend a more traditional wall mounted model.
Anyone who has ever worked a route or boulder in an isolated location, with no easy climbs nearby, knows how difficult it can be to warm up for attempts. If the climb is a difficult one for you, likely the holds are too small or sharp to make warming up on your project practical. These boards provide an excellent solution to this problem. They are small and light enough to make bringing them to your project a breeze. Coupled with a stretchy band to warm up the shoulders, I found I was able to use the board effectively to get a pretty good warm up, all without losing any skin.
For training while on the road or travelling, these boards work really well. As someone who trains on a fingerboard a lot, I know how important it is to keep up a regular routine if you want your fingers to stay near maximum strength. I also know how important it is to train with the right amount of load, something I accomplish at home by adding weights to a belt or removing weight with a pulley. Unfortunately, travelling around with a full assortment of weights isn’t very practical, so I had to get a bit more creative to get a proper workout done without them. For repeater style workouts I found the board challenging enough I did not need to add weight. For more max strength type workouts, I do one arm hangs assisted by bungees looped through the slots. Not as precise as my system at home, but sufficient.
Overall, both the Cliffboard Mini and the Cliffboard Micro are great products. They are light, well made, and versatile. There are a few things we didn’t love, but at the end of the day, both board are effective tools for warming up and training. I preferred the small compactness of the Micro over the added versatility of the extra rung on the Mini, but both are excellent choices. At approx $100 CAD for the Micro and $125 CAD for the Mini, with shipping being $14, they are well priced and great value for the money.
These boards, among others from the same line, can be purchased from AwesomeWoodys.com