Black Diamond Pipe Dream Review

You know you want to sit on it!

The Black Diamond Pipe Dream 45 is a newer version of what BD offered way back in the 90’s. Then, it was the Spot, and it was my sport climbing pack of choice.

When it came out, everyone laughed at it. I bought one. Then, everyone laughed at me and my goofy big black pack. Finally, all my friends bought their own and we all just started comfortably hanging out at the crag, shooing away those that didn’t have them yet and wanting to squat on our turf.

I did a little online research, and much the same is happening again with the Pipe Dream 45.

Once again, I got one.

20+ years later, and it’s again time to detail why I love this pack.

For pure sport climbing days, when you’re pretty sure you will have some time to spread out, stretch, sip some tea, stare at your phone (something you didn’t do in the 90’s), whatever, this is the best pack imaginable.

It’s basically a mini-bouldering crash pad that also carries gear.

I know from past experience that once you have one, you will use it. And not just at the crag. Staying in a campground, you have an extra cushion. In Kalymnos? Take it to the beach. Stretch on it on your balcony.

I laughed when I saw a review of it that included criticism because it can’t be used for multi-pitch. Why would this even be considered? That’s like criticizing a tap dance shoe for its poor performance at trail running.

The Pipe Dream is all about crag comfort. That’s it. When you have one, you’ll actually make a point to spread it out in just the right spot and enjoy the hell out of sitting on your backpack.

My pad, my turf. Kim Strom enjoying my Pipe Dream. Sometimes I do share.

Other criticism I found for the pack is that it is awkward to carry. I’ll only slightly agree with this, after all it is a small mattress loaded with climbing gear that you are toting around. In my opinion, it’s not any more awkward to carry than other large packs. I’m using it right now in Kalymnos and walking up to all the cliffs with zero issue. And here in Kalymnos it isn’t just full of climbing gear, it’s loaded with spinach pie.

One of the keys to enjoying the Pipe Dream is your packing system. I have exactly the same system as I did for the old Spot pad: a combo of the BD Pipe Dream and a messenger type bag. I use a Petzl KAB bag for all my climbing gear, which then slides right into the Pipe Dream and serves as a kind of “crag bucket”. Leave your Pipe Dream pad in the best possible spot and cruise around with your bucket of gear. It’s perfect.

The Pipe Dream does have a limited scope of use. But if you sport climb a lot, and tend to go to the same places where you know the scene, or just live out of your rig – the pack/pad is useful and fun to have as part of your kit. Don’t laugh, try it

Also, Adam Ondra uses it.

By Dan Patitucci

The Pipe Dream in action – not awkward at all. Also, note the bonus feature that the pack is deep enough to conceal your stick clip.


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