Our favorite best budget crash pad is the Black Diamond Circuit Crash Pad.
The BD circuit delivers excellent value and it’s the perfect crash pad if you’re new to outdoor bouldering, are looking for a price conscious pad, or you just want a solid bouldering pad at a great price. This pad is a great supplemental pad to throw on the pile, but it wouldn’t be our first choice for highball bouldering.
Check out how the BD Circuit stacks up against the best crash pads that are on the market today.
Black Diamond Circuit Crash Pad
- One of the best value crash pads on the market
- Compact for storing in your vehicle or apartment
- Lightweight and easy to transport
- Too small for solo bouldering, especially if a route traverses right or left
- Four inches of foam my not be enough padding to protect rocky or rooty terrain
- Can’t easily connect to other pads
The Circuit crash pad has four inches of foam and like many of the other pads we’ve reviewed, it is a sandwich of closed cell foam on the outside and open cell foam in the middle. The firmness of closed cell foam helps distribute the impact force of your feet while the open cell foam gives compression to cushion your fall.
The Circuit does have less padding than other crash pads we’ve reviewed like the Mad Rock Duo, but this trade off is worth making if you’re looking for a pad that can be stored in a confined place and not take up a lot of room.
However, we did find that this was a firm pad and it seems like most pads are trending towards firmness these days. But even though there were only four inches, we have not yet bottomed out while usingt his pad.
The durability on the Circuit crash pad has been great. The foam hasn’t softened up more than expected and the pad holds up well to the elements. We haven’t noticed any rips, tears on the outer material or on the seams.
The outer material is a PU coated 900d nylon. The material is coated with polyurethane that makes it waterproof and resistant to abrasions. I love that Black Diamond used this material for the sheath of the pad since outdoor bouldering can do a lot of damage to your bouldering pad.
The closure system uses metal buckles so you don’t have to worry about stepping on one and breaking it. They hold up and are strong enough to withstand my 180 pound frame accidentally stepping on them once or twice a sesion.
- Shoulder straps and a simple but functional suspension system for easy transportation
- Comes in four different colors: hot pink, lemongrass, aqua blue, and purple
- Hinge design
- Metal buckles
- Square corners to eliminate gaps between pads
Transporting and Carrying
This is probably the easiest crash pad there is to throw on your back and carry. It’s light, coming it at only 9 pounds, and the suspension system and backpack straps make the pad sit on your back easily.
The Circuit crash pad also has grab handles so you can easily carry the pad between problems.
Best Intended Use
I have found that the best intended use for this pad is as a supplemental pad.
The Circuit crash pad is very light and easy to carry out to the boulders. I don’t mind carrying the Circuit out and not using it since it’s so light. And I’m glad to have it for my group even if we only use it once.
However, I would not recommend using the Circuit as your only standalone pad. I would prefer to have an additional pad or two, depending on the problem, on the ground below me. I did not feel confident enough that I would place the BD Circuit directly below me and I needed to rely on my spotter to watch me as I climbed and move the pad as needed.
We would not recommend using the BD Circuit for highball boulder problems. The Black Diamond Mondo is better suited for that.
The Circuit provides excellent value for anyone who is looking to just start bouldering or wants to get an additional crash pad.
It protects falls well and is very easy to carry thanks to its backpack straps. The downsides of the Circuit are that it does not have anyway to connect to other crash pads and it’s missing some of the features like water bottle holders, mesh pockets, and gear flaps that other crash pads have.
Where to Buy the Black Diamond Circuit
You can buy the BD Circuit at any online outdoor retailer or directly from the Black Diamond website. But be ready to pay a bit extra for shipping since these items are so bulky. One upside of shopping through REI is that you can get free delivery for in store pickup.