We had the chance to test out the Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody. This review will talk about our experience with this jacket while putting it to the test trail running, hiking, and fishing in the Utah and Colorado backcountry.
About Black Diamond
Black Diamond is no stranger to any outdoor enthusiast. They are one of the most well known outdoor gear brands in the entire world, and for good reason. They have incredible products, great customer service, and a long track record.
Black Diamond was originally created in 1957 and officially founded in 1989 by Yvon Chouinard, who is also the founder of Patagonia (one of the few brands more well known than Black Diamond). Since then, Black Diamond has grown into one of the most trusted brands in the outdoor industry servicing climbers, skiers, mountaineers, hikers, backpackers, bikers, and tons of other outdoor enthusiasts..
Learn more about Black Diamond’s mission, awards, and values here.
Where To Buy The Alpine Start Hoody Jacket
It is also available on:
Our Testing Scenarios
Trail Running In Utah – We have hit the trails on warm days, freezing days, windy days, rainy days, sunny days, cloudy days, and even hail. Basically, we’ve tested it in all conditions to give this product a thorough test through legitimate workouts. We also use it regularly on road runs depending upon the weather.
Fly Fishing In Colorado – We hit the rivers to see how this felt all day to block the sun, the wind, give us warmth, and keep us dry.
Hiking in Colorado & Utah – More than just trail running, we also did some hiking in the jacket.
About The Jacket
This jacket was designed to be lightweight, packable, and easy for protecting adventurers from light weather. Designed to be breathable, yet water and wind resistant, it is an outer layer than can be used in incredibly variable conditions. In addition, it was designed to not limit any movement, making it ideal for climbers, hikers, and mountaineers.
Features: This jacket has a few simple features that add tons of value, without adding weight or reducing packability. We will dive into these features below.
Material: The 93% nylon and 7% elastane material repels water nicely. While it isn’t completely waterproof, it does well in light rain or snow for a solid amount of time.
Fit: This jacket has a very flexible fit, and is designed to be an outer layer over other moisture wicking layers to block the wind and light precipitation. For this reason, we always size a touch higher to go over other equipment. That being said, this is a slim fit piece of gear making it great for trail runners, climbers, bikers, and hikers.
|Features||Hood, Internal Pockets, Bluesign Approved, Packable, Adjustable Drawcord Hem, Minimalist, bluesign Approved|
|Sustainability||bluesign Approved, PFC Free|
|Weight||7.4 oz / 210 grams (men’s) | 6.7 oz / 190 grams (women’s)|
|Hood Type||Helmet Compatible, Adjustable|
|Jacket Fabric||93% Nylon, 7% Elastane|
|Fit Type||Slim Fit|
In Depth Review
Here’s how the jacket performed during our testing:
We are putting temperature regulation at the top of the list as this is the primary purpose of this jacket, and it performs extremely well. It is breathable, yet blocks the wind, and still water resistant. The thin materials do a great job of keeping you warm when it is cold, but not overheating you too quickly when the sun comes out or the temps change. This piece of gear is one of the ultimate tools for an outdoor adventurers temperature regulation because of how lightweight it is, easy to take on an off, yet keeps you comfortable at a massive range in temperature.
For example, we can trail run in this jacket when it is in the low 50s, and even higher with wind or rain, and it also keeps us warm enough down to about 25 degrees with just a thin base layer below it (we run quite warm). This means it has a massive temperature range that is hard to compete against. Of course, your own thresholds for this may be different. At the end of the day, this is one of the best pieces of temperature regulation gear we have.
This jacket is surprisingly warm for how thin and lightweight it is. Its pretty impressive how a little bit of wind resistance can add tons of warmth. There really is no insulation here, just a windproof layer that functions as it should.
Wind & Waterproofing
It is worth noting this isn’t meant to be a completely waterproof layer. It is meant to be water resistant, and windproof. The jacket lives up to that perfectly. It cuts the wind right out, and keeps you dry unless its raining hard, or you are in the rain for quite some time. This makes it an amazing layer for a trail run, a couple hours out, climbing, or any activity where inclimate weather is possible. It basically makes this the perfect jacket for a workout. This isn’t the jacket to take for a backpacking trip as your emergency waterproof layer, but this is that extra material for temperature regulation, wind proofing, and waterproofing for short to long days out.
This jacket is designed extremely well for comfort. The stretchy cuffs are awesome, hood closures work great, the jacket isn’t restricting at all, zipper system works great, and most importantly, it is insanely lightweight.
Simply put, there is one chest pocket. It can fit a phone, keys, wallet, or other small items. Only one pocket allows the jacket to be lightweight. Given this is an outer layer meant for activity, only one pocket is perfectly fine from our perspective.
Drawcord Hood & Hem
The hood system works well with no helmet, helmet, hat, or no hat. In high winds, you can tighten the drawcord, zip all the way up, and keep the hood up.
The sleeve cuffs are stretchy and comfortable. It allows for the easy pulling up of sleeves, checking watches, getting arms in and out of sleeves, and overall they are functional.
This is a great looking jacket with various color options. No issues wearing this jacket anywhere.
Overall Rating – 5 Stars
We would give this jacket a 5/5 stars. It functions for its purpose perfectly. The price is comparable to other light jackets on the market in the middle of the pack, and the quality is of the highest standards. This jacket will be in our pack or being worn for nearly every adventure in spring and fall.
If you are a trail runner, climber, or hiker, this jacket is meant for you.
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Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about