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Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Half Zip Hoody Review

Unique features like thumb loops and a hood makes this Merino wool blend base layer super versatile
black diamond solution 150 merino half zip hoody base layer review
Credit: Black Diamond
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $145 List
Pros:  Breathable and stretchy, useful features such as hood and thumb loops, highly adaptable to wide range of conditions
Cons:  Slim athletic fit requires a slim athletic body type, expensive, not as durable as cheaper synthetics
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Justin Simoni and Aaron Rice  ⋅  Nov 12, 2022
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 18
  • Warmth - 25% 7.0
  • Breathability - 20% 7.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 9.0
  • Durability - 15% 6.0
  • Drying Speed - 10% 8.0
  • Layering Ability - 10% 10.0

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Half Zip Hoody is highly versatile, packed with features like an integrated hood, half zip, thumb loops, and a drop tail hem. But all these details are more than just flashy bullet points to grab your attention (and money). These design decisions allow the Solution to work in a wide spectrum of conditions and environments, both alone and integrated into your layering strategy to help keep you warm and comfortable. This hoody isn't an inexpensive option, but the performance and versatility garnered could mean you replace multiple base layers with just this one. Its only weakness is the durability of being made of a wool blend, which we think is offset by all its strengths.

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Pros Breathable and stretchy, useful features such as hood and thumb loops, highly adaptable to wide range of conditionsSupremely warm, exceptionally comfortable, front zip, shoulder panels keep things comfortable with a heavy packUnique seamless fabric paneling, warm and lofty Merino wool blend fabric, long sleeves and torsoSoft and stretchy fabric gives freedom of movement, great value, thumb loopsAffordable, very warm, fashionable fit, breathable
Cons Slim athletic fit requires a slim athletic body type, expensive, not as durable as cheaper syntheticsMore delicate than others, pricey, wool may lose shape and sag without proper careWeak durability keeps this top a dedicated base layer, seams found converging in pinch points, priceyNot as warm as wool layers of the same weight, risk of smelling if left unwashed after useFiner thread Merino is not quite as durable, slightly itchy, shoulder top seams
Bottom Line Unique features like thumb loops and a hood makes this Merino wool blend base layer super versatileAn uber comfortable, warm, and breathable 100% Merino wool base layer for the coldest of conditionsOne of the best midweight base layers for when you need warmth and freedom of movement thanks to its fabric blend and seamless ventilation patternOne of our favorite super stretchy, soft, and warm synthetic base layers for cool to cold conditionsThis top delivers the fine qualities of a Merino wool base layer without the extreme cost
Rating Categories Black Diamond Solut... Smartwool Classic T... Smartwool Intraknit... Cotopaxi Liso Top Meriwool Merino 250...
Warmth (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
9.0
Breathability (20%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Durability (15%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Drying Speed (10%)
8.0
6.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
Layering Ability (10%)
10.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Specs Black Diamond Solut... Smartwool Classic T... Smartwool Intraknit... Cotopaxi Liso Top Meriwool Merino 250...
Material 78% Merino wool, 22% polyester 100% Merino wool 53% Merino wool, 45% polyester, 2% elastane 84% recycled polyester, 16% spandex 100% Merino wool
Fabric Weight 150 g/m² 250 g/m² 208 g/m² 200 g/m² 250g/m²
Weight (size large) 8 oz 11.3 oz 8 oz 8.5 oz 10.1 oz
Available Cuts Crew, 1/2 zip hoody Crew, 1/4 zip, hoodie Crew, 1/4 zip Crew Crew
Thumb Loops? Yes No No Yes No
Air Dry Test 45 min 70 min 45 min 40 min 40 min
Fit Slim fit Semi-fitted Slim fit Semi-fitted Slim fit
Stitching Flatlock seams Flatlock seams Flatlock seams (mesh inserts are seamless 3D) Flatlock seams Flatlock and flat seams
Dryer Safe? No Yes No Yes No
Shoulder Top Seams? No No Yes No Yes
Drop Tail Hem? No No Yes No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

A lightweight, warm, NuYarn Merino blend base layer with a half zip, hood, and thumb loops? Yes, please! The Solution 150 Hoody comes with all these features as well as the warmth of a much thicker and heavier base layer while still drying and breathing like its svelte brethren. The tight, athletic fit makes it look almost too good to be when used hidden underneath your mid and outer layers, where it works exceptionally, thanks to its stretchy fabric.

Performance Comparison


black diamond solution 150 merino half zip hoody base layer review - the black diamond solution 150 merino half zip hoody makes an...
The Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Half Zip Hoody makes an excellent do-it-all backpacking top, especially for colder conditions in lieu of a sun shirt.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Warmth


The Solution 150 punches far above what its fabric weight would lead you to believe, thanks in part to the NuYarn Merino wool blend. This fabric adds considerable loft to the base layer when compared to more conventional ring-spun or core-spun yarn. Our lab tests show that you should consider this base layer to feel almost as warm as a 200 g/m² midweight layer.


To complement the warmth of the fabric, the extra long torso and drop tail hem can leave you confident that tucking in the Solution 150 will have it stay in place all day long. The extra long sleeves end in thumb loops to keep your sleeves from rolling up and drafts from entering between your gloves and coat. Our early morning sunrise bike commutes will attest to these attributes. The half zip comes right up to the bottom of the chin, and the helmet-compatible hood seals your head from the outside for particularly cold conditions without the need for an additional hat.

black diamond solution 150 merino half zip hoody base layer review - although the weight of the fabric is only 150 g/sm, this merino wool...
Although the weight of the fabric is only 150 g/sm, this Merino wool blend base layer is warmer than it's weight would indicate.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Breathability


It's a rarity to feel comfortable wearing the same base layer you had on at the start of a 6,000-foot mountain climb as you do at the summit of the peak, but the Solution 150 Hoody pulls off this trick with ease. The secret is its ability to breathe well while keeping a comfortable level of warmth close to your body. We're impressed at how well this base layer can do just that, enhanced by how much you can thermoregulate at high output thanks to the front zip, hood, and sleeves you can roll over your elbows.


Sweating out the base layer was rarely a problem when the Solution 150 Hoody was worn alone, thanks to the NuYarn wool blend's wicking ability to transport sweat away from the surface of your skin and out into the environment coupled with the light weight of the fabric itself. And since breathability with the Solution was better than most wool base layers, it stays fresh for multiple wearings — music to the ears of ski tourers, backpackers, and those that want to treat their gear with a light touch by keeping it out of superfluous wash cycles.

black diamond solution 150 merino half zip hoody base layer review - with a hood, thumb loops, sleeves that can be rolled up past the...
With a hood, thumb loops, sleeves that can be rolled up past the elbow, and a front zip, the Black Diamond Solution 150 Hoody almost performs like two layers in one.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Comfort and Fit


The slim, form-hugging, and athletic fit of the Solution works wondrously as a base layer that supports a plethora of additional tops layered on top of it without feeling bunched up and all out of place. Tuck the bottom of this base layer and use the thumb loops to keep the torso and long sleeves from riding up, and feel confident they'll stay in their place all day. The flatlock stitching throughout is both strong and barely noticeable on the skin, helping to prevent even the idea of chafing. The raglan sleeves — a design rarity for Merino tops — removes the usual top shoulder seam, making carrying a pack much more comfortable.


Generally, base layers comprised of a fabric blend with Merino and other components are a great showcase of the best parts of each. This tends to result in a stellar balance of comfort and performance. The Solution 150 Hoody is just such a case. The patented NuYarn technology, which wraps wool fibers around polyester filaments, means that, next-to-skin, this top feels incredibly plush, as though it was crafted of 100% pure Merino. Additionally, the inclusion of polyester means that the garment holds its shape better over time.

black diamond solution 150 merino half zip hoody base layer review - the solution hoody features a tight, athletic, next to skin fit.
The Solution Hoody features a tight, athletic, next to skin fit.
Credit: Nikki Shegda

Durability


Our harsh abrasion test shows one weakness for this hoody: the thin, 150 g/m² fabric will get eaten up when pitted against the destructive forces of sandstone cliffs, thick underbrush, or other general abuse. This characteristic is shared with all wool and wool blend base layers, no matter the thickness. The synthetic fibers help marginally in resisting abrasion, but the garment will only be as strong as its weakest link. For maximum lifespan, use this base layer as a base layer: underneath other layers, where the relative delicateness of wool is properly protected — especially when taking part in outdoor activities where abrasive surfaces will be encountered.


In the real world, we happily didn't observe any premature wear or quality control problems with the fabric or seams. Even piling, which usually hits thin wool layers hard, hasn't been noticed on the Solution 150 Hoody, much to our surprise and delight. Washing and drying don't result in sagging or an out-of-shape garment either: the base layer looks just the same as when we first put it on.

black diamond solution 150 merino half zip hoody base layer review - the solution 150 merino half zip hoody makes a great base layer to...
The Solution 150 Merino Half Zip Hoody makes a great base layer to warm up with, but care must be taken on highly abrasive surfaces due to the delicate nature of wool.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Drying Speed


The Solution 150 is one of the faster-drying base layers in our roundup. This is due to the thin, 150 g/m² NuYarn Merino wool blend fabric and comparing it to base layers made with 180, 200, and even 250 g/m² wool fabrics. Surprise! Thinner fabrics dry faster.


In the marketing materials, the NuYarn Merino wool blend is touted to dry at Mach speeds compared to 100% Merino wool. We've found the results to be more realistic: the added loft created by the Merino wool blend does in fact marginally benefit drying speed times. For the weight of the material, there's just more loft to the fabric, allowing more surface area for water to evaporate away.

In our real-world tests, we found the drying speed on the clothesline translated to excellent drying time out in the field. Carefully hand washing the Solution in a watering hole, then lightly hand wringing it was enough to get the base layer dry enough to wear again within an hour.

black diamond solution 150 merino half zip hoody base layer review - the solution hoody dries so fast that after washing and carefully...
The Solution Hoody dries so fast that after washing and carefully ringing it out, we simply wore it for an hour on a warm afternoon while enjoying our backpack out.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Layering Ability


All the accouterments of the Solution (half zip, hood, thumb loops, extra long sleeves and torso) allow this base layer to act as a light, next-to-skin baselayer. No need to swap out this layer when you can unzip the front, take off the hood, and roll the sleeves up if you need to dump out some heat. Such flexibility makes the Solution 150 act almost like two separate layers in one.


The Solution 150 Hoody also integrates fantastically underneath other garments. The thin, stretchy fabric slides easily against both skin and other fabrics while also minimizing pinch points. On a five-day backpacking trip, we hardly took this layer off. We were happy to discover excellent freedom of movement both while we scrambled around ridgeline crests and tossed and turned in our nighttime bivvies. The tight, athletic fit means less bunching underneath mid and outer layers. The low-profile flatlock seams minimize chafing while moving about. Thanks to the raglan sleeve design, the lack of seams on the top of the shoulders means one less pressure point between your baselayer and heavy pack straps.

black diamond solution 150 merino half zip hoody base layer review - the solution hoody makes an excellent base layer to add to a mid and...
The Solution Hoody makes an excellent base layer to add to a mid and outer layer depending on conditions. It also works well as a sole layer, including giving the wearer reasonable sun protection thanks to its thumb loops and hood.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Should You Buy the Black Diamond Solution 150 Hoody?


This hoody has been the base layer we reach for the most to tackle everything from early morning autumn bike commutes and late-night hikes to shoulder season backpacking trips and nervous first dates. If the slim athletic fit works for you, we know that all the other promises of excellent comfort, breathability, and warmth will be delivered.

black diamond solution 150 merino half zip hoody base layer review - for its light weight and small pack size, the black diamond solution...
For its light weight and small pack size, the Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Half Zip Hoody brings a lot of features and functionality in a base layer.
Credit: Justin Simoni

What Other Base Layers Should You Consider?


If a hood isn't something you want on your base layer, look closely at the Smartwool Classic All-Season Merino 1/4 Zip. It's another lightweight Merino wool blend top with a front zip. You may not find it quite as warm, stretchy, or tight-fitting. For a comparable synthetic, consider the Cotopaxi Liso Top, which also sports extra long sleeves with thumb loops, raglan sleeves, and very stretchy fabric. The fit is looser and accommodates a much wider variety of body types.

Justin Simoni and Aaron Rice
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