Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Review
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Black Diamond Stormline Stretch
|Price||Check Price at Backcountry|
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|$168.71 at Backcountry|
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$169.00 at REI
|$179.00 at REI|
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$74.73 at REI
|Pros||Stretchy material, great freedom of movement, pleasant cut, solid storm protection, lightweight, compresses into its pocket, good value||Stormworthy, versatile, durable, comfortable, high level of ventilation||Incredible price, Gore-Tex, solid weather protection, excellent hood design, weight and packed volume||Versatile, durable, long lasting DWR, good stormworthiness, minimal clammy feel||Better breathability than others in its price range, decent ventilation, roll away hood, nice pit zips, affordable|
|Cons||So-so breathability, hood doesn't fit very well over a helmet||On the heavier side||Wets out quicker than other Gore-Tex models, two layer design isn't as long-lasting, clammy interior||Heavy, average packed size, mobility, and freedom of movement||No chest pocket, not quite as breathable as models that use non-coated membrane|
|Bottom Line||A solid all-around option for the price, with great mobility and respectable storm protection||A fantastic all-around shell with great ventilation features in a fairly light, durable, and stormworthy package||One of the best values you can get for a piece of rain gear, this Gore-Tex model is packed full of functional features||A durable jacket with function focused design that will keep most satisfied, without putting a hole in your wallet||A great jacket that offers above-average breathability, with an excellent price tag|
|Rating Categories||Black Diamond Storm...||Outdoor Research Fo...||REI Co-op XeroDry GTX||Patagonia Torrentsh...||Marmot PreCip Eco|
|Water Resistance (30%)|
|Breathability & Venting (25%)|
|Comfort & Mobility (20%)|
|Weight & Packability (15%)|
|Specs||Black Diamond Storm...||Outdoor Research Fo...||REI Co-op XeroDry GTX||Patagonia Torrentsh...||Marmot PreCip Eco|
|Measured Weight (Medium)||11.5 oz||16 oz||12.5 oz||14 oz||13.5 oz|
|Waterproof Fabric Material||2.5 layer propriatary BD.dry||2.5 layer Gore-tex with PacLite Technology||2-layer GORE-TEX Paclite||3-layer H2No Performance Standard shell||NanoPro|
|Pockets||2 lower hand pockets||1 chest pocket, 2 hand pockets||2 hand||2 zippered hand pockets||2 zip hand pockets|
|Hipbelt Friendly Hand Pockets||No||Almost||No||No||No|
|Helmet Compatible Hood||No||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Stows Into Pocket||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Black Diamond Stormline is a well-designed jacket that outperforms nearly all other jackets in its price range. Its stretchy material and well-designed fit facilitate some of the better mobility of any model we tested. Its DWR and ability to "bead" up water were excellent. It was also one of our review's lighter and more compact models. With that said, the Stormline consistently scored above average in a wide range of categories and tests. It wasn't exceptional. However, for those looking for a solid, slightly more weight-focused jacket that packs in a ton of performance for the price, the Stormline Stretch is a good one.
The Stormline Stretch uses Black Diamond's proprietary BD.dry membrane in a 2.5-layer construction for its weather protection. One of the things that stood out to our review team was it's incredibly effective DWR (ability to bead and resist absorbing water) which was even comparable with some of the highest-scoring models in our review, some of which were double the cost of the Stormline.
While the Stormline did well in both our real-world testing and our garden hose and shower tests, it wasn't quite at the level of the highest-scoring jackets in our review. It "leaked" through its zippers slightly more than other models and would eventually wet out slightly earlier than the premium models.
Breathability and Venting
The Stormline offered slightly above-average breathability when compared directly to similarly priced models. We could hike relatively aggressively with this jacket (in cool-ish 40-50F under overcast skies) without overheating. Several of our testers appreciated its pits zips which facilitated the ability to dump a bunch of heat and moisture quickly and helped let in some cool air.
While the Stormline wasn't quite as breathable as the most breathable jackets in our review, it didn't perform terribly and proved itself to be one of the more breathable models in its price range.
Comfort and Mobility
The Stormline offers some of the better comfort and freedom of movement in our test fleet and is perfect for folks who need to maintain a high level of mobility for their activity. The Stormline Stretch has its name for a reason: it uses stretchy polyester material that rarely felt restrictive even while rock climbing.
The Stormline's cut is also quite ergonomic, easily facilitating reaching in all directions without pulling the sleeves back, the hem up, or other weird bunching or tightening.
During our range of motion tests, the Stormline proved to be among the best, and we could reach forward with only minimal exposure to our wrists and up with only barely moving the hem. Overall this is one of the better pieces of rain protection for any activity that requires a high level of mobility.
The internal material of the Stormline was one of the least clammy feelings among proprietary models, and its cut struck a nice balance between being fit and athletic without being "tight" or restrictive.
Weight and Packability
At just over 11 ounces, the Stormline is one of the lighter and more packable models. While you can still certainly buy lighter and more compact models, the Stormline is firmly in the "lightweight rain protection" category.
The Stormline stuffs into a reversible zipper pocket, packing down small to disappear into the bottom of your pack until the next passing squall. Climbers considering this jacket will appreciate the clip-in point on the stuff sack so it can be clipped onto a harness.
The Stormline uses a nylon material, typically less durable than polyester at a given thickness. We found this model average in durability for its tear and abrasion resistance as well as the longevity of its DWR among similar weight and thickness jackets.
Should You Buy the Black Diamond Stormline Stretch?
The Black Diamond Stormline is a reasonably versatile, mobility-focused model for the dedicated outdoor enthusiast. Lighter and more compact than most other models, it is perfect for climbers, backpackers, or anyone who prioritizes low weight and a minimal packed volume but also needs a jacket that will allow them to keep doing what they are doing. While this model offered respectable storm protection, it's not ideal for more extended periods in inclement weather.
What Other Rain Jackets Should You Consider?
While the Black Diamond Stormline Stretch offered plenty of advantages and is a solid option for folks looking for a jacket that will move with them, a few other models stood out for specific applications or performance. If you plan to log more extended periods in inclement weather, the Arc'teryx Beta Jacket offers superior rain protection and more breathability while offering an equal level of mobility, albeit at a little more than double the price. We loved the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic, which didn't offer quite as athletic a cut (but close). It offers an even stretchier material for folks who demand the highest level of mobility. The Outdoor Research Helium is the pick for those that put a premium on packed volume and low weight. While the Helium doesn't offer near the storm protection, mobility, or breathability level of the Stormline, it is half the weight and less than half the packed size.
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