Scoring well overall, the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol jacket quickly became a favorite among our testers who were heading out on a day skiing at the resort or in the backcountry. Most noticeably, it offers a practical combination of precipitation protection and ventilation. Its breathability is sufficient for chilly alpine hikes and skinning up mountains, keeping us dry and blocking the wind almost completely. While not as weather resistant as the Arcteryx Psiphon FL, our Editors' Choice Award winner, and not as breathable as the Rab Torque, it has an impressive balance of both these qualities. While we have no major complaints about the Dawn Patrol, some of our reviewers wish that the pockets were higher.
For $199, we consider this jacket a good deal if you're looking for a technical softshell for all-mountain use. It's also an ideal choice if our $239 Editors' Choice winner is a bit over your budget. If you're looking for an even more affordable softshell, check out the Best Buy winning OR Ferrosi, which retails for $99 but isn't as impervious to weather.