Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Shell Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Good mix of breathability and weather resistance, large internal pockets
Cons: No internal zippered pocket, large fit makes it less versatile, tight fitting hood with ski helmet
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
Compare to Similar Products
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Shell
|Price||$160.00 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$249 List||$225 List|
Check Price at REI
$129.00 at REI
Check Price at REI
|Pros||Good mix of breathability and weather resistance, large internal pockets||Durable fabric, great fit, all-around usefulness||Excellent weather protection, great mobility||Super breathable, durable, inexpensive||Incredibly light, very mobile|
|Cons||No internal zippered pocket, large fit makes it less versatile, tight fitting hood with ski helmet||Limited water resistance, fitted cuffs||Slightly heavy, larger sizing||Poor wet weather protection||Limited weather protection, few features|
|Bottom Line||Designed for use above treeline, this jacket is a superb choice for backcountry and resort skiing||This is a great medium weight softshell jacket that will hold up to rugged use thanks to its durable fabric||This is a softshell ready for the worst weather you can throw at it||This budget-friendly softshell is one of our favorites for summertime rock climbing||This is one of the lightest softshells out there, perfect for cool windy days at the crag|
|Rating Categories||Black Diamond Dawn...||Arc'teryx Gamma LT...||Marmot ROM Hoody||Outdoor Research Fe...||Rab Borealis|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Specs||Black Diamond Dawn...||Arc'teryx Gamma LT...||Marmot ROM Hoody||Outdoor Research Fe...||Rab Borealis|
|Measured Weight (size medium)||21.4 oz||17 oz||16.1 oz||13.4 oz||10.5 oz|
|Material||63% nylon, 26% polyester, 11% elastane with DWR finish||Wee Burly (56% nylon, 34% polyester, 10% elastane)||GORE-TEX Infinium: 92% recycled nylon, 8% elastane, plain weave, 170g/sqm||86% nylon (46% recycled), 14% spandex||Lightweight Matrix single weave with 2-way stretch and DWR|
|Lined/Insulated?||Brushed backing||No||No||Yes, lining 91% nylon, 9% spandex||No|
|Hood?||Yes, helmet compatible and adjustable||Yes, helmet compatible, adjustable StormHood||Yes, hood compatible||Yes, climbing helmet compatible, adjustable, stowable||Yes, under helmet with lycra binding|
|Number of Pockets (zippered unless otherwise noted)||5 (2 harness-compatible hand, 2 chest, 1 internal)||3 (2 handwarmer, 1 internal)||2 zippered hand, 1 zippred chest||3 (2 hand, 1 chest)||2 (external chest)|
|Adjustable Cuffs?||Yes, Velcro||Stretch cuffs||Yes, vecro||Elastic cuffs||Lycra cuffs|
|Available Sizes||S - XL||XS - XXL||S - XXL||S - XXXL||S - XXL|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol is an excellent jacket for technical mountain use, explicitly skiing. We love using it in the backcountry, and it performs well when ice climbing, especially in drier climates like Colorado and California. This model excels when you don't need quite as much weather resistance and will benefit from added breathability.
The Dawn Patrol protects the user against an impressive amount of wind and water. Although it isn't constructed with a water or wind-resistant membrane, we could have been easily fooled when fighting through freezing, 50mph winds above tree-line. Similarly, the NanoSphere DWR coating resists short afternoon showers if you forget or neglect to bring a rain jacket.
In winter conditions, the Dawn Patrol will resist snow almost indefinitely, but snow that melts on your shoulders can eventually seep through. Overall, this is one of the more weather impervious shells we tested and is an excellent pick for any outing where you need an active layer that provides moderate protection from the elements.
One great advantage of softshell jackets without wind-resistant membranes is their increased breathability. The Dawn Patrol strikes a wonderful balance between weather resistance and airflow. We never felt clammy inside this jacket like we did while wearing bulkier models, but it still isn't quite as breathable as we'd like for super high output activities, like mountain running or cross-country skiing. This is a good jacket for windy days or inclement weather when you don't want to wear a fully waterproof shell jacket. It is easy to dump heat by opening the zipper up fully, and since it is unlined, it dries quickly.
With arms that are cut super long and a technical fit to match, we find the Dawn Patrol highly mobile, even without considering its (very) stretchy material. It's well-suited to ski touring or resort skiing, thanks to a slightly larger fit that allows for more movement as well as for warmer layering underneath. When you have to strain and stretch for those out-of-reach holds and pick placements, you'll be glad you're wearing this jacket that won't expose your wrists to the elements as you're making your move.
Our scales measured this jacket at 21.4 ounces for a size medium. It feels neither overly heavy nor bulky, but it is far from the lightest shell in the review and isn't designed to be a piece that you throw in your backpack just in case. The Dawn Patrol is designed for alpine use and abuse and is meant to be worn more continuously (thanks to its solid breathability). The extra few ounces compared with lightweight shells are a negligible disadvantage for most of our reviewers.
We think that simple, well-designed features make a jacket stand out. Our favorite features on the Dawn Patrol are the two internal stash pockets for gloves or small items. Stash pockets are super useful when you need to take your gloves off for a few minutes and want to keep them warm against your body. Many of our reviewers wish these were common on more jackets and were happy to see them on this one. We do, however, wish there was also a zippered internal pocket to keep a phone warm while riding cold ski lifts.
While some helmets might fit underneath the hood of the Dawn Patrol, our Smith Camber helmet was a very tight fit, and it was much less comfortable when fully zipped up. Previous models of this coat have used a fleece patch on the neck and chin, but with only Schoeller fabric now, it is not as cozy as it once was, and we recommend wearing a Buff or similar neck gaiter when needing to zip this up all the way.
When it comes to style, it depends on what you're going for. If you're going for a super technical alpine look, then this jacket fits the bill. The hem is long, the sleeves feel longer, and the bright color we tested begs for sweet ridgeline shots. If you want other people to know that you climb/ski/adventure, wear this jacket to your next social gathering.
This jacket is a fantastic bargain if you're looking for a technical softshell to face a myriad of alpine conditions. If you want something that performs well and doesn't break the bank too much, the Dawn Patrol is an excellent choice.
The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol is a super versatile jacket that we loved skiing in. It maintained an impressive level of breathability for its water resistance and kept us comfortable longer than many other options. If you want a jacket that you can keep on all day during winter adventures, look no further.
— Ryan Huetter
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