The Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino is for the person seeking value in return for their investment. This lightweight layer excels in its warmth to weight ratio offering exceptional thermoregulation and breathability thanks to the Nuyarn Merino stretch wool technology. Designed for those seeking high-output adventure in the mountains, whether backcountry skiing, trail running, or rock climbing, this layer doesn't disappoint. The additional versatility and warmth offered by the hood and ¼ zip make this layer one of our go-to's for ultralight adventure. We love that the layer naturally neutralizes odor and layers easily above another crew or beneath a mid-layer or jacket. With high scores in almost every metric, this layer was a clear winner.Editor's Note: This review was updated on November 15, 2022, to add some insight on other recommendations in our lineup.
Cons: Expensive, takes a few washes to increase next-to-skin comfort
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
Compare to Similar Products
|Price||$145 List||$130 List||$109 List|
$109.00 at REI
|$75 List||$55 List|
Check Price at REI
|Pros||Breathable, excellent thermoregulation, extra warmth with hood, easy to layer||Cozy fleece interior, easy to layer, warm, versatile, stash pocket, kangaroo pouch, high quality||Superior breathability, excellent warmth, long zip neck for venting, durable construction, comfortable micro grid fleece interior||Affordable, thumb loops, long cut, easy to layer over top, soft and durable fabric||Affordable, thumb loops, soft fabric, great fit, durable|
|Cons||Expensive, takes a few washes to increase next-to-skin comfort||Expensive, not super breathable, boxy updated fit||Fabric holds odor, thumb loops lack quality, not a thermal weight despite name||Material is not midweight||Tightly woven fabric doesn't breathe very well, smelly|
|Bottom Line||A top-notch lightweight performer featuring exceptional thermoregulation and breathability with an innovative Merino wool technology that gets softer with every use||This high performance synthetic layer is ready for pretty much any adventure you dream up||Outstanding warmth and breathability make this layer one of our favorites for high output mountain activities||This affordable base layer features ultra fine Merino wool fibers that are super comfortable next to your skin, effectively wick away moisture, and remain odor-free||This durable base layer features a soft and stretchy fabric and a slim fit for a variety of activities, all for an affordable price|
|Rating Categories||Black Diamond Solut...||Arc'teryx Rho LT Zi...||Patagonia Capilene...||Ridge Merino Aspect...||REI Co-op Midweight...|
|Comfort and Fit (20%)|
|Layering Ability (20%)|
|Specs||Black Diamond Solut...||Arc'teryx Rho LT Zi...||Patagonia Capilene...||Ridge Merino Aspect...||REI Co-op Midweight...|
|Measured Weight||6.6 oz||7.5 oz||6.1 oz||6.0 oz||7.5 oz|
|Material||78% Merino wool, 22% polyester||Torrent 190 (84% polyester, 16% elastane)||92% recycled polyester, 8% spandex||84% Merino wool, 16% nylon||92% polyester, 8% spandex|
|Avaliable Cuts||Crew, 1/4 zip neck/hoody||1/4 zip, crew, hoody||Zip neck||Crew, 1/4 zip||Crew, 1/2 zip neck|
|Odor Control Fabric||Naturally odor resistant||Polygiene||Polygiene permanent odor control||Naturally odor resistant||None|
|UPF (sun protection)||No||No||No||50+||50+|
|Fit||Runs small||Trim fit||Regular fit||Slim||Fitted, true to size|
Our Analysis and Test Results
With high marks in nearly every metric, our testers were truly impressed by this base layer hoody. We love the versatility of the hood to either increase or shed overall warmth, in addition to a 1/4 zip and thumbholes to help keep the layer in place during high output activities. The innovative Nuyarn stretch Merino wool technology not only offers exceptional warmth and breathability — especially for a lightweight layer — but also allows the layer to breathe well and efficiently wick moisture away from the body. We do recommend sizing up if you find yourself in between sizes as the layer features a slim fit.
This base layer has a lightweight design that is built for high output activities in the mountains and not for the depth of winter. Our testers were cool in the sun and warm in the shade while climbing multi-pitch in the spring in Pine Creek Canyon. No need to layer up or remove this layer, as it's highly breathable while also trapping that precious heat from exertion. It was also so nice to have an extra bit of warmth by utilizing the hood feature, which fits quite well beneath a climbing helmet.
This hoody is made out of 78% Merino wool with a 22% polyester, and features Nuyarn patented stretch extra-fine 18.5-micron Merino wool technology for top-notch thermoregulation and moisture management. This technology is exclusive to Black Diamond and our testers could feel the difference. This lightweight and versatile hoody is one of the warmest and most functional layers we tested.
This is a category where the Solution 150 Merino really stood apart from the rest. This layer features the innovative Black Diamond specific Nuyarn stretch Merino wool technology which wraps the extra-fine wool with a nylon core. This not only allows for a warm and strong base layer, but also one that breathes well, sheds excess moisture, and dries faster when compared to other layers in this review.
This layer never held onto moisture, even when running with a pack or wearing it during long approaches to remote climbing areas during the first hot days of spring. In fact, it was a perfect spring layer for spring skiing in the Eastern Sierra when the temperatures heat up and you put in the hard work of earning your turns. With a primarily Merino wool design that features excellent breathability and superior thermoregulation, we highly recommend this hoody.
Comfort and Fit
The Solution 150 Merino Hoody offers quite a slim fit — our lead tester recommends sizing up if you are between sizes to ensure that the hood and thumb loops fit appropriately. The design offers great length in the arms and torso when fit correctly. We also love the little bit of stretch built into the design, thanks to the Black Diamond specific Nuyarn patented stretch Merino wool technology, which allows for a greater range of motion and versatility within the base layer.
This layer offers a next-to-skin comfort that gets better after every wash, and while our testers were initially skeptical, we genuinely grew to love the versatility of this base layer. When it first arrived, the Solution felt stiff against the skin, however, we never found the material to be itchy, and the material softened with use. Black Diamond also put a lot of thought into the comfort behind the design, utilizing flat lock seams in addition to a strategically placed shoulder panel which work together in order to prevent chafing while carrying a pack or when working up a sweat. When fit correctly and after a little break-in period, this hoody delivers in terms of comfort and a slim fit.
While it can be a little tricky to layer due to the 1/4 zip and hood, our testers found that the lightweight material of the Solution made it easy to layer a tank top or even a crew base layer below this hoody in addition to layering a vest or jacket on top. This hoody also functions well with a mid-layer, though it can be tricky if there are multiple hoods involved.
We love the thumbholes which add a bit of extra warmth on a spring training run and help keep the garment in place while layering or trying to maximize warmth inside a ski glove. We also love that the hood feature enhances warmth and also fits well beneath a climbing helmet just in case the wind is ripping as you ascend the mountain.
Initial skepticism aside, this layer kept up with us on every mission we embarked on. Whether we were climbing multi-pitch near the Eastern Sierra, romping the freshly melted trails, or soaking in the last days at the ski resort, this layer kept us cool in the sun and warm in the shade thanks to an exceptional and durable blend of Merino wool and polyester. We're also happy to report that the Solution did not hold onto smell during all those adventures, even without washing for several days.
The flatlock stitching not only eliminates chafing but also helps reinforce the structure of this layer so it can last for many adventures to come. To be fair, this is a lightweight 150-weight Merino wool, and while we did not experience any durability issues during testing, it is thinner than other layers in this review and perhaps won't last quite as long if you're not mindful.
Should You Buy the Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino?
While a little more expensive than some other models we tested, we believe the investment is totally worth it for this exceptional base layer. Designed with high output adventure in mind, this hoody is engineered from a Black Diamond specific Nuyarn stretch Merino Wool technology which provides top-notch thermoregulation, excellent wicking capabilities, and a faster drying time. The material is stronger and more durable as it is reinforced by a nylon spun core. We don't think you'll be disappointed.
What Other Base Layers Should You Consider?
While our testers were initially skeptical of Black Diamond's version of a lightweight Merino wool hoody, after an extensive testing period, the Solution 150 became our go-to layer for mountain adventure. From backcountry skiing to trail runs and multi-pitch rock climbs, this layer is versatile enough to trap or release heat that builds up thanks to the hood, thumbholes, and 1/4 zip. All to say, it's almost hard for us to recommend anything else! However, if you're not a fan of hoods and you want to spend way less, the Ridge Merino Aspect Midweight is a high-quality Merino crew for a surprisingly reasonable price. And if you also want a synthetic layer in your lineup, our favorite is the Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip Neck.
— Trish Matheny
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