The Black Diamond First Light Hoody balances warmth and breathability with its mobile face fabric and excellent insulation. It features 60-grams of insulation in conjunction with a nylon-elastane shell, keeping you protected from the elements while you ski, hike, and play during the cold days. While it's one of the heavier jackets in this review, our testers did appreciate that it stows away into its pocket (that isn't water-resistant). It also has a carabiner loop to clip the jacket to a harness or backpack. With a slim-fit, but sufficient length through the arms and torso, it fits a plethora of body types. Just be aware that it doesn't layer as well as other jackets because the inner liner is cozy but somewhat sticky.
While the navy blue color that we tested is no longer offered, no design changes have been made to this model since our testing period. The image above shows a current color option.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Black Diamond First Light Hoody is an excellent winter-wear jacket for all sorts of cold-weather activities.
Providing ample warmth on cold days, the First Light Hoody is great for all four seasons. The 60-grams of PrimaLoft Silver coupled with its Nylon-elastane shell does a decent job keeping wind and cold while keeping in warmth. Warmth features include the bomber hem-line cinch and non-adjustable hood.
Weight & Compression
The First Light is a heavier jacket weighing 16.30 ounces. We are happy to note that despite its weight, it does compress into its breast pocket. We found this useful when ice climbing and hiking when we had to put the jacket away. One thing to note is the breast pocket stuff sack is not water-resistant. So clipping it to a harness in nasty conditions is not a great idea.
Featuring a continuous Nylon-elastic shell and hydrophobic insulation, the First Light kept us protected from the elements. While it wicks away rain well with its DWR-treated outer, we were happy to learn that it also does a decent job keeping out the wind. It scores a seven out of ten in this metric.
This model offers decent weatherproofing, though it's not as high performing other contenders. Because of its continuous shell design, it keeps out air, but it's not as breathable. Don't be afraid to wear it if the forecast calls for mild precipitation, but wear a shell if it's going to dump wet snow or rain.
Comfort & Coziness
With notable comfort features, our testers were happy with the performance and features of this jacket. One of the most important features is the mobile face fabric that moves with the body while in motion. Our testers also like its three pockets (two hand warmers, one inner breast) and easy to grab zip pulls that are glove compatible. We appreciated the helmet-compatible hood but wished for a pull string at the back for a more precise fit, especially in stormy conditions.
While we love the stretchy face fabric, some of our testers noticed that the liner material is more 'grabby' than other jackets like As a result, we found that it was not as easy to layer over a wool base layer. But because it doesn't have ample comfort and cozy features, it's not the creme de la creme of the comfort and cozy metric.
With decent breathability, its Nanosphere shell allows moisture to escape readily. During our early morning runs, we found it did a good job of keeping us dry. However, it isn't perfectly breathable either.
Style & Fit
This jacket is stylish enough to wear out with friends to dinner or the local climbing crag. Featuring a stretchy continuous face fabric with a stitched brick pattern on the front, and long horizontal bricks on the back, our testers thought this jacket was cute.
Regarding fit, many of our curvier testers mentioned it fits tighter around the hips and shoulders than other jackets, but the stretchy fabric accommodated them nonetheless. Our taller testers thought the arm and torso length was just right.
With many great features and decent performance across the board, the price tag is great. That said, it's not the best deal in this review.
The Black Diamond First Light Hoody provides a sweet balance of warmth and breathability. Take it climbing, hiking, skiing, and more. It's best for colder days and stands out as a stand-alone insulated jacket.
Beginning the search for your brand new insulated jacket...
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.