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Black Diamond First Light Hoody Review

This winter wear jacket does a great job balancing warmth and breathability.
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Price:  $249 List | $149.40 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Warm, breathable, cute style, stow-away system
Cons:  Heavy, slim-fit, not super compressible
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 12, 2018
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 12
  • Warmth - 25% 7
  • Weight & Compression - 20% 5
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 7
  • Comfort & Coziness - 15% 8
  • Breathability - 15% 6
  • Style & Fit - 5% 7

The Skinny

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.

Color Updates
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.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Black Diamond First Light Hoody is an excellent winter-wear jacket for all sorts of cold-weather activities.

Performance Comparison


The First Light Hoody has many comfort features and a cute look.
The First Light Hoody has many comfort features and a cute look.

Warmth


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.

This jacket features 60-grams of PrimaLoft Insulation.
This jacket features 60-grams of PrimaLoft Insulation.

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.

Surprisingly  this jacket compresses into its interior breast pocket. While it is compressible  it's the least compressible of the jackets with a stow-away system.
Surprisingly, this jacket compresses into its interior breast pocket. While it is compressible, it's the least compressible of the jackets with a stow-away system.

Weather Resistance


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. Overall, 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.

Here we shovel snow on a wet  snowy day. This jacket wicked away moisture and kept us dry.
Here we shovel snow on a wet, snowy day. This jacket wicked away moisture and kept us dry.

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 liked 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.

The large interior pocket stores keys and phones easily. It's also where the stow-away system is located.
The large interior pocket stores keys and phones easily. It's also where the stow-away system is located.

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.

This jacket is helmet-compatible.
This jacket is helmet-compatible.

Breathability


With decent breathability, its Nanosphere shell allows moisture to escape readily. During our early morning runs, we found it did a good job at 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.

A look at style and fit of the BD First Light Hoody.
A look at style and fit of the BD First Light Hoody.

Best Applications


With a nice balance of breathability, warmth, and weather protection, we think this is aexceptional winter wear garment. Feel free to take it out on colder Spring or Fall days, but trade it in for something lighter when the temperature begins to go up. In winter it was great for hiking, wear around town, skiing, and ice climbing.

Value


With many great features and decent performance across the board, the $250 price tag is great. That said, it's not the best deal in this review.

Conclusion


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.

The BD First Light Hoody is great for any outdoor activity. Take it hiking  skiing  climbing  camping  and more. Enjoy it throughout three seasons as a wear-alone piece or as an extra layer in the winter.
The BD First Light Hoody is great for any outdoor activity. Take it hiking, skiing, climbing, camping, and more. Enjoy it throughout three seasons as a wear-alone piece or as an extra layer in the winter.


Amber King