The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Black Diamond Stance - Women's Review

Designed for standing around in the coldest of temperatures.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $230 List | $228.95 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Super warm, lots of comfort features, versatile fit
Cons:  Heavy, compression isn't the best, sticky zipper
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 12, 2018
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 12
  • Warmth - 25% 10
  • Weight & Compression - 20% 2
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 10
  • Comfort & Coziness - 15% 9
  • Breathability - 15% 5
  • Style & Fit - 5% 4

Our Verdict

Designed as an ultra-warm climbing belay jacket, the Black Diamond Stance Parka is built to keep you warm on cold days. One hundred and eighty grams of ThermoLite Insulation is packed into the body, arms, and hood of the coat, wrapping you in a warm, glowing cocoon of comfort. The 40-denier continuous nylon shell does a fantastic job wicking away water and protecting from gusty winds. The liner is made of 100% polyester, further contributing to the warm properties of this awesome parka. It has many features including ginormous fleece-lined pockets and draw-strings to provide a more specific and comfortable fit. If you're in search of an insulated jacket that you can hunker down in and will keep you warm (when wet and dry) through the coldest days of the year, this Top Pick for Cold Weather will do the trick.

While we love this jacket for its warmth, it sacrifices performance in other categories. Given its high density of insulation, it's not the most compressible or lightest jacket in this review. While it does a great job compressing for the level of insulation it offers, there are several other lightweight options such as our Top Pick for Lightweight Performance, the Patagonia Micro Puff. There are warm jacket options such as the Patagonia Hyper Puff that offers ample warmth and better compression than the Stance, though the stance is warmer overall. Another caveat is the zipper on this coat. It is quite sticky and is sometimes hard to zip up, which drove us crazy on some super cold mornings. Aside from that, it is the warmest jacket we've tested in this review and a Top Pick for Cold Weather. Wear it while backpacking through the winter seasons or while standing around at the base of your next ice climbing project.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Black Diamond Stance Parka is our Top Pick for Cold Weather. Wear it on the coldest days of winter, whether you're standing around at a frigid belay or hiking around in the wilderdom of the world.

Performance Comparison


The Black Diamond Belay Stance Parka is perfect for chilly days at the crag.
The Black Diamond Belay Stance Parka is perfect for chilly days at the crag.

Warmth


This is a ridiculously warm jacket that will keep you happy through the coldest nights. Utilizing 180-grams of fluffy ThermoLite insulation, a heavy-duty shell, and a 100% polyester liner, it will insulate whether you are hanging at a cold belay or strolling around town during the coldest nights of winter. The ample warmth that this coat provides earns it a Top Pick for Cold Weather.


We wore this jacket during super cold mornings in the Fall that dipped below freezing. Wearing it as a belay overcoat was a perfect function on one particularly cold Fall day in Rifle, Colorado where the wind would overwise cut through the fabrics of other layers. In this case, we were completely content, feeling the warmth of the jacket pour over our bodies. The materials do a surprisingly great job of retaining heat generated from movement.

The insulation is stacked in this contender. Here we show a close-up of the baffling on the insulated hood that is super warm. The rest of the jacket is also stacked with awesome and lofty warmth that will keep you warm when wet or dry.
The insulation is stacked in this contender. Here we show a close-up of the baffling on the insulated hood that is super warm. The rest of the jacket is also stacked with awesome and lofty warmth that will keep you warm when wet or dry.

Not only is the body of the jacket loaded with a continuous insulation design, but the arms and hood feature loads of insulation as well. Unlike baffled competitors, the continuous insulation design means there is less stitching and thus less porous areas so heat cannot escape through little holes. The one pull cinch can lock the hood in place, locking in heat, while the collar rises above the nose, allowing you to burrow down if you're stuck immobile in cold weather. The hand pockets feature a little insulation from the inside to the outside, making it a great jacket to burrow your hands into if you forget a pair of gloves.

The continuous face fabric provides great weather protection that adds to the overall warmth of this coat.
The continuous face fabric provides great weather protection that adds to the overall warmth of this coat.

Overall, this parka is so ridiculously warm we give it a Top Pick for its wonderful performance in freezing weather. If using an appropriate Base Layer system, you can wear this coat for the coldest double negative digit weather. Oh, and it stays warm when wet too, and is a perfect option for wearing through all four seasons.

Weight & Compression


This jacket is quite heavy and not very compressible in comparison to the rest of the fleet; this is a direct trade-off for the awesome warmth that it provides. While many online reviewers tout that this jacket is quite compressible and not super heavy and state that it can and has been used for backpacking, it isn't our first choice for this function. Of all jackets tested, it is the heaviest, weighing in at 1 pound, 9.95 ounces. While it doesn't feel incredibly heavy on, the high density of insulation makes it a heavy jacket overall.


While it doesn't compress as well as its competitors in this review, it does compress well for a parka. It doesn't come with its own stuff sack, but you can roll the jacket into its hood and bring it down to the size of a regulation-sized football. While this might be compressible enough for some, others might require something that is a little less bulky. Overall, it's not a comparable super lightweight or compressible option to other products in this review; however, for a heavily insulated winter jacket, it compresses well.

Not the most compressible or lightweight  but it still fits nicely inside its hood for stowing away.
Not the most compressible or lightweight, but it still fits nicely inside its hood for stowing away.

Buy a small stuff sack to get the most bang for your buck. It will help you get all the air out of the jacket to compress it down to an even smaller size.

Weather Resistance


Wondering if the Stance can take on wind and water? The answer is heck ya! The continuous shell offers a water-resistant textile that wicks away water when there's a light shower outside and provides fantastical wind resistance in even the craziest wind storms. While it doesn't offer the same protection as, say a hardshell, it does provide quite a bit of protection from the elements. Wind or water — it will perform.


The outer shell is constructed of a nylon weave material that is measured at a 40-denier density; this means that the fabric is robust, yet flexible. The DWR treatment does a decent job wicking away water in light rainstorms. However, if met with a downpour, as we simulated in our at-home shower tests, the fabric will saturate after about five minutes in the downpour.

Getting wet in the shower with the BD Stance. Given its plentiful insulation and continuous face fabric  we are happy to say that it provides awesome water resistance.
Getting wet in the shower with the BD Stance. Given its plentiful insulation and continuous face fabric, we are happy to say that it provides awesome water resistance.

That said, it still retains its warmth and provides a similar level of wind resistance even when saturated. In these downpour tests we performed, the cotton shirt we wore underneath the jacket stayed completely dry where there were no openings. Even with the pockets open on this jacket, water stayed out. That said, some water did get in around the collar, but that could have easily been avoided. Overall, this jacket did a fantastic job in the weather tests, another reason it earns a Top Pick for Cold Weather. Take it with you on your next winter adventure whether you're winter camping, hunting, or just snowshoeing on local trails.


Comfort & Coziness


Wrap yourself up in this warm cocoon of comfort and coziness. The lightweight and fluffy insulation that is packed in around the body, hood, and arms makes this jacket super lofty and ridiculously comfortable. It hosts several features that amp up its level of comfort. However, we are not happy with the super sticky zipper that other online reviews also tout as an annoyance.


The stand-out feature of this super warm parka is the sole amount of loft and insulation throughout the body, arms, and hood. This adds comfort that no other jacket exhibits. The liner is smooth while the arms are big, allowing you to easily layer clothing and other jackets underneath without too much hassle. It features several large pockets that are perfect for stashing away items like a smartphone, wallet, or treats for your experience on the trail. To be specific, there are two large handwarmer pockets with fleece lining. The chest pocket is huge and even has a smaller embedded mesh sleeve to keep your items from moving around. Inside the jacket are two large interior pockets, perfect for placing a sandwich or small lunch for the day.

This hood is HUGE! Here we wear it with a helmet (even though you can't see it!). We are stoked on the lofty comfort of this insulated contender.
This hood is HUGE! Here we wear it with a helmet (even though you can't see it!). We are stoked on the lofty comfort of this insulated contender.

Zippers

While the zipper is large and has big teeth, which would indicate decent durability, we were unhappy with the design at the base of the jacket. The first time we pulled on this jacket, the zipper stuck. Throughout its use, it continued to stick. When we began to wonder if this was an issue with the model we purchased, we read user reviews and discovered that others have experienced this same issue. As a result, we'd urge Black Diamond to fix this problem. Even though the zipper does stick, it never did fail. Once we got it on the correct track, it worked every time.


Positives about the zippers? We love the huge zipper pulls that are incredibly compatible when wearing gloves.

A look at all the pockets! We see two HUGE hand warmer pockets that nicely accommodate a pair of gloves. The chest pocket comes with a small mesh slip that helps keep things in place. In addition  there are two massive pockets inside that jacket that can easily hold a water bottle and two sandwiches! Lots of storage on this baby.
A look at all the pockets! We see two HUGE hand warmer pockets that nicely accommodate a pair of gloves. The chest pocket comes with a small mesh slip that helps keep things in place. In addition, there are two massive pockets inside that jacket that can easily hold a water bottle and two sandwiches! Lots of storage on this baby.

In addition, it has a two-way zip design so you can unzip it from the bottom. We found this especially useful when belaying and climbing on cold days.

Massive zipper pulls are always a huge plus.
Massive zipper pulls are always a huge plus.

The Hood & Collar

We love how the giant hood accommodates a helmet. The single pull allows for a more precise fit around the circumference of the head. However, we do wish for a second pull that would cinch around the face for even better weather protection. The collar also comes up to the nose, and there is a lot of room for movement.

An elastic band wraps around the hood  providing a great fit for when wearing a helmet.
An elastic band wraps around the hood, providing a great fit for when wearing a helmet.

The Wrists

The gusseted wrists are elastic and allow you the option to wear under or overtop a pair of gloves. This also keeps cold air out when you're trying to stay warm!

The stretch cuffs are comfortable and large...offering accommodation with a pair of gloves to go either over or underneath.
The stretch cuffs are comfortable and large...offering accommodation with a pair of gloves to go either over or underneath.

Breathability


As a trade-off for amazing warmth and weather resistance, this parka is not the most breathable when comparing it to others in the fleet. However, for its weight, it does a fairly decent job. While the continuous fabric design doesn't allow cold air to permeate, it does a decent job of venting sweat through the fabric. It doesn't have any additional vents or breathability features.


When taking this jacket for an uphill hike, we kept it on while temperatures hovered around 50 degrees. During this hike, we were surprised that we could wear it for as long as we did before we started to sweat. That said, we wouldn't recommend it for active wear or while hiking longer distances in warmer Fall weather; instead, we like it for hiking in the winter when experiencing cold weather. Overall, it's not the most breathable insulated jacket in this review, but it does perform well for its weight.

Style & Fit


As a big, lofty, boxy parka, it is certainly not that stylish - unless you're into a baggy look. The lines on the fabric are streamlined, and the jacket looks outdoorsy and nice.


However, it's not the first choice to wear on a date or out on the town, as the fit is quite large.


The arms are long and so is the torso, fitting both tall and short women. There's quite a bit of room in the chest region, making it a perfect option for bustier women. While this isn't the most stylish option out there, it fits women of all shapes and sizes.

A look at the relative size and fit of this jacket. Its definitely large fitting with ample length through the arms and torso.
A look at the relative size and fit of this jacket. Its definitely large fitting with ample length through the arms and torso.

Best Application


With great warmth and loft, this Top Pick is perfect for cold weather. Whether you are braving cold, humid coasts or taking on double negative digit weather, it will keep you comfortable. While its perfect for hunkering down at an icy belay, it's not recommended for multi-pitch climbing where you might have to stash away your jacket; it simply isn't very compressible. We also wouldn't recommend it for aerobic activity in the Fall or Spring, but it has a great place for hiking or enjoying the cold winter weather.

Snuggle up with some tea while car camping in this comfy coat...or wear it while you belay your best friend up their next project at a cold Fall or Winter crag.
Snuggle up with some tea while car camping in this comfy coat...or wear it while you belay your best friend up their next project at a cold Fall or Winter crag.

Value


Retailing for about $229, this jacket is expensive but similarly priced to comparable models. It scores well in each category, and the price for its level of performance is great, indicating a good value. In addition, it has a lifetime, no questions asked guarantee.

Conclusion


This Top Pick for Cold Weather is incredibly warm and comfortable. Consider buying it for winter weather, whether you're standing around or hiking about. The fabrics are ultra-weatherproof, and its features will keep you happy, even on the coldest days of winter.

Camping on cold days at Rifle National Park is a perfect place for the BD Belay Stance Parka. Here we get the stove ready (that froze) for boiling a nice cup of coffee.
Camping on cold days at Rifle National Park is a perfect place for the BD Belay Stance Parka. Here we get the stove ready (that froze) for boiling a nice cup of coffee.


Amber King