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Maia
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody review on 04/08/2014 21:31:00 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody review

Ian Clark
(chindits) - MLife

Locale: Cntrl ROMO
Grand Canyon Trip on 04/10/2014 07:52:41 MDT Print View

At this point of my expendable income, I can easily work around not owning a wind shirt.

Just curious, what are you packing in to GRCA a tank of nitrous?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Grand Canyon Trip on 04/10/2014 08:09:18 MDT Print View

"Just curious, what are you packing in to GRCA a tank of nitrous?"


;)

Packraft, canyoneering gear, eight days of food: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=89240

Warren Wilkinson
(icensnow) - M

Locale: New England, USA
Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody review on 04/11/2014 10:13:49 MDT Print View

Thanks for the review. I too and exited about the advance in windshirt material and wasn't aware of this product. Appreciate your time and effort.

folec r
(folecr) - M
Softshell like Patagonia windshirt on 04/11/2014 22:23:49 MDT Print View

Great review. The subjective lack of wind proofing is of concern to my use of windshirts. Especially at the price point.

I own an odd Patagonia windshirt. It is brown (tan? Khaki?) in color and more richly featured than the ones I have seen :
- button hood closure
- softer, quieter and slightly heavier fabric
- corded hood adjustments
- somewhat more robust zipper (I don't know the weight)

The only thing I don't like about it : the baggy fit is not ideal for biking.

I've used it for everything else. It has held up for more than 3 years. I bought another that I have in storage for when my current one gives out.

Patagonia : you might want to consider bringing this back. With a tweaked fit.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Softshell like Patagonia windshirt on 04/11/2014 23:00:24 MDT Print View

folec,

You described the Houdini Special Edition that Patagonia last made in 2012. It was part of their MARS US Special Forces line. It has the same air permeability as the '08-'12 standard Houdini @ 35.4 CFM.

Edited by richard295 on 04/13/2014 20:24:15 MDT.

folec r
(folecr) - M
stats on 04/13/2014 13:26:07 MDT Print View

Great to know! Where could I find stats on air permeability?

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: stats on 04/13/2014 16:42:50 MDT Print View

folec,

Patagonia never discloses air permeability information. I posted this information at http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=87696.

Matthieu Delorme
(delorme.matt) - M
Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody vs Arc'teryx Squamish on 04/13/2014 18:49:08 MDT Print View

Hi everyone! First real post on BPL.
Great review, the performance chart is really interesting. I was convinced it was the windshirt i was looking after, but sadly the fit does not work for me. The medium was too snug and the Large too loose at the stomach (while still being way too tight at the neck opening).
I have checked the Arc'teryx Squamish which has a great fit for me, and I was wondering how do you think it compares with the Alpine Start. What wind resistance quotient, precip resistance quotient and breathability quotient would you give the Squamish?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody vs Arc'teryx Squamish on 04/14/2014 09:46:28 MDT Print View

Mattieu, I haven't used the Squamish, so I can't be specific in my comments. It is certainly well regarded in most respects, though I understand the fabric was changed recently, which clouds the waters.

I'm skeptical the DWR would be as good as the Alpine Start, simply because the only other fabric I've seen in the same league is the Wild Things Epic windshirt and pants.

Matthieu Delorme
(delorme.matt) - M
Re : Re: Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody vs Arc'teryx Squamish on 04/14/2014 12:47:30 MDT Print View

Thanks for the answer David! I will try to check the Wild Things Epic windshirt.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re : Re: Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody vs Arc'teryx Squamish on 04/14/2014 14:21:07 MDT Print View

Matthieu,

Dave is a hunter and so I believe he tested the 2013 Metacam color version of the WT 1.0. This is a MUCH better windshirt for aerobic activities than the optional 2014 Coyote color WT 1.0.

The fabrics were probably commonly specified, by Wild Things, for their life-time DWR (EPIC process) and their relatively high hydrostatic head. They appear to have been sourced from two different mills and they differ appreciably in their air permeability. The Metacam color version is 29.8 CFM and the Coyote color version is 1.8 CFM.

Edited by richard295 on 04/14/2014 16:27:46 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Re: Re : Re: Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody vs Arc'teryx Squamish on 04/14/2014 16:18:54 MDT Print View

Yes, mine was multicam. Weird there would be such a difference.

Matthieu Delorme
(delorme.matt) - M
Re: Re: Re: Re : Re: Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody vs Arc'teryx Squamish on 04/14/2014 16:28:40 MDT Print View

Thanks Richard for your comment. I was looking at the wrong jacket in their all-mountain collection.

It is weird that there is a big difference in air permeability. Good to know!

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
SPF on 04/16/2014 22:44:21 MDT Print View

Perhaps it's in the article somewhere, but what is the SPF of the BDAS? I've been using a Rab Boreas, and have liked it, but clearly the newer fabrics are worth looking at.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: SPF on 04/17/2014 22:34:39 MDT Print View

I don't know Jim, I assume it has a decent amount. I found the Boreas too warm as a sun shirt, and think the A Start would be also.

folec r
(folecr) - M
opinion on 04/24/2014 11:39:58 MDT Print View

Quite a bit of information in this thread :

1. Fabrics differ from model year to model year
2. ... and sometimes even color to color
3. Information on fabrics are generally not provided by manufacturer

Given the above information it seems like the only way to figure out if a garment (in this case windshirt) works is to buy it and try it on a few trips. Given the prices being charged, my personal opinion is that if a manufacturer/retailer does not have a 100% return policy then it's best to buy elsewhere.

Edited by folecr on 04/24/2014 11:41:05 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: opinion on 04/24/2014 12:45:36 MDT Print View

All very true, and buying from a company or retailer with good customer service is often worth paying a higher price. I have a list of companies with whom I'll never do business again after they did poorly honoring a warranty or return (looking at you Mountain Gear!).

That Wild Things apparantly uses different fabrics (or fabric variations) for the two colors of the tactical windshirt is rather unusual. I assume having a camo pattern printed on a technical fabric is part of the justification, but still, weird.

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
My thoughts on the Black Diamond Alpine Start on 04/24/2014 15:39:47 MDT Print View

I'm going to repost my thoughts on the Black Diamond Alpine Start.

This is a comparison of 2014 Black Diamond Alpine Start (BDAS) with a 2014 Rab Alpine Jacket (RAJ), based solely by trying them on (no field use).

Overall the BDAS is more shirt-like, and the RAJ is more jacket-like. The RAJ is better for layering over insulation layers, and looks much more attractive than the BDAS when layering over insulation layers.

The sleeve length of the BDAS is perfect for me. The sleeves of the RAJ are about 1 1/2 inches longer than the BDAS, and though straight cut, tend to billow at the cuff for me.

The Scholler fabric in the BDAS is a 2-way stretch fabric. The orientation on the stretch is horizontal in the torso of the garment (This is in contrast to the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoody, which orients the stretch vertically.)

Via breath-testing side-by-side on new jackets, in my opinion, the Schoeller fabric has slightly higher air permeability than the Pertex Equilibrium of a new RAJ. This is in contrast to Richard's measurements on a new BDAS and *used* RAJ.

If not using a helmet or hat, the brim of the BDAS hood might need to be rolled back. If you cinch down the drawstring, the hood does not want to turn with your head. When you turn your forehead with the hood cinched down, the hood resists you turning your head and rubs across your forehead. If you don't cinch down the hood, it's okay for non-windy conditions, but in windy conditions, it will blow black. The hood on the RAJ is much more sophisticated and sorted out, bordering on brilliant.

The front neck area of the BDAS is on tight side when fully-zipped. It might not be comfortable if fully zipped, even if your neck is thin. If you have a large neck, the neck would probably be unbearable zipped up. Zipped down 3 or 4 inches, it is fine for me.

The BDAS and RAJ utilized the same zippers, a coil zipper. The zipper of the BDAS works well and doesn't catch on the zipper flap. (The zipper on the Rab often catches on the zipper flap, at least just trying it out in the house.) What is the purpose of a zipper flap on a wind jacket anyway?

The RAJ has a lot of extra fabric in the chest and torso for me. The BDAS is more trim fitting.

The length of both jackets is okay for use with a backpack. In the front, they are just about the same length, but in the rear, the Rab has a drop tail which makes it about 3" longer. I prefer the Rab's drop tail.

My hipbelt just covers the bottom of the zipper of the hand pockets of the RAJ. I wish the pockets were just about 1 inch higher.

The RAJ has a lot of extra fabric in the stomach area, and when I sit down, or I fasten my pack's hip belt, the stomach area balloons out.

The BDAS has a much cleaner front, having only a single chest pocket. The pocket is okay-sized, but not large enough for gloves. I wish pocket was higher on the chest. If I put a camera in the pocket, it sits quite low... more towards my stomach than chest.

If you are going to use the hood a lot, or like walking with your hands in your pockets, or layer over thick layers, I would suggest the RAJ. If you rarely use a hood, and prefer a cleaner front, the BDAS might be better.

Recommendations for Black Diamond:
1. work on the neck fit
2. work on the hood
3. move the chest pocket higher
4. make the tail of the jacket longer
4. go to a YYK Vislon zipper instead of a coil zipper

Recommendations for Rab:
1. remove some of the fabric from the torso
2. move the pockets 1" higher
3. consider a more durable fabric (based on reports of fabric pilling from others)
4. go to a YYK Vislon zipper instead of a coil zipper

Edited by clear_blue_skies on 04/24/2014 15:50:51 MDT.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: Tokyo, Japan
Re: My thoughts on the Black Diamond Alpine Start on 04/24/2014 18:21:14 MDT Print View

Seems by your description, both companies understand their customers needs with these pieces and their design is reflected BD's emphasis on backcountry skiing and Rab's emphasis on mountaineering and alpine climbing. The only trekking their customers do is on the approaches to their routes! If you are a 3-season "light and fast" hiker you will be better served with Houdini-esque windshells tailored towards rock climbers or ultra runners.