by Don Wilson | 2006-05-02 03:00:00-06
The North Face DIAD Jacket is a lightweight waterproof-breathable jacket weighing only 8.6 ounces in men's size extra large with quite a few features for a jacket in the 8 ounce range. DIAD is an acronym for Done in a Day - a common climbing phrase referring to long, one day, fast and light ascents. The DIAD is perhaps the most feature laden rain jacket on the market that weighs in below 9 ounces. And in a size medium it will be closer to 7 ounces.
The DIAD is targeted at lightweight climbs and other fast moving outdoor activities. It has intrigued me since I first read its specs - 7.0 ounces, mini-pit zips, chest pocket and fully adjustable hood. That is an impressive list for a 7.0 ounce jacket. The test jacket we have weighs 8.6 ounces and is a men's extra large large; a men's size medium may weigh close to the specified 7.0 ounces. The DIAD is also available in women's sizes.
The DIAD has 2.5 layer HyVent DT fabric. HyVent DT is a lighter version of the original HyVent feabric from The North Face. It reduces the 3rd layer to a microgrid half layer to eliminate some weight. This grid still separates the microporous elements from the skin and allows some air flow between the skin and the microporous layers. I have found the fabric very packable and light. I can pack the DIAD into a softball sized stuff sack. I have had it out in only one storm - pictured at right in Jacks Canyon, AZ just prior to the storm.
Another bulk reducing feature is the welded seams of the DIAD. The seams are built using The North Face's Magic Seam contruction. This technique eliminates sewn seams and is advertised to improve waterproofness. The jacket has a roomy chest pocket and two small pit zips that are situated under the upper arm. The North Face refers to these an mini pit-vents, and they are indeed fairly small at 8 inches each. They will certainly help to move some moisture out in the right conditions - but the impact may be limited by the size of the opening. I'll report on their performance in a full review later this year.
The cuff closures on the DIAD are a simple lightweight velcro, but have less bulk and weight than other velcro closures I've seen; a very nice feature. The hem has an elasticized drawcord with pull closures on both sides. The hood is roomy and will work with a low volume climbing helmet. The hood has an elastic drawcord with pull closures on both sides. The hood cinches down very nicely; significantly better than other rainwear with a similar weight. The sleeves are quite long and will easily slide down over your wrists or gloves. The torso coverage is not as generous - acceptable, but not enough keep your hips dry.
I'm looking forward to getting the DIAD into the field this summer. Especially to give the mini-pit zips a full trial. At first glance the DIAD looks to be an impressive competitor in the limited field of 7 to 8 ounce rainwear.
Left image: The 8 inch mini pit-vents are placed under the upper arm. Right image: The velcro cuff closures are simple, light, low-bulk and secure.
"The North Face DIAD Jacket SPOTLITE REVIEW," by Don Wilson. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/tnf_diad_spotlite_review.html, 2006-05-02 03:00:00-06.