[Review] Black Diamond Access Down Hoody
The Black Diamond Access Down Hoody is a versatile combination of insulation, durability, and packability. Because of this, I wear this jacket all day, everyday. It's so comfortable and unrestrictive it is my go-to on chilly mornings and evenings lounging around the van. It's so durable and packable that it is my mid-layer for ski tours and shoulder season climbing days. It's so stylish it finishes off my apres look when we go out for victory burgers at the end of the day. Black Diamond describes it as "the cure for the common cold."
It's filled with 700 RDS goose down, which keeps you toasty but packs down small, easily fitting into a pack if you want to shed a layer. On the coldest of days, I am content in just a long sleeve base layer with this thrown on top for outdoor activities (with the addition of a shell if there is/was any precipitation). The versatility and ease of only needing one layer of insulation make this the jacket I always bring with me.
The design is simple, which lends well to it being versatile enough for lots of activities. I find the length adequate in keeping me warm and tucking into a harness, but not too long to restrict movement. It has two hand pockets and a chest pocket, which I usually stuff with my phone, wallet, chapstick, and other essentials.
The jacket itself is made from lightweight nylon ripstop treated with a DWR water-resistant finish. This will keep you dry in light snow and rain conditions before you find cover or put on another layer. It also makes the jacket pretty stain-resistant, allowing me to wipe away spills of hot sauce without a trace. While durable, it still is a nylon puffer, and I usually don't choose to wear this on the wall. However, the last thing I do before I get on a wall is take the hoody off, and it usually comes back on as soon as I hit the ground again.
There is elastic around the hood and the sleeves. This helps the hood stay on and out of your eyes even when not wearing a helmet. But, it was built to be the perfect size for fitting a climbing helmet under, so I have no excuses to not be protecting my noggin. I've found that some hoodies restrict movement with a helmet on, making it hard to look from side to side, but feel that the cut moves with me instead of against me as I turn my head. The elastic sleeve cuff works to keep the cold and snow out but isn't quite large enough to fit anything but a liner glove underneath.
I purchased this jacket last year as a part of my backcountry kit. I didn't know at the time how much I'd end up wearing this jacket off the mountain as well. It was well worth the $250 investment. If you're looking for a versatile mid-layer that takes you from one activity to the next, look no farther than the Black Diamond Access Down Hoody.