The mid-weight Deployment Hoody is not a layer that…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: ~$115 on sale
The mid-weight Deployment Hoody is not a layer that I would wear while I trail run, but I love to hike and bike in it during cooler temps. Made from merino wool and nylon, it’s well made and is pretty rugged. While on the more expensive side for such an item, if you can grab it on sale, then the durability, versatility, and comfort will make it worth the cost.
- Hood conforms well to head/helmet
- True to size in sleeve and body length (though more athletic fit)
- Durable and good quality materials (fabric and zippers)
- Expensive (on account of merino wool blend)
- More of an athletic fit than “regular” as described
- Generally heavier than other hoodies (more mid-weight)
Background & Expectations
My wife gave me this last year when I was looking for a zippered hoody/jacket to replace an Arc'teryx cardigan I had. My expectations were that I wanted to be able to wear this in the backcountry, on the disc golf course, or daily casual use. I wanted durability for the trail as well as comfort, without the need to wash it after every use (something important for the trail…and just in case I get lazy and forget to wash it!).
The hoody is made from 60% merino wool and 40% nylon and I’d consider it to me a mid-weight feel. I’m 5'9", 155 lbs, athletic build, and have a size medium.
Fit & Comfort
The medium is true to size with regards to length (head to waist) and sleeve length. The fit in the arms and waist is more athletic and trim. The hoody makes a great layering piece with a down jacket or stand alone. The slimmer design makes it a good choice, especially in the sleeves. I hate when a mid-layer sleeve is bunched in the outer layer jacket, but the trimmer fit makes this a moot point.
As in the picture above, the hoody is long enough that my hip belt can be secured with the bottom hem clearly being long enough to be secured without riding up.
I’m a fan of elastic cuffs and elastic waist areas on my clothes. I prefer more athletic fitting gear, especially if I’m performing more active activities like disc golf or on more rocky and elevated terrain. The less that gets in the way of my range of motion without being restrictive, the better.
I would have liked to have seen a little piece of fabric at the top of the zipper to act as a guard from the track catching on skin or hair. It’s not a deal breaker, especially since I don’t often zip up the hood all the way, but would have been a nice feature.
Black Diamond’s Men’s sizing chart can be viewed here.
Warmth & Layering
I have been satisfied with the hoody’s capability to cut the wind and reduce any chill. With the sleeves and waist being tighter from elastic, there isn’t any easy opening for wind to enter. It's pretty impressive, especially since the main jacket (everything other than the hood) is only a singe layer of fabric. As stated above, the trim design also makes it easy to throw my rain or down jacket on top of it.
Water Resistance & Drying
In conjunction with warmth and layering, if you may be in any area with a chance of rain (even light mist) I’d recommend packing rain gear. When it comes to drying, this does take a while to dry. It does keep its warmth factor because of the wool, but once it’s wet, it’ll take a while to dry.
I tested the BD Hoody during the review process for the Vargo Bedrock ¼ zip, another mid-weight long sleeve.
Below is an excerpt from that testing (see Vargo review). Keep in mind my results below aren’t exactly real world situations, but did give me an apples-to-apples comparison due to the same testing condition
I fully saturated each shirt and hung them over a deck fence. I felt each shirt to see when it was dry, feeling the mid-chest area. It was 87° on my clock/thermometer.
The Vargo Bedrock was dry around 1hr 5min. The Black Diamond Hoody was almost dry at 1hr 20min, but still has that moist feel to it. It may feel cool on the body, but was still saturated. It didn't feel completely dry until nearly 2hrs.
Quality & Durability
I have not had a single issue in the year that I’ve had this. No issues with the zipper or any sewn edge. Normally by this time, I’d expect to see at least at little durability issues around the shoulders or under arm from my shoulder straps; so far, no sign of any wear. I have always washed it in our top-loading washer (can sometimes be a bit rough on clothes), and a year's worth of washes doesn't really show.
The zipper pull is very sturdy, as is the YKK zipper. Sometimes I’ve notice that high end gear has the smallest zipper and zipper pull. I’m spending how much money and this is all you give me? I am satisfied with this zipper. It also doesn’t easily separate (i.e. if I pull the two fabric sides, the zipper easily unzips). Normally with the twisting motion of disc golf and throwing, zippers can unzip, but I haven’t had that happen with the hoody.
I like the shape of the hoody. Instead of having one seam down the center of the hoods, it has more of a box shaped. It conforms better to my head/helmet, can get snugger than other hoods, and keeps me from looking like a conehead.
There are also three pockets: two, non-zippered on the outside and one on the inside. I’m more of a pants pocket guy, but I wouldn’t recommend putting too much in these pockets. While they are deep, they are also relatively large and open (opening goes relatively far down on bottom end). Generally I’ve just keep trail maps or papers in these front pockets; the athletic fit, makes the pockets not too lose that things like this would fall out though.
Small pocket on inside of left chest.
The main purchase consideration to make is regarding the price point and materials. Since it is such a high amount of merino wool, the price is higher than other similar hoodies (around $50). Are you willing to pay more to have the features associated with the merino wool/nylon blend? My wife bought this for a little over a hundred on sale, but now it retails for around that normally. Getting another 20% off or more during sale times is something to consider.
The BD Deployment Hoody meets my expectations for which it set out (5/5). I debated dinging a half star due to the cost, but that justs comes with the territory when so much merino wool is purchased.
As I mentioned in the summary, it is more on the expensive side, but if you can grab it on sale, then the durability, versatility, and comfort will make it worth the cost. I’d recommend it as it has become one of my go-to apparel items for the fall, winter, and spring.
Black Diamond also has a women’s version of the Deployment Hoody.