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Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody

rated 4 of 5 stars
photo: Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody wind shirt

A nice balance of breathability, wind resistance and precip resistance — more durable than your average windshirt (but heavier too).


  • Good breathability, while still very wind resistant
  • Very good DWR
  • Nice stretchy Schoeller material


  • Heavier than most windshirts
  • Size up

This isn't your average ultralightweight windshirt, for one it comes in at 8.2 oz in XL, about double what my other (Patagonia Houdini) windshirt is. But there are some advantages.  

The Schoeller material has a nice stretch to it and is definitely going to be more durable than any of the real lightweight windshirts. It strikes a nice balance of wind resistance, breathability (~ 40 cfms) and sports a very good DWR; the HH on this shirt (from Black Diamond) is 500mm (my Houdini is ~ 100), so it's very water resistant.

I can back this up as I've used it on several occasions when the snow has been on the very wet end of the scale, also a few occasions with light rain. It won't replace a hardshell, but your hardshell will see less use!

I had to size up from normal Large to XL. It's definitely cut tight and as I like to layer mine sometimes over a mid or insulating layer, the Large wasn't going to cut it.

For summer use I'll probably continue to use my Houdini, but shoulder season/winter, the Alpine Start will be my go to windshirt.

Pic on a recent overnight snowshoe trip:


Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $80

The best jacket I never thought I wanted…


  • Super breathable
  • Light
  • Not a lot of excess material
  • Great for layering


  • DWR is essentially useless
  • Expensive!

I am an Outdoor School Instructor, and was issued this as part of our outdoor ”uniform” for work. I wasn’t sure about this jacket at first, but now I am a convert!

This jacket is very light, breathable, and packs into the chest pocket. It is perfect for a light layer and takes up almost no room on my climbing harness or pack. It says there is a DWR coating on it, but I wouldn’t count on it keeping you dry.

if you're looking for a ultra-light layer that cuts the wind and packs down small, you can’t beat it!


I’ve had it for a year now, and it goes with me any time of year when I’m outdoors!

Source: Issued for work

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Price MSRP: $165.00
Current Retail: $57.00-$185.00
Historic Range: $29.98-$185.00
Reviewers Paid: $80.00
Weight 210 g / 7.4 oz
Materials Schoeller stretch-woven nylon softshell with Eco-Repel Bio Technology (80 gsm, 93% nylon, 7% Elastane)
Price MSRP: $165.00
Current Retail: $148.00-$185.00
Historic Range: $0.01-$185.00
Weight 190 g / 6.7 oz
Materials Schoeller stretch-woven nylon softshell with Eco-Repel Bio Technology (80 gsm, 93% nylon, 7% Elastane)
Product Details from Black Diamond »