Black Diamond Aspect Wool Hoody - Men's

rated 4.5 of 5 stars (1)
photo: Black Diamond Men's Aspect Wool Hoody wool jacket

Specs

Price MSRP: $249.99
Current Retail: $188.90-$249.00
Historic Range: $188.90-$249.00
Weight 422 g
Fit Regular
Insulation Lavalon wool insulation (60gsm, 80% Wool, 20% PLA)
Shell Material Nylon Stretch rip stop woven (51gsm, 100% Nylon)
Lining Material Lightweight stretch woven (58gsm, 100% polyester)

Reviews

The Black Diamond Aspect Wool Hoody uses natural wool wadding as an insulative layer as opposed to goose down, or a synthetic fiber quilted into an insulated garment. This jacket has a surprising warmth-to-weight ratio (approximately the same as 800 fill down), while still providing wind and moisture resistance. This jacket excels in venting heat, while still providing warmth.

Ideal for everyday use in both low and high-output outdoor activities, the Aspect Wool Hoody is an innovative alternative to down as well as synthetic-fill outerwear. This jacket is well suited for mixed use, like belaying and active climbing, without the need for additional layers in most conditions.

Pros

  • Warm in both active and passive outdoor activities
  • Machine washable!!! (up to 60°C/140°F)
  • Breathable/stretch side panels
  • Spacious hand pockets
  • Excellent hood protection/visibility

Cons

  • No elastic/adjustable waist hem (arguably not a con)
  • Not ideal for extreme conditions (heavy wind/precipitation)
  • Mesh storage pocket not realistic for use

Black Diamond has proven their value in innovation since 1957, and the company continues to manufacture cutting-edge products today. The Aspect Hoody uses wool as its insulator—a natural fiber that is a more sustainable to harvest than down. 

 
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Specifications:

  • Gender: Men’s and Women’s
  • Sizing: M-XL Men’s, XS-XL Women’s
  • Material: 100% Nylon shell; 100% Lavalan wool insulation; 100% polyester woven lining
  • Weight: 15oz/425g
  • Pockets: 2 Hand Warmer, 1 exterior chest 
  • Hood: Helmet compatible with elastic cinch


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Although it appears that the puffy jacket is here to stay, the Aspect Wool Hoody claims its stake thanks to the development of Nuyarn— an 85 percent Merino wool wadding that works incredibly well as a state-of-the-art insulation. This Woolmark company’s product began development in 2006 as a product known as Feltstop. Although the material was initially used for bedding, the company quickly understood its unique advantages. 

"Black Diamond's Solution Wool products combine the best attributes of natural merino wool with the revolutionary Nuyarn fabric technology to create something completely new, for an outcome that allows BD to offer a product that exceeds the performance needs of our most demanding athletes."

 
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Design, Fit, & Comfort:

The Aspect Wool Hoody has more of a regular jacket fit, and less of an athletic one. The L size jacket fits well (tester 5'10"/160lbs), with plenty of room for layering, if sizing up. People interested in a slim fit may not want to consider sizing up, as my typically preferred jacket size is M in most circumstances. Though not designed to be feature rich, plenty of thought has been put into the design of this hoody. 


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The Aspect Wool Hoody layers very well, being far less bulky than fleece and goose-down. This really helps this jacket in being very versatile, both as an insulating layer and outer layer. 

Features & Function:

The Aspect Wool Hoody is a fairly straightforward product, streamlined for function. This jacket is machine washable, which adds convenience for when deep cleaning is necessary. The jacket can also be put in the dryer on the "low-heat" setting. 

The odor resistance of this jacket is remarkable; no body odor is evident within the jacket after daily use for over two months without a wash. This jacket has been tested in a variety of high-output settings—running, two overnight backpacking trips, as well as hiking when testing the upper temperature limits. 

The sides of the torso, and inner arm areas have an uninsulated, highly breathable stretch nylon to assist with breathability. With an elasticity similar to Lycra/Spandex, no encumbrance was noted from doing camp chores, wearing/adjusting a backpack, etc. No excessive heat buildup was noted during climbs when backpacking, or outdoor runs. This jacket is well designed for activities where freedom of movement is a priority like belaying a climber, or medical patient assessment in the wilderness. 


IMG_0108.jpgCloseup of the breathable stretch nylon panel material

Two hand warmer pockets have generous space, and are comfortably designed.

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Hand warmer pocket room for days

 

The exterior chest pocket easily holds a mobile phone or snack.

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The hood is helmet-compatible, and also has an elastic cinch at the rear of the hood. 


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The jacket stows into a mesh pocket with a clip loop using the left hand warmer pocket. This is a good feature in theory, however significant effort is required to stow the jacket, and there is an exceptional amount of stress on the zipper. 


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Approximate size of stowed jacket is 8"x14"
 

Adjustability:

Primarily intended as a mid-layer, several common adjustments are omitted; the three pockets, a hood cinch, and little else remains to eventually wear out or fail. There is no hem drawstring, which helps keep the weight to a minimum. 

IMG_0143.jpgA zipper garage keeps the chin from scratching

IMG_0145.jpgQuality YKK zippers/pulls

IMG_0146.jpgA simple elastic cuff  at the wrist

Warmth:

Looks can be deceiving, especially when this jacket is compared to the numerous "puffy" down jackets available in today’s market. The Lavalan wool insulation is manufactured into sheets, allowing the Aspect Wool Hoody to feel less cumbersome and bulky while still retaining the warmth needed for various cold weather activities. More information about Lavalan wool insulation can be found here.


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Wearing only a short-sleeve Patagonia Capilene 2 Lightweight Crew shirt, the jacket proved to be sufficiently warm in approximately 32°F while on a leisurely dog walk. Although wind resistant, winds over 25mph begin to cut through the jacket when not layered under a shell.   

 
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IMG_6913.jpgTesting the upper temperature limits on a warm New Year's Eve day hike

Moisture & Water Resistance:

The rip-stop woven Nylon shell material uses Pertex Quantum Air technology, a Durable Water Repellant (DWR), which acts a primary defense to the elements. The wool insulation breathes well, and allows moisture out of the jacket with the help of the Nylon double weave stretch side panels on the sides of the torso, and under the arms. 

Black Diamond claims the jacket provides "incredible warmth even when wet"—although the use of wool has been proven to support this claim, this has not been specifically tested as of yet.   


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Construction & Durability

The Black Diamond Aspect Wool Hoody has shown to have top quality construction, with no signs of wear after over two months of daily use. The soft-shell outer of the jacket would not wear well against rough trail conditions such as briars, brambles, etc. Black Diamond’s use of Nuyarn technology shows a strong future in apparel construction; expect to see a lot more in this style to come.  

 
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Conditions:

The Aspect Wool Hoody has been in testing since December 2019 in the mid-Atlantic USA region. Testing has been on day hikes and several overnight backpacking trips on the Appalachian Trail. The jacket has also been used on day-to-day activities, from walking the dog to typical town and country use. Temperature range during testing has been from approximately 15°F to over 60°F. 


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Conclusion:

Black Diamond has successfully implemented the use of this up-and-coming insulating medium in a way that lends comfort to the wearer in many types of activities. Both stylish and comfortable for everyday use as well as a functional outdoor piece, this utility piece covers most most situations as an outer layer (not meant for significant precipitation) and as a mid-layer. 

Many thanks to the people at Black Diamond for the opportunity to test the Aspect Wool Hoody for the Trailspace Gear Review Corps.

Experience

The product tester has been an avid hiker and backpacker for several decades, based in the mid-Atlantic USA. Many styles of jackets have seen use and testing from three-layer eVent shells, down insulation, full synthetic jackets, ultralight rain jackets, and more.

Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample for testing and review provided by Black Diamond)

g00se

That is a good looking jacket! Nice review.


21 days ago
LoneStranger

Good use of pics Sean, but I still can't get used to you without that beard :)


21 days ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

I agree...that is a nice looking jacket. Nice review and pics, Sean! One question for you though: when/where did you run in it? I generally hate insulating midlayers on cold weather runs.


16 days ago
Sean Van Cleve GUIDE/OUTFITTER

I wore the jacket to test it’s breathability on a 5k run at the local park. I’m not much of a runner, and definitely agree on the layer being a little much for running. I’ll make sure to update the information on the review!


16 days ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for explaining that, Sean.


15 days ago
FlipNC

I shaved my shorter beard this year - making full use of my buff now that my chin is exposed to winter!


13 days ago

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