Select Page

Review: Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody

Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody

Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody

Ultralight Jacket
Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody
$149, 7.5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s and women’s XS-XL

A breathable, ultralight jacket that sheds light precipitation can be the most versatile garment you own—something you wear almost as much as your skivvies. Over the past several months, I pulled on BD’s Alpine Start Hoody to combat wind, light rain, and cool temps on a 17-mile dayhike over the four summits of New Hampshire’s Northern Presidential Range in June; on a 25-mile, May dayhike in the Grand Canyon; trail running in the hills of central Massachusetts and standing on the blustery summit of New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock in April; while climbing in February in Joshua Tree National Park; during a November overnight hike of The Narrows in Zion National Park; on a chilly, October hike and scramble up 9,820-foot McGown Peak in Idaho’s Sawtooths; and on numerous trail runs and rides in the Boise Foothills and bike commuting around the city. That list alone speaks volumes about the range of this sub-eight-ounce jacket.

Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody's hood

Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody’s hood

The highly breathable Schoeller stretch-woven, soft-shell fabric blocked most wind, shed light rain, and dried within minutes from body heat in temperatures ranging from the 30s to the 60s. On a one-hour trail run in central Massachusetts, on an overcast, foggy day with light mist and temps in the 40s, I sweated enough to wet out my long-sleeve, midweight base layer, and yet the jacket got only slightly damp on the inside and never felt clammy.

Elasticized cuffs allowed me to push the sleeves up to my elbows while climbing, and the gusseted underarm panels let me reach high overhead without the jacket hiking up. The fit is athletic, not bulky, with room for a midweight base layer and a light vest underneath. The adjustable hood closes around your face to stay put in wind and when turning your head side to side, and fits over a helmet.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside, which has made several top outdoors blog lists. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Subscribe now to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip. Please follow my adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.


Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody pocket and cuff

Alpine Start Hoody pocket and cuff

One of the beauties of an ultralight, very packable shell like the Alpine Start is the ease of bringing it along just in case: I stuffed it into a small hydration pack on a morning hike-run up Ryan Mountain in Joshua Tree, when I never actually needed the jacket. And it stuffs into a zippered chest pocket, with a carabiner clip loop to hang it from a harness.


Find your next adventure in your Inbox. Sign up for my FREE email newsletter now.


As long as you don’t expect steady, hard rain on a day trip, this is the only three-season shell you need.

BUY IT NOW: You can support my work on this blog by clicking any of these links to purchase a men’s or women’s Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody at,, or


Tell me what you think.

I spent a lot of time writing this story, so if you enjoyed it, please consider giving it a share using one of the buttons below, and leave a comment or question at the bottom of this story. I’d really appreciate it.


See my review of “The Best Ultralight Hiking and Backpacking Jackets” and all my reviews of ultralight wind shellsultralight rain jacketstrail-running apparelhiking apparel, and outdoor apparel at The Big Outside.

NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See categorized menus of all of my gear reviews at The Big Outside.

—Michael Lanza


You live for the outdoors. The Big Outside helps you get out there. Don’t miss any stories. Subscribe now!


About The Author

Michael Lanza

A former field editor for Backpacker Magazine, Michael Lanza created The Big Outside to share stories and images from his many backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, as well as expert tips and gear reviews to help readers plan and pull off their own great adventures.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome to The Big Outside

photo of Michael Lanza

Hi, I'm Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside and former Northwest Editor at Backpacker magazine. Click my photo to learn more about me and my blog. Sign up for my free email newsletter in the blue box above. Click on Subscribe Now! in the main menu (top right) to get full access to all of my stories on America's best backpacking, hiking, and outdoor adventures. And click on Ask Me in the main menu to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This