Black Diamond product reviews

The Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell.

The Best Ultralight Hiking and Running Jackets of 2024

By Michael Lanza

You’re out on an all-day hike or a long climb or trail run or ride in the mountains. The weather forecast looked pretty good before you set out—but no one shared that memo with the wind that just started hammering your summit ridge, or the spitting rain and hail now pelting you as you contemplate the sudden drop in temperature and the miles between you and shelter. The question now is: What’s in your pack?

If you’re smart, it’s an ultralight jacket that takes up little space, but is about to gift you with just the right amount of weather protection when you need it.

Read on

The Black Diamond Distance 1500.

Review: Black Diamond Distance 1500 Headlamp

Rechargeable Ultra-Bright Headlamp
Black Diamond Distance 1500
$200, 7.5 oz./213g
blackdiamondequipment.com

Comparing any hiking-oriented headlamps I’ve used to the Black Diamond Distance 1500 headlamp feels rather like comparing a Honda Civic to a Bradley armored fighting vehicle. At 7.5 ounces/213 grams, and putting out a supernova-like 1500 lumens at max power, the Distance 1500 is at least twice the price of all of today’s best headlamps for the backcountry and more than doubles most of them in weight and power. Over six months of testing this beast hiking, climbing, mountain and road biking, and backcountry skiing, I’ve concluded that, while it’s certainly overkill for many activities, it’s invaluable for both route finding and high-speed sports after dark.

Read on

The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32 ski touring pack.

Review: Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32 Ski Touring Pack

Ski Touring Pack
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32
$200, 30L/1,831 c.i., 2 lbs. 9 oz./1.2 kg (S/M)
Sizes: S/M and M/L (32L/1,953 c.i.)
blackdiamondequipment.com

When ski touring or riding in the backcountry, besides our skis or board, our pack becomes the piece of gear we interact with the most—and we place competing demands on a ski touring pack: We want it light and comfortable for the up and the down but to also have easy, quick access and critical organization and features. On many days of backcountry ski touring, I found the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32balances those demands well and excels for backcountry and side country tours that involve more minimalist capacity needs.

Read on

A backcountry skier in Idaho's Boise Mountains.

The Best Gloves For Winter 2024

By Michael Lanza

Looking for winter gloves that keep your hands warm and dry and are made to last for years? As a professional gear reviewer who gets cold hands easily and spends many days outside in winter, from downhill, backcountry, and Nordic skiing to trail running, biking around town, and working outside, I’ve used many types of gloves and learned a lot over the years about how to select the right gloves for a variety of uses.

Read on

A backcountry skier in Idaho's Boise Mountains.

The Best Clothing Layers for Winter in the Backcountry

By Michael Lanza

There’s one certainty about the clothing layers we use in winter: We get our money’s worth out of them. While a rain shell or puffy jacket may rarely come out of our pack on a summer hike or climb, we almost invariably wear every article of clothing we carry when backcountry, Nordic, or downhill skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, climbing, or trail running in winter. That’s money spent wisely to make us more comfortable and safer.

Read on