Black Diamond Approach Down Hoody | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Down and Insulated Jackets

Black Diamond Approach Down Hoody | Review

Eco-friendly features inside and out make this lightweight layer a feel-good option for mountain missions

Why We Chose The Black Diamond Approach Down Hoody: Warm, packable, eco-friendly

Price: £265
Weight: 275g
More info: blackdiamondequipment.com

Gram-for-gram, there is probably no more useful or versatile piece of outdoor kit than a lightweight down jacket. The team over at Black Diamond evidently understands that perfectly, since with the Approach Down Hoody they’ve designed a jacket that offers plenty of warmth plus all the essential features you need in a tiny, lightweight package.

Importantly, however, it’s also made with the environment in mind, thanks to eco-friendly construction inside and out. Take the face fabric, for example, which is an ultralight ripstop nylon shell that uses an environmentally friendly, PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) coating. Black Diamond partnered with textile innovators Green Theme International for this initiative, adopting their Breathable Water Protection Technology – claimed to be superior in performance and substantially more durable than other DWRs. The 7D x 10D fabric itself is pretty robust too. You probably could shred it if you really tried hard, but overall it has decent tear-strength and strikes a good balance between weight and durability, which is perfect for a lightweight layer like this.

“Gram-for-gram, there is probably no more useful or versatile piece of outdoor kit than a lightweight down jacket.”

Housed between the shell and lining is premium 800-fill power down insulation, which is certified by the Responsible Down Standard. That means the down and feathers inside the jacket come from geese which have been humanely treated, with a traceable supply chain from farm to finished product. The down itself has also been treated with Black Diamond’s HyperDRY process to resist moisture, helping to counter the age-old drawback of all down clothing – that when it gets wet, it ain’t very warm.

The fit is typical Black Diamond – built for lean, rangy climber types. As such the cut is slim with good length in the arms and body, though it’s worth noting that if you’re carrying a little extra timber you might want to consider ordering a size up. Still, it makes an ideal layering piece that works well worn over a fleece or under a waterproof shell.

“Tipping the scales at under 300g, it offers plenty of warmth for its weight and is a versatile go-to layer for all sorts of alpine-type pursuits.”

A streamlined feature set keeps weight down, but you still get an insulated, elasticated hood with drawcord adjustment, a full-length zip and three zipped pockets – two for your hands, plus a single chest pocket that’s big enough to hold a smartphone or a couple of Clif bars. There’s no hem drawcord, though the jacket sits nicely on the hips, and cuffs are elastic-bound to lock in warmth.

We love the supreme packability of the Approach Down Hoody. It stuffs into its own pocket and has a loop for attaching a carabiner. It’s super-small pack size means that it fits easily in a rucksack, but could also clip to a harness for what Black Diamond calls those ‘no pack and a pared down rack’ kind-of-days.

Tipping the scales at under 300g, it offers plenty of warmth for its weight and is a versatile go-to layer for all sorts of alpine-type pursuits.

Tester’s Verdict

Jordan Tiernan, OM Staff Writer

“Black Diamond are beginning to flex their clothing design muscles more and more and the Approach Down Hoody is a good example of this. The classic down jacket design is brought into a typical Black Diamond streamlined package, creating a garment that’s lacking any overcomplicated features, but that does what you need it to do – keep you warm and not weigh you down.

I found layering the jacket over a light fleece felt pretty tight, but can definitely see the ability to use this as a standalone next to a baselayer when the summer evenings come round. As the mercury begins to drop, I’d expect to start wearing it as a mid layer insulator under a shell – the slim baffles and trim fit make it ideal for this.”

Chosen For Our Green Gear Guide 2019/20

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