Black Diamond Highline Stretch Shell Jacket | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Waterproof Jackets

Black Diamond Highline Stretch Shell Jacket | Review

The Black Diamond Highline Stretch Shell features long-lasting waterproof protection

Why We Chose It: lightweight, long-lasting, GTT protection

A clean design, low weight and all-weather protection – there’s a lot to like about this lightweight, yet durable, jacket from Black Diamond. And the Black Diamond Highline Stretch Shell is also carrying a trick up its sleeve in a longer-lasting waterproof coating.

Photo: Chris Johnson

Who Is The Black Diamond Highline Stretch Shell For?

Thanks to its light weight and durable build, we’d say this waterproof jacket is going to appeal to a wide range of people. First of all, it’s a jacket for those who prefer to go fast and light – long-distance fast packers, for instance. Then there are the alpinists and mountaineers out there who will love the technical features this boasts.

Materials and Construction

Produced by Green Theme Technologies, the ‘GTT Breathable Waterproof Protection’ is the big talking point of this waterproof jacket. First of all, this DWR (durable water repellency, the stuff that makes sure the outer fabric beads water away) treatment has done away with any of the eco-hazardous PFCs manufacturers frequently rely on for proofing. Second of all, they’ve made sure it’s super long lasting.

“The ‘GTT Breathable Waterproof Protection’ is the big talking point of this waterproof jacket.”

As traditional DWR treatments sit on top of the waterproof jacket face fabric (similar to how wax is applied to an apple for supermarket storage) and these treatments typically last for just a few weeks of consistent use in heavy showers before wearing away. By making use of a process called ‘covalent molecular bonding’, GTT claim they’ve managed to extend the lifespan of the DWR they’ve created. Covalent molecular bonding causes the polymers of the DWR to lock deep into the fibres of the face fabric and this application means that the treatment is much more durable and therefore longer lasting.

This impressive DWR technology is then backed up with Black Diamond’s own BD.Dry waterproof membrane technology. This three-layer fabric boasts a waterproof rating of 20,000mm and breathability rating of 20,000g/m2. While this may not be groundbreaking stuff, it’s a great middle ground for a jacket that comes in at 360g, with a good deal of durability to boot.

Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson

Features

Rounding off this extremely well made jacket is a streamlined design. Starting with the pockets, you’ve got two at hip height, that have been raised to stay out of the way of a climbing harness or backpack hipbelt, and a chest height one that’s protected by a storm flap. A pit zip sits underneath each underarm to provide ventilation when required. Similar to all the zips found on this jacket, these pit zips are protected by YKK Aquaguard lamination for the full waterproof seal.

The hood has been built with helmet use in mind. And, when not in use, it’s easy to cinch it down to provide secure coverage for when you’re not wearing a helmet.

Then there’s the cut of the jacket: climbers and alpinists may find it’ll bunch up around a climbing or glacial travel harness, but the Outdoors Magic team were big fans of the extra waterproof coverage this longer cut has to offer.

Tester’s Verdict

Jordan Tiernan, deputy editor of Outdoors Magic

“With an impeding blob of low pressure looking to push through, and pretty much sit on top of us over a couple of days while testing kit in North Wales, I reached for the Black Diamond Highline to test how BD’s BD.Dry fabric could cope in typical British weather (we had over 20mm of rain in one morning).

“In short, the Highline Stretch performed exactly as I’d hoped: it effortlessly shrugged off the worst that the welsh weather could throw at us, with no worries at all. The beading was impressive. Where other jackets were starting to wet out, the Highline just kept going. Yes, this was one of the first times this jacket had been out in wet conditions, but so had many of the other jackets on test.

“The jury’s still out on the lifespan of the life-long DWR but from what I’ve seen so far, I’ve been left incredibly impressed.

“Aside from the impressive water-shedding properties of this jacket, the Highline Stretch comes with a great fit. It features a longer cut the drops just below the waist, while offering a roomy fit so layers can be thrown on beneath. I’m usually split between a medium and a large but found the Highline Stretch to be right on the money in a size medium.”

Matt Jones testing the red Highline Stretch on the Outdoor 100 Test Team weekend in Snowwdonia’s Rhinogydd range. Photo: Jamie Barnes

 

 

Photo: Chris Johnson

Black Diamond Highline Stretch Shell

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