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ProView – Black Diamond Distance Windshell

The Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell is everything I didn’t know I needed. The fit is great throughout and the material feels good on the skin. The performance of this product greatly outweighs the small amount of space it takes up on a harness or in a pack. 

Black Diamond Distance Windshell

Product Description: Built for mountain adventures, the Distance Wind Shell is an essential protective layer with added weather resistance. Featuring the Green Theme International’s revolutionary Breathable Water Protection Technology—an all-new environmentally friendly PFC-free DWR that is superior in performance and durability to any other DWR solution—the Distance Wind Shell packs down and stows into its chest pocket with a carabiner clip loop, so you can attach it to your harness during fast and light missions that require emergency protection if the weather breaks.

Offer price: $129 MSRP

  • Quality
    (5)
  • Features
    (5)
  • Fit
    (4)
  • Durability
    (5)
  • Friendliness to the Earth
    (4)

Summary

The piece is a fantastic addition to any gear rack. I take the Distance wind shell out with me every day I climb, hike, or bike and I never regret or notice having it with me. This jacket is featherweight protection that looks and feels good in any scenario. Black Diamond is trying to work towards more environmentally friendly practices. The only area I could think of for improvement would be durability (but that is a sacrifice you make for being so lightweight!) or to use recycled nylon in production. Overall, I am very satisfied with this product and would recommend it to anyone looking for a lightweight wind shell!

Overall
4.6

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Helmet-compatible hood
  • Synching waist

Cons

  • Low resistance to abrasion 
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When you’re on an adventure, it’s hard to decide how to layer correctly so that you’re not too cold or too hot. The Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell allows you to bring an extra layer without all the extra effort, which can be a key for the best possible outdoor experience.

I first tested this piece on a weekend trip to Grand Teton National Park. I wanted an all-day hike that would challenge me and have good views while trying to avoid people. I chose a hike up to Lake Solitude, which is about 20 miles round trip and almost 3,000 ft in elevation… it was breathtaking, but definitely not solitary. I brought my usual layers and precautions for hiking at altitude, but I ditched my waterproof layer at the car and packed the Distance Wind Shell instead. The first snow had just landed the previous weekend, so I was expecting some wet conditions and to be a little chilly. Later I would test this piece against all the sandstone cracks in Indian Creek.

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Performance

The Distance Wind Shell excels in fit, comfort, and style. I got to rock some high fashion monochrome while climbing in Indian Creek and was sheltered from the elements hiking in Grand Teton. Upon wearing this piece, I immediately appreciated the versatility, packability, and comfort of this wind shell. Not only did it stow away perfectly into the hip belt of my pack, but it also was incredibly easy to take on and off underneath a pack. The wind shell breathes fairly well as a single layer, but I got a bit too warm when wearing a technical fleece underneath on a long hike.

black-diamond-distance-review-dirtbagdreams.com
black-diamond-distance-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Durability 

Having tested another wind shell fairly recently, I was curious to see how this one compared in the realm of durability. Durability is always my biggest question as a climber, so I wore this piece through a couple of squeeze chimneys in Zion National Park as well as up the North Six Shooter Indian Creek. The only area of this jacket that showed signs of wear was around the outside of the stuff sack pocket. The 15D rip stop nylon became slightly abraded but didn’t tear completely. 

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Features

I really appreciated the design of the stuff sack and the features of the jacket being so intuitive. At 72 grams, I barely noticed this piece on my harness, let alone in a pack. The hood fits perfectly over a climbing helmet and cinches down enough to withstand wind gusts on top of the windiest desert towers. The chest/stow pocket is perfect for carrying a granola bar or chapstick on a multi-pitch. 

black-diamond-distance-review-dirtbagdreams.com
black-diamond-distance-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Friendliness to the Earth

Black Diamond created this piece in partnership with Green Theme International and is using a water-free, PFC-free water repellent finish that is meant to be extremely durable and never needs to be refreshed. I was really hoping to experience a desert monsoon to test out the new breathable waterproof protection on this piece, but I had no such luck. I did, however, happen to spill a full Nalgene on myself at a belay and the jacket prevented my layers from becoming soaked. 

Black Diamond is making strides with environmental friendliness but doesn’t compare to other brands’ effort levels (recycled materials and fair-trade certified would be great).

black-diamond-distance-review-dirtbagdreams.com

The Final Word

The piece is a fantastic addition to any gear rack. I take the Distance wind shell out with me every day I climb, hike, or bike and I never regret or notice having it with me. This jacket is featherweight protection that looks and feels good in any scenario. Black Diamond is trying to work towards more environmentally friendly practices. The only area I could think of for improvement would be durability (but that is a sacrifice you make for being so lightweight!) or to use recycled nylon in production. Overall, I am very satisfied with this product and would recommend it to anyone looking for a lightweight wind shell!

Shop the Black Diamond Distance Windshell on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

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Jen works for the National Park Service as an Interpretive Park Ranger for Zion National Park. With a strong passion for outdoor education, she worked as a climbing instructor for four years while pursuing a degree in Park Management and Conservation. During college at Kansas State University, she attained her Leave No Trace Trainer certification and enjoys volunteering at community clean-ups.  When she’s not wearing a flat hat, she can be found climbing, biking, drinking beers, eating good eats, and hanging out with friends. You can connect with her on Instagram at @jolly_jen.

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