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We put to the test Black Diamond's redesign of a fan favourite - the First Light Stretch Hoody

black diamond first light stretch hoody jacket
Overall Score
Versatility and quality for any user
Oversizing in fit and with regard to the cuff width

Black Diamond's flagship midlayer, the First Light Stretch Hoody, has had a redesign. Despite being aimed perhaps at climbers pushing boundaries, or skiers on multi-day backcountry tours, the jacket has many qualities that make it ideally suited as a midlayer for any all mountain skier.

First up it's light and minimal. That, and packability, is really important on a long climb, but isn't it also really important when you get too hot just before the chairlift and have to stuff your midlayer in a small rucksack without it pushing you off the lift?

The versatility - in terms of who could get best use of it, as well as how many different scenarios you could use it in - is superb.

In terms of performance, the Primaloft Silver insulation combined with the Schoeller face fabric (with PFC-free DWR treatment) work a treat. The warming effect might be slightly hampered by a somewhat 'American' approach to sizing - size down for maximum effect! The cuffs also are very slightly wide - a possible weak point for cold air to enter - a bit more stretch there might be a good addition.

As you'd expect on a minimal piece, pockets are limited to two handwarmers, which is a bit of a shame as an internal pocket (maybe a stuff-pocket) would be welcome.

Otherwise, this is a nice, smart and technical jacket which comes in a variety of colours. The price is relatively high, but is competitive and brings great quality and versatility with it.

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