Black DiamondAlpine Start Hooded Jacket - Men's

Get a head start.

As the name may suggest, Black Diamond's Alpine Start Hoodie accompanies you high in the mountains while the rest of the world is still sleeping. The lightweight design is geared towards minimalist climbers and skiers who know all too well that every ounce counts in the backcountry. The Alpine Start is made with a breathable, weather-resistant softshell material, making it perfect for traversing ridges or sending it up a route when the winds are howling. The slim fit and climbing-specific underarm gussets lend ample mobility without being cumbersome, and the whole jacket stows in its internal chest pocket with a carabiner loop to clip it to your harness.

  • Light, technical jacket for alpine ascents
  • Schoeller softshell material breathes well and repels weather
  • Underarm gussets for increased mobility when climbing
  • Helmet-compatible hood adds extra protection from the weather
  • Stows in internal chest pocket makes it easy to pack
  • With a mission to bring high-quality climbing and ski gear to the public, Black Diamond has been driving the industry since 1957
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

breathable and blocks cold wind

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size

With a light baselayer underneath, it's perfect for 25-40F days when you're grinding it out on the approach or for those 40-60F days slowly climbing up a wall.

Nice Lightweight Shell

  • Size Bought: Medium

I bring this jacket out on springs days when I'm not expecting too much precip. It breathes so well you barely notice it when putting in the vert. Love it so far.

Value and performance

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: medium

This piece is amazing for ski touring, when it is SUPER cold, a little breezy and you have a huge return hike. Rather than wearing your bomb proof shell, and possibly soaking through, throw this one and boom! Perfect temp regulation. I was wearing this in about 25 degrees F, but pretty breezy, so a baselayer would have been chilly, and I was perfect.

Lightweight and packable

    My son uses this for hiking/ backpacking. He says it’s warm and easy to throw into a pack for short cool hikes.

    Flimsy. More of a wind breaker

    • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: L

    I just received this jacket today and immediately processed a return. The jacket is less of a soft shell and more of a flimsy rain resistant wind breaker. The jacket doesn't appear very tough and it is very, very thin, most likely offering far less weather proofing than I would need.

    One star because an actual wind breaker is "more of a wind breaker" in your opinion? How profound.

    Wind/light rain layer

      I mostly wear my Alpine Start ski touring and rock climbing.
      It is super light/packable, and keeps out the wind without insulating or heating up.
      Mine has proven pretty durable but I don't think that the jacket is meant to take much abuse. I probably wouldn't climb a chimney in it, and if I chose to, I probably wouldn't expect much sympathy from the warranty folks.
      The Alpine Start is a lot like the Houdini jacket that Patagonia makes, and most outdoor companies produce a comparable layer. I chose the Alpine Start because it feel long in the arms. Other than fit, I am not sure there is much differentiating any of the wind/light rain layers that Backcountry sells.

      Crux piece, for sure!

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: Medium

      This is quite possibly my favorite layer I own for climbing. I've had mine for a few years bringing it with my all over the US for climbing trips. Can't believe how much abuse this thing has taken. For just about any multipitch route I have it clipped to my harness. It's so light and packs so small that many times I've forgotten I've even had it back there until the wind picks up or the temps drop. And when the winds start whipping, that down jacket you carried isn't going to help much. This super light hoody it going to save your butt. I've been practically blown off routes, but still hung on to my warmth with this hoody's windbreaking abilities. Plenty warm on its own, but even better with a layer below.

      Can't say enough good things about this piece of clothing. I brag about it so much I've gotten 5-6 climbing friends to pick up their very own.

      I do wish it had hand pockets, but I get that's just going to add a bit of weight.

      Crux piece, for sure!