A Jacket That's Easy to Hate
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
- Fit: Runs large
- Size Bought: Small
On the surface, there are a lot of reasons to hate this jacket. It doesn't have a hood, it doesn't have a pocket, it's not waterproof OR particularly breathable, and the 5-denier nylon doesn't feel like it could stand up to an errant fingernail, much less a brush with mountain bristle. But take a closer look at this jacket and the things that may initially deter you will inevitably draw you in.
The Black Diamond Deploy is the lightest wind shell on the market thanks to a stripped down silhouette, a light-as-a-feather 5-denier Japanese nylon, and YKK Super Lightweight half-zipper. At 48 grams, it feels like wearing nothing, and it packs down to the size of a racquetball. During big mountain runs, it fits in the front pocket of my vest and on shorter trail runs in uncertain weather, it stows neatly in the back pocket of my shorts.
Functionally, this jacket shines in the mountains. The fabric is deceptively durable and will hold up to grabby branches and scree and while it lacks breathability which can cause some condensation buildup in warm or damp weather, the half zip makes it easy to regulate body temperature when temps swing. I layered this jacket over the BD Rhythm tee (merino) and Mont Bell Lightweight Zeo-Line (synthetic) during the overnight portion of a 25 hour ridge run and stayed exceptionally warm and dry, even during high exertion. As the sun peeked out and warmed things up, I was able to regulate with the zipper before coming to a stopping point and popping the jacket into my vest.
This jacket is definitely not for everyone and I have no doubt that some will hate it. Wear it when it's too warm and you'll sweat. Wear it when it rains and you'll get wet. But find the sweet spot where this jacket really shines, and you'll never want to buy another jacket again.