Brand: Black Diamond Gear Reviews
Model: Dawn Patrol LT Shell
We hunkered down in the Dawn Patrol against cutting winds and mist from 0°F to the 50s. Throughout, a Schoeller Nanosphere finish gave the fabric above-average water repellency for a softshell. The treatment creates a rough surface (on a microscopic level) that prevents raindrops from sticking. It repelled wind-driven graupel in Banff National Park and sleet in New Zealand. But it’s not waterproof: Hard rain penetrated after 20 minutes.
Though it’s trim, the Dawn Patrol fits several layers underneath, and the stretchy, nylon/elastane fabric delivered unrestricted motion. A long hem blocked wind and snow from sneaking down testers’ pants. Nitpick: Testers wished for a softer liner fabric.
Six pockets let testers tote everything from climbing skins to an iPhone 6. Note: The cuffs are adjustable but narrow, so they have to go under, not over, thicker winter gloves.
It’s what we expect from a good softshell: excellent. We didn’t feel clammy even on steep climbs to mountain passes in Banff National Park.
It’s on the heavy side, but shrinks to cantaloupe size in a pack.