Brand: Black Diamond Gear Reviews
Model: Recon Jacket
Whereas some softshells are best-suited for moderate-weather touring, the Recon is optimized for nature’s worst. DWR-treated Gore Windstopper with sealed seams kept our Colorado tester warm and dry through blizzards at Vail (after hours of sloppy snow, the jacket grew heavier, but didn’t leak). The voluminous hood fits over chunky ski helmets, a powder skirt seals out blowing snow, and the nose-high, fleece-lined collar acts as a cheek-warmer.
Thick, 70-denier nylon face fabric makes the Recon heavier than most softshells (it’s also pricier than most), but it stands up to hard use. “It feels like a suit of armor, which I really appreciated on cold, windy days,” says one tester who found that bashing pine branches took no toll on the fabric.
The loose, boxy cut accommodates bulky midlayers.
The underarms use stretchy, air-permeable Schoeller nylon that allowed for some ventilation when we were yo-yo-ing powderfields in Rocky Mountain National Park. But the Recon’s wheelhouse is short sidecountry tours sandwiched between bone-chilling lift rides. “This is definitely a warm jacket for cold days and bad weather,” concludes one tester.