Our take At 1.7 ounces—that’s not a typo—the Deploy takes the title as the world’s lightest windshell. But this is no novelty item: “On top of Washington’s Cutthroat Pass, I deployed the Deploy to fight off 30-mph gusts, and I was able to have a snack without getting chilled,” one tester says. Black Diamond achieves the rock-bottom weight by using 5-denier nylon fabric and an ultralight zipper developed in collaboration with YKK.
The details Even at this weight, a few features make the cut: a three-quarter-length chest zipper allows venting and a cinch hem keeps the Deploy from riding up. There’s also a tiny stuff pocket hidden in the collar. A DWR coating fights off light drizzle, but the superthin fabric and lack of hood make this a dry-weather shell. The trim cut is a squeeze to pull on, but it still fits over a midlayer. The weakness is breathability: Laser-cut pit vents add airflow, but not enough. “I wore it to keep off the morning’s 45°F nip while hiking uphill in the North Cascades, but I overheated quickly and ended up taking it off,” says a tester. Ding: price.
Trail cred “I wouldn’t take the Deploy bushwhacking, but it’s more durable than it looks,” says a tester. “It wasn’t damaged by brushes with trees and bushes in the North Cascades.”