Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Paints Review

What do rain pants need to do? Keep me dry, not rip, and be as light as possible so I can afford to carry them on a wilderness excursion. If I can pull them on over a ski or mountaineering boot as hard-shell protection for days in variable conditions, that’s a bonus.

Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Paints

Testing lightweight BD gear on a ski tour and avy conditions reconnaissance in the North Cascades. I pulled the Stormline stretch shell pants on after a long break spent digging and assessing a snow pit, then we climbed higher on the slope to earn some turns. I wore the Distance shell all day as my wind layer and borrowed my buddy’s Cirque 35 backpack (review to come). I’ve had these 3-piece Expedition 3 poles for years and love them. They have survived myriad boulder fields, a few ski crashes, held food suspended from boulders to keep the marmots away, and they collapse to fit in a summit pack while climbing or a small duffel while flying.
photo Craig Muderlak

Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Paints $100

BD’s Stormline Stretch rain pants check all these boxes. The BD.dry 2.5 layer membrane is waterproof and breathable enough to wear while hiking or skinning in cold temperatures. These pants weigh 7.65 oz in size medium, light enough to stash in a summit pack. Even in summer in Colorado, I always bring a pair of rain pants for backpacking and bike-packing if there are thunderstorms forecast – whenever I get caught in that ice-cold rain, I’m happy to have dry legs. Typically I will wear rain pants around camp to keep the heat in, and only wear them while on the move if it’s pretty dang cold out.

 

I find a pair of lightweight shell pants can be a useful layer for ski touring and alpine climbing if I can take them on and off over my boots. I almost exclusively tour and climb in soft-shell pants because I sweat so much during hard efforts, but a wind-proof layer can be clutch on any alpine day when there’s bound to be some standing around.

I brought these Stormline pants along on a recent ski tour in the North Cascades. A primary goal of the tour was to make snowpack observations to assess avalanche hazard, so I knew we’d spend a lot of time standing around to dig and assess a pit.

These pants were a perfect tactic for lower-body insulation on a day like this: first thing in the morning I pulled them on for the frigid half-hour snowmobile ride up the valley – very grateful for wind protection! I stowed these shells for the tour up to the alpine zone, then pulled them back on when we settled in to dig the pit. The wind was gusting heavily at times, laden with moisture, and a pair of hard-shell pants kept me from losing too much heat through my legs.

I left them on for the rest of the tour, and found that even while climbing 20-30 minutes on the skin track my legs did not get too hot (temperature around freezing), so I’m pleased with the breathability of the BD.dry fabric.

Note that I could just barely pull these pants, size Medium, over my ski boots (305 mm sole length). If you have big feet for your height this might not work – check first.


Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Paints Review 1

 

StormLine Stretch Rain Pant - Black Diamond Gear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Drew Thayer

Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Paints Review 2

Drew’s love of gear is born from his life-long obsession with human-powered adventure in the mountains. On foot, on ski, on bike, and on the steep rocks, he loves exploring Colorado’s mountains through each season.
Drew brings a technical eye to gear — he’s a data scientist with a Masters’ degree in Geophysics and loves to understand the design and engineering make great gear what it is. He’s also worked in the field for many years — as a wilderness therapy field guide and a Geophysicist — and knows a thing or two about function and durability of technical equipment.
Drew tests gear in real mountain conditions, on overnight ventures whenever possible. His specialties are rock/alpine climbing and light-and-fast human-powered pursuits on ski or mountain bike. He’s ventured on exploratory climbing expeditions in Argentina, Peru, and Alaska, and completed remote technical river descents in Alaska and Colombia.
When not building statistical models and writing code, he can be found tending his garden or trying to keep up with his awesome wife.
Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Paints Review 3

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