Black Diamond Fineline Stretch Rain Shell Review

I’ve found that the only way to guarantee that I always have a raincoat with me in the mountains is if it’s light and compact. In the Colorado Rockies, the chance of a passing thunderstorm at high elevations is constant pretty much all summer long, but when the weather forecast looks pretty good it’s sure hard to commit to carrying a pound or more to bring a raincoat.

Of course, getting caught far from the car can be pretty brutal – those storm-driven raindrops are around freezing temperature – and getting soaked can be highly consequential in on a rock climb that might take hours to descend from.

Black Diamond Fineline Stretch Rain Shell,

The Black Diamond Fineline raincoat is cut extra long to stay tucked under a harness.

Hence, I used to generally alternate between carrying a pound-plus bomb-proof raincoat when I was pretty sure of rain, a thin less-than-waterproof thing when rain was possible, or just roll dice and carry nothing at all. With this Fineline shell from Black Diamond, however, I don’t have to make that choice anymore, since it only weighs 8 oz (Men’s medium). It’s fully seam-taped, and the BDdry 2.5-layer membrane is rated to withstand 10,000-mm water column test, solidly waterproof.

 

The Fineline raincoat is a great stash-in-the-pack emergency rain layer and suits me really well for rock climbing. The design is simple, yet effective: Just a hood with a drawcord, a zipper, and a front chest pocket (accessible while wearing a harness) that inverts into a carrying pouch. Very bare-bones, but that’s what keeps the weight down. Stuffed into its pocket, this raincoat measures about 7 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches, small enough to fit in a fanny pack for running and shorter than most cams if you hang it on your harness.

Black Diamond Fineline Stretch Rain Shell,

Stuffed into its pocket, the Fineline raincoat takes up minimal space on your harness and hangs shorter than a hand-sized cam.

The cut is what I’d expect for a lightweight raincoat: a little slim, so I can wear a sweater or lightweight synthetic puffy under it but not a big down parka. The hood fits a helmet well and can cinch down onto a bare head, and the waist is cut a bit low so the jacket stays tucked into a harness while monkeying around with the arms – a must for rock climbing.


Black Diamond Fineline Stretch Rain Shell Review 1Black Diamond Fineline $135

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Diamond Fineline Stretch Rain Shell

 

The only thing I’d like to see changed on this raincoat would be the addition of Velcro-closure wrist cuffs. The cuffs on this jacket have elastic, but can let some cold wind/rain in while doing fast sports like biking or skiing. For $25 more, BD’s Stormline shell has closeable cuffs and pit zips, but it weighs 2 oz more and has hip pockets instead of a chest pocket – less useful for rock climbing. Amongst these light BD jackets, I think the weight savings and simplicity of the Fineline jacket is worth it. It’s lightweight storm-proof protection you can always have at the ready.


Black Diamond Fineline Stretch Rain Shell Review 2FineLine Stretch Rain Shell - Women's - Black Diamond Gear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Drew Thayer

Black Diamond Fineline Stretch Rain Shell Review 3

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 Fineline Stretch Rain Shell Review 4

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