Outbound Reviewed: Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Shell

An excellent lightweight rain shell.

By: Kyle Frost + Save to a List

I just got back from a fantastic week in Alaska. In the span of a week, I managed to mountain bike, hike, do an overnight raft trip, a backpacking trip, and sneak in some sea kayaking. In typical Alaska style, the weather was...less than cooperative at times. It was a welcome change from the blistering heat in CO, but also MUCH wetter than I've been in a long time.

Having expected this, I brought along the Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Shell as a lightweight rain layer. I have a lot of alpine/ski shells but somewhere along the line I lost my lightweight rain layer. At $150, it's a great price point, and only $30 more than it's little brother, the Fineline Stretch. Black Diamond touts its use of BD.dry™, their proprietary waterproofing tech, as well as the stretch shell fabric.

The Good

I've got to say, it's a great technical jacket that is more than worth the price. I put it through the ringer, wearing it as my outer layer on the Matanuska River as well as basically living in it my entire backpacking trip in the Talkeetnas (it rained the entire time). I stayed dry while getting splashed with freezing glacial melt and in hours of hiking in the rain. 

The waterproofing is excellent, and the built in stretch make it feel more versatile and mobile than other rain jackets I've worn. It packs down to almost nothing when not in use. I'm 6' 165lbs-ish, and a medium fit perfectly. Still felt like a nice athletic cut but had plenty of room for insulated layers to fit underneath (although I wouldn't plan on needing to layer too much with a dedicated rain jacket). When my body temp got up as we were going over the pass, the generous pit-zips kept the airflow going. I ended up hiking with just a t-shirt (alternating zipped and unzipped) as necessary to regulate heat.

I'd put this jacket in a similar category to the Marmot Minimalist (which I wore for many years), but I overall I definitely prefer the Stormline.

It was really wet in Alaska.

The Bad

Nothing really "bad", per se, but it would be nice to have a drawstring on the hood. I wore the hood with a hat most of the time, but I could see it being loose without a helmet or hat.

The Verdict

Overall, I highly recommend the Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Shell. It's a great spring/summer/fall waterproof layer at an excellent price point.

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