Review: Black Diamond StormLine Stretch Rain Gear

Image credit: Black Diamond

I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with my rain gear. It enables me to confidently go on longer hikes without worrying too much about what the weather’s doing, but on the other hand I can’t wait to take it off because of how much it restricts my movement, especially rain pants when I have to step up on bigger steps. Thanks to the Black Diamond Stormline range, it’s all love…

Key Information

Price (at time of writing): Jacket – R2395; Pants – R1595
Water-resistant membrane: BD.dry™ (with DWR coating)
Water column rating: 10,000mm
Breathability: 10,000g/m2/24hr
Weight: Jacket – 288g (Size: Large); Pants – 215g (Size: Large)

Hiking in the Cederberg on a freezing, post-storm morning.

Stretch

The Stormline range’s major selling point is the fact the it stretches. That’s right, water-resistant fabric that stretches… This allows for a more fitted garment and more freedom of movement at the same time. Modern textile engineering – it’s a wonderful thing!

The stretch is most noticeable in the rain pants that have a much more fitted cut than usual, with slightly pre-articulated knees. No more poofy “Oros Man” style while walking in the rain – these rain pants are so slick you could wear them to a party… maybe.

Image credit: Black Diamond

Fabric

The fabric used on both the jacket and pants is Black Diamond’s own BD.dry™ 2.5L, which consists of a water-resistant laminate on the inside, 4-way stretch nylon outer and a DWR hydrophobic coating.

The fabric has a waterproof rating of 10,000mm and a breathability rating of 10,000g/m2/24hr. In layman’s terms, it does a great job at keeping the water out and is surprisingly breathable. Combined with the added ventilation of the pit-zips, I comfortably hiked for over an hour without excessive moisture build-up inside my jacket.

Warm and dry on a snowy Matroosberg.

Design & Weight

The design is basic and solid, with no unnecessary “fashion panels” which would otherwise create more weak points and add weight, as they require more stitching. The few seams that are there, are fully seam-taped.

The underarm-area of the jacket and the seat-area of the pants are gusseted for extra freedom of movement.

Image credit: Black Diamond

Weight isn’t a concern either, with the jacket weighing 288g and the pants 215g.

Both the jacket and pants come in men’s and women’s cuts.

Image credit: Black Diamond

Features

The jacket is fully featured with an elasticated draw-cord around the waist to seal in the heat, two hand-pockets, pit-zips for extra ventilation, an adjustable hood and a generous peak to keep the rain out of your eyes.

The hood has a convenient 1-toggle system that adjusts both the peak and volume of the hood, at the same time, as opposed to the usual two toggles on either side of the hood for the peak and one in the back for the volume.

The cuffs are adjustable with velcro tabs.

The pants only have one back pocket, which doubles as a stow-pouch, as both the jacket and the pants easily pack into their own pockets.

They also have 1/3-length zips at the bottom, allowing for the pants to be put on while wearing boots, as well as an internal button closure to prevent accidental opening while walking.

Cons

My only criticism would be that the pockets on the jacket are too low to be useable when wearing a backpack with a thick waistbelt.

Image credit: Black Diamond

Conclusion

Since I’ve had the Stormline rain jacket and pants, I’ve been reaching for my rain gear with much more enthusiasm and I’m much quicker to pull out the jacket at a lunch stop on a hike to keep the wind off me. It’s comfortable, it’s light, has a nice skin-feel and does exactly what it’s supposed to without any fuss. In a nutshell – the most comfortable rain gear I’ve ever worn.

This gear was provided by Ram Mountaineering for review purposes and can be purchased from any specialist outdoor store that stocks Black Diamond.

About Arno van der Heever 30 Articles
Co-founder of Hiking South Africa, Arno loves the outdoors and finds joy in sharing it with others. He is a qualified mountain guide, a keen rock climber and has a "thing" for technical backpacks and footwear.

6 Comments

  1. Thanks for the review. I’ve been searching for a rain jacket and this seems like a winner. I was afraid to see the price but it is pretty comparable to other brands, surprisingly.

    • My thoughts exactly, Josh. Basically R500 more per item for more comfort, less weight and great pack-ability. Loving the StormLine gear!

  2. Hello, the rain suit sounds super nice. Could you perhaps name the outdoor store in SA for the purchase of Black Diamond gear. Thank you.

  3. I picked up the jacket at Drifters in Cape Town earlier in the year. Their online store seems to have vanished though.

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