Two nights ago we stepped into the dazzling new Rio Tinto Center of the Natural History Museum of Utah. As we walked up the stairs, we passed corridors full of interesting stuff, beautifully presented in state-of-the-art displays, new technology preserving a rich heritage — a fitting place for Black Diamond’s new clothing launch. Briefly introduced in 2002 before getting shelved in order to focus on hardgoods, BD has a five year plan for full immersion into the softgoods market. The first step is the 2013 men’s collection.
Use. Design. Engineer. Build. Repeat. This cycle has underpinned Black Diamond’s equipment creation for the past 55 years. Drawing on their ethos for producing reliable gear that stands up to the rigors of outdoor life, Black Diamond developed three collections for its initial offering that are designed to function like a toolset. “A modular organization, a set of features in service of functional needs, and a clean, cohesive design language come together to form a set of simple solutions to the often complex problems we face in the vertical arena.”
Schoeller, Primaloft and Polartec are the trio of the line. As backcountry skiers, we’ve long been fans of Schoeller. And there’s a group out there that have coveted their 2002 Black Diamond Schoeller pieces. Indeed, when we were traversing the Ozthal Alps in Austria last spring, an Alpinist proudly wore a vintage BD shell, faded from years under high altitude sun, but still his favorite. Now the cult can update their feathers, and others can join the flock.
Dawn Patrol is Black Diamond’s Schoeller collection. Constructed with Schoeller’s stretch-woven, breathable fabric and finished with NanoSphere durable, water-repellent finish to repel moisture and stains, the pieces are designed for a lean and athletic fit. The samples we tried on had length where we like it — long in the arms and torso, without the beer belly pooch. The Dawn Patrol collection offers hybrid pieces, combining materials to deliver active and protective benefits without weight or restriction. The line includes a hybrid shell, hybrid bib, touring pant, approach pant, hoody and jacket.
Stance and Access are Black Diamond’s PrimaLoft collection. Desiring to cover the basics, synthetic insulation is offered with two fill technologies in three weights. Stance, available in two weights of PrimaLoft Synergy, is designed to be worn over your shell on route, or hunkered down in bad conditions for warmth and comfort as cozy as a sleeping bag. Access incorporates PrimaLoft One insulation, hybridized with Schoeller stretch panels that are treated with NanoSphere to create pieces that support athletic endeavors in winter climates. The collection offers a parka, hoody, jacket, pant, hybrid hoody, hybrid jacket, and hybrid vest.
Crag, Solution and CoEfficient make up the Polartech collection. Crag Polartec Windbloc shell with brushed fleece backer is a casual, climbing-capable piece that is available as a hoody or jacket. Solution is designed as a second layer insulator, comes in hoody, jacket, and 1/4 zip. CoEfficient address three critical needs — warmth, breathability, and fast dry times, comes in hoody, jacket, vest and pants.
Available in stores Fall 2013. The men of WildSnow will be testing pieces while the all the poor WildSnow Girls have to wait — women’s collection won’t be available until Fall 2014. Boohoo.