New rain jacket on the block

I see that Black Diamond SA has decided to bring in the BD “highline” jacket. Having been through a fiendish search for a rain jacket that ended up in me buying the BD stormline, I have an interest in these developments. There aren’t many 3-layer jackets available in SA.

(This is not a sponsored post, I just found it interesting. I am proudly sponsored by my debit card)

I wonder if such a high performance jacket would have a market in SA? It did win Outside magazine’s “Gear of the Year” award for 2020. But at what cost…

Link here

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It’s a lot of money for a rain jacket, but if that 3-play business is everything it’s cracked up to be, you’ll have 20,000mm waterhead protection for 10 years, hopefully…


If you drive a Range Rover and planning to do the DGT in March, this is the jacket for you :wink:


Interested to see if the 2layer hydrophobic fabric like Gore’s Shakedry and Columbia’s OutDry start to become more common place in the backpacking space. Those feel like the rolls-royce of rain jacket fabrics, permanently waterproof without DWR and very breathable. The thicker hiking specific ones seem to be getting solid longterm heavy use reviews as well.

Yet both Gore and Columbia seem to use it fairly randomly across weird SKU’s. Hiking jacket but with the lighter fabric that can’t handle a backpack, or lightweight active versions but with no active venting. Not really getting it :man_shrugging:

Happy with my Stormline though :sweat_smile: Can’t really imagine needing more than that in our climate, or enough to justify doubling the price haha.


Check out Paramo with their Nikwax Analogy Tech…solid gear porn:

…terrible sentence that, :thinking:


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But yes, beautiful outdoor gear!

The Nikiwax Analogy tech is really interesting, though I wonder if it acting as an insulating layer as well might be a bit overwhelming for hiking in less chill settings than the UK. I know Paramo is a sister company to Nikiwax in the UK, always wondered why they have made no push it seems to sell outside of the UK or market the fabric.

But such a counter intuitive tech, as my understanding is that it is not actually waterproof, just moves the water to the surface fabric quickly enough that it is like bailing out a boat :joy: Fight water with water. Really great seeing bio-mimicry at work.

@Gerrienel …(bit of a digression from yr original post but…)

My experience has been that staying dry is a temporary arrangement with the sky. Granted, I have not sold my other kidney and invested in hard-shell sent from heaven. Rain gets in coz that’s what water does, it’s sneaky. “Try be comfortable when wet” is something I read somewhere, rather than aiming at being “Warm and dry.”

R5300 for a jacket (BD Highline) seems to put a lot of eggs in one basket.

Perhaps any of you who own high-end shells disagree, I’d love to hear thoughts. To that end I’ll ask @Arno how different you found the BD Stormline to the FA Hurricane, as I know you’ve reviewed/used both? I have been looking at the Stormline, seems a good bit of kit.

I do find myself often walking in warm and rainy conditions, used poncho before, but that’s really an ‘in the jungle looking for meaning’ kinda item…or, flappity-flappity-flap. Hiked days with a brollie, also not great in wind, but useful for shade too and doubles as a walking staff.

For my part I’ve owned a North Face jacket whose seam-tape delaminated very quickly and currently a Columbia with Omnitech, not bad for a lightweight ‘rain-jacket’ but after half a day of persistent but gentle rain I was wetted through and through.

So maybe the investment is justified? I don’t know, to be frank I’m a terrible consumer and a bit jaded about all of these “must haves”. Cynical even. There’s always the point where I feel like blurting “So what you’re saying is this piece of plastic is superior to that piece of plastic?”, remembering that people climbed massive mountains dressed in woolies and oilcloth; comfort seems to be the call of the day now. And not a bad thing to be. Anyway, waffling now…but I’ll find that write up and post it for interest’s sake, the writer tackles some of the ideas we’ve been fed to have about weather, and it’s a good read.


Here it is…


Absolutely love my Stormline! Although the pockets are too low to be used while wearing a backpack, it’s still a lovely shell.

Regarding the FA Hurricane, I don’t know if mine was a dud, but I was severely disappointed in it. I got water in most of the pockets, when the jacket got wet it became almost water-logged and the elbow and shoulder details just screamed of someone spending more time trying to make the jacket look LIKE adventure than actually designing it FOR adventure.

I’m sure there are situations where the Stormline’s waterhead might eventually start letting water in, and there’s no jacket on the planet that magically stops you from sweating while walking up a hill… That being said, I will gladly buy another BD Stormline.

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Love Andy Kirkpatrick! He definitely “brings balance to the force”.

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Now that’s a vote of confidence, parting with bob!!

:rofl: As Zizek would say, “not actually for the outdoorsman but for those living under the sign of the outdoorsman”


I concur with Arno, on the Stormline. First week of November I was leading a group in HH mountains in very heavy rain (understatement) using the Stormline. We walked for at least four hours in the solid rain (with wind which made it difficult to walk vertically) and I remained totally dry with this jacket. The weather station at Dwarsberg recorded 94mm for the 24hr period.


Interesting tech. Was not aware of it till you posted this.
As far as I can tell the only criticism is that it’s “not that breathable”, yet as to what that exactly means is hard to tell, I find these comparisons not even subjective but insanely specific to a myriad of factors only just overlapping into something that could be construed as complete…several pinches of salt in the mix.

What I do like though is that it promises to last a longer than yr standard 2-2.5 layer rain jacket, that ‘white laminate’, some kind of spayed-on-membrane, on the inside of the jacket wears off quickly, especially on high friction areas like shoulders, which is where rain tends to fall quite some.

Suppose that’s why the 3ply hard shell is still deemed tops…I still overheat very quickly though…looking forward to forcefield rain tech :thinking:

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I’m with you on finding the breathability stuff hard to deal with the subjectivity. Have been trying to buy a windbreaker and the debates over breathability and CFM ratings have me lost. Which is strange as it seems like something you could pretty easily develop an industry standard for.

Still wish the approach to it was always mechanical, I have yet to ever regret having pit zips :sweat_smile:

With the huge variety of options and technologies out there gear-whore me sees things I would like to have but I must question paying those prices for something that will be grossly under-used…:joy:

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Partner just purchased one of these, nice price too, on sale at present. So I’d be interested to see how it responds to our climate as most reviews reflect Canadian conditions. (We hike mostly summer rainfall areas)

Would love to hear back once they have some time on it. Where did you find it if I may ask? Don’t run into that much Columbia stuff, and they also have an incredibly confusing product range :expressionless: Don’t really get why some of these companies haven’t figured out less is more at this point.