As a pure rock climber with zero ambition for the alpine, but a desire to stay warm in cold camping temperatures, I often find myself using gear that is marketed towards alpinists. The Black Diamond Cold Forge Hoody puffy jacket is one of those items.
As the fall Indian Creek desert season began I was in the market for a new “puffy”. I’d never tried any of Black Diamond’s soft gear, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to test something out. The days are warm in the desert in the late fall, and the nights are usually bitter cold. Plus, there were some cold days when storms were rolling in, and I got to properly use this as a belay jacket. All in all, the conditions were ideal to test out this piece.
There are several features that make this jacket stand out from other puffys I’ve had in the past: the internal drop-in storage pockets (perfectly sized for gloves), the stretch gusseted cuffs, and the fit of the adjustable, helmet-compatible hood. This is where I can see the piece being especially useful at a cold belay. I had more than a couple cold belays in this thing, including a day on the South Six Shooter, when we were replacing some sketchy bolts at two different anchors. All of the previously mentioned features came in handy at that point, especially the perfectly designed hood. I will say the jacket seems a little bulky (it checks in at 575 grams) when not climbing, and I’m surprised that it doesn’t come with a small stuff sack, like other belay jackets do.
Being a rock jock, and desert rat, I have ended up mostly wearing this jacket in camp, and I’ve been happy with how comfortable and warm it is. The shell has a DWR finish, and the insulation is a Primaloft gold insulation down blend. All, in all, a perfect outer layer for those chilly nights; the Cold Forge has also turned into my winter bike commuting jacket, with the hood also fitting nicely over my bike helmet.
Bottom Line: This is an ideal layer for the rock jock who wants to stay warm at night, and cozy for the chilly days at the crag. Also, likely a great jacket for the climber suffering their way up a route in the alpine, but I’d surely pick up a stuff sack if you’re using it in those conditions.
The Black Diamond Cold Forge Hoody (mens) on backcountry.com
The Black Diamond Cold Forge Hoody (womens) on backcountry.com
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In the vertical world, quality gear is as important as good weather or the right partner. At the Climbing Zine, we review gear that we put to the test in our personal climbing pursuits, over months of use. If we like it we’ll tell you, and if we don’t we’ll tell you. That’s our policy…If you have gear for us to consider for a review please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.