February in the frozen tundra of Northern Michigan and 115″ of snowfall can only mean one thing. Time for what has become my annual “puffy jacket” review. This month we’ll take a look at the Cold Forge Hoody from Black Diamond. I consider this jacket a solid middle weight when it comes to down insulated jackets that I own or have reviewed. Designed as a lightweight packable jacket to be worn over a shell as a belay jacket, this functional layer is so much more.
Around town on a chilly night, the Cold Forge Hoody is right at home. Weighing only 575 grams, you’ll hardly notice it’s presence. And packed with PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Down Blend, you’l hardly notice the frigid temperatures presence either. This jacket maintains a classic style but with all the modern technology you’d expect from a premier manufacturer like Black Diamond. Both exterior and interior liners are constructed with Pertex® Microlight 20d ripstop. Pertex is a strong yet super lightweight material found on the best packable jackets on the market to help reduce bulk. Allowing the jacket to be packed very small for easy storage in a pack.
A common problem I come across with jackets as well as shirts is the dreaded T-Rex arms that accompany them. A pet peeve of mine has always been a jacket sleeve that doesn’t cover my arm while extended during various activities. Well, I’m happy to report that Black Diamond provides the wearer with more than ample sleeve length. More suited to an Orangutan than a T-Rex. In fact, the size Large Cold Forge Hoody sleeves extend to mid hand length in a relaxed position. And at the end of these sleeves, you’ll find a lightweight stretch cuff providing a very comfortable and cozy fit.
Utilizing a single adjustment bungee pull located at the back of the head, the helmet-compatible hood is amply sized and well insulated. Although only a single adjustment, it somehow seems to conform the hood snuggly to the head or helmet as you’d expect from similar multi point adjustable hoods. Keeping the spin drift out of the Cold Forge Hoody is another single point bungee located at the hem of the jacket. Additionally, in the lower front of the jacket, a pair of ample zippered hand warmer pockets exist. Finally, a duo of oversized interior pockets perfect for storing gloves, hat or a hydration bottle.
Black Diamond Cold Forge Hoody Specs:
- PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation Down Blend
- DWR finish
- Adjustable, climbing-helmet-compatible hood
- Underarm gussets for overhead mobility
- Insulated wind flap
- Two internal drop pockets
- Zip hand-warmer pockets
- Lightweight stretch cuffs
- Single-adjust low-profile hem
- Primary fabric is bluesign approved
- RDS® certified down
- Weight: 575 g
- Fit: Regular
- Size: S-XL
- MSRP $299
Closing arguments: For starters, this jacket accompanied me around town and on the range in 15 degree weather with zero issues. Also, the DWR treated Pertex performed admirably in a unseasonal downpour this month. Other down jackets I have reviewed like the amazingly warm Mammut Eigerjoch and the so-so Columbia Turbo Down jacket all have their various merits. And the Black Diamond Cold Forge Hoody finds it’s place squarely between these two jackets as a very functional and versatile insulating layer. A zippered chest pocket for a cell phone is the only thing I feel is missing. Other than that, it’s a solid performer so far. If you haven’t experienced Black Diamond apparel, give them a look, you won’t be disappointed. Best of all, they stand behind their products 100%.