Moisture is the mortal enemy of the puffy, as both rain and sweat can cause down to lose its loft. Black Diamond has gracefully tackled moisture management problems with their First Light Hybrid Hoody. PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Active wraps the chest, arms, and hood with synthetic insulation, while panels of breathable wool along the back and under the arms enable the First Light to shed sweat. Essentially, the PrimaLoft insulation is still effective when wet and the wool panels wick inevitable perspiration. Not only that, but the jacket’s NanoSphere material does a swell job of repelling dew and drizzle. All told, we tested the First Light from Canada to California, dealing with sweat-inducing desert days and foggy, storm-soaked rainforests. For perspiration-prone people and pursuits, this is our top choice.
The First Light Hybrid Hoody is undeniably breathable, and the revolutionary panel design is definitely its most appealing aspect. That said, the wind and water-resistant outer fabric feels like a softshell and outperforms many other puffies in this buyer’s guide when worn sans a rain jacket, too. The elastic cuffs on the arms are a top-notch feature, and do wonders to keep the First Light from riding up the forearms.
The hood is the most form-fitting of the hoodies tested, and works best under a helmet, making it more attuned to the needs of mountaineers and climbers. Again, this isn’t a con, but rather something to consider—if you prefer to have an over-the-helmet option, you’re better off looking elsewhere. Also, while this breathable design is awesome for high-intensity activities, during moderate exertion, the wool panels can be on the chilly side. Lastly, while there are many benefits to PrimaLoft insulation, the material doesn’t pack quite as well as a high-rated down option.
The breathable panel on the back is unbelievably awesome. Oftentimes, whenever you’re on an adventure that requires a puffy, you’re relying on a backpack as well. And adventurers of all creeds know that sweat often starts at the exasperating nexus of pack and lower back. Big thanks to Black Diamond for offering up a more breathable and intelligently designed option for sweaty adventures!
“I really love wearing this with a backpack—sweat is way less of a concern. Also, it does well in wet weather, and the PrimaLoft insulation doesn’t bunch like you sometimes have with a traditional down jacket.”
- Low profile, under the helmet hood
- Migration resistant PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Active
- NanoSphere Technology repels water, dirt and oil
- Underarm gussets for added range of motion
- Two zipppered hand pockets and concealed zip chest pocket
- Woven mesh lining on insulated panels for added breathability
- Low profile stretch cuffs
- Primary fabric is bluesign approved