The North Face Diad Jacket - Gear Review

April 19, 2007

The first time I laid eyes on the Diad jacket from The North Face I knew buying it would be a no brainer. These were the basic specs: 7 oz total weight Fully adjustable hood Waterproof, seam-sealed, breathable Designed for Ski Mountaineering Sign me up! I first had the chance to use the Diad in the Tetons last spring while ticking off a couple of ski descents from my list. With the temps on the warmer side this was the perfect call for a jacket that would easily stow in my pack for the climb up lines like the Middle Teton Glacier but would be ideal for keeping the wind at bay at the top and be essentially non existent on the descent. But I wondered how it would perform as a shell in the winter. Given it's super ultralight build and no frills construction (having shortened pits zips and a small Napoleon pocket) it is best suited for the short approaches and yo-yo descents. I've worn it while skinning up peaks over top of my softshell jacket and base layer and found that although it's built with HyVent DT which is touted to be breathable I'd say that breathing is not it's strong suit. Unlike it's other waterproof brethren, the Diad features North Face's "skinny seam tape" which is 13mm wide compared to the standard 19mm to 22mm seam tape of the heavy weight jackets. Does this compromise waterproofness? Thankfully no. Does is save weight faster than the South Beach diet plan? Most certainly. The best part about this jacket is how simple and functional it has been for just about any weather condition I've skied in. I've left it home on the ultra bitter days, opting for a 3 layer Gore-Tex XCR jacket like the Arc Teryx Sidewinder AR, but for all other backcountry ski days it's ideal when teamed up with a good softshell. And like I said, it excels in spring time conditions and I'd bet it's a great summer hiking jacket as well. Simple draw cords at the bottom and easy Velcro adjustments on the sleeves keep the fit dialed. I've not lacked for a snow skirt despite it missing from this jacket. If you're looking to shave some weight and bulk in a jacket (or your person), try out the bomber yet sleek Diad jacket from The North Face. Buy Now: Search for North Face Jackets

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