Black Diamond Induction Shell ReviewFebruary 6, 2015
- Impeccable design/engineering
- Hard-shell-like weather-proofness
- Fantastic hood Remarkable mobility for a full-GWS hoody
- Poor water-repellency – face-fabric absorbed significan t moisture in wet conditions
The Black Diamond Induction Shell is the softest, stretchiest weatherproof shell I've ever tested. The Induction proved to be a winter-weather fortress and a category-busting iconoclast among even the most protective softshells.
The strength of engineering and thoughtful design expressed in the Black Diamond Induction greatly impressed me. It is worth noting, too, that this jacket is but one piece in Black Diamond’s large-scale foray back into technical apparel. Ultimately, the Induction Jacket could effectively serve serious hardcore users though it worked wonderfully for me and my comrades as well.
Built from Windstopper fabric and boasting fully-taped seams, Black Diamond calls this a shell for good reason: The Induction Shell is truly wind- and waterproof.
W.L. Gore and Associates continues to make incremental progress toward more breathable weatherproof fabrics, and this Windstopper shell is certainly better than Gore textiles of years past. That said, fully weatherproof garments of this variety, lacking additional vents or breathable panels, do not breathe well enough to keep me dry while I’m goofing off in the mountains. Even in cold, dry conditions, I was much sweatier in the Induction than I was in non-membrane softshell jackets.
Soft, supple fabric and superior engineering joined forces here to provide unmatched mobility for such a protective piece. Small details, like microfleece chin-patches, boosted all-day comfort and kept me feeling warm and fuzzy even when the weather turned nasty.
For a stretchy, weatherproof softshell with four big pockets and an amazing hood, a total weight of 18 ounces is a Christmas miracle. Even so, the Induction’s performance is most comparable to that of hardshell jackets weighing 13 ounces or less.
Attention to Detail
From their solid zipper-pulls (which I initially hatedÑI have since learned to love this feature) to the unique way in which they layer their pocket-textiles, Black Diamond built the Induction to satisfy desires I didn’t even know I had! I raved in my notes about all the little things this piece gets right, but I wonÕt subject you to my embarrassing geek-fest here. Much, much shorter to say that this jacket needed better DWR; everything else was awesome.
The Induction is obviously a premium jacket in nearly every way—Gore fabric, beautiful finishing, jewelry-grade closures—and carries a price-tag to match. If form alone dominates your value-judgment, this jacket should seem like a steal at its list price. If you’re interested in performance, however, there are many options that offer more for less.