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Tam McTavish | 10.13.2018

Black Diamond Stance Belay Parka specs

  • Shell: 40d nylon plain-weave with DWR finish (100% nylon)
  • Insulation: 2L ThermoLite® (180 g, 100% polyester)
  • Lining: 40d nylon plain-weave (100% nylon)
  • Weight: 760 g (1 lb 10.8 oz)

Where to Buy

$229.00 • Black Diamond | Amazon | MoosejawBackcountry

The Bottom Line: An excellent belaying parka that is the warmest jacket for the cheapest price. The parka is warm, comfortable, packs down small, and doesn't weigh much at all. Great for very cold belaying at the crag and wet alpine climbs, it is the best value on the market.

 


The lower zipper easily unzips, making it easy to stay on belay without losing warmth. Tam McTavish.

After my Outdoor Research Chaos failed to keep me warm at -25 degrees, I began looking for another belay jacket. After much hemming and hawing between the DAS Parka from Patagonia and the Cierco from Arc'teryx, I opted for the Black Diamond Stance.

It quickly became my staple jacket. Putting it on is like wearing a sleeping bag that you can easily move in. The warmth is superb, especially given the low retail price. When not moving, I start to generally get cold around -30 degrees. I would rate it comparable to the Marmot Guides Down Jacket or The North Face Nuptse. It's definitely the warmest synthetic parka I have experienced. Considering its synthetic fill, it far exceeds warmth expectations.

Its fit is a bit odd, but for me works well. I am 5 feet, 10 inches with a very slim build, long torso, and medium arms. For me, the parka is perfect. It's a narrow fit at the waist, but quite wide up top to fit loads of layers underneath. The narrow waist is excellent for trapping in heat, and the two-way zipper means you can open the waist up to belay.

I have on occasion had to climb or ski in it, and that was tricky. Moving about a campsite, it never feels too bulky when working the stove or setting up a tent. But it's definitely not a movement-optimized piece, and I wouldn't climb in it unless truly desperate, which is about what one would expect for a belay jacket if not a little better.

The hood is massive and very thickly insulated. It's super comfy and really feels warm. When zipped up, it covers the tip of my nose. The sleeves are different than most parkas, as they are very tight-fit stretch fabric (similar to an Atom LT). I really like this, because when you're switching gloves frequently they don't bunch up against Velcro straps or extra material. I've never worn a helmet this hood didn't fit over.

As for pockets, there are two zippered hand-warming pockets, two external chest pockets, and two internal glove pockets. I prefer the Chaos for its non-zippered hand-warming pockets, and one internal, one external chest pocket, but I appreciate two glove pockets on each side of the jacket. It helps to bulk the jacket up and keep it warm.

So far the parka seems to shed moisture fine, though I haven't truly tested it yet. It's very warm, but I have felt slight winds push it around. Pertex Endurance, with its wind-resistant finish, would have been a better choice if you ask me, but the jacket still holds up well in -25 degrees. 

Its minor flaws are not deal-breakers; they are really quite forgettable.

Testing Conditions: Belaying Canadian Rockies ice climbing down to -35 degrees, and ski mountaineering on a winter icefield in -42 degrees. Also used for winter camping and in wetter conditions.

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