Black Diamond Convergent Shell Jacket Review (and contest winner announcement)

After 3 ascents of Mount Washington, a half dozen days of ice climbing, and 24,000 feet of skiing powder at Wildcat Ski Mountain today, I’m ready to share my thoughts on the Black Diamond Convergent Shell Jacket I received earlier this Fall.

Black Diamond Convergent Shell

Black Diamond Convergent Shell

I’ll be honest when I received this jacket my initial assumption was it was a typical high-end hard-shell. Since I prefer the breathability of my EMS Fader Softshell Jacket for most of my mountain excursions I didn’t think I would be wearing this hardshell often for in my experience hard-shells simply don’t breathe enough for high output. The exception in my book is extreme wind-chills (like Mount Washington Ascents), and skiing in cold temps (like today).

What I didn’t realize, was this really isn’t a hard-shell, it’s a hybrid. The lack of stretch panels had fooled me. This jacket does not claim to be waterproof. It uses “Windstopper Active Shell“, which is windproof, water-resistant, and highly breathable. Like the Epic fabric that I was introduced to through Wild Things Equipment many years ago this is a superb mix of highly water-resistance and breathe-ability.


Run after run today I confirmed this jacket is 100% windproof as we dealt with -20 to -30 wind chills. The hood easily fit over my ski helmet and adjusted to move with me as we shot through the glades that have really filled in with the 2 feet of snow this past week.

24,000 feet of skiing is a good day :)

24,000 feet of skiing is a good day 🙂

Let’s hit a few more highlights of this highly technical piece;

1) Weight: 13.5 ounces with the performance of a hard-shell.

2) Pack-ability: Easily crushes down to the size of a large grapefruit

3) Convenience: 2 chest pockets that are easily accessible when jacket is tucked into a harness plus 2 hand pockets. The left chest pocket has this cool internal soft pocket to stow a smartphone with a small port to feed your headphone cable through. Brushed microsuede liner collar lining.

More technical information and a product video from the manufacturer available here.

Bottom Line: A very technical high-end hybrid jacket that looks & performs like a hard-shell but is more breath-able than any hard-shell I have ever used. If you shy away from hard-shells for fear of over-heating, or if you need more wind protection than your well loved soft-shell, this jacket should be on your radar!

You can also purchase one directly from Amazon here and doing so will help support this blog!

Disclaimer: While this jacket was provided to me via my employment with EMS Schools the opinions above are certainly my own. This post contains affiliate links.

January Ice Screw Contest Winner: Congrats to Mechanicalchris who has won 2 brand new Omega Pacific ice screws in my first ever contest. Thank you to the 80+ people who liked North East Alpine Start on Facebook last month and the 18 folks who subscribed! It’s really nice to know that time spent trip reporting and reviewing products is worth it. New contest coming soon… stay tuned…

See you in the mountains,


About David Lottmann

David grew up skiing in the Whites and started climbing at a summer camp just north of Mt. Washington when he was 16. Those first couple of years solidified climbing as a lifetime passion. From 1996-2000 he served in the USMC, and spent the better part of those years traveling the globe (18 countries). After returning to civilian life he moved to North Conway to focus on climbing and was hired in 2004 as a Rock and Ice Instructor. Since then Dave has taken numerous AMGA courses, most recently attaining a Single Pitch Instructor. He has completed a Level 3 AIARE avalanche course, is a Level 2 Course Leader, holds a valid Wilderness First Responder and is a member of Mountain Rescue Service. When David isn't out guiding he enjoys mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, backcountry skiing, trying to cook something new once a week and sampling new micro-brews. He lives in Conway, NH with his wife Michelle, son Alex, and daughter Madalena.
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4 Responses to Black Diamond Convergent Shell Jacket Review (and contest winner announcement)

  1. NR says:

    Any comments on the feel of the interior tricot backer? Is it relatively soft or more like a bare-bones lining of most hardshells?


    • David Lottmann says:

      There is brushed microsuede collar lining that is very soft on the chin when fully zipped up. The rest of the interior is run of the mill lining like most hard-shells, but it doesn’t feel clammy at all. That being said I would almost always wear this piece with light long sleeve under it so the issue would be moot for me. Hope that info helps in your decision!


  2. Daniel son says:

    Does the lack of stretch panels mean no stretch in the fabric at all? What I’m getting at is should I order for a softshell slim fit? Or if it doesn’t stretch do I need the extra room to move with?


    • David Lottmann says:

      No measurable amount of stretch. The large size fits my 5′ 9″ 180lb frame well with room for appropriate layers. Hope that helps!


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