After fifteen winters in Colorado, there’s only one trend I’ve been able to identify: you never know what you are going to get. Some years it snows big early, and then gets warm early. Some years it doesn’t snow in January, but dumps into May. Sometimes, like last year, it doesn’t really snow at all. This winter, for the first couple of months it was really cold, and plenty snowy, which meant the Montane Black Ice 2.0 was a constant friend.
Montane’s goal with this jacket was to create a warm belay parka that wouldn’t break the bank, and I’d say by almost all accounts this was a success. The jacket feels roomy and welcoming, like being greeted by an old friend (or hugging Michael Franti, seriously that happened to me once and that guy is huge!) The length comes down over your butt, so all that extra warmth stays inside.
The insulation is PRIMALOFT® Gold Insulation Down Blend, a hybrid combination of 30% Primaloft synthetic fibers and 70% water-repellant goose down. The result is a jacket that has the best properties of down and synthetic: it’ll keep you warm when wet, and is highly compressible. The hood fits easily over a climbing helmet, though take note that it doesn’t cover a ski helmet. The two-way zipper is perfect for belaying, so you can actually see your device while belaying.
The best thing about this rig is how warm it is. I mean, like, really warm. My only complaint with this jacket is that there is only one interior stash pocket. These are crucial for warming gloves while ice climbing, defrosting skins, keeping climbing shoes toasty in between pitches, etc., and I wish they’d added a second one.
If you’re in the market for a warm belay parka, you’ll be hard pressed to find something that works as well as the Black Ice 2.0 at a similar cost.
Fit: A large was perfect for me, roomy enough for layers underneath but I don’t feel like a gangsta walking down the street. For reference, I’m 6’2″, 170lbs.
Insulation: 250 grams of Primaloft Gold Insulation Down Blend
Weight: 24 oz
Zippers: Two way
Pockets: Two handwarmer, one chest, one internal chest, one internal mesh.
More info and tech specs available on the Montane website.
Disclaimer: Wait! Before you go handing over your credit card number, ask yourself, do you really need to buy more new stuff? If so, this product is worth a look. In the spirit of full disclosure, it was provided to SplitterChoss.com for the purpose of reviewing. Don’t worry, though, our integrity can’t be bought!