This is my review of Spyder Dare ski pants. While they aren’t the most flexible or best ventilated clothing item, the Dare Pants are a good choice for skiers who need extra protection and warmth in harsh or extreme conditions.
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of this ski pant, who it is best for, and other similar alternatives to consider.
- Where to buy: Amazon
- Best for: Extremely cold environments or harsh conditions. Also good for skiers who run cold.
- Pros: The pants have some of the best weather resistance on the market. They are durable, sealed, and incredibly warm. That then leads to a cozy, comfortable fit. The removable suspenders also give you extra versatility.
- Cons: These don’t have the best ventilation and will not serve as a one-pair pant. You’re probably going to buy something lighter to go with them. The fit is also restrictive, especially in the hip area, and the zippers aren’t fully sealed.
- Alternatives: FlyLow Baker, Helly-Hansen Legendary, Outdoor Research Trailbreaker II
Why Trust Me
I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent a lot of time analyzing the Dare’s different characteristics and broke down how they held up in both light and harsh conditions.
Those that ski in cold weather will love what the Spyder Dare has to offer. The pants have the construction needed for the harshest days on the mountain, as well as the insulation to ensure you never get too cold. They also keep you dry and repel moisture thanks to their Gore-Tex shell. While the pockets don’t have the best seal and the fit is a bit snug, you’re going to have a tough time finding something better equipped to fight the cold.
Warmth, Fit, and Comfort
For me, comfort is one of the most important aspects when looking at ski pants. In terms of the Dare, the inner lining is comfortable and feels great all the way through. That is then backed by the stretchy-yet-soft suspenders that you can either use or remove depending on what you want when you’re going out. Even the exterior fabric, constructed from a Gore-Tex hardshell, is surprisingly soft. There isn’t one area where the Dare falls short in terms of feel.
Their warmth is also excellent. Spyder created these pants for particularly cold weather, and they did an excellent job at keeping you cozy. Though insulated pants have less versatility than uninsulated models, these are great for the deep winter. That being said, they may also be too warm for lighter days, so you don’t want them to be your only pair.
Unfortunately, fit is a bit of a different story. These pants are made to be warm, which means they lose a bit in terms of flexibility. Even with the waist velcro straps, which I quite like, they are a bit small. You’re also going to see some tightness in the hip and crotch. Sizing them up is probably a good idea, especially if you’re someone who often finds themselves between sizes.
To help with breathability, Spyder outfitted the Dare Pants with mesh-backed vents in the inner thighs. I appreciate this feature because, while they don’t provide the best ventilation on the market, they do give you enough air flow should you get hot. You also aren’t likely to use them a lot, since you’re wearing the Dare to bundle up on absolutely frigid days.
That being said, it’s important to note the ventilation doesn’t work as well on its own. That can be a bit of an issue if it gets warmer out or the temperature unexpectedly climbs. There’s simply not a lot of versatility here. The warmth is fantastic, but you’re going to mostly stay that way no matter what happens outside.
Built Winter Tough
As you would expect with any rough-condition pants, the Dare get excellent marks for their weather resistance. These are made to push through any snow, ice, sleet, or rain, and they do a remarkable job. That’s mainly due to the Gore-Tex outer shell fabric and elastic powder cuffs. Both keep snow away from your body and ensure you don’t freeze. The suspenders also hold the waist up so moisture can’t get inside.
Though most of the seals are exactly as you would expect with any Gore-Tex product, the zippers aren’t waterproof. They have storm flaps instead. That’s a definite weak point and can become an issue when you’re out in loose or heavy snow.
Anytime ski clothing comes with extra features, I’m interested. The Dare has excellent add-ons that go far beyond similar pants. Most notably are the removable suspenders. These give you some extra security, but can be quickly taken off if you want to go without them. The belt loops are nice and the velcro straps at the waist enable you to further customize the fit. Beyond that, the cuffs have a zippered opening and come with elastic cuffs to seal out the snow.
The pockets are also nice, but don’t hit the same level. The two front ones are a bit tight and, while I greatly appreciate the fleece-lining, they could be bigger. The small clip is a big bonus, but the rear pockets close with velcro straps. That feature I find to be quite disappointing.
Price and Value
Though the Dare Pants come at a higher price, they do give you a lot of warmth and premium durability. Considering the excellent Gore-Tex shell and weather resistant materials, this is a strong pant for skiers who need something that can stand up to the toughest winter conditions. You never want to compromise when it comes to staying warm and comfortable. However, if you do get these, you’re likely going to need another lighter pair as well. That does up the price and lower the value a little.
What I Like
My favorite part of these pants, and their biggest selling point, is the construction. These are tough all the way through. The outer Gore-Tex construction is fantastic at repelling moisture, while the material and seals are more than able to withstand even the strongest snow or wind. Those features keep you warm, which is invaluable if you enjoy rough rides.
The plethora of extra features are also something I like. The pockets don’t quite have the seals or waterproofing I like, but the removable suspenders, belt loops, and elastic cuffs all add a lot of functionality. On top of that, I love the ability to put on or take off the suspenders depending on your individual needs.
What I Dislike
Unfortunately, as warm as these pants are, the lack of solid ventilation will come up from time to time. Most skiers wearing these during frigid days won’t mind not being able to get a lot of air flow, but you can overheat if you’re not careful. I would have liked a bit more versatility in terms of temperature regulation.
Another characteristic that doesn’t work for me is the fit. Extremely warm pants are always going to sacrifice a bit of comfort, but these are too restricting in both the crotch and hip region. That limits mobility and will be a bigger problem for skiers who depend on a lot of motion when zipping down the mountain.
If you want solid pants that give you the reliability or toughness of the Dare with a little more flexibility or flair, these all get the job done:
- FlyLow Baker – If cost is no issue, the Baker (review) is a solid bib-style pant for extreme skiers ready to handle rough environments. It offers excellent protection that you can use in just about any weather condition. While the model is a bit stiff when it comes to flexibility, the tough construction more than makes up for it. There are also plenty of pockets for storage.
- Helly-Hansen Legendary – The Legendary Pants (review) from Helly-Hansen are a tough option with strong insulation. These are made for people who run cold or who need to keep warm. They have a nice 2-ply construction, water-resistant treatment, and a Primaloft Insulation. The articulated knees stand out as well.
- Outdoor Research Trailbreaker II – The Trailbreaker II (review) is a solid budget pant that saves you money without losing any key features. While it’s lacking in construction, especially due to the fact that there’s no waterproofing, the stretchy material and soft feel are excellent as a lighter option. It has a lot of pockets and comes with some of the best ventilation on the market.
Are these waterproof?
Yes. The Dare Pants utilize Gore-Tex material and tough construction to keep water out.
How warm are these pants?
These pants are extremely warm and are made for extremely cold conditions.
Are the suspenders removable?
The Dare’s suspenders can be taken off or put on as you see fit.
The Spyder Dare is an insulated pant option for skiers who need to push through rough conditions. These pants are extremely durable and provide plenty of warmth.
However, by doing so they also lose ventilation and don’t give you the option to cool down if things get too hot. They make for great freezing-weather pants, but shouldn’t be your only option. You still want something you can take out on more relaxing days.