Spyder Chambers Review
Cons: Not very breathable, ski racer style is polarizing
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Chambers performed well across the board. We especially liked its weather resistance and refined ski features, but also appreciated its warmth and comfortable fit.
We found the warmth of the Chambers to be about average as far as insulated ski jackets go. The jacket features synthetic insulation, stretchy cuff closures, and an insulated hood. The fit is slightly snug, which reduces the amount of air around your torso that can be used to insulate your body but also eliminates cold drafts from bringing your temperature down.
Whereas other jackets in the market are warmer than the Chambers, this usually brings a decrease in versatility. This jacket is extremely versatile and can be worn across the gamut of ski conditions, from warm sunny days at Alta to the cold Nor'easters of New England.
The Chambers uses a Gore-Tex membrane to keep you warm and dry, no matter the external environment. It also features fully sealed seams and waterproof zippers, as well as a well-designed hood and hood closure system. Our testers noticed that on windy chairlift rides, the jacket effectively stopped the wind from impacting the internal environment of the user.
Stretchy wrist cuffs seal out the cold and wind from getting up your sleeves, and a drawstring around the hem seals the jacket at the waist. A powder skirt keeps the snow out when the conditions get deep. Furthermore, the synthetic insulation used in the Chambers will retain its insulation even if it does get wet. Overall, we were impressed by the weather resistance of this jacket.
Comfort and Fit
The Chambers is a close-fitting jacket that is tailored to slim, active skiers. This was appealing to some testers who liked the slim fit because it stayed out of their way. Other testers preferred more baggy jackets; neither are correct, it's just a matter of preference.
The interior fabric is very comfortable against the body, and there is a nice fleece patch that protects the chin from the zipper. The stretch knit wrist cuffs are very comfortable and enhance the feeling of the slim fit, making the user feel like they are sealed in tight. This jacket feels like an extension of the body. The outer shell fabric is slightly stiff but doesn't take away from the jacket's comfort too much.
The Chambers allows ventilation through relatively short armpit vents that are also lined with mesh. Despite the small opening and mesh liner, air seems to move pretty well through the vent. Another feature of the jacket that improves ventilation is the removable hood. Our bodies bring warm blood close to the surface when they are too warm, and nowhere on the body does this as efficiently as the neck. When you are not worried about precipitation, you can remove the hood and enjoy the efficiency of breathability through the top of the jacket as well as through the pit vents.
Despite all that, this jacket is not designed to be used in very warm conditions or for extended bootpacks. It is best used for downhill skiing in most weather conditions and has decent versatility when things heat up.
Spyder is the official apparel provider of the US Ski Team, and it shows in the style of their jackets. If you want to look like a racer and use fashion to claim that you are a fairly serious downhill skier, look no further. In the Chambers, you'll look like you just got out of training for your next World Cup race. The cut, exterior colored fabric panels, and color options are all congruent with a decidedly on-piste skier look. Many skiers will not find this jacket's style appealing.
This jacket has a ton of features that make life easy on the slopes. Two large handwarmer pockets on the front of the jacket are fleece lined and comfortable. Another sleeve pocket conveniently positions a ski pass to be easily detected by scanners. There are two large internal stash pockets and an internal zippered chest pocket, which keeps a cell phone close to the body and warm. We also appreciated the removable hood and powder skirt.
The Chambers is fairly priced for what it delivers. Overall, the buyer comes out ahead, given the sophisticated ski-specific design of the jacket and its features. It has great versatility and will likely be the only ski jacket that you need, even though you might need to add a layer underneath for the coldest conditions. The synthetic insulation will wear out after a few years, but the construction of the jacket is durable, and the jacket should last as long as the insulation does.
The Spyder Chambers is a versatile jacket for all weather and temperatures on the ski slopes. Some may be deterred by the ski racing style, but if you like the look, then this jacket should be high on your list.
— Jeff Dobronyi
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