Hands-on Gear Review

Spyder Radiant Review

Price:  $800 List | $197.92 at Amazon
Pros:  Warm, comfortable
Cons:  Expensive, few ski features, fits small
Editors' Rating:   
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Main Fabric:  360º Stretch Nylon
Insulation:  Primaloft®, ThermaWeb™ (60g)
Waterproofing:  Xt.L™ 20k/20k Laminate and Spylon+™ DWR
Manufacturer:   Spyder

Our Verdict

The Spyder Radiant is a true ski bunny jacket. It is meant to look cute and cruise around the mountain, but is not very functional for a skier who actually wants to work hard. We like its flattering fit, but the lack of standard ski features like pit-zips and its short hemline make it an unlikely choice for working hard in deep powder.

Updated Version - November 2016
Spyder has updated the Radiant jacket with new colors and technical features. Check out the side-by-side comparison below to see the newest version!



RELATED REVIEW: The 10 Best Ski Jackets for Women

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jessica Haist

Last Updated:
Sunday
November 20, 2016

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Updated Version of the Radiant Jacket


The Radiant jacket has been updated for the 2016/2017 season. The most recent version sports a new graphic design and color options, as well as functional updates such as new insulation and underarm ventilation. Check out the newest version in Blue/Silver/Blue (left) next to the version we tested (right) below!

Spyder Radiant New

Here's a summary of the key differences between the new Spyder Radiant jacket and the previous version:
  • New Insulation — The insulation in the Radiant jacket has been updated from the PrimaLoft Thermaweb (60g) in the version we tested to the new PrimaLoft Silver (100g).
  • Underarm Ventilation — One of the key disadvantages we noted in our review of the previous version of the Radiant jacket was the lack of underarm ventilation, making the jacket less than ideal for working hard on the slopes. This season's updates include added underarm ventilation, and although we have not tested the new version yet, this update could potentially result in a much more functional product.
  • New Graphic Design — The new Spyder Radiant jacket features an updated graphic design that includes new color options as well as a decorative film overlay, creating a contrasting, geometric style.
  • Price Change — The price of the new Radiant jacket rings in at $700 list, compared to the $500 previous version.

We have contacted Spyder and are waiting to confirm any additional updates to the latest version of the Radiant jacket, and will revise this update accordingly. The information below still reflects the original product we tested.

Hands-on Review


This jacket is built for the ski bunny who prefers relaxing cruisy groomer days over working hard for turns off piste. It has no pit-zips and a very short hemline. This jacket is better for looking Radiant sitting on the deck soaking up the sun and drinking margaritas than it is for working hard in deep powder.

Performance Comparison


The Spyder Radiant's stretchy shell material moves well with us when skiing.
The Spyder Radiant's stretchy shell material moves well with us when skiing.

Weather Resistance


The Radiant's 20k/20k Laminate and Spylon fabric with a DWR coating seem to repel water well, and the jacket kept us dry. We suspect that after the DWR wears off it will become more absorbent than repellant. We prefer Gore-Tex for water repellency, like on the protective Patagonia Primo Down - Women's and the Arc'teryx Andessa. We did not notice any drafts through the zippers, and the strange inner collar kept drafts out from that direction as well.

We think the Radiant's hood design is lacking. It does not fully cover a helmet and has difficulty staying on when we pulled it up. We also had a hard time using the hood's drawcords with gloves on. This hood is removable. Our favorite hood is on the Arc'Teryx Sentinel - Women's.

The Spyder Radiant's hood does not fit over a helmet well and likes to fall off when moving downhill.
The Spyder Radiant's hood does not fit over a helmet well and likes to fall off when moving downhill.

Ventilation


The Spyder Radiant has little ventilation to speak of, with no pit-zips. Thankfully it has synthetic insulation which breathes a little bit. The jacket with the best ventilation is the Patagonia Untracked - Women's shell jacket.

Warmth


The Radiant is surprisingly warm. It only has 60 grams of synthetic insulation, but its thick and stretchy shell material must provide some warmth as well. Our testers wore the Radiant out on a chilly day in British Columbia and with an extra fleece layer underneath stayed warm. The Radiant also has cozy wrist gaiters that keep out the drafts that may enter up your sleeves between your gloves and the jacket. One of the warmest jackets in this review is the Columbia First Tracks 860 TurboDown.

The Spyder Radiant kept us warm on long cold chairlift rides in Canada.
The Spyder Radiant kept us warm on long cold chairlift rides in Canada.

Ski Features


We are disappointed in the lack of ski features that come on the Radiant. Simple features like a goggle pocket and pit-zips are missing. The Radiant does have a removable powder skirt and a pass pocket on the sleeve that contains a handy goggle wipe. The one unique feature it has is this strange removable inner collar. This collar seems unnecessary and adds extra bulk — making it impossible to have extra layers or a neck warmer under the collar. The collar is also infuriatingly difficult to put on or off — Spyder uses small, regular buttons, many of them — as their attachment system. We think it would have been much easier to use snaps! For such an expensive jacket we were surprised it did not have a RECCO reflector in it for avalanche detection. The Primo Down and the Andes, both high end models in a similar price range, both have RECCO.

The Spyder Radiant has an integrated goggle wipe.
The Spyder Radiant has an integrated goggle wipe.

Style


Spyder is known around the wealthier, more mature set as a high fashion brand. We here at OutdoorGearLab don't see it. This jacket has a flattering cut, which is appealing, but other than that there is nothing fashion forward about this jacket. In fact we think it is slightly reminiscent of Michael Jackson's jacket from "BAD".

Our favorites in the style department are the Orage Nina and the Flylow Billie Coat.

Comfort and Fit


The Radiant is quite comfortable. We like Spyder's "360º Stretch Nylon", which moves with us when we're skiing. This jacket fits slightly on the small side and if you want to put any layers underneath you may want to size up.

The Spyder Radiant fits small so if you want to put any layers on underneath  size up. This is a size small tester wearing a medium in the Radiant.
The Spyder Radiant fits small so if you want to put any layers on underneath, size up. This is a size small tester wearing a medium in the Radiant.

Best Application


As we mentioned earlier, this jacket would be great for someone who likes to take it easy at the resort and not work too hard or ski chopped up or powdery snow. The ideal wearer will want to stick to groomed runs and head to après early. And also like Michael Jackson.

Value


The Sypder Radiant retails for $500. We were surprised at how expensive it is considering its lack of performance features, and don't think it's a good value. You could spend less and get the Mountain Hardwear Barnsie jacket that is much cuter, and has all the ski performance features you need.

Conclusion


The Spyder Radiant lacks the ski features that will help you perform at a high level on the slopes. It has a flattering silhouette, comfortable materials, and cozy wrist gaiters. If you're looking for a jacket to hit the ski decks and après ski bars in and want a prestigious logo on it, this could be the jacket for you.

Other Versions and Accessories


The Radiant also comes in a "girls" version so you could get one for mother and daughter.

Jessica Haist

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Most recent review: November 20, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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