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.
Spyder Radiant Review
Cons: Expensive, few ski features, fits small
Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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