Flylow Gear Nina Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Ventilation options, zipper pulls, sturdy fabric
Cons: Baggier fit, stiff fabric
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Nina by Flylow is a pant for any condition the mountain can throw at you. It is uninsulated, vented, waterproof, and designed to last. This pant will handle wind, rain, and snow without hesitating. It's a pant for someone looking to push their boundaries both inside the resort and out of bounds. While this pair of ski pants offers bomber protection and athletic fit, the price tag will deter all but the most aggressive riders. If you spend most of your winter riding pow, hucking cliffs, and digging snow pits, then this competitor is for you.
Comfort & Fit
It can be difficult to find a pair of ski pants that allows freedom of movement without being overly baggy. The Nina is on the roomy side of pants tested and fits athletic body types well. The velcro waist tabs work well to dial in the fit and prevent waist gap. Our testers found movement was not restricted while wearing it, and it provided plenty of room for mountain-climbing legs.
The back of the waist rides nice and high to keep snow out, a feature we found particularly useful just about every time we ski. It also features a gusseted crotch, which increases the freedom of movement in any position. The Nina does seem to run a bit short, and while that isn't such a big problem once boots are on, our taller testers found the length to be awkwardly short with regular shoes or boots.
Nina is not going to let any moisture in, and because of this, will always struggle to allow moisture out as well. Flylow' s toughest pant, the Nina, has a 3-layer Intuitive waterproof design with waterproofed zippers too. The strong fabric will keep the windiest snow out, but if you do start to heat up, expect to vent the thigh zips, thereby opening your shell to the driving snow. After ski touring in this pant, testers found the back waist to be damp and slow to dry, which can ultimately lead to being colder. This competitor is a good pant for the coldest of days, but probably not the go-to for warm, sunny spring skiing. This fabric is not as breathable as many top-tier ski pants, but the venting options help this fact.
This contender is an uninsulated waterproof pant allowing you to choose your own level of insulation. Once you have determined your underlayer, the Nina will provide excellent water- and wind-proofness, which will increase the overall warmth of the pant. If you warm up quickly and tend to over-heat, the side zips open fully to allow steam out. While ski touring in this pant, we found both the inner and outer thigh vents to be necessary to manage moisture. Even with all the vents open we still found the waistband to be damp after skiing down.
However, our legs and bums stayed warm with the vents fully zipped for the ski down. The Nina does not have a brushed fabric interior, which gives it a stiffer feel against the skin and also keeps the warmth down. Because you can add warmer underlayers, the Nina also has the ability to be warmer than many insulated pairs of pants.
This pair of ski pants rated highest on the ventilation scale, a perfect 10. This pant has outer thigh zips, protected with waterproof zippers, opening the full length of the upper leg. And if it's snowing too hard to open the outer zips, there are two small inner thigh zips to help blow off steam. When the sun comes out and is heating everything up, you can open both thigh vents for a true cross-breeze. You won't overheat in these pants, even with their waterproof material. The venting options on the Nina are more effective than a pair of simple inner thigh vents.
If you like to carry everything and the kitchen sink while riding, the Nina will give you plenty of options to store all your goodies. With one rear pocket, two deep hand pockets, and one perfectly placed thigh pocket, you won't have to reach far for your stash. She also features snaps around the waist to integrate with a ski jacket, creating a onesie effect. The leg opening features another adjustable snap to narrow or widen the opening.
Each zipper has a pull tab big enough to grab with mittens on, so your hands stay warm while fishing for chapstick. Another personalized touch is the adjustable waist tabs, so you can choose to wear your favorite belt or leave it off. The waistband closes with a button rather than a snap like most other pants we tested. We prefer this button because it is easier to close with cold fingers. The pockets on the Nina are accessible and large.
There is no denying the free ride style of the Nina, featuring a baggy design, allows athletic body types to move freely in the mountains. The fabric is reasonably supple given its 3-layer construction, although not as soft as other pants tested. The pants are somewhat stiff and almost stand up on their own, yet while wearing them, they moved well. The number of pockets along with their zipper pull tabs create its statement of "have pockets, don't care." There are pants out there with a cleaner look.
The Nina will shine in cold, variable conditions weather when you want to batten down the hatches against blowing snow or slush but also let out the heat while hiking uphill to your favorite powder stash. This pant will keep you warm on the darkest of winter days whether ski touring or resort riding.
Truly waterproof and breathable material is never cheap, and you must realize what you are paying for. With a retail price tag of $360, you'll notice that you bought a pair of ski pants. But the burly design and waterproof layers will allow you to use the Nina year after year. Your only real problem will be not buying a different color next year.
Flylow is making a mark with the Nina. This technical, uninsulated pant will stand up to repeated use, tough conditions, and all kinds of riding. Considering how expensive waterproof material is, this pair of ski pants is reasonably priced and promises to perform year after year.
— Polly Dacus