The Arc'teryx Sabre AR is our overall Editors' Choice, retaining its title. These pants fit perfectly on a variety of body types, are comfortable to wear, and provide immaculate weather protection. Plus, they're stylish. While a bit short on features and warmth, these are not necessarily detractions in our minds, because they allow custom layering underneath and lightweight, sleek performance. Our main issue is the price. These pants are quite expensive, and you can find other pants that almost match the performance of the Sabre AR at a lower price. Still, frequent users will appreciate the refinement of these pants.
Arc'teryx Sabre AR Pant Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Immaculate weather protection, excellent fit, fleecy lining
Cons: Expensive, light on features
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Our Analysis and Test Results
These pants excel where ski pants should. They offer best-in-class weather protection, top-notch comfort, and style, and ventilate well. Overall, this combination was enough to earn our Editors' Choice Award. There are warmer pants out there, and pants with more features, but this is easily the most versatile and well-constructed pant in our review.
We can always count on Arc'teryx products for weather protection. Their roots in coastal British Columbia ensure that their clothing is built to withstand heavy snow, driving rain, and gale-force winds. Their construction is excellent, to boot. These pants are built with Gore-Tex in the shell for best-in-class weather resistance. All seams are sealed, and the zippers are all waterproof.
The sleek design of these pants means that there are no extra flaps of fabric that can catch snow or wind. These pants shed all precipitation easily. Powder cuffs prevent snow from entering the legs of the pants, and the Sabre AR powder cuffs also feature two slits for the power strap to be fastened over the powder cuff. This provides extra weather prevention, and also allows easy transitions for backcountry skiing. The thick shell fabric easily protects against the wind. Our testers never felt the breeze through the shell.
Fit and Comfort
We have come to expect excellent tailoring from Arc'teryx, and the Sabre AR upholds this reputation. These pants fit like a glove. They are perfectly cut through the hips and legs, and allow a full range of motion, without feeling too tight or too baggy. These pants fit very well and are true to size.
They are also comfortable to wear. We did not find any places where the cut inhibits motion. The interior of the shell fabric has a fleece-brushed liner, which prevents the fabric from feeling plasticky, as other 3-layer pants often do. In a testament to their comfort, we found the burly and resort-specific Sabre to be also excellent for backcountry touring.
Ventilation in the Sabre AR is provided by long external leg vents. These vents don't have mesh backing, which is great for maximizing airflow. The Gore-Tex fabric is also relatively breathable, but the brushed fleece lining will trap some heat and make the pants feel hotter.
The only way Arc'teryx could improve the ventilation in these pants would be to add vents in the inner legs as well. Other pants in our review feature vents on both the inside and outside of the legs for cross-ventilation. Still, the Sabre AR pants ventilate as well as you would likely ever need. We took these pants into the backcountry, where the vents provided excellent airflow for hot uphill travel.
These pants don't provide much in the way of warmth or insulation. We don't mind this, as we prefer shell pants that allow us to layer underneath as necessary. Other pants in the review are warmer, with synthetic insulation or hanging liners made of fleece or mesh.
Our lower bodies aren't as sensitive to cold as our upper bodies, and as such, most skiers will prefer a shell-only pant for their lower legs. These pants are shells, but they also feature a brushed fleece lining, which provides a minimal amount of insulation power as warm air will be caught between the fleece fibers. This is just enough warmth for us to enjoy. On the coldest days of winter, layer properly, and these pants will keep you warm.
The Sabre AR is decidedly light on features. These pants offer two zippered leg pockets, each located on the thigh. One pocket has a loop for attaching car keys, and the other has a mesh slot for a cell phone. For what it's worth, we put our cell phone in the mesh pocket, and it died quickly in the cold. Other than that, these pants are bare-bones. Other pants have more features, and thus rank higher in this category, but we weigh features less than any other metric.
When it comes to features, as long as the pants have a couple of pockets and elastic powder cuffs, we don't miss the bells and whistles that other pants might have. Chances are, your ski jacket will have all of the pockets you need. By omitting more pockets, Arc'teryx is able to give these pants a killer style, sleek cut, and keep the weight down.
The Sabre AR pants have a neutral, yet refined, style. They are cut just on the snug side of average, which looks great and fits the style trends of modern ski clothing. The pants are not baggy, but open up enough to fit easily over ski boots. The zippers are clean and discreet. We wish other pants would take style cues from these pants. We think these are the best looking ski pants on the market.
We like the look of these pants. Most of the color options are muted, but they also come in pink if you're trying to stick out. These pants don't have any fabric flaps hanging off the sides, compared to other pants that have cargo pockets, velcro flaps, or zipper storm flaps. This gives them a sleek, uniform, and clean look that we adore. These pants won't necessarily stick out in a crowd, but they will garner double-takes for their refined look.
These pants are not cheap. For the high performance and durability that Arc'teryx guarantees, the cost is worth it for the most hardcore and serious skiers. Many other pants on the market almost match the performance of the Sabre AR and cost less. But for those who want the best of the best, these pants are worth it. They will provide excellent performance for a very long time.
With great weather protection, durability, and style, the Sabre AR pants are our Editors' Choice. These pants are the total package, combining Gore-Tex fabric with impeccable design to produce one of the most weather resistant pants on the market. With a refined fit, excellent comfort, and fashionable style, these pants will make you look and feel good while you're skiing. If you need pants with tremendous warmth for below-zero conditions, or pants with pockets galore, look elsewhere. But overall, these pants are the best money can buy.
— Jeff Dobronyi