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Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Review

A thin softshell that breathes and ventilates efficiently but doesn't fit well
black diamond dawn patrol hybrid ski pants review
Credit: Black Diamond
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Price:  $300 List | $180.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Great ventilation, comfortable fabric
Cons:  Not warm, lacks weather resistance, fit is off
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 2, 2021
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 12
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 4.0
  • Fit and Comfort - 25% 6.0
  • Ventilation - 20% 10.0
  • Warmth - 10% 2.0
  • Features - 10% 6.0
  • Style - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid is a softshell pant with hardshell panels in the lower legs and seat. The fabric breathes well and there are huge vents, which are useful in warmer conditions and when ski touring. However, the pant doesn't provide much weather resistance, as the hardshell panels don't cover the front thighs—the part of the legs that get wet the easiest in stormy weather. Also, the pants have an awkward cut that leaves them very wide and baggy in the thighs, and tighter through the lower legs. Overall, these pants don't fit that well, and there are better softshell pants out there if backcountry skiing is your thing.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $180.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$299.00 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$300 List
$299.00 at REI
$170 List
$169.00 at REI
$149 List
$149.00 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
59
74
72
65
61
Star Rating
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Pros Great ventilation, comfortable fabricGreat performance at a low price, tons of features, weather resistant, breathableGood weather resistance, fits great, plenty of ventilation, inexpensiveGreat value, warm, comfortable, relaxed vibesAffordable, warm, comfortable
Cons Not warm, lacks weather resistance, fit is offLacks good style and warmth, average comfortNot warm, short on features, muted styleLimited seam and pocket sealing, less effective vent designLight on the features, fit is a bit loose, unremarkable style
Bottom Line A thin softshell that breathes and ventilates efficiently but doesn't fit wellAn affordable hardshell that provides great weather resistance, ventilation, and featuresThese are great bibs that keep the weather out and fit well, at an affordable priceA good insulated ski pant for budget-minded resort skiers who don't need a technical pair of pantsAn affordable and warm pair of ski pants with a bland style
Rating Categories Black Diamond Dawn... Outdoor Research Sk... Outdoor Research Ca... The North Face Free... REI Co-op Powderbou...
Weather Resistance (25%)
4.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Fit and Comfort (25%)
6.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Ventilation (20%)
10.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
Warmth (10%)
2.0
4.0
4.0
9.0
8.0
Features (10%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Style (10%)
6.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
5.0
Specs Black Diamond Dawn... Outdoor Research Sk... Outdoor Research Ca... The North Face Free... REI Co-op Powderbou...
Main fabric 100% Nylon 88% Nylon, 12% Spandex 100% nylon 40D 100% Nylon Nylon
Insulation None None None 60 g Heatseeker Eco Polyester (50% Recycled) Recycled polyester
Waterproofing BDry AscentShell Pertex Shield 3L DryVent (2-layer) 2-layer waterproof breathable laminate
Waistline construction (elastic? snaps?) Snaps with elastic belt Snap/zipper fly with external velcro adjustment, belt loops Bibs Snap and zipper, Velcro tabs for adjustment, belt loops Button zip fly with hook/loop adjustment
Weight (in pounds) 1.28 lbs 1.32 lbs 1.64 lbs 1.32 lbs 1.64 lbs
Weight (in grams) 581 g 599 g 744 g 599 g 744 g
# of Pockets 3 4 3 3 3
Vents? Outer thigh zips Inner thigh zips Exterior thigh Inner thigh zips, with mesh Interior thigh zips
Ski-specific features Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs Scuff guards, powder cuffs, articulated knees, beacon clip Bibs, power strap-compatible cuffs, beacon pocket, scuff guards Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs, elastic waist
Recco? Yes No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


black diamond dawn patrol hybrid ski pants review - the black diamond dawn patrol hybrid pant in action in the wyoming...
The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid pant in action in the Wyoming backcountry.
Credit: Morgan McGlashon

Weather Resistance


The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid pant is mostly a softshell pant with waterproof hardshell fabric placed strategically in the lower legs and seat. We have seen this "hybrid" construction before, and in our experience, we always wish the hard shell fabric had been placed on the front of the thighs, not just the rear. When backcountry skiing, our front thighs take the brunt of the weather, being exposed to wet snowflakes while skinning uphill in stormy weather and deflecting snow when skiing downhill, especially if it's deep. The rear thighs rarely get wet, except if worn at the ski resort on stormy days when you might have to sit on a wet chairlift seat. So overall, these pants don't provide much more weather resistance than any other pair of softshells.

black diamond dawn patrol hybrid ski pants review - the dawn patrol hybrid doesn't have waterproof zippers, furthering...
The Dawn Patrol Hybrid doesn't have waterproof zippers, furthering the lack of weather resistance.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Fit and Comfort


The Dawn Patrol Hybrid's stretchy, softshell fabric allows great freedom of movement for skinning and downhill skiing. The downside is that the tailoring of the pants feels way off. The thighs are baggy and loose, and the thigh pockets protrude like wings out of the sides of the pants. The result is a pant that feels large and uncontoured.

black diamond dawn patrol hybrid ski pants review - the main fabric is stretchy, but it has a lot of the excess fabric...
The main fabric is stretchy, but it has a lot of the excess fabric in the thighs, as well as thigh pockets that protrude to the sides.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

The legs taper down below the thigh, but the large thigh cavity and awkward pockets make these pants slightly uncomfortable to wear, compared to other pants that have better form-fitting tailoring.

black diamond dawn patrol hybrid ski pants review - the fit is wide through the thighs, then tapered and snug through...
The fit is wide through the thighs, then tapered and snug through the lower leg.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Ventilation


The Dawn Patrol Hybrid excels in ventilation and breathability. The softshell fabric is thin and lightweight, allowing tons of air exchange through its pores. We didn't even notice the presence of the hardshell fabric, so that attribute doesn't affect the pant's ventilation. Two long outer thigh vents with large zipper tabs allow instant airflow on hot days and while skinning uphill. This attribute makes these pants especially suitable for warmer ski adventures like spring backcountry ski touring and ski mountaineering.

black diamond dawn patrol hybrid ski pants review - the thigh vents are effective at allowing air flow.
The thigh vents are effective at allowing air flow.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Warmth


A thin and porous shell fabric means these pants do very little to preserve body heat. On cold, mid-winter days, we usually layered long underwear underneath these softshells, although we were able to ski tour in these pants without long underwear in 20-degree (F) weather. If any warmth is needed, it will have to come from mid-layers worn underneath.

black diamond dawn patrol hybrid ski pants review - the thin softshell material is porous and not warm.
The thin softshell material is porous and not warm.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Features


The Dawn Patrol Hybrid has some useful features. It has two roomy thigh pockets that open easily with large horizontal zippers, and the right thigh pocket has an internal padded avalanche transceiver pocket and clip. These pockets are huge, and stick out from the side of the pants like wings, which we didn't like. The pants also feature a right waist pocket. They have inner ankle scuff guards, and button closures on the elastic boot cuff gaskets, but we found the largest setting to barely fit over our unbuckled boots while skinning uphill. The pant also has a RECCO reflector. Good features overall, but we wish they were slightly more refined.

The right side has a waist pocket, and the thigh pockets on both...
The right side has a waist pocket, and the thigh pockets on both sides are flush on the inside of the leg but stick out on the outside of the leg.
The right thigh pocket has an internal padded transceiver pocket...
The right thigh pocket has an internal padded transceiver pocket that was useful in the backcountry.

Style


The Dawn Patrol Hybrid has a style that isn't anything special. The pants are very baggy in the thighs, then slim down around the boots. We didn't like how this cut looks, compared to other options that are tailored more correctly to the body's contours. The pants come in limited color options, and they won't stand out on the skin track or at the bar, except for perhaps all of the extra fabric.

black diamond dawn patrol hybrid ski pants review - the dawn patrol hybrid has unremarkable style that fits into the...
The Dawn Patrol Hybrid has unremarkable style that fits into the backcountry crowd but won't turn any heads.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Value


While not cheap, the Dawn Patrol Hybrid pants aren't as expensive as the top-of-the-line options. Unfortunately, these pants don't perform nearly as well as high-end options, and there are cheaper softshell backcountry-oriented pants on the market that also perform better. If the fit and style are appealing to you, and you spend every day in the backcountry, these could be worth it, but for everyone else, these aren't a great value.

Conclusion


The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid pant is a breathable and stretchy softshell pant with hardshell accents that provides good flexibility and ventilation for backcountry skiing and snowboarding. It won't help fend off stormy weather, and its baggy fit and unremarkable style don't win our favor. Overall, there are better backcountry ski pants on the market, and we wouldn't recommend these pants.

black diamond dawn patrol hybrid ski pants review - the dawn patrol hybrid are breathable and flexible in the...
The Dawn Patrol Hybrid are breathable and flexible in the backcountry, but there are better options.
Credit: Morgan McGlashon

Jeff Dobronyi
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