Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Great ventilation, comfortable fabric
Cons: Not warm, lacks weather resistance, fit is off
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
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Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid
|Price||$180.00 at Amazon|
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$239.99 at Amazon
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$97.29 at REI
|Pros||Great ventilation, comfortable fabric||Great performance at a low price, tons of features, weather resistant, breathable||Warm, comfy, weather resistant||Great value, warm, comfortable, relaxed vibes||Affordable, warm, comfortable|
|Cons||Not warm, lacks weather resistance, fit is off||Lacks good style and warmth, average comfort||Small vents, snug fit, racer style||Limited seam and pocket sealing, less effective vent design||Light on the features, fit is a bit loose, unremarkable style|
|Bottom Line||A thin softshell that breathes and ventilates efficiently but doesn't fit well||An affordable hardshell that provides great weather resistance, ventilation, and features||The top insulated ski pants for those who want some extra warmth around their legs||A good insulated ski pant for budget-minded resort skiers who don't need a technical pair of pants||An affordable and warm pair of ski pants with a bland style|
|Rating Categories||Black Diamond Dawn...||Outdoor Research Sk...||Spyder Dare GTX||The North Face Free...||REI Co-op Powderbou...|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Fit and Comfort (25%)|
|Specs||Black Diamond Dawn...||Outdoor Research Sk...||Spyder Dare GTX||The North Face Free...||REI Co-op Powderbou...|
|Main fabric||100% Nylon||88% Nylon, 12% Spandex||Polyester plain weave 2L||100% Nylon||Nylon|
|Insulation||None||None||40 g Primaloft Silver Eco synthetic||60 g Heatseeker Eco Polyester (50% Recycled)||Recycled polyester|
|Waterproofing||BDry||AscentShell||Gore-Tex laminate and PFCecFree DWR (2-layer)||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||Snap/zipper fly with internal adjustment and removable suspenders||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||1.79 lbs||1.32 lbs||1.64 lbs|
|Weight (in grams)||581 g||599 g||812 g||599 g||744 g|
|# of Pockets||3||4||5||3||3|
|Vents?||Outer thigh zips||Inner thigh zips||Inner thigh zips, with mesh||Inner thigh zips, with mesh||Interior thigh zips|
|Ski-specific features||Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs||Scuff guards, powder cuffs, articulated knees, beacon clip||Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs, cuff zipper||Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs||Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs, elastic waist|
Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
— Jeff Dobronyi
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