Mark Barber from Extreme Stunts.co.uk recently hit the slopes of the Dolomites in Italy for a snowboarding break. Kitted out in Dare 2b clothing from top to toe, Mark put their ski and snowboarding gear through its paces.
Dare 2b is a UK based company, who pride themselves on providing fun and practical outdoor gear for an affordable price. So does the lower price tag of some of Dare 2b’s gear mean it’s not up to scratch on the slopes? Mark gives us his opinion….
Dare 2b jackets
We tested two different styles of jacket – the Knuckler and Wow-Wee.
The overall first impression of the the Knuckler jacket (pictured) is inevitably the styling. This is one jacket where it’s evident aesthetics was the buzzword over the drawing board, with the fashion inspired Ared 5000 fabric, a bang on-trend colour scheme, as well as the all-important taped seams.
Also creating a real statement is the Wow-Wee jacket – this will certainly get you noticed on the slopes with it’s nifty use of pattern. The fabric is a heavier weave than the Knuckler, but is also made from the Ared 5000 material.
But as we all know, style means nothing if a jacket can’t cut the mustard in the extreme conditions the mountain can serve up. These jackets were fully put to the test high up in the Alta Badia area of the Dolomites. Light was fading, the lift operators were walking home, temperature was plummeting – and we were glad to discover the jackets held up to the waterprooof and water repellant claims, and the taped seams and storm flaps were working hard to protect us from the biting wind.
And when the temperature rises? Well, the Ared 5000 fabric is breathable, and with the addition of an underarm venting system, the jackets perform well as we warmed up skiing and snowboarding hard under the midday sun.
The pockets on both styles of jacket come with water-repellant zipped pockets, ideal for keeping your camera or phone safe – and there’s also a dedicated sleeve pocket for lift passes. The powder skirt can be removed so it’s not a nuisance if you decide not to use it, and the snow cuffs around the wrist are sturdy enough to prevent any snow ending up your arms if you wipe out on that black run you’ve been eyeing up all week.
If you’ve read this and you don’t know your shells from your insulated – then check out our handy guide to buying a ski jacket.
Dare 2b Snowpants
The Get Loose snowpants come in a range of colour choices, so if you’re looking to follow the trend of the season, it’s easy to come up with a colour clash combination with your jacket, whatever the colour. The best combinations we found were the the Blue Jewel with the Knuckler jacket and the Dark Tang working well with the Wow-Wee.
As with the jackets the snow pants are constructed from Ared 5000 fabric, which more than stood up to the elements. The pants were waterproof and breathable, but warm too, with a soft touch lining providing some warmth and protection when the temperature dropped.
And after hammering the jumps in the snowpark , the Get Loose range showed it had the stamina to go the distance. The snow cuffs around the ankle didn’t suffer from the usual fraying fate – one of the most suceptible areas of board and ski clothing with all the constant clipping in and out of bindings.
The pockets are well placed, and their practical and stylish nature meant we highly rated these snow pants by the end of the week.
Dare 2b helmets
Helmets are becoming more and more of an essential on the slopes. Anybody who’s caught an edge and met the snow head first will vouch for this. The Dare 2b Think Tank is a full shell helmet which couples great style with the essential protection features.
The specification includes and injection moulded ABS outer shell and EPS liner. My own personal ‘testing’ means I can confirm it kept my brain cells safe after a messy 180 land pop after a long 12km run. Fitting comfortably, I found this helmet didn’t itch as I have found other helmets have done previously.
The adjustment through the dial at the rear worked well to ensure a good fit, and the chin strap was comfortable and unobtrusive. Available in white and black – both designs look equally stylish.
Base and Mid Layers
It’s well known that keeping warm on the slopes is all about layers. But science is now the key – with the right gear you need ski only in 2 or 3 layers rather than 6 t shirts and a woolly jumper as may have been the case in times gone by.
The Dare 2b body performance base layers consist of the Zonal zip neck top and Zonal leggings. I found both are very comfortable; they stepped up to the mark and were warm when they needed to be, but lightweight too. They feature ‘Ergonomic body map fit’ and ‘Seamless construction technology’ – this ensures the fabric fits tightly to the body without feeling overly restrictive. And after wearing the base layers for two days straight on the slopes, I can confirm the the anti-bacterial odour control definitely worked!
For those colder days a mid-layer is a great additions – and the Re-Ignite fleece is ideal. The micro fleece is a ‘Wula’ design and is warm and well fitting. There are several styles available, but I preferred the black option which had the tang colour stitching which worked well with the Dare 2B Knuckler jacket.
Overall everybody on our trip was very impressed with the Dare 2b ski range. Like many brands, there is a big emphasis on style, but this doesn’t mean a compromise of functionality. Dare 2b is a brand that will never let the moss grow, and continues to push the boundaries on technology, while keeping their fingers firmly on the pulse of fashion on the slopes.
For more information visit the Dare 2b website.
This is a guest post written by Mark Barber from www.extremestunts.co.uk