Makers and Riders 3-Season Dispatch Rider Weatherproof Trouser
- Neoshell Material
- 5 pocket design
- Trouser style welts in rear
- Dress suit front pockets with internal hand pockets
- Purpose Aggressive Gripper waistband for non-slipping performance
- Anti-Sprocket leg openings (7” inch openings)
- Deep pocket bags for safer storage
Reviewer’s Info: 5’10”, 135 lbs
Days Worn: 15
Test Location: Bern, Switzerland
The Makers and Riders 3-Season Dispatch Rider Weatherproof Trouser is styled and cut like casual pants, but they’re made with waterproof / breathable Polartec NeoShell. So these pants are wet weather commuter wear that can also be worn at work.
Makers and Riders is a relatively new company with a really great idea: stylish pieces made with technical fabrics. And although fabrics like Gore-Tex have been used for casual clothing for some time now, I have yet to see these materials applied to pants.
While I am excited about the direction their product is heading in, I don’t think that the Dispatch pants are completely dialed yet; however, even with their current flaws, the pants are a great option for foul weather.
Fabric / Performance
Really, the fabric of the Dispatch pants is everything. Since the concept here is technical fashion, the fabric is the main thing that makes them worthwhile.
Makers and Riders uses a NeoShell laminate, something I have yet to see in pants intended for casual use. This laminate sits between a surprisingly fleecy backer, and a dense woven nylon face fabric.
The fabric has ample four-way stretch that, combined with the soft fleece next-to-skin, is quite comfortable. I sometimes forget that I’m not in sweatpants while wearing them—the fabric is that soft.
But although the fabric is soft, the edges of the seams all have a little bit of the inner membrane poking out. Specifically, there is an extra seam for the generous gusset in the crotch, and the membrane sticking out of this seam often irritates my thighs. It’s a relatively minor complaint, but it’s something I notice enough that I find myself still switching out to my sweatpants once I’m back home.
One of my primary concerns about the Dispatch trousers before I received them was whether the NeoShell membrane would be able to breathe well enough for a casual, day-to-day pair of pants. After all, the rigors of the daily grind present a different challenge to a membrane like this than the activities of skiing, climbing, mountaineering, etc.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by the pants’ breathability. The Dispatch pants were able to easily keep up with my sweat output on my moderate bike commute in cold temps (30 – 45ºF). And once I arrived at my destination—typically a heated building where I am sedentary for most of the day—the pants were also effective at venting excess moisture until I adjusted to the new environment.
Even though the membrane offers sufficient breathability in these situations, I found that it is still quite easy to overheat in the Dispatch pants as a result of the insulation from the thick fleecy material. While Makers and Riders bills the Dispatch Trousers as a “3-Season” pant, for me, they are for one season only: winter. Above 45 – 50ºF, I always overheat. As a point of comparison, these pants are a little thicker (more fleece, more insulation) than the TREW Swift jacket that uses Polartec PowerShield.
Caveat: I tend to run a little hot in the legs (there has got to be a better way to phrase that…). For example, I usually do not wear long underwear under thin 3-layer hardshell pants when skiing, except on the coldest days (<10ºF). Still, I still couldn’t imagine wearing the Dispatch pants in the spring or fall. But if you tend to run cold, or really like fleece-lined pants, they may work for you in warmer temperatures, but they are exclusively winter pants for me.
I have worn the Dispatch pants in some pretty uncomfortable conditions, particularly in heavy rain with temperatures just above freezing. Performance wise, the fabric does excellent. The DWR has worked well (granted, they are still pretty new), and if any water does soak through, the pants dry out very fast. If there is a chance of rain or snow, I won’t leave the house on my bike without them.
But beside the heavy weight, I’m also not sold on the look of the fabric. Since these are meant to be waterproof street pants, I’d like them to have the look and style of a nice pair of jeans / chinos. Instead, they look more like a pair of soft-shell pants than casual trousers.
The face of the fabric is incredibly uniform, a vast expanse of unbroken black fabric. This is quite different than something like denim, which has a slew of natural imperfections and gains character as it ages. Synthetic fabrics tend to have a hard time aging gracefully, and I’ve found that NeoShell is no exception.
Finally, the fabric is loud when I walk. While I eventually got pretty used to the noise, it would be great if the pants felt more like a good pair of chinos that swish with each step, rather than a technical soft shell.
And so despite the fact that the Dispatch Trousers are intended to be worn casually, the more I wear them, the more I treat them as a foul-weather option only. That’s not to say that they can’t fit in at a more relaxed work environment, they just don’t have a super casual look. So if your office dress code includes a tie, these pants won’t cut it. However, if you wear your shirt untucked more often than not, the Dispatch Trousers should be fine.
I have a 29” waist, and the 30” Dispatch pants fit me well—though a size 29 would probably work better for me, unsurprisingly. (Makers and Riders is now offering the pants in a size 29.) Even though I can usually fit comfortably into normal jeans or chinos that have a 30” waist, the Dispatch Trousers are quite thick, and have a grippy, silicone band along the inside of the waistband.
Because the Dispatch Trousers have a thick fabric and a grippy insert at the waist, the extra fabric around the waist on the size 30 bunches up uncomfortably when I wear a belt, so you might think twice about sizing these up for a looser fit. And on the other hand, the waist barely stretches due to the grippy insert, so you should be cautious about sizing these down.
The legs have a slight taper, but I certainly wouldn’t call them slim. You may feel differently, but personally, I wish the pants were slimmer; there is so much stretch in the fabric that even with a narrower cut, the pants would still be quite comfortable while having a more tailored silhouette. I also think that would make the pants feel less technical, too.
The leg openings are narrow enough to avoid getting caught in the sprocket on my bike, but not by much.
Currently, the Dispatch Trousers are only offered with a 34” inseam. You can cuff the bottom of the legs, but that brings me to my next minor gripe…
The inseam is about 3” too long for me, so I definitely need to cuff these pants. They’re easy to cuff, and I usually just do the standard two or three one-inch rolls. However, I think the fleecy inner lining looks a bit odd when cuffed, and gives the Dispatch more of a technical feel. This could be solved by including some sort of accent fabric laminated to the inside of the cuff, but as it is, in my opinion, the exposed fleece doesn’t look great.
Another option would be to get the pants tailored for a few bucks, but considering how popular it currently is to cuff casual pants, I’d rather not get them tailored.
The Dispatch Trouser has two standard slash pockets in the front, which are quite deep (Makers and Riders also offers a classic 5-pocket jean model). There is an additional pocket on the front right (where the 5th jean pocket would be) that is designed for a cell phone. It fits my iPhone 5 with a case comfortably.
There are also two horizontal-cut pockets on the back. They are typical chino/trouser style pockets with no closure system.
The Makers and Riders 3-Season Dispatch Weatherproof Trouser is an awesome idea. As a new company, they are working hard to make the perfect pair of pants—and I think they can do it. (They even have Bill Murray’s approval—we’ve heard the message he left Makers and Riders raving about these pants. What more could you ask for?)
While there are a few issues I have with the current version of the Dispatch, I still wear them often during the winter in Bern.
For bike commuting and general foul weather play, they are a solid pair of pants. The Dispatch can easily pass at the bar, works in more casual office settings, and will definitely keep you warm in between.
I look forward to checking out Makers and Riders’ next iteration.