Outdoor Retailer 2016 – On a Mission for Women’s Bibs

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 15, 2016      

I had them as a kid. The poofy black bibs that seemingly absorb more water than they repel. They were hand-me-downs from my older brother, so when I got them, I had to grow into them. At the time, I kinda hated them because we would be out in the front yard on a snow day making castles or having epic snowball fights with the neighbor kids, and then suddenly that hot cocoa I had two hours ago wanted out. I’d have to pee so bad I thought I’d cry. Actually, sometimes I did cry; getting a little snow-covered girl out of her two jackets, mittens, boots, and bibs, with a full bladder was like an endurance mission. My brother could just go pee behind the tree in the yard.

These days, my favorite touring pants are bibs. However, not all bibs are made equal — especially women’s bibs. Men and women need their bibs to perform differently and should therefore be built specifically. So, this year at the Outdoor Retailer Show I went on a quest to find women’s bibs. Not unisex or small sized men’s bibs, but specifically made women’s bibs. I wanted to get a better grasp on where the market and trends are heading for winter 2016/17. Please note, this is just a first look and I have not yet field-tested any of these products.

For the most part there are three kinds of bibs out there:

  • Ones with no relief zipper (like the kind I had as a kid)
  • Drop seat bibs
  • Bibs with a zipper around the waist
  • I’m going to ignore the first category because they’re useless for women in the backcountry since you have to take off all overlying layers to go to the bathroom.

    Drop seat bibs:

    The Patagonia Powslayer Bib

    Patagonia Powslayer Bib

    Patagonia Powslayer Bib –- 3 layer Gore-TeX Pro. The drop seat has two-way zippers for venting. Favorite feature: widely placed and flush shoulder straps (no buckles, just soft velcro). Unsure about: the length of the vent zips. I tend to like them to reach further down or all the way to the bottom of the legs. This item is currently available. Patagonia also currently offers two bibs for more alpine adventures — the hardshell Super Alpine Bib and softshell Kniferidge Pant.

    Dakine Beretta Bib

    Dakine Beretta Bib

    Dakine Beretta Bib – 3 layer Gore-TeX plain weave with flannel backer. This drop seat is a bit of a hybrid in that the zipper goes across the lower back and down the side of one of the legs. Favorite feature: these bibs were actually designed and field-tested by a female backcountry skier! Unsure about: how well this creative type of drop seat will actually work. I’ve never used ones like this before. Beretta Bib will be available September 2016.

    Flylow Foxy Bib, aqua, on right.

    Flylow Foxy Bib, aqua front view, on right.

    Flylow Foxy Bib, aqua back view, on left.

    Flylow Foxy Bib, aqua back view, on left.

    Flylow Foxy Bib — 20k/20k Intuitive Fabrics (Flylow’s proprietary 3 layer fabric). Favorite feature: on each of the legs there is a lateral and medial zipper for cross flow ventilation. Unsure about: the height of the front chest. Too high and it could trap a lot of body heat. However, the back is a nice height and made of a breathable material. This item will be available September 2016.

    Bibs that zip off at the waist:

    These can be worn as bibs or pants depending on the demands of your day. Some styles allow the zipper to zip into matching jackets to create a uniform snowsuit.

    Dynafit Yotei Gore-Tex pant.

    Dynafit Yotei Gore-Tex pant.

    Dynafit Yotei waist zip.

    Dynafit Yotei mid-section.

    Dynafit Yotei is made with 3 layer Gore-Tex and a stretch fabric mid-section. Favorite feature: the BIG thigh pockets! Tiny pockets on women’s pants are a pet peeve of mine, as I like to be able to stash gloves, my beacon, and snacks right there. Unsure about: the resting place of the shoulder straps. They seem a little close together for the female physique. Available fall 2016.

    Scott Vertic

    Scott Vertic GTX 3L on the left and the new Scott Vertic Tour bib on the right.

    Scott Vertic Tour is much like the GTX 3L version but they made the product more breathable and lightweight by using Gore-TeX PRO and GORE C-knit baker technology. Favorite feature: the fact that there is a lighter version. Unsure about: the height of the soft upper portion. It looks like a lot of fabric. Scott Vertic GTX 3L is currently available and the new Tour bib will be available fall 2016.

    Mammut Sunridge GTX Pro 3L

    Mammut Sunridge GTX Pro 3L

    Mammut Sunridge GTX Pro 3L. Favorite feature: apparently the leg height is adjustable, but I’m not sure how this system works. Unsure about: again, a lot of upper body fabric. This item is currently available.

    Arc’teryx currently has two women’s bibs on the market. The Theta SV bib made of 3 layer GoreTeX PRO and the Alpha SV with a through-the-crotch relief zipper.

    Ladies, what do you want in a ski pant? I know what I like, but if I know what you’re looking for, then I’ll narrow my focus for future reviews.


    Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


    15 Responses to “Outdoor Retailer 2016 – On a Mission for Women’s Bibs”

    1. XXX_rr January 18th, 2016 1:24 am

      A couple years back I got a great deal on some new gortex bibs at the ski swap, imagine my surprise the 1st time i wore them to realize there was no front zipper … they were women’s bibs with the drop seat

      The story does have a happy ending, i met a woman who fits the bibs perfectly, fits my old at boots as well

    2. Shawn January 18th, 2016 11:35 am

      My wife can’t stand the drop seat. It displays too much for open mixed gender relief and either provides a nice flap to relieve yourself on, flap in the wind or dangles in the snow. She has been on the hunt for a north/south relief option (matching human anatomy) in both a softshell and hardshell. They seemed to stop making them the past few years. Appreciate you posting what you have been able to find. Cheers.

    3. Sue January 18th, 2016 12:59 pm

      I’d like to hear more about your experiences with the style with the zip bodice. My core gets cold when my base layer gets sweaty. Would having the bodice layered on top hamper the wicking abilities of a base layer?

    4. Rachel Bellamy January 19th, 2016 9:16 am

      XXX_rr thats a great little story! Haha like I said, bibs have to be pretty gender specific don’t they! I’m glad that you found them a good home.

      Shawn, are you talking about a through the legs zipper? If so Arc’teryx currently has a model in their essentials line. They’re hardshell and a bit more designed for the alpine or climbing. I haven’t seen a softshell bib with this type of relief zipper any time recently. Patagonia had a pair maybe ten years ago… but I’ll keep and eye out for you! Here is the Arc’teryx bib: http://www.arcteryx.com/product.aspx?language=EN&gender=Womens&category=Pants&model=Alpha-SV-Bib-W

      As far as drop seats and exposure go, I aways tell my students to “face their evils” if they have to go close to other people. But I understand, it is a lot of material free to flap around and manage.

    5. Rachel Bellamy January 19th, 2016 9:40 am

      I currently ski with bibs that zip apart at the waist and have the bodice that you’re talking about. I think there are three things to consider when layering this type of bib to maximize comfort for your torso on the uphill and downhill.
      1. The height of the upper section, or bodice. Especially in the back where your backpack rests, if the material goes up too high, it could cause you to sweat too much and saturate your baselayer. So I look for bibs that are a bit higher than pants to keep the snow out, but not excessively high.
      2. The material that the upper section is made of. It seems like brands are moving away from having full 3 layer hardshell uppers and using lighter breathable materials instead. I think this is key. The Dynafit model above even has little venting pores in the back of the bodice.
      3. The fit. You want the bodice to keep snow out, but you don’t want it too tight either. There needs to be a little space between it and your base layer so that your base can do its jobs of wicking on the uphill and insulating on the downhill. Luckily the stretchy fabrics help with this fitting dilemma.

      I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any other thoughts.

    6. Sara January 19th, 2016 10:41 am

      Arcteryx makes some nice bibs called the sentinels. I have the woman version as I am a women and although they do not have an advertised drop seat they have a barn door zipper entrance that you can pull to the side and use the bathroom easily both indoors and in the trees with your skis still on. This zipper also acts as ventilation on both sides and are substantial in length. Awesome for touring the only thing is they are shells so not super warm (but i do get cold easily). Just one I was surprised was not listed here. Stoked to see more bibs cause when i got these it was really just 2 companies.

    7. Andy January 19th, 2016 1:54 pm

      My wife loves her Sentinels, which are basically a women’ Sabre bib.

    8. NT January 19th, 2016 3:39 pm

      Trew makes some nice bibs, including a women’s specific version. I’m not familiar with it but do own a couple pairs of the men’s. Lots of pockets. Fantastic customer service- they’ll send you a fresh pair to use while they repair your old ones.

    9. Krista January 19th, 2016 3:53 pm

      My favorite bib, while not perfect, are the kind with suspenders that attached to the front piece so you can drop the seat, but mostly I just wear regular soft shell pants.

      That said, the best solution I’ve found is a She-wee funnel. It took a little practice to get it right, especially the wiggle for the final dribble, but mostly it’s quick and discrete, and my bum doesn’t freeze.

    10. Gabe February 10th, 2016 9:23 am

      Did you see the BD Front Point Bib? Did they make any changes for next year?
      My wife is looking for a drop seat bib like what they have this year but didn’t love the cuff and feels like the cut is a tad strange (tight thigh), and weak snow cuff.

    11. Jacquie March 20th, 2016 12:40 am

      Are there any women’s bibs out there that come in a shorter inseam? 27 or 28 inches, say? They all seem to be 31 or 32 inches and equipped with scuff guards, bottom zippers and/or powder cuffs – all desirable features but which make alterations difficult and expensive (and which may destroy those desirable features).

      I note that Arcteryx makes the Theta SV bib in men’s short, regular, and tall but women’s only in regular and tall. Regular inseam is 32″ for both genders.

    12. Rachel Bellamy May 9th, 2016 9:39 pm

      I can’t say that I have seen bibs that specifically come in a “short” (or “tall” for that matter) versions. I admit that I’m generally looking for longer legged bibs since I’m a bit lanky, so I haven’t had my eyes super open for shorter styles. However, I’m fairly certain I haven’t seen a shorter version on the market. I would say though, that I’ve noticed that the European brands tend to have shorter fits verses the more baggy styles you’ll find in the states. With that said, I would look into the Dynafit and Mammut bibs. I’ll be keeping my eyes more open now 🙂

    13. Jo October 23rd, 2016 11:03 pm

      Rachel, which ones are your favs? Was thinking of getting the Patagonias. A bit tricky because I’m not in the USA so they (and most of these) will be hard to get hold of / try on.

    14. Jules November 10th, 2016 8:24 pm

      I have the Powslayer bibs, 3 pairs actually and they are fantastic. Fit is great and I
      love the suspender placement. These are a shell pant so you may have to wear a thicker base layer for colder days. I usually wear Arcteryx Axina knickers underneath on really cold days.

      I also have a pair of Columbia Avalanche Bomb Bibs. These are insulated and have to be among the warmest ski pants available. The fabric is very stretchy so they are also very comfortable. I’m now considering the FlyLow Foxy Bib Pant next.

    15. Lauren November 9th, 2017 6:59 pm

      Hey, thanks for this helpful review. I’ve never owned bib pants but am seeing the attraction of not getting snow or cold air up my back. My question: how well do the straps tend to fit with a fully loaded winter camping backpack? Seems like the Patagonia would work well with the flush straps but wondering if that’s even a concern normally. Thanks!

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