Marmot Rosco Bibs — An Overall Review

Post by blogger | February 6, 2017      

Aaron Mattix

The soft stretch material on the upper back panel of the bibs allows for mobility whether skinning, or stoking the oven fire in the McNamara hut.

The soft stretch material on the upper back panel of the bibs allows for mobility whether skinning, or stoking the oven fire in the McNamara hut.

Beyond the ski world, “bibs” are known as “overalls,” and are considered a fashion faux pas outside of the Ozarks or Appalachians, unless you happen to be attending an antique tractor pull or mud bogging race.

My father has been the leading proponent in my life of the utilitarian advantages of overalls, finding that the function creates the fashion, suitable for servicing private jets, mowing the lawn, celebrating your Corgi’s birthday; basically anything short of suit & tie occasions.

The author’s father, demonstrating the versatility of overalls.

The author’s father, demonstrating the versatility of overalls.

Me, I’m a bit more sensitive to the prevailing winds of fashion, and have never been able to convince myself that having pants dangling from my shoulders was a look I wanted to embrace. Until I began to fool around in the snow with sticks on my feet, and found that I was collecting powder in places that were never intended to be exposed to frozen water.

The Marmot Rosco pants have a sufficiently hillbilly sound for my low-angle bushwhacking adventures, and have been so utilitarian that I can practically hear my dad, “I told you so,” every time I put them on.

The shortcomings of pantaloons caused me to revisit the pragmatism of the overall design, and put bibs on the top of my list when it came time to shop for a dedicated replacement to my tattered black ski pants that exposed too much of my skin on the skin track, and collected powder in places never meant for contact with frozen water. “Rosco” has a sufficiently redneck sounding ring to it, and I have found these bibs from Marmot to be a satisfying pair of snow overalls.

Think of these bibs as the classic Chevy Suburban of clothing choices. Big, roomy, with plenty of storage, and stout construction. Suspenders and capacious cargo pockets go together like diesel engines and 1 ton drivetrains; it doesn’t make much sense to have one without the other. The support of the suspenders allows utilizing the full capacity of the voluminous cargo pockets, which would otherwise have you sagging like a Toyota with a bed full of boulders.

The roomy fit is comfortable for the relaxed pace I tour at, but it would be excessively baggy if you are more about hustling on the way up. But you don’t buy a Suburban for spirited driving on winding asphalt. That’s the domain of the more trim and efficient small sports car; the Mini Cooper or Volkswagen GTI.

The need for the ankle zips is practically negated by the super steezy sized fit, but it good to know when ’90’s fashion comes back around, I can unzip them for a “JNCO’s on the slopes look.”

The accessibility of the straight flap cargo pockets makes them a great place to stash snacks, an extra pair of gloves, and still have room to accommodate the minimalist gear buddy who is asking, “Hey, do you mind carrying this for me? I don’t have any pockets.” On quick yo-yo laps, it’s a great way to go light without a jacket or a pack, and stash your skins right there in the front cargo pockets.

Roomy cargo pockets are handing for stashing skins on quick laps.

Roomy cargo pockets are handing for stashing skins on quick laps.

My dad loves the chest pockets on his overalls, but to be honest, I really haven’t used mine that much, for I usually have a mid layer on over the top of the bibs that interferes with its usability. Perhaps I am still self-conscious about my status in overalls.

The author, embracing the overalls look, and his sweetie.

The author, embracing the overalls look, and his sweetie.

Sizing is definitely on the “steezy” side. I chose a Large, but probably would have a better fit in a Medium. Once again, the suspenders come to the rescue, keeping the voluminous folds of fabric from falling in awkward puddles of fabric at my feet. Even give a closer fit, I’d still be grateful of the suspenders, as they mitigate the effect of a pack pushing down your pants on the skin track. The stretch soft-shell material on the upper back of the bibs allows for mobility where a fixed fabric would feel much more confining.

My main nit to pick with the otherwise excellent suspenders is that the D rings on the chest have a tendency to migrate to a vertical position during active use, which effective causes the pants to droop a little more. Maybe rig up some D-ring anchors?

The Rosco bibs offer a good balance between insulation and venting. A thin base layer has been sufficient for most of my use. Standing around at the trailhead on single digit, or colder days, the pants feel decidedly cold against my skimpy base layer, but once I start moving, and keep all the zippers closed, they warm up nicely. Unzipping the inner thigh vents, and hip pockets provides a surprising amount of ventilation on the skin track. The vent zips do not have any screen for keeping snow out, so be sure to check them before heading into the white room.

mustard stains

Halfway through their second season, the color wasn’t the brightest choice, but the solid durability, roomy cargo pockets, and functional venting have proven endearing.

Taped seams, and PreCip waterproofing have been adequate for the occasionally less-than-dry conditions we experience in Colorado, but it doesn’t cause the water bead up and roll off the way one might expect of gear to be used in PNW conditions.

I went for the “Can’t Look Away Trainwreck Yellow” (not Marmot’s official name) color for the sake of visibility, but as Nosskidamus might have predicted, the gloriously bright color soon transformed into something more like “Floorboard Mustard Stain Yellow.”

For my low-angle bushwhacking walks through the woods, the Rosco bib has been a good choice, one I’d gladly buy again, albeit in a smaller size, and darker color.

Shop for Marmot bibs here.

Guest blogger Aaron Mattix grew up in Kansas and wrote a report on snowboarding in seventh grade. His first time to attempt snowboarding was in 2012, and soon switched over to skis for backcountry exploration near his home in Rifle, CO. His skill level is “occasionally makes complete runs without falling.” In the summer, he owns and operates Gumption Trail Works, building mountain bike singletrack and the occasional sweet jump.


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16 Responses to “Marmot Rosco Bibs — An Overall Review”

  1. jay February 6th, 2017 9:26 am

    Over 2lbs seems a bit much for anything but assisted ascending.

  2. hairymountainbeast February 6th, 2017 10:50 am

    Not just skiers call them bibs. All the electricians I know, including myself, call them bibs. Maybe it’s a pnw thing?

  3. Frank Kvietok February 6th, 2017 2:49 pm

    Great, fun storytelling!

  4. Camilo February 6th, 2017 4:23 pm

    Thanks for the review. Does the velcro in the first picture come undone when you squat or bend down? This was my main gripe with a pair of Marmot suspender pants a while back. The velcro was attached to the front suspenders, so whenever I bent down to lock my toes the pants essentially unbuckled. . . and I’m not a (very) portly guy.

  5. Aaron Mattix February 6th, 2017 8:45 pm

    Camilo – I’ve found the velcro tabs to stay in place reasonably well. They are not directly attached to the front suspenders, and I think the stretch panel in the back helps accommodate bending over without the velcro tabs detaching.

  6. Quasimoto February 6th, 2017 9:30 pm

    I know others may disagree with me about this, but I consider the references to “the Ozarks or Appalachians”, “hillbilly”, and “redneck” to be distasteful. There are lots of stereotypes about those parts of the country, and I’ve lived long enough in Appalachia to know that plenty of people are dismayed by the “Deliverance” myth. You can call it being PC – I just call it being nice.

  7. Lou 2 February 6th, 2017 10:49 pm

    Thanks Quasimoto, we’ll take a look at that. We do make an informal effort here to keep our humor palitable, feedback valuable. Lou

  8. Aaron Mattix February 7th, 2017 6:59 am

    Quasimoto – I agree the “Deliverance” myth is a slanderous over-simplification of those who live in our nation’s oldest mountain ranges. But having spent many of my formative years there, and currently residing in a sanctuary of diesel trucks, and drilling, I’ve met plenty of folks who claim the title of “hillbilly” or “redneck” with same pride of ownership as “ski bums,” or “dirtbags” dedicated to their own idiosyncratic pursuits.

  9. Hillbilly Lester February 7th, 2017 8:59 am

    I’m a redneck, dirt bag, down valley ski bum and proud of it! Thanks for reviewing some non-Gucci gear!

  10. Mac February 7th, 2017 4:19 pm

    They’re called ‘sallopettes’ in civilised countries?.

  11. Kevin S February 7th, 2017 9:20 pm

    Quasimoto- While I feel your PC pain, I come in support of rednecks and ski bums everywhere! My redneck roots allow me to know the plural of ya’ll is “all ya’ll” and my ’80s ski bum roots allow me to know how to live well in a van subsisting on Ramen and Peanut Butter crackers while skinning around on Silverettas mounted on Kastle Tours with rear entry Dachstein AT boots…let us celebrate diversity!

  12. Lou 2 February 8th, 2017 12:41 am

    I’ve never been a hillbilly but i’ve probably been a redneck at times… was always proud of any inclinations to that persuasion, the better qualities of redneck “ism” anyway expressed in songs such as “Country Boy Will Survive” and “High Tech Redneck” to name a few of he hundreds of the poetic constructs celebrating the mindset of independence. I don’t think the term “redneck’ is a pejorative, way less so than calling someone a yuppie, anyway. Upon thought I don’t see a big problem with the term “hillbilly” either. Also, remember that self referenced humor often gets a pass here. Aaron and his dad are the ones in the bibs. His dad looks like a cool guy to have as a father.

    I also like the term “psychobilly” penned by Johnny Cash in his song about building a Cadillac from parts he pinched from the car factory. I now call those weird skin tracks that wander all over the mountain, steep, then flat, through tree branches when their are perfectly good routes around the trees, etc, “psychobilly skin tracks.” A psychobilly is related to a hillbilly, but they are two very different individuals.


  13. VT skier February 8th, 2017 6:31 am

    Off Topic, but nice aircraft !
    My first flying job, was a J3 on floats; you had to swing the prop. Just like your dad in the bottom right hand picture. 🙂

  14. Kristian Woyna February 8th, 2017 8:21 am

    Outdoor recreation is done in remote locations where people live and work all of their lives. Those hardships shape them.

    In the seventies, on the US East Coast, I would regularly go to some of the best developing Appalachian caving, ski touring, rock, and ice climbing located in the state of West Virginia. The locals clearly did not want the new outsiders. But in a quiet dignified way, they were by far the most humane and helpful of any people that I have ever met when there were serious troubles.

  15. Kristian Woyna February 8th, 2017 7:20 pm

    I know that much of the central Appalachians are twisted rugged terrain with very limited agriculture, education, health care, roads, bridges, rail, and infrastructure – all this adds up to no job prospects and America’s most desperate poverty.

    Many of these people live a kind of isolated subsistence based on local game and firewood. They have been isolated like that for so long that they speak a kind of old english from the colonial era. These are the real HillBillies. And the original Blue Grass music from places like Clinch Valley, is theirs.

    Olympic medal skater Debi Thomas retreated to there to find acceptance when her life fell apart.

  16. trollanski February 12th, 2017 1:32 pm

    Great post Aaron, look like a great choice if you don’t want to buy new ones for say the next eight years. Marmot related side note- they offer us the Tour softshell pants in- CREAM/PEBBLE color. Great color choice for hot spring days.
    Been waiting a while for something like this to pop up…..

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