With backcountry skiing exploding in popularity, a demand for versatility in clothing and gear items is an important consideration for manufacturers. Heavy, one-dimensional outerwear that only excels on the downhill is slowly becoming a relic of the past. The realm of ski bibs is no different, and as a result lightweight, breathable materials are being used to construct bibs, with versatility in various conditions and across various modes of travel has come to the forefront of design. As a result every bib in this test is made from 3-layer breathable materials and features some form of leg zip for temperature control.
In terms of supreme versatility, in addition to breathable materials and leg zips, the Mammut Alvier and Outdoor Research Skyward bibs go a step further by featuring a fully removable bib/suspenders, allowing them to effectively be transformed into ski pants. This provides a nice level of versatility for adjusting to the weather and conditions users expect to face. In contrast, the Stio Environ, Patagonia Powslayer, and Arc’teryx Stinger utilize a traditional built-in bib design, while still featuring leg zips and breathable materials.
As far as materials and storm protection goes, it’s hard to look any further than the Patagonia Powslayer and Arc’teryx Stinger Bib, as they are both constructed from 3-layer GORE-TEX Pro Shell. Though they lack a removable bib, they’re among the lightest bibs in the test as well as the most durable. For uncompromised deep snow performance and longevity while also being a decent option for colder spring touring days, these two are the best in this test.
With regards to uncompromised warmth, the Stio Environ Bib takes the cake, as it features the thickest and warmest material of the bunch. Durability and material thickness go hand in hand, and the Environ is a solid, traditional bib option for cold days out on the hill. It also breathes well compared to bibs of the past and features full-length leg zips too.
Overall the Patagonia Powslayer Bib wins best in class because it nails performance in all of the above categories. It’s constructed using the highest quality materials and it is lightweight, warm, breathable, durable, and fits a standard frame perfectly. Also, Patagonia worked with Gore-Tex to be the first to pair a recycled nylon face fabric with Gore’s Pro Shell.