Snow Bib Pants
Bib pants are designed to protect you from the elements such as wind, snow, ice, and rain. They have suspenders that go over the shoulders, which helps to keep them in place and provide better protection against snow getting inside. This can be especially helpful for skiers or snowboarders who like to do a lot of off-piste or backcountry skiing, where deep snow and powder are more common. Bib pants tend to be more comfortable than snow pants, as they don't have a waistband that can dig into your skin or feel restrictive. Key technical features to differentiate pants include waterproofing, breathability, and insulation.
- WATERPROOFING: Refers to the ability of the pants to prevent water from penetrating through the fabric and getting to your skin or base layers. Bib pants are typically made of materials and textiles that have been engineered to be highly resistant to water. The waterproofing ability of bib pants is typically measured in millimetres and is referred to as the "waterproof rating." This rating tells you how much water pressure the fabric can withstand before it starts to leak. For example, bibs with a 10,000mm waterproof rating means it can withstand 10,000mm of water pressure before it starts to leak. A 10,000mm rating is a suitable standard for bib pants, while bibs with a rating of 20,000mm or 30,000mm are extremely waterproof. Bib pants with a high waterproof rating will help to keep you dry and comfortable while you are skiing or snowboarding. In addition to the waterproof rating, bib pants may also have additional waterproofing features like taped seams, waterproof zippers, and water-resistant coatings such as DWR that help to enhance the pants ability to repel water.
- BREATHABILITY: Refers to the bibs ability to allow moisture vapor, such as sweat, to escape from inside. When you are skiing or snowboarding, your body generates heat and moisture, which can make you feel sweaty and uncomfortable. If this moisture is not able to escape from inside the bibs, it can make you feel damp and cold, despite pants having a high waterproof rating and heavy insulation. Bib pants are designed to be breathable, meaning they allow moisture vapor to escape while still being waterproof. This is achieved with advanced fabrics and technologies that allow air and moisture to pass through the pants while keeping water out. The breathability of a bib pants is typically measured in grams and is referred to as the "breathability rating." This rating tells you how much moisture vapor the fabric can allow to escape per square meter in a 24-hour period. For example, pants with a 10,000g breathability rating means it can allow 10,000 grams of moisture vapor to escape per square meter in a 24-hour period.
- INSULATION: Refers to the material that is used to provide warmth and insulation against the cold weather. Insulation is designed to trap body heat inside the bibs and keep you warm in cold temperatures. The amount of insulation in bib pants is measured in grams per square meter, and bibs with higher insulation levels will typically be warmer but also heavier. The ideal amount of insulation will depend on the activity level, temperature, and personal preference. There are different kinds of insulation such as synthetic and down. Nearly all bib pants use synthetic insulation made from man-made fibres such as polyester as they retain heat while wet and cost less compared to natural down insulation.
- SHELL PANTS: A shell bib pant is designed to be worn as an outer layer over other layers of clothing. Unlike insulated bibs, shell bibs do not have any built-in insulation, but rather are made from lightweight, waterproof, and breathable materials such as Gore-Tex that provide protection from the elements without adding extra bulk or weight. They often feature zippered vents that can be opened to release excess heat and moisture. The main advantage of shell bib pants is versatility. Because they do not have any built-in insulation, they can be worn in a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions. In mild weather, they can be worn over a single layer, while in colder weather, they can be worn over multiple layers of clothing or thermals to provide extra warmth.
- GORE-TEX: Gore-Tex is a high-performance fabric technology that is commonly used in snow bib pants and other outdoor gear. It is a waterproof and breathable fabric that is designed to provide protection from the elements while still allowing moisture vapor to escape. The Gore-Tex membrane is made up of microscopic pores that are much smaller than water droplets, but larger than water vapor molecules. This means that water is not able to penetrate the membrane from the outside, but sweat and other moisture vapor can escape from the inside, keeping the wearer dry and comfortable. Gore-Tex is designed to be lightweight and packable, making it a popular choice for backcountry skiers and snowboarders. In addition to its waterproof and breathable properties, Gore-Tex is also windproof, which helps to provide extra protection from the elements.