Once you feel the freedom of the drop-seat winter bib, it’s hard to go back to traditional ski pants. Here are our picks for the best women’s ski bibs of the season.
Women’s ski bibs have been around for a few years. In 2017, Flylow’s surprisingly popular high-chested, rear-drop technical bib was a huge seller. It topped the brand’s direct sales of all products immediately after launch. And the demand for women’s ski bibs remains strong.
Here’s the reason — they’re not just convenient, they’re also functional, comfy, and capable. Clever rear access, a multitude of pockets, and easy layering — these are just a few benefits of these best women’s ski bibs.
Below, we break the article into sections:
- Best Overall
- Most Versatile
- Best Low-Rise
- Best Budget
- Best of the Rest
- Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Women’s Ski Bibs
This list covers bibs, and you can also check out our best women’s ski pants review for other snow pant options.
The Best Women’s Ski Bibs of 2021
Best Overall: Flylow Foxy Bib
The women’s Foxy Bib by Flylow is the OG. You can’t go wrong here. These high-chested, streamlined bibs are downright flattering.
Several of our female staff, and our editor’s wife, have worn these in all conditions. And while she beams about the technical features for backcountry ski endeavors, she said the compliments she gets on these bibs are almost as good as how well they move with her when she rips in them. (She’s 5’9″ tall and wears a size large.)
Here’s what else you’ll love — long thigh vents so you don’t overheat and a roomy kangaroo pocket for easy access to snacks (practically at your chin). They have a side zipper and stretch that lets the bottom drop easily when nature calls.
Beware here — and with any bib, really — of the midsection fit. Check out the reviews on the Foxy. Most are positive, with some women scouring the country to find a pair of these popular pants. But a few mention the sizing chart being off from, say, fitting for jeans.
Runner-Up: Trew Chariot Bib
Last year, Trew completely overhauled the original Chariot with insight from a new lead female designer, Brittany Crook. She clearly knows women’s bodies. The Chariot’s rear-end zip curves hip to hip, providing enough room to pull those skivvies down and do your business, either in the backcountry or the bathroom.
The Trew Chariot is noninsulated and uses an incredibly effective performance fabric called Dermizax. It competes with the best GORE-TEX for storm protection, but it breathes exceptionally well for sweaty backcountry efforts.
These bibs delivered excellent protection from the cold and wet recently while I worked for a half-hour to dig myself and my family out of 3 feet of powder at Wolf Creek Ski Area. While you will need a solid base layer under these bibs for winter outings, the fabric and carefully placed leg vents mean the Chariot will ride comfortably into spring conditions.
With no waistband to deal with, I could let it all hang out and find the wiggle room to get low on my snowboard for carving tighter turns.
Plus, there were two perfectly accessible mini pockets in the chest. Having my lip balm handy was a joy.
As a storage hound, I was pleasantly surprised to find two streamlined leg pockets, cleverly placed so as to not add girth, and an accessible Velcro compartment on top of one zippered pocket. (I used the zip one to secure my RFID season pass and the Velcro one for some quick cash, goggle lens wiper, or flat snacks.)
The only drawback with this bib was strap slippage. A single front tab secures rubber-backed straps at the right length. I liked that feature and the minimalist look of the strapping system, but the grip wasn’t enough to secure the straps over time.
So, the bibs did loosen up, eventually leading to a baggy look that I wasn’t going for. That said, the Chariot Bib is one of our new favorite snowboard pants.
Most Versatile: Outdoor Research Carbide Bib
New for the 2021 season, Outdoor Research’s Carbide Bib ($300) was made in collaboration with Arcade Belts. The suspenders have Arcade’s durable stretch webbing and artwork by a group of artists from Roots Studio.
Aside from the design, the Carbide bibs are made with a three-layer, waterproof-breathable Pertex Shield shell nylon fabric. These bibs also feature a 40-denier tricot knit backer and tough 420-denier scuff guards.
This bib won us over as soon as we tried it on. It fit well, felt lightweight yet kept us warm on a few sub-10-degree days, and works great for both resort and backcountry skiing.
The straps and buckles lay flat and are easy to adjust. The bib has a dedicated beacon pocket with a clip, a large top stash pocket on the chest, and internal gaiters with PowerStrap slots.
For backcountry travelers, the bib has zippered venting on both sides and a full-length zipper on the right side of the bib for easy bathroom access. It also has two side-access thigh pockets. We really loved the placement of the venting and its ability to adapt to different conditions on the mountain.
Best Low-Rise Bib: Stio Environ Bib
While I appreciated the extra protection up top, not all women are sold on a chest-high bib like the Chariot. Some prefer a lower-profile suspender pant that still hits well above the belly.
Stio’s Environ Bib is a great choice for this cut. The athletic bib designed for women still lets you drop trou, just without the big zip in back. Instead, side zips provide adequate access, and the straps are easily adjustable.
Stio makes this mini-bib ski pant with high-end waterproof-breathable materials throughout. Tough Cordura kick patches ensure that your leg cuffs won’t fray too soon, and there are plenty of conveniently placed pockets. Plus, articulated knees mean you can actually move in these bottoms.
Best Budget Bib: Dakine Brentwood Bib
You can’t go wrong with the affordable price point and workwear look of these women’s coveralls by Dakine. The Brentwood Bib is tailored in the right places, but it still has some utilitarian knee patches that complement this feminine look, especially in the amethyst color.
These waterproof, high-cut women’s ski pants have only two layers. Unlike many of the premium three-layer outerwear constructions above, these come with something those shell-style pants don’t: a cozy fleece lining. Don’t worry: The fleece won’t lead to overheating thanks to its built-in leg vents.
Overall, the Brentwood is a solid, stylish option for testing a new foray into the world of women’s bibs, especially for those who stick to resort and side-country skiing.
Best of the Rest
OK, these are pricey. But as you know by now, most Patagonia outerwear lives up to its sticker price. You could get a remarkable amount of seasons out of one pair of these performance PowSlayer bibs.
And maybe that’s the point of Patagonia only making these in two tame colors — black and cargo green. They’re a classic get’r done option.
The PowSlayer women’s bib is definitely a more generous cut than any other bib covered here. But for primarily backcountry skiers or women with more athletic builds, these will be incredibly comfortable and functional.
The recycled outer textile is a respectable thing to pay for, too. These bibs also have a clever drop-seat configuration. And for extra protection, a yoke loop attaches to the powder skirt on a Patagonia jacket.
Volcom dropped the mic with the easiest drop-seat design we’ve seen yet. Volcom’s Elm Gore Bib ($216) doesn’t rely on side buttons or dual-side zippers, but rather a swooping flap that unzips across your backside. If you’ve ever been hesitant about the logistics of spending all day in a bib, this one will ease your fears.
Volcom’s Elm Gore is a two-layer fabric, fully seam-sealed, with YKK AquaGuard waterproof zippers. Its higher-coverage design keeps all that powder out, and it’s made with GORE-TEX’s Stretch membrane for ultimate comfort.
The bib also has a mesh lining for breathability and a DWR coating for extra waterproofness. It features a RECCO reflector if you get caught in a slide.
We like Volcom’s addition of two chest pockets and two thigh pockets, as well as the roominess and flexibility provided by this bib’s fit. While it didn’t win our overall vote, this bib is a great choice for either resort or backcountry skiing.
One note — beware that this bib comes in some pretty bold styles.
Somewhere between a bib and a high-waisted pant, this three-layer shell bib is made for backcountry touring. But, it works great for almost any winter pursuit. Get dressed quickly and have all the features you need for a full day in the backcountry.
We love the feel and the weight (on the heavier side, but superb protection from wind) of the Odin Bib, as well as its myriad pockets. This bib has a D-ring clip for your beacon in the bib pocket and a lower thigh pocket as well. It also has a whole other thigh pocket and hip pocket for stashing everything else.
Similar to the Patagonia PowSlayer, this bib is an investment. But, for the high price tag, you are getting a high-quality and highly durable shell.
This bib has a 20,000mm water column rating, double-zippered vents on the legs, and full-drop seat access. With a low profile fit, this bib is great for those who might easily overheat. It’s also a great choice for snowshoeing (when you might not want full upper coverage).
We also love the Odin Bib’s unique upper softshell construction, which the brand claims was inspired by yoga pants for extra comfort. Whether you are tall, thin, curvy, or petite, these bibs will work. Reviewers loved that the fit is both flattering and accurate, although some found the suspenders to be finicky to adjust.
To top it all off, Helly Hansen added a RECCO reflector in case you or someone in your crew finds yourself in trouble.
The Black Magic Bib by 686 is an online bestseller, and for good reason. It ticks all the basic boxes and does its job in the cold.
This bib has a two-layer fabric with a DWR coating and the brand’s infiDRY 10K waterproofing fabric construction. The knees and seat are insulated for extra warmth, and the legs are vented with YKK zippers and a mesh lining.
These bibs have a definite resort focus. Features include a lift ticket eyelet on the belt loop, critically taped seams, and a generously sized upper bib Velcro flap pocket.
While not quite performance-oriented, this bib is comfortable and comes with all the essentials (boot gaiters, adjustable straps, zippered hand pockets, and side zip access). It also has a pretty reasonable price at just $250.
If you don’t get out on the snow very often or if you ski mainly at resorts — and you like a slimmer, tailored fit — this might be the bib for you. Our only big con? It runs a little small and isn’t very breathable.
New for the 2021 season, The North Face Team Kit Bib rounds out the Team Kit Series (a shell jacket and a midlayer are available as well). The three-layer DryVent membrane bib has two hidden deep-zippered pockets on the thighs, two zippered hip pockets, and a wide stash pocket on the chest. Not to mention the stretch boot gaiters, sealed seams, and zippered thigh vents.
While we’ve only been testing for about a week, we love the fit and feel of this bib. We have been very impressed with its functionality and durability during long days on the mountain.
While there aren’t any kick guards, the bottom cuffs and knees are reinforced. The overall fabric seems durable after a couple of long days of riding lifts and skiing trees. The bib moves pretty well but isn’t overly roomy or baggy.
Another cool feature we noticed in this bib is the ability to make micro-adjustments to the fit. You can adjust the bib based on your height via the elastic shoulder straps. You don’t have to mess with multiple buckles, as a single friction clip adjusts both straps. And you can adjust the bib to be looser or tighter by cinching at the waist.
Our only note on fit — if you are larger in the chest area or taller than 5’8″, you’ll want to size up. We plan to update this review once we’ve completed more testing. The bib comes in bold neon colors like blue and red.
The Cassie is a budget-saving bib ($210) with some serious coverall, slope style. I wouldn’t ride long days in the backcountry in these. But they’re fine for staying warm and dry at a typical ski area.
The Armada Cassie Overall comes with a basic waterproof membrane (10,000mm water column rating) to stave off winter weather, and mesh vents to control moisture from the inside out. A full mesh lining also makes sliding these ski pants over necessary base layers a breeze.
These women’s bibs are business in the front, covering everything to the chest, and party in the back with a lower hip cut and flattering jean-style rear-end pockets. Plus, the Cassie’s two patterns — Banana Leaf and Ocean Lava — are a nice deviation from standard black and blue bibs.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Women’s Ski Bibs
Whether skiing or snowboarding, having a pair of comfortable, hardworking snow pants is essential. Here are a few tips for finding the best ski bibs.
What’s Your Top Winter Activity?
Chances are, if you’re looking for a pair of bibs to wear snowboarding or skiing, they will be much different from a snowshoeing pant. Take a minute to think about your winter activities.
Do you frequent the backcountry or resorts? Lots of brands add venting to pants so you can release some heat when, say, boot-packing uphill.
What Type of Fit Are You Looking For?
Do you prefer a relaxed or more athletic fit? This is mainly preference, but it’s important to note that sizing sometimes differs depending on the pant’s fit.
If you want an unencumbered range of motion, maybe go with a relaxed fit. And if you run cold and wear more or thicker layers, consider an insulated pant or going up a size.
Which Fabric Should You Choose?
For powder days or backcountry travel, it makes a lot of sense to invest in a GORE-TEX or similar fully waterproof fabric. Two-layer and three-layer fabrics have different weights, waterproofness, and breathability ratings.
Bottom line: Ask yourself whether the pant will work for what you want. The goal is to find a pant with a fabric that will complement your activity level on the mountain and move on.
What Features Should You Look For?
Every pant has different features, but I have two must-haves for ski bibs. They need to have internal gaiters that secure well over boots (gaiters with boot adjustment access is a plus) and useful pockets. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. That one-inch-wide chapstick pocket just doesn’t cut it.
Thigh pockets are especially great if you don’t like pocket items (like a cellphone or beacon) bunching up near your hips. Another important feature to consider getting in your pant is a RECCO reflector for safety in avalanche terrain.
What Is RECCO?
RECCO is an avalanche safety system used by ski teams and rescue professionals to help find people trapped in an avalanche. The first part of the system is a reflector sewn into outerwear apparel to help a buried skier be detected in the event of an avalanche.
A RECCO reflector doesn’t transmit any signals or need any batteries, but it’s great to have in an emergency. A RECCO detector transmits an active signal, with a range up to 120 m through the air and 10-20 m through snow.
Depending on how often you hit the slopes, price is a factor. If you’re still starting out in a snowsport, or only make it to the mountain a couple of times a year, consider a more budget-friendly bib. As you gain experience, you can always invest in a higher-quality pant that will ultimately perform better and last longer on the mountain.
Have a favorite women’s bib? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll check it out for future updates to this article.