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Patagonia Women’s Untracked Bibs Review: Burly, Eco-Friendly, Innovative

A long-time favorite in Patagonia’s snow line, the Untracked Bibs are back and revamped for winter 2023/2024. And, they’re more than ready for any winter conditions you can throw at them.

Author wearing patagonia bibsThe author puts on the Untracked Bibs to get ready for a powder day at Crested Butte Mountain Resort; (photo/Jason Hummel)
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Bomber is the first word that comes to mind with these flattering, functional hardshell bibs, which debuts in Patagonia’s snowsports lineup for the 23/24 winter season. Previously, Patagonia made a fairly popular outfit known as the Untracked Jacket and Pant, for both men and women.

Not only is this namesake ladies’ bib design completely new, but this entire kit — the bib and jacket for guys and gals — also launches Patagonia’s inaugural GORE-TEX ePE three-layer design. The name carried over. The foundational details did not.

GORE-TEX first introduced the groundbreaking ePE membrane in Patagonia’s two-layer Storm Shift outerwear in fall 2022. The earth-friendlier membrane replaces traditional waterproof-breathable membranes, like ePTFE, which are treated with time-enduring perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). These chemicals have been ubiquitously applied to outdoor apparel to achieve waterproofness for alpine and backcountry pursuits.

That’s changing. And now two layers of fabric are sandwiched around and protecting a more sustainable waterproof membrane.

In general, GORE-TEX is phasing out of ePTFE. Here, the DWR (durable water repellent) application on the fabric of the Untracked Bibs is PFC-free. Beyond the membrane, the entire fabric package of this technical snow garment likewise nixes PFCs.

Altogether, the effort to establish a three-layer kit with a healthier ePE membrane took the two brands nearly a decade from when they first started probing the question. Though free of toxic elements, ePE still meets Patagonia and GORE-TEX’s standards for waterproof, breathable, and windproof weather protection.

We had an opportunity to test out both kits for men and women a winter season in advance. On the ladies’ side, we found that no matter how deep the snow, how strong the wind, or how wet the precipitation was, we felt totally protected in these bibs. Even on wet, inch-an-hour days at the ski resort, these bibs never once let moisture through or saturated.

In short: The innovative, sustainably made women’s Patagonia Untracked Bibs ($649) is comfortable and extremely protective from the elements, and a great choice for the resort skier that occasionally samples backcountry goods. They also set a new environmental benchmark for the outdoor industry, which we support.

Patagonia Women’s Untracked Bibs

Specs

  • Material GORE-TEX ePE three-layer construction
  • Sustainability 100% recycled nylon, recycled flannel backer, PFC-free, Fair Trade certified
  • Pockets Two zippered thigh pockets; right pocket has an internal stretch-mesh pocket for avalanche transceiver or phone
  • Sizes XS-XL
  • Weight 610 g

Pros

  • Flattering athletic cut
  • Far-reaching leg zips allow for easy venting
  • Watertight, coated zippers
  • RECCO reflector included

Cons

  • The material is particularly loud and “swishy”
  • Not the best for articulated movement (consider sizing up)
  • A bit heavy for uphilling

Patagonia Untracked Bibs: Review

The women’s Patagonia Untracked Bibs are new for the 23/24 season; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Multiple testers dove into testing the women’s low-rise Untracked Bibs last winter season, which kicked off with a freezing, wind-slamming blizzard and core winter conditions at the resort during our 3-day ski and ride test. We continued to test out the kit inbounds and on backcountry tours.

Overall, the Untracked Bibs have a streamlined, athletic silhouette with integrated belt loops and lengthy side zips for ventilation. Belt loops aren’t always included on bibs and allow you to throw on a waist cinch and drop the suspenders while touring.

The circumference of the legs slide easily over ski or snowboard boots. We especially love the extra-large protective patch along the lower hem, which contributes to the pant’s overall longevity and durability. They’re tapered higher along the back and interior — right where you need the shield most from metal ski edges and sharp cramps. After a couple of months of use, these pants show essentially no wear at all.

As mentioned, the three-layer ePE fabric is first of its kind. The material is PFC-free, 100% recycled 80-denier nylon, which is bonded to a recycled and soft flannel backer. The DWR finish is PFC-free.

Paired with the Untracked Jacket, this design really kept us dry during the strongest squalls.

Ventilation and Breathability

For heat-building tours and warm, sunny days, if you need to cool off, these women’s bibs have side ventilation zippers that reach nearly to your knees. The lengthy zips also serve for quick-access bathroom breaks without taking off your jacket, which is an added bonus.

That said, these aren’t the first women’s ski bibs we’d reach for to head to the backcountry. This three-layer design behaves like a true hardshell pant. We found that they’re a bit heavy for quick or high-volume uphill travel.

The material is fairly breathable, but that’s not where it best shines: It’s stoutly waterproof and windproof. Though, for backcountry tourers that get out less frequently and are looking for a hybrid option, this can certainly serve both purposes.

patagonia untracked bib
The Untracked Bibs have removable straps that stay put on our shoulders all day throughout days of hard-charging resort and backcountry skiing; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Shoulder Straps

The shoulder straps are minimalist and stretchy, and they stay in place throughout the day. While the straps are removable and the waist has belt loops, the extra-high waist would feel a bit strange as a standalone pant if we dropped the straps.

With the shoulder straps adjusted just right, you’ll be able to put these bibs on and totally forget about them from shoulder to boot. We found that the sliders easily adjusted and the fabric didn’t slip, so the straps didn’t budge throughout the day.

Fit and Movement

We opted to size down in these bibs. If you’re looking for a slimmer, more athletic fit, we’d recommend going smaller. The only caveat of the tighter fit is the potential of restricting movement while sliding uphill on backcountry tours. 

Objectively, these pants don’t have quite enough articulation to be used in a ski mountaineering context. When bootpacking up a steep, alpine slope, or skinning challenging ascents in the alpine, these bibs left us wishing for a bit more freedom of movement.

However, we felt that they never inhibited movement at the resort. The streamlined and comfortable cut of these bibs didn’t get in our way when skiing hard on varied terrain.

patagonia untracked bib protection patch
The extra-large hem protection keeps the Untracked Bibs safe from ski edges and from showing wear and tear; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Uphill Capabilities

The thicker, three-layer GORE-TEX ePE fabric isn’t as lightweight as other options, which is especially noticeable for uphill travel. However, the material is incredibly durable.

The Untracked Bibs have two zippered thigh pockets that are roomy enough to easily store a cellphone or avalanche transceiver. As mentioned above, this wouldn’t be our go-to pant for the backcountry, but it’s a great crossover for occasional tours and sidecountry use out the gate of a lift-served ski area.

patagonia untracked bibs pockets
Full pockets and side zips feature fully waterproof YKK zippers that pull well and are durable; (photo/Jason Hummel)

Warmth and Insulation

Despite sporting a flannel backer, the Untracked Bibs aren’t the warmest option on the market for exceptionally cold resort days, which we experienced many a time while wearing them.

To stay cozier, we paired these pants with a medium or heavyweight wool base layer, which made riding the chairlifts in subzero windchill comfortable. If the temps dropped much further, we would consider integrating puffy pants or shorts beneath these bibs for extra warmth.

Patagonia Women’s Untracked Bibs: Conclusion

For hard-charging, resort-oriented pants that can handle all conditions (except true Arctic temps), the women’s Untracked Bibs from Patagonia are a solid, reliable choice that’ll span multiple seasons full of ski days.

Plus, for a kit made with the premiere three-layer GORE-TEX ePE textile, we’re blown away by how waterproof, windproof, and tough this eco-friendly lay-up is.

While these bibs aren’t the most packable, breathable, or malleable for devout uphill tourers and mountaineers, the solid construction and durability make the Untracked a long-lasting staple for an everyday inbounds ski kit and occasional trips out-of-bounds.

The new Patagonia Women’s Untracked Bibs will be available on October 1, 2023.

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