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Snow bibs vs. snow pants

Snow bibs or snow pants, which are better for you?

Whether you're an enthusiastic downhill skier, an avid winter sports athlete or just looking for something to keep you warm and dry during light winter trail hikes, you're going to need to invest in a high-quality pair of snow pants. Snow pants are an essential component of being safe outdoors in the winter, and regardless of what price range you go for, finding the right balance between performance, warmth and comfort is key.

As if that isn't enough to navigate, anyone in the market for new snow pants has to contend with the question of whether to go with standard pants or to opt for a pair with an attached chest bib.

What are snow bibs? 

Snow bibs, also known as "snowveralls" or simply "bib pants," are similar to traditional snow pants with one major difference: bib pants don't stop at your waistline. As the name suggests, snow bibs extend all the way up to your chest, just like a pair of overalls does.

In addition to providing an extra layer of warmth to your core, as well as a selection of handy pockets, bibs eliminate the critical gap between the top of traditional snow pants and your ski jacket. If you ever took a tumble in the snow, and subsequently found ice pellets in places you never imagined, you know how important it is to close this gap. This is especially true if you are in deep snow.

Most high-end snow bibs are designed to integrate with a jacket from the same manufacturer for optimal protection.

How much do snow bibs typically cost? 

You're going to spend between $300-$400 for high-end snow bibs with high-quality waterproofing and innovative technology. You can find high-quality mid-range options for $200-$300, and even budget bibs that will get the job done for right around $125.

Snow bib pros 

  • Prevents ice, snow, water and other unwanted guests from getting under layers. 
  • Provides an extra layer of warmth and protection for your core, the most critical area to protect for heat retention. 
  • Enhanced storage offers space for advanced safety features such as avalanche beacons.

Snow bib cons 

  • Men may have to remove bibbed snow pants when using the bathroom. Women always have to remove them then. 
  • May feel constricting. 
  • Tend to be more expensive than traditional snow pants.

Best snow bibs

Sportneer Snow Bib Pants

If you're after a pair of snow bib pants that's versatile, warm and affordable, look no further. Although these are cheap, they don't skimp on essential features such as robust insulation, numerous pockets and waterproof coating. 

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Arctix Avalanche Insulated Bib Overalls 

Equipped with 85 grams of synthetic insulation and loads of adjustability options, including the shoulder strap, waist and leg openings, these have everything you need to stay warm outdoors affordably. The inseam, which is the most vulnerable to tearing, is taped for durability. 

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BenBoy Softshell Snow Bib Pants 

These minimalist snow bib pants prioritize comfort and range of motion without sacrificing weather resistance. The soft shell outer layer is flexible enough to give you room to stretch if you need to, and when paired with the interior insulation, warm enough to keep you comfortable. 

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What are snow pants? 

Snow pants aren't all that different from snow bibs. Aside from not having a chest bib, they have all the same technology and insulation materials available that snow bibs do. Because snow pants don't have the chest bib, though, they feel much less bulky on the body, and won't make your shoulders sore from wearing suspenders all day.

Although snow pants can't offer as many storage features for chairlift snacks or spare goggle lenses, they're usually better for resort riders and winter athletes because they're cheaper and just as effective for less intense activities. 

How much do snow pants usually cost? 

Although high-end snow pants can still cost over $300, it's much easier to find high-quality budget options for less than $100. Expect to pay between $100-200 for premium mid-tier snow pants.

Snow pant pros 

  • Lightweight, easy to pack and travel with. 
  • Tend to be cheaper than their snow bib counterparts. 
  • Can easily be adjusted or removed without removing other layers.

Snow pant cons 

  • They don't eliminate the risk of snow getting into your base layers. 
  • Fully insulated snow pants aren't as warm as fully insulated snow bibs.

Best snow pants

Burton Covert Pants 

These have a dual-layered waterproofing system that keeps you dry and lightens the load for your insulation. By making the insulation more efficient, Burton was able to give the pants a slimmer, more mobile fit and profile. 

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Arctix Essential Snow Pants

As the name implies, these snow pants give you exactly what you need, and not much more. They're cheap, but not high quality. However, you can rely on them to keep you warm by pairing them with a thermal base layer

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Columbia Snow Gun Pant

Popular among skiers and snowboarders, the Snow Gun is made of a lightweight nylon-polyester that offers ample protection from the elements. Reviewers report that these snow pants are so waterproof, you can use them in the rain. 

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Should you get a pair of bib pants or snow pants? 

Both snow pants and snow bibs can protect you from harsh winter weather and keep you warm, and neither possesses any special technology the other lacks for waterproofing or warmth.

But people who prefer to be able to adapt, whether for downhill skiing or ice climbing, should opt for a snow bib. They can do more without detracting from the comfort of traditional snow pants. And a properly fitting pair of bibbed snow pants shouldn't constrict your movement once you get used to them.

On the other hand, if you don't like the look or feel of the bib, and don't plan on taking any extended excursions where the added storage is beneficial, a pair of regular snow pants will get the job done and save you a few dollars as well. 

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William Briskin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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