Battle of the Bibs: Patagonia Powslayer v. Arcteryx
If you aren’t skiing in bibs yet, are you even shredding pow? No, no you’re not.
Look, bibs seem over the top and unnecessary. Until you wear them. If you are content with your current ski pants that’s great. If you constantly find yourself too hot touring, pulling your pants up all the time, getting snow down your butt, and generally not looking as shreddy as you would like to, ski bibs are your answer.
Bibs are expensive. The bibs I am reviewing are all between $500-$600. These are an investment. But you can be smart about it. I got my Patagonia Powslayer bibs on Craigslist for $200 basically new. They are mens and slightly too big, but that doesn’t make them less functional for me. Brent got his Arcteryx bibs at an Arcteryx outlet for half price. If you haven’t been to an Arcteryx outlet OMG hide your kids, hide your wallet, sell all your other gear because you will want to look A Team sponsored ASAP. The prices are like sirens!
So, you can find ways to get your bibs a little less expensive. But generally they are an investment so take your time and find the ones that are perfect for you. But, there are some non-negotiables. This is what your bibs MUST have:
Dropper seat: this is the zipper and suspender system that lets you drop trou and do your business without having to take off all the layers over your bibs. Trust me, don’t buy a pair that doesn’t have a dropper seat.
Big pockets: Look, if you are ski touring or inbounds, you’re gonna have stuff. Food stuff, gloves, head stuff, eye stuff, etc.
No insulation (just a hard shell) and good ventilation. Touring is hard and I get really hot. Being able to drop heat by unzipping the legs of your bibs is key. You can manage your warmth via the layers (or lack thereof #springskiing) under your bibs.
Waterproof and Durable with reinforced fabric around the ankles for crampon purposes. Look for Goretex and ripstop fabrics.
Up first: Patagonia Powslayer Bibs
These are the bibs I have and love. They have giant pockets, full dropper seat, and are super water proof and durable. The zippers down the sides aren’t full length, but they go down to my knees and allow for great ventilation. I have skiied in these a ton and they show no signs of wear. I have also worn them mountaineering and they have reinforcement around the bottom of the legs so your crampons don’t go right through them. I bought these from a guy on Craigslist for $175 and they retail for $599. They are a little baggy on me and even though they are men’s mediums, alas, they are still a little too short. But they get the job done even if they don’t elongate and slim my silhouette. Hasn’t cramped my steeze.
I have an old version of these bibs. Here is a picture of the current version of them from the website:
To be honest, I am not sure I would like this version as much. My favorite thing about my Patty bibs is the giant pockets in the front where I can stuff gloves, snacks, hats, and turtles all at the same time. It looks like they have ditched those pockets for a sleeker design. That said, I love my bibs for a lot of reasons so they are still a great option, but those pockets were really what set them apart from the Arcteryx bibs for me.
On to: Arc’teryx Beta SV Bib Pants
These are the bibs Brent has. He looks good in them, I can’t lie. They have a slimmer fit and more length than the Patagonia bibs and are made of incredibly waterproof and durable fabric. If Brent doesn’t break/rip it in the first year, you know it’s well made. BUT, these bibs have HILARIOUSLY small pockets. You literally cannot fit a snack bar into them. I don’t understand.
Brent loves these bibs, they zip all the way down the sides for insane ventilation (the Patagonia option only zips down to the knees). My dad has to wear knee braces when he skis so he always looks for the full zip feature in ski pants so if you have that problem as well, these are primo. For me, the pockets are a big drawback and for that reason I would not buy these bibs.
BUT Arc’teryx may still win this showdown due to another pair they offer. Their Stinger Bibs look to have all the great qualities of the SV bibs WITH ADDITIONAL LARGER POCKETS! Rejoice keepers of the mountains! A $600 pair of pants they remembered to put pockets in!
Now, we all know that life isn’t fair and thusly Arc’teryx couldn’t just make the perfect pair of bibs. To compensate for the pockets, they took away the full zip on the sides on the pants. Such is life. Since the Patagonia bibs also are not full zip, I would say these two pairs are very comparable and come down to preferred fit. Or just whichever one you can find on Craigslist. Happy ski season friends!