- Bibs vs. Pants for Hunting
- How Should My Bib Fit?
- Best Pick
- Sitka Incinerator Bibs
- Carharrt Yukon Arctic Quilt Bibs
- Cabela’s MT050 Whitetail Extreme Bibs
The bibs you choose to wear in the harsh cold winter weather is one of the most important decisions you make before you take your stand. When it comes to your survival and comfort, the bibs you wear are a vital piece. They protect you from the environment and all the frozen hell it brings during the cold winter. In this article we’ll go over a few things when looking at the best hunting bibs for cold weather:
- Why you should buy a pair of bibs over pants.
- How your bibs should fit.
- Reviewing a few of the best hunting bibs for cold weather.
(This article is an extension of a previous article – The Best Cold Weather Bow Hunting Clothing)
Bibs vs. Pants for Hunting
A large majority of hunters prefer bibs over pants, but why? Is it just a matter of personal preference? While personal preference does play a part in this, it’s not all that its about. There’s a few factors to consider when looking at bibs vs. pants:
Firstly, bibs cover a fair amount more of your body than pants do. They have that extra bit of length going above your waist level that keeps your core and lower back warm. Having cold air rush into areas you aren’t expecting can be quite the rude awakening. You definitely don’t want to experience that.
You know that being uncomfortable at your stand is a crappy feeling. Everything feels off and you can’t get into the zone because of it.
Pants can contribute to this uncomfortableness, especially in cold weather. Usually, when you wear pants you have to make sure they’re fitting tight enough so that when you raise your arms cold air won’t rush down into them. Trying to prevent this by wearing a belt and having it wrapped tightly around your waist. This can all be prevented by wearing a pair of bibs.
Since bibs are longer, they already cover higher than your waist. The shoulder straps also ensure your bib stays close to your body, preventing cold air from getting in there during any movements you make.
The best hunting bibs for cold weather are all made from comfortable fabrics. The designers are aware that if you’re going to be sitting in their clothes, you can’t be constantly annoyed by itches and scratchy fabrics.
Bibs typically are a little bulkier because of the insulation and environmental shell they provide. This can hamper your mobility, which is a small con of bibs, but if you size your base layer and bibs properly (which we’ll talk about below) you can reduce this problem a fair amount.
The best hunting bibs for cold weather, and even in general, typically tailor their bibs to provide maximum mobility in areas of frequent movement. This will help you maintain unrestricted movement during your hunts.
If you’re in a northern state or Canada you know that the winters can get quite brutal – snow up to your shins, slush, freezing rain, and bone chilling winds. Typically in tough weather like that, you’ll opt for warmth and protection over mobility. That’s when you’ll go looking for your bibs.
It sounds obvious but the weather plays a huge part in what you’ll be wearing when you go to your stand. If its a warm day or the forecast doesn’t call for rain/snow then you might choose to wear pants instead, and that’s fine. Just be sure to do your weather research before you go out and dress accordingly otherwise you might have to call it a day earlier than you’d like.
Lastly, personal preference plays a part. Some hunters simply just prefer wearing pants over bibs, even in cold winter weather. Others like bibs more, even in warmer days with no signs of rain or cold winds.
However, since this is article is for best-hunting bibs for cold weather, I’m going to be recommending bibs. Like I said under the Weather Situation – in cold weather with snow, negative temperatures, freezing winds, etc. you’ll typically want to wear bibs to protect you from the harsh environment.
How Should My Bib Fit?
The fit of your hunting bib is an extremely important part of your purchase, it can be a bit tricky too since brands can have varying sizing standards.
Here’s the deal:
I’m going to be straight forward in saying there’s no perfect way to find out how your bib is going to fit you unless you can walk into a store and try them on in there.
I’m going to give you the best method out there that can help you accurately pick your needed size. And here it is:
Go up at least one size. This is ground rule #1, if you’re buying a hunting bib with the idea that you want it to fit like your pair of jeans that’s a no-no. Your hunting bib needs to fit over your base layer at the very minimum. Even though base layers typically don’t add much to your waistline your second layers do. Plus all the fabric and insulation the bibs contain will reduce the amount of real space you have inside them.
Secondly, make sure you’re keeping an eye on length. If you’re a taller person with a thinner build you might need to make a trade-off when it comes to length versus fit.
some companies carry different sizes based on waist as well as length. I know, for example, that the Sitka Incinerator bibs carry the normal variety of waist sizes and then other pairs labelled “Medium-Tall.” Great consideration from Sitka to think of something like this for those who might be shorter & bigger or taller & skinnier.
Sitka Incinerator Bibs
Shell – GORE-TEX & Brushed Polyester
Insulating Fabric – 40% Primaloft Down & 60% 650 Fill Water Resistant Duck Down
Insulating Fabric Weight – 192g/6.8 oz
Product Weight – 47.2 oz
Temperature – Any
The Incinerator system from Sitka is the warmest set they have. It’s also the best gear you’ll find out there for cold weather hunting and the bibs from this set are no different. If you read the Best Cold Weather Bow Hunting Clothing post, you’d know how great the Sitka Incinerator jacket is, and paired with this bib you’ll never feel cold again! The Sitka Incinerator is worth every penny and then some.
CHECK ON AMAZON
Sitka’s incinerator bib shell is made from a manufactured material named GORE-TEX which is 100% waterproof and windproof. The second outer layer (on top of the GORE-TEX) is a brushed polyester fabric, which will help you keep quiet during movements you need to make.
The insulating fabric of the Sitka Incinerator bib is 6.8 ounces of a mixed blend containing 40% Primaloft down and 60% 650 fill water resistant duck down. This hybrid blend is able to insulate you even while the fabric itself is wet. This is a great and crucial feature of the Incinerator bibs because the bib will be able keep your body temperature up while the fabric is wet. So you’ll never have to worry about any weather conditions affecting your clothing’s ability to do its job.
Since the Incinerator bib is so warm, Sitka designed the Incinerators to fit as if you’re only wearing them and your base layer (which is skin-tight anyway). So when looking for a fitting size I’d suggest going true to size if you’re thinner, if you’re average weight or slightly bigger – go up one size as recommended.
The great mobility the Incinerators have is largely due to not having to wear many layers with them. Your range of motion will be much greater because of the lack of the layers foding. The bib itself is very flexible with your movements, the only area that you might experience some minor restriction is in the folds of the knee.
A great feature the Incinerator bib has is the ventilating side pockets. When you’re feeling a bit too warm in the cold winter temperatures you can simply unzip the ventilating pockets featured on the side of the bibs and slowly cool down. This will help you maintain and regulate an optimal body temperature while out on your stand.
The Sitka Incinerators’ ability to keep you warm with just these bibs and a base layer, along with the ventilation and mobility benefits, makes these bibs the #1 pick for the best hunting bibs for cold weather.
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|- Extremely warm|
- Good mobility
- Ventilation allows for body temperature regulation
|- Tight fit (size up or just wear only a base layer)|
Carharrt Yukon Arctic Quilt Bibs
Shell – 1000 Denier CORDURA & Nylon Polyester
Insulating Fabric – Polyester
Insulating Fabric Weight – N/A
Product Weight – N/A
Temperature – -14°F/-26°C
The Carharrt Yukon Arctic Quilt bib is a great purchase if you’re shopping on a strict budget and looking for something to fit your needs. This bib can satisfy your basic needs when looking for a pair of hunting bibs to use in the coldest temperatures while not emptying your wallet.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Carharrt has made their Yukon Arctic Quilt bib live up to its name. This bib is made from 100% Nylon polyester and 1000 Denier CORDURA. The nylon polyester makes this bib 100% windproof and water repellent. The nylon polyester outer fabric does make you fairly quiet when moving although the overall bulkiness of this bib may have an effect on your noise level (more on that below).
The 1000 Denier CORDURA is what makes these bibs so great for their price. 1000 Denier CORDURA is an extremely well made and tough fabric, so much so that the military uses it for their gear. The CORDURA makes the bib durable, long-lasting, and resistant to tearing, wearing down, and scuffing.
The Arctic Quilt bibs from Carharrt are quite good against winter weather for their price. The bibs are windproof and water repellent as stated earlier. This will help protect you against rain, snow, and cold winds.
The amount of Polyester insulation you receive from these bibs due to the size of them will definitely keep you warm. (People say if it’s not at least single digit temperatures don’t wear them or you’ll be drenched in sweat.) Carharrt doesn’t call this bib the Arctic Quilt for nothing.
The bibs also have a zipper that starts at the hip and goes down to the bottom of the leg. These zippers can then be covered by buttoned wind flaps (Pictured below). This ensures that no cold winds will be able to sneak in through the sides of the bib or in your boot area.
Side note: This bib also has slots available for you to be able to add your own knee pads if you’d like. Nothing crazy but a nice touch.
Many reviews I’ve read say that their is quite a problem with sizing when it comes to these bibs. Frequently enough that I have to mention it in my review which is crappy, but I prefer being honest with my readers.
The good news is that Carharrt offers a wide variety of sizes when it comes to their Arctic Quilt bibs. The bad news is your size might not be the one you think. Many people complain that these bibs are extremely large, in both the waist and even more so for the length. Even though they bought their normal pant size.
I’m not sure whether Carharrt is working to fix this issue or if it is still an ongoing problem. Regardless, you should keep in mind that if you do order these bibs you might have to go through a return to find your proper size. Be ready to exercise some patience!
What I would suggest for maximizing the chance that you get the right size on your first purchase would be to follow the sizing chart (3rd & 4th pictures) in the product page on Amazon that highlights where to measure and appropriate sizes for your measurements.
I’d suggest ordering your everyday jean size because the overall bulk/size of these bibs will make them much bigger than their tag says.
The sheer amount of warmth the Carharrt bibs provide for their price makes this the best pick for the cheapest price out of the best hunting bibs for cold weather.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
|- Extremely warm (So warm you're able to skip the insulating layer)|
- Silent during movements
- Insulating material keeps you warm even while wet
|- Expensive |
- Slim fitting
Cabela’s MT050 Whitetail Extreme Bibs
Shell – GORE-TEX
Insulating Fabric – 150g Thinsulate Flex Insulation in Midsection / 100g Thinsulate Flex in Knees and below / 150g Thinsulate Flex in Seating area
Insulating Fabric Weight – Varies based on area
Product Weight – 3.6 lbs
Temperature – Any
[UPDATE: This product is no longer available, however, we have selected an identical model from another brand with same sort of specs]
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Cabela’s is a well-known brand within the hunting community and for good reason. They always produce great quality clothing and the MT050 Whitetail extreme bibs are just another ones to add to their collection. It comes as no surprise that we would add the MT050s to the list of best hunting bibs for cold weather. The MT050 bib is the perfect bib to satisfy and exceed a hunter’s basic needs for even the coldest winters
The shell of Cabela’s MT050 uses the best material we look for when buying late winter gear. You guessed it… GORE-TEX.
And you know what that means?
That’s right, these bibs are waterproof and windproof! The #1 priority of your shell layer is satisfied. So we’re off to a good start with these bibs already.
It gets better
The insulation fabric and its varying distribution (What they call “Advanced-Zone insulation”) is a concept I highly appreciate from Cabela’s. The insulating fabric is called Thinsulate Flex, a lightweight and flexible synthetic insulator. Pair those qualities with their advanced-zone insulation and you have a great pair of bibs that will not only keep you warm and weatherproof but also never restrict your mobility in areas where it is key.
As stated above, the Advanced-zone insulation from Cabela’s ensures that you maintain maximum mobility in your lower body and core area. Distributing the amount of insulation across the bibs to maintain an appropriate amount of warmth while not becoming bulky enough to restrict movement is in my opinion the best feature the MT050 Whitetail extreme bibs have.
Firstly, the inseam on the Cabela’s MT050 fits anyone length size 30-33, so if you’re taller than that you’ll need to look at the Tall version of these bibs. As for overall fit I’d recommend going true to size. Many people classify the fit as perfect so if you want to play it safe then size up. Otherwise a true to size fit should do you well if you’re wearing these and a base layer.
The MT050s also have many little features that improve the overall experience of the bibs making sure you get the most out of them.
- Cuff adjustments near the boots that allow you adjust based on personal preference of tightness. These cuffs will allow you to seal out any moisture that might try to get in. Extremely helpful for when you walk through high snow that can get into your boots.
- Hand-warming pockets in the chest area.
- Multiple gear pockets for you to stash away any loose items.
- Knee high zippers to make the task of taking off your boots a lot easier.
The overall ability of the MT050s to keep you warm along with their GORE-TEX and their usefulness ranks these as the budget pick out of the best hunting bibs for cold weather.
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
- Well distributed insulation
|- Is not odor resistant |
- Lacks quietness during movements
At the end of the day, I’d say that if you can afford the Sitka Incinerator bibs I would highly recommend you pick those up. I know that the price tag can be a bit intimidating but I’ve never heard bad things about them. On the contrary I’ve heard that they’re worth every penny. Saving up and splurging on those won’t hurt. You’ll end up saving money by not needing to buy new sets of bibs later on!
Depending on your budget and if you can’t justify buying the Incinerator bibs then definitely take a look at the other two picks as I know you won’t be disappointed by what they have to offer. Both have varying capabilities but they still satisfy basic winter hunting needs and that’s what it really comes down to.
Thank you for reading this article on the best hunting bibs for cold weather! 🙂