Hunting Bibs are necessary for hunting during harsh weather. So let us use our experience to help you choose the best hunting bibs which are suitable for you or as a gift for your hunter.
Our staff will be evaluating different hunting bib options for hunting in the cold, blizzard conditions, and other inclement weather. We will also be exploring the best choices when marsh or bowhunting.
We will visit a classic wool possibility, and ladies, we have you covered as well. Best of all, we will search out the best in every price range.
In This Guide
- Best Hunting Bibs At A Glance
- Best Overall
- Best Insulated Hunting Bibs
- Best Hunting Bibs For Cold Weather
- Best Deer Hunting Bibs for Bow Hunting
- Best Hunting Bibs For the Money
- Best Waterproof Hunting Bibs
- Best Hunting Bibs and Jacket
- Best Wool Hunting Bibs
- Best Duck Hunting Bibs
- Best Affordable Hunting Bibs
- Best Women’s Hunting Bibs
- Bibs vs. Pants For Hunting
- How To Choose The Best Hunting Bibs
- Advice From Expert Hunters
- Final Thoughts
Best Hunting Bibs At A Glance
Best Wool Bibs
Best For The Money
Best For Duck Hunting
We have chosen SITKA Gear Stratus Hunting Bibs as our Best Overall, no pun intended. These are not your Grandpa’s overalls (bibs). Materials, durability, and technology have allowed us to better our odds at getting that big buck or a meaty doe.
We give you options to buy at Amazon or directly from SITKA.
Please buy directly from Sitka. We have reports of counterfeit Sitka Gear being sold at large online outlets. Bt buying direct from Sitka, you will get the right product without worrying about counterfeits and you will get great service directly from SITKA gear.
A quiet, soft micro-fleece Gore-Tex shell and a warm-but-breathable micro-grid interior respond well to body temperature in changing weather conditions. That means no more swishing sound with every step.
One of our favorite features is the silent snap cargo pockets that are easy to access while in the seated position. Anyone that has reached for ammo or maybe a phone or camera and spooked a deer will appreciate that. Leg zippers for easy on and off, hand pockets, and great camouflage patterns are some other reasons to fall in love with these bibs.
This camouflage pattern uses the Gore Optifade Concealment technology. It is the only scientifically proven concealment pattern based on animal vision data to fade a hunter into their surroundings optically.
When we add that to machine washable with our favorite no scent product, it is hard to find a reason not to own a pair. For those who hunt in the cold and work in the cold, you can also order a pair in a solid color.
It is important to note that these bibs come in three different fits, performance, standard, and expedition. These vary to meet your individual comfort levels and individual needs.
Performance Fit was developed for minimal layering. This fit is designed to prevent inefficiencies in heat retention caused by a loose fit. It is form-fitting.
Standard Fit is fashioned with a little more room than the Performance Fit. It is designed to accommodate layering for more versatility in various season climates.
Expedition Fit is designed for maximum layering in the worst conditions. This fit is cut roomier to accommodate additional layering underneath.
When we first saw this pair of bibs and all of its features, we knew that the designer had to be a hunter. We were correct. Jonathon Hart introduced SITKA Gear out of frustration and inability to find adequate gear for hunting.
Later this company was bought by W.L. Gore & Associates Inc., the American multinational company best known as the developer of waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX® Fabrics. This became the perfect merger of ideas and fabrics.
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Check out this in-depth SITKA Stratus Bibs Review video.
SITKA Gear Hunting Bibs are top of the line. A pair of bibs meant to last a lifetime and always maintain superior performance. Hunting bibs designed with no swishing when you walk, waterproof, warm, and soft, is a dream.
Best Insulated Hunting Bibs
Our staff's top pick for best insulated hunting bibs is the SITKA Insulated Fanatic Bibs. These are our go-to hunting bibs during the late season or anytime we are hunting in really cold conditions.
Again, we encourage you to buy direct from SITKA Gear using the button below.
SITKA Insulated Fanatic Bibs
If you need bibs because you are hunting in the frigid cold or the mountains, you may want higher insulated bibs. This pair of bibbed overalls are insulated with mapped 120-gram PrimaLoft Silver Hi-Loft Ultra Insulation.
The outside fabric is made of High Loft Jacquard Berber Fleece with a DWR finish. The lining includes 2-layer GORE-TEX INFINIUM with WINDSTOPPER Technology and a polyester micro-grid fleece knit interior. These bibs weigh 53.1 ounces.
Following in the same SITKA quality and style, they are made from soft fleece and feature silent snaps and buckles. These are machine washable and easy to care for, and come in 3 different styles and sizes.
Science of Sound is the new Fanatic system that incorporates a Fanatic Bib that allows a hunter the ability to move comfortably with less sound by cutting the audibility distance in half.
These bibs up your game if you need late-season, cold weather bibs. This is not just a pair of bibs, but a unique system made to work together and keep you as warm and quiet as possible.
Sitka introduced the Fanatic System and then upped the ante by making the system quieter and warmer. They have added or enhanced almost every feature.
Let’s start by taking a look at the new safety harness port. Although there was a port in the previous fanatic design, it had one small problem. It was necessary to disconnect to put the jacket on or off. Sitka updated the feature, and now you can put your coat on or off without disconnecting.
Another new tweek is the textile and fleece are now mapped. Mapping down the left arm reduces contact with the bowstring. This leads to the Fanatic jacket now being available in right-hand or left-hand variations. For those who are lefties, the textile will be mapped to the inside of your right arm.
The previous version of the Fanatic System’s fleece would pick up every burr and sticker in your path. Sitka listened and incorporated a burr resistant textile by mapping it to the hem and seat of the jacket.
Additional design updates include ultra-quiet zippers, including the main diagonal zipper, a Low-Profile Rangefinder pocket with integrated grunt tube holder, and an Insulated hand muff pocket design with YKK zippers. They also have sewn in a hand-warmer holder into the muff.
What We Like
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Here is an awesome SITKA Fanatic Bibs Review video that will show you all of the features of these hunting bibs.
The SITKA Fanatic Line is not a pair of hunting bibs. It is a full-on hunting system designed for warmth, silence, and stealth. These bibs become essential gear when you need an extra edge in arctic temperatures and quiet just before dawn, just like your firearm or bow.
Best Hunting Bibs For Cold Weather
The best hunting bibs for cold weather are the SITKA Insulated Fanatic Bibs, but the one downfall of the bibs is that Sitka Gear is expensive, so we have a less expensive option for those of you who don't want to spend and arm and a leg for bibs.
Cabela's MT050 Whitetail Extreme GORE-TEX Bibs
Cabela's® MT050® Whitetail Extreme® GORE-TEX® Bibs deliver the best performance when it comes to bibs for wet- and cold-weather hunting. These bibs reduce the bulk of ordinary bibs by using Thinsulate™ Platinum Insulation.
Advanced-Zone Thinsulate Platinum Insulation brings high-power 150-gram warming through the midsection, 100-gram below the knees, and throughout the chest to reduce bulk for easily tucking into boots and wearing under a coat. 100-gram Thinsulate Flex in the knees and 150-gram Thinsulate Flex in the seat allow comfort and mobility.
The 100% waterproof/breathable GORE-TEX shell includes fully cohesive seams for true watertight integrity to keep you dry and comfortable in light rain or snow. Aquaguard heavy-duty, water-resistant zipper hardware ensures protection in wet conditions.
Hip-high leg zips allow painless dressing and undressing over layers or muddy boots. Stretchy sides and waist give these Cabela's bibs a tailored-like fit, while a gusseted crotch provides worry free mobility for crouching.
The concealed thigh pockets are great for access to your gear. Articulated knees enhance range of motion. More tools and equipment can be stored in the rear pocket and generous side cargo pockets. Cuffs that can be cinched to seal out the elements and the machine wash label complete these insulated hunting bibs.
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Cabella has a long history with outdoor sports. They pride themselves on making superior outdoor products. After three years of hunting season, one reviewer said his bibs are still performing beautifully. We are also pleased to see that Cabella supports our veterans with a military discount on most of their merchandise.
Best Deer Hunting Bibs for Bow Hunting
The SITKA hunting bibs above are the best for bow hunting, but we wanted to give you other options that are not as expensive.
We have guys on our staff that swear by the Legendary Whitetails Huntguard Reflextec Bibs, but they are a step down in quality from the SITKA. They are also a major step down in price.
It would be a mistake to tell you about these bibs without paying respect and honor to this company's founder. The hunters today owe those who blazed the way a measure of respect. The knowledge we have and the innovation of gear are a direct result of veteran hunters.
The Legendary Website has this to say about the legendary Larry Huffman. “When it comes to celebrating the hunt, Larry Huffman pretty much wrote the manual. What started as a passion for hunting quickly became a lifetime of devotion to sharing that love with anyone and everyone who was interested. It's his principles, his vision, his obsession for sharing the hunt with others, in and out of the woods, that set in place the guide to living every day like it's the stuff of legends.
Now let's get to the specifics. The Huntguard Reflextec Bibs were designed for two things in mind staying warm and dry! Legendary Whitetails confidently claims they are the warmest, most versatile hunting bibs available. When worn with the matching HuntGuard jacket, this pair of bibs have been tested and verified by Kansas State University to -94 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the cold season is over and spring rains set in, remove the Reflextec liners, and you have an outstanding 100% water-resistant, breathable bib just in time for turkey season.
4-way stretch, silent micro-suede shell, lots of pockets, built-in heavy-duty HuntGuard padding, extra-long inseam with adjustable straps to fit 30"-34" inseams, and full length leg zippers round out to make this an incredibly versatile pair of bibs.
You will also notice the Big Game Camo 360 pattern allows you to blend into your surroundings, while the padded knees add comfort when kneeling to pull back your bow.
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For those new to bowhunting, this pair of bibs are a great way to buy only one pair of bibs and have the versatility of year round seasons. Two of the hunter's main concerns are met with these, staying warm and staying dry. 91% of reviewers have rated these more than four stars. They will also come in handy when you are chopping wood for home or the hunting cabin.
Best Hunting Bibs For the Money
We are now taking a big step down from SITKA Gear quality, but if you are looking for a budget pair of hunting bibs that are pretty good quality, we recommend the HOT SHOT Men’s Elite Camo Hunting Bib.
HOT SHOT Men’s Elite Camo Hunting Bib
Hot Shot has created a great product that is budget friendly. These bibs are not short on features like reinforced layers around the knee, keeping them protected and comfortable when kneeling.
This Bib features 120 grams of insulation to keep you warm in the outdoors while hunting or fishing. The bib features reinforced layers around the knee for protection and comfort when kneeling.
These bibs are available in The Realtree Edge camo pattern, Mossy Oak Country DNA, or Veil Cervidae Camo patterns, allowing you invisibility in your hunting surroundings and erasing your form to deer, ducks, and turkey but visible to the human eye for safety.
These bibs are 100% waterproof and windproof yet breathable. The bibs are designed for quiet movement and made specifically for all day comfort. This promotes agility when in the outdoors, hunting all day.
Zippers on the front bib and down the legs make it easier to dress and undress. The fully adjustable shoulder harness system provides a snug fit every time. 2 zip-up handwarmer pockets and one zip-up rear pocket offer many storage options.
Reviewers are in agreement that these bibs do their job keeping you warm and dry. Also, it is worth noting that these bibs may not look as durable as they really are. They are easy to underestimate, but do not be fooled. They are tough enough to withstand bushes and bramble.
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Hot Shot offers matching products you may find helpful, also a parka, shirt, vest, jacket, and even boots. All are superior products with affordability. This company prides itself on the fact that they are hunters and know the hunter's needs.
Best Waterproof Hunting Bibs
The best waterproof hunting bibs are SITKA Hudson Hunting Bibs. They are a step above any other hunting bibs on the market today. They are perfect for duck hunting in the marsh, or deer hunting in the rain and wind.
We encourage you to buy directly from SITKA gear to insure that you are getting what you are paying for.
Sitka doesn't just cater to deer hunters but all hunters. The Hudson Waterproof Hunting Bib will keep you dry during any hunting season. These bibs are not created for arctic weather but for hunting in inclement weather. The 3-layer GORE-TEX stretch technology provides waterproof protection that permits you to move more freely.
The GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment Waterfowl Marsh camo pattern is designed for blind hunting in the marsh, standing crops, and cut stubble fields. Whether hunting marsh deer, duck, or marsh hens, you will remain dry.
These bibs are also created with wearability in mind. The GORE-TEX waterproof/breathable fabric helps you stay comfortable and focused. You will be able to stay as long as needed to have a successful hunt.
Just because the Hudson Waterproof Hunting Bibs were not created for arctic weather doesn't mean you will be cold on a cool morning. It has a body-mapped interior brushed flannel and lofted micro-grid fleece that is low-bulk but breathable and warm.
These bibs were also sewn with durability in mind. Sometimes we are in some pretty tough terrain, and Sitka has addressed this with reinforced seat and knee overlays to provide protection from abrasion.
Removable internal knee pads provide protection while kneeling to stalk or take your shot. Adjustable no-buckle suspension allows for a custom fit without the need for uncomfortable, bulky buckles.
Reviewers award a perfect 5-star rating for these bibs, and we tend to agree that these bibs are great for keeping dry and comfortable in all weather conditions.
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Sitka prides itself on turning apparel into the best hunting gear. These hunters want to promote rewarding hunts in every way they can. They have thought of everything, offer superior products, and are also open to any questions that assist their customers in achieving success.
Best Hunting Bibs and Jacket
The best hunting bibs and jacket are the SITKA Blizzard Aerolite Bibs and Parka. This is the bibs and parka that you want if you are not worried about price and you want the best hunting bibs that money can buy.
When you are spending this much money, make sure you buy direct from SITKA gear via the button below to insure that you are getting what you paid for.
Sitka Blizzard Aerolite Bibs were intentionally designed because nothing saps your concentration as fast as frigid temps and wet, freezing conditions. Continuing to pile on layers restricts your mobility and ability to hike through the mountains and rough terrain.
Sitka has addressed this by upgrading their Blizzard Bib Pant by using Synthetic PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation with Cross Core™ technology. This innovative synthetic insulation uses trapped air to replicate the warmth and compressibility of down.
Lightweight high-loft insulation (35% recycled) is impregnated with silica aerogel, a nearly weightless material that consists of more than 95% air while still acting as additional thermal insulation. They were able to create warm-when-wet performance while significantly reducing bulk resulting in comfort and mobility in a whiteout.
GORE-TEX, a waterproof/breathable fabric, helps keep you comfortable and dry with a durable water repellent finish that resists precipitation and prevents the material from the wet.
3/4-length side zips permit venting and easy dressing and undressing. The seat is reinforced for added protection when riding a sled or sitting.
Zippered hip pockets and quiet snap cargo pockets securely stow your essentials and keep your movements as quiet as possible.
We have not mentioned it yet, but it is vital to know that Sitka is known for its excellent customer service. We had noted their helpfulness, but many customers report that they have gone above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction.
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Sitka makes superior products, and these bibs are no exception. We recommend visiting their website and perusing all of their products. We are sure you will find the apparel you need and some you want.
When we choose to do a hunt in arctic weather, we do not only consider our bibs, but a great parka is absolutely necessary. Hunting is relaxing, fun, rewarding, and exhilarating but can turn deadly when safety is not prioritized.
Maintaining our weapons of choice, mapping our surroundings, having emergency supplies, using caution in rough terrain, remaining dry, and choosing to protect our bodies are vital to thriving and surviving.
Hunting in blizzard conditions is only possible when we have superior products to keep us safe. Weather is fickle and can become vicious quickly. Wearing a parka designed for blizzard weather is a life-saving safety measure.
Using GORE-TEX, Sitka has designed a waterproof insulated jacket built for late season hunts that have you sitting on exposed icy points or traveling into the howling wind and snow. A durable water repellent finish allows this parka to resist precipitation and prevents the fabric from becoming wet.
This parka uses the same Synthetic PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation with Cross Core™ technology Blizzard Aerolite Bibs. This synthetic insulation replicates the heat retention of down insulation but with warm-when-wet performance. It maximizes warmth while decreasing bulk for increased mobility.
PrimaLoft® is lightweight high-loft insulation (35% recycled) infused with silica aerogel, making it a nearly weightless material composed of more than 95% air and adding extra thermic insulation.
A fully adjustable, drop-away hood does not restrict peripheral vision and will be comfortable and out of your way when you do not need it. The water-sealing cuffs keep water out, but the warmth in.
A standard fit, zippered chest pocket, and fleece-lined hand warmer pockets round out this parka's best features. This parka was designed to not only keep you warm but become a piece of gear that serves your needs.
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Sitka thinks and considers everything we need in all situations. Experienced hunters know hunting before a blizzard can be great because deer naturally sense it is coming and will be on the move. Also, hunting right after it clears out can also be fruitful because the deer will be hungry and roaming for food after bedding down during the storm.
Best Wool Hunting Bibs
The best wool hunting bibs are the Filson Mackinaw Bibs. Let's face it, when it comes to wool hunting clothes, we always rely on Filson to provide quality garments that will be handed down to future generations.
A wind-tight and water-resistant coat, the Filson Cruiser earned Filson a place in history. This cruiser was designed and named by C.C. Filson. A patent was awarded on March 3, 1914, in the U.S., and it continues to inspire Filson's best selling items.
The Filson Hunter Coat was created with Mackinaw cloth, a heavy and dense water-repellent woolen cloth using a tartan pattern, often "buffalo plaid." This coat is an American icon. You may not know the proper name for this coat, but when you see it, a flood of memories of grandparents, parents, TV programs, and movies will flood your mind. It evokes nostalgia and classic standards.
Wool is naturally water-repellent and highly durable. Filson bibs are made with 100% virgin wool. Filson uses wool that will absorb as much as 30% of its own weight in moisture without becoming damp or clammy, resulting in retaining your body warmth even when very wet.
Durability is assured by fibers that can even be flexed at least 20,000 times without breakage. Filson boasts there is no finer wool than Filson’s 100% virgin Mackinaw Wool. This wool comes from a hand picked herd of hardy sheep in the United States and Canada.
These bibs are true to fit and have buttoned gussets for dressing and undressing. These bibs are time tested and approved. Filson firmly believes that ideas without action are meaningless and back up this by their actions. They are committed to sustainability and that today will determine the state of our natural world for every tomorrow.
They have nine handy pockets for storage and suspenders that are fully adjustable with Bridle Leather tabs.
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Sometimes there is no need for the bells and whistles of technology. Filson Mackinaw Wool Bibs are naturally durable, water resistant, breathable, and unrestricted while keeping you warm. Sometimes a classic doesn't need to redesign if it works. We think Filson's 124-year-old history and this classic design deserve a nod of respect for continuing to represent America gone by while dedicating itself to preserving the future.
Best Duck Hunting Bibs
The best duck hunting bibs are the Wildfowler Outfitter Camo Hunting Waterproof Insulated Bibs. They will keep you warm and dry in the duck blind, no matter what the weather.
They are definitely a big step below the SITKA Gear above, but they are affordable.
Wildfowler Outfitter has a long history steeped in duck hunting. Founder Tom Jacobsen began hunting in 1950 when he was a ten-year-old boy. His first day as a duck hunter was a cold, windy day on Lake Hazel near Benson, Minnesota.
That trip, he shot a box of 410s at Canvasback, Blue Bills, and late season Mallards. He did not shoot a thing, not even one of his dad's decoys. On that cold, snowy November day, he changed, and hunting fowl became his life-long passion.
Wildfowler Outfitter Camo Hunting Waterproof Insulated Bibs are nothing if they aren’t versatile.
With these waterproof insulated bibs, hunting, snowboarding, ice fishing, and even early season fishing are possible.
These windproof, waterproof bibs include a two-way zipper front and a button-down storm flap. Two front and two back zipper pockets give plenty of room for gear. Elastic side panels provide a custom fit.
This flexible, advanced insulation keeps hunters warm with 180 grams of lightweight, heat-trapping polar fleece. These bibs are rated to temperatures as low as -20 Fahrenheit.
Wildflowers Waterproof Insulated Bibs deliver dependability and durability. A Reinforced seat, knees, and adjustable shoulder straps offer leverages in a variety of situations, keeping you warm, dry, and comfortable.
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These bibs have a lot to offer, comfort, warmth, protection from the elements but another popular feature is their price. Affordability can be an essential factor. If you are on a budget but still need a great set of bibs, we recommend starting here.
Best Affordable Hunting Bibs
The best affordable hunting bibs are the RedHead Silent Stalker Elite Bibs. They do not have some of the high end features of the more expensive bibs, but they offer value for the price.
Remote, cold, it doesn't matter. True hunters follow their prey through thickets, mountains, and the creek. The RedHead® Silent Stalker Elite Bibs for men are designed for the adventure with 100% polyester construction, Thermolite® Micro Insulation, and the famous BONE-DRY® membrane for 100% waterproof/windproof/breathable protection.
E.C. Cook & Bro. was founded in Chicago c.1867 by E.C. Cook (b.1845) and his brother F.W. Cook. The Cook brothers started manufacturing awnings, tents, waterproof wagons, horse and truck covers, flags, banners, and canvas signs. They saw another need, and to meet it, they expanded their line to include hunters' and tourists' outfits, including jackets, cartridge vests, leggings, hats, gun and rifle covers, holsters, cartridge belts, rod cases, belts, and boots.
The Red Head name was first used in 1908. In 1915, when a contract for boots for the British Army fell through, the company was forced to file for bankruptcy. The company changed hands several times, seeing minimal growth. In 1970, The Red Head Brand was relocated to Dallas, Texas. The brand is currently owned by Bass Pro shops and has been through rebranding and found success.
Thermolite® Micro Insulation is the key to these bibs' ability to keep you warm by harnessing your body heat while reducing bulk and loss of mobility. ThermoLite is a synthetic form of insulation created by the innovative company Invista, making Lycra, Stainmaster, and several other proprietary fibers and textiles.
The BONE-DRY® membrane delivers 100% waterproof/windproof/breathable performance to ensure your hunt is not interrupted by the elements or inclement weather.
RedHead Silent Stalker Elite Bibs for men feature a full-zip front with a double snap storm flap for rugged, reliable coverage and easy dressing and undressing.
A fully adjustable harness system creates a tailored fit. There are several storage options, including two zip slash handwarmer pockets with snap storm flaps and a soft fleece lining.
These bibs are machine washable and comfortable.
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Red Head is a product of Bass Pro and has been the go-to brand by many hunters for more than 113 years. These affordable bibs may be your place to start if you do not hunt in extreme conditions. If you do not get to hunt as much as you want and are on a budget. You can save money and own a quality pair of bibs.
Best Women’s Hunting Bibs
The best women's hunting bibs are the ArcticShield Women’s Performance Bibs, offering superior fit and comfort in an affordable hunting bib.
The truth is not many brands cater to women hunters. 51.9% of hunters are men, which is the majority but not by much. 42.9% are women.
Women have always had a presence in outdoor sports like hunting and fishing, but the gear industry has not reflected this. Women do not really want everything pink but want apparel that fits and gear that fits their smaller hands.
Arctic Shield Women's custom fitting bibs are equipped with Arctic-Shield-Technology for heat retention and are constructed of a quiet, bur-free micro-suede outer shell and a soft 280-gram polyester hi-count fleece lining.
These bibs are stylish high-tech bibs with a tapered cut. But what’s style or pretty without function? This line features Retain™ technology to keep you warm in various situations.
Women can depend on ArcticShield’s line of women’s clothing and outerwear to deliver quality, comfort, and warmth without the bulk, so you can enjoy the adventure as long as you want.
They offer a low-cut bib front with h-style suspenders, tall two-way side gussets, and multiple pockets to stash gear and necessities. Dressing and undressing are no problem in these bibs.
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Reviewers agree these bibs are comfortable and allow you the ability to stay in the treestand longer. They offer lots of room to move around when trying to get in the perfect kill position. Another selling point that is echoed among reviewers is the absence of pink.
Bibs vs. Pants For Hunting
- Stays on during hunting; shoulder straps keep them on your body at all times. No need to worry about keeping your pants pulled up.
- Freedom of movement: Hunters need freedom of movement, and they get that from having no waist restrictions from buckles and belts.
- Get hot in warm weather, bibs will keep the heat inside, and as the day warms up, you may overheat, especially with insulated bibs.
- Going to the bathroom when you need to squat in the woods, bibs can be a pain. And make sure you don’t let the straps hang, or there will be a different problem.
- Great in warm weather
- Easy to go to the bathroom; we’ve all squatted in the woods. Pants make it easier than bibs ever will.
- In cold weather, pants will only make you colder. Even when insulated pants. The midriff area will be exposed and allow the cold to penetrate. Tucking in your shirt may help, but that can be even more uncomfortable.
- Pants falling down, pants tend to creep down during hunting excursions. This leads to constant tugging and distraction.
In conclusion, answering the old debate depends on hunting conditions and personal preferences. Which cons can you not deal with and which pros are essential.
The fact is that the best hunting pants are every bit as good as the best hunting bibs today.
How To Choose The Best Hunting Bibs
- Cotton – The least effective material for cold weather hunting apparel. It is only warm when it is dry. When wet, it will not maintain your body temperature but zap it.
- Wool – Very warm and water resistant, but it is also necessary to layer well.
- Down – scientifically proven the best and by which all insulation is measured by, but can lose warmth when wet.
- Treated Down – Chemically treated goose down created to prevent the insulation from getting wet to improve warmth in soggy conditions.
- Fleece – Specially knit polyester that protects from the wind keeps heat and wicking away moisture.
- Polyester Fill – A general insulation that helps keeps you warm and dry.
- Thermolite – Provides insulations without the bulk.
- Primaloft – a synthetic goose, down developed for the military to be as warm as down dry or wet.
- Thinsulate – down alternative is best known for its thin fibers and low profile.
- Cocona – is a synthetic insulator that maintains an ideal core temperature. If you are cold, it warms up; if you are hot, it cools down.
Choices, choices, choices there are many. The best option will change for different conditions and situations as well as preferences and budgets. Are you hunting the swamp, tundra, the woods of Kentucky, or the mountains of Colorado? Each of these situations will generate different needs. We hope the information we have presented today will allow you to begin your search well educated.
Windproof fabrics are made windproof by weaving them very tightly, so any space between the threads is too small for air to pass through at speed. Gore-tex® cloth is believed to be the most windproof and waterproof fabric available.
The most common waterproof material used in making hunting apparel is GORE-TEX. There are other materials in the market, but none as readily available. Now that we know the fabric we will most likely be dealing with, let's check out how we choose which GORE-TEX material is best for our needs.
Waterproof membranes or PU films are sandwiched between an outside layer (or 'face fabric') and an inner layer ('scrim') sitting next to the skin. The face fabric adds durability and carries the DWR (Durable Water Repellent). The scrim wicks moisture outwards and helps protect the film and membrane from contaminants. The nature of the inner layer determines whether a fabric is 3, 2.5, or 2-layer.
3 Layer (e.g., GORE-TEX Pro) - outer, membrane & inner are bonded together into one flexible material
2.5 Layer (e.g., GORE-TEX Paclite) - outer & membrane are bonded together with a very thin internal carbon or textured 'half layer' on the inside
2-Layer (e.g., GORE-TEX Performance) - outer & membrane are bonded together, but the interior lining is a loose-hanging fabric or mesh
There are a variety of tests and measures used to calculate performance, but none are standardized or accepted industry-wide. The important thing is to understand quoted figures may be estimated because of various factors. For example, the face fabric or taping pattern can affect the performance results.
Zipper Legs are not an added feature. In our opinion, they are a necessity. When you put your bibs on over layers, or even if you don't, they can be challenging. It becomes like peeling wet jeans off after you fell in the stream pulling in the big one. No one wants to take 20 minutes to get dressed and undressed. Do yourself a favor and make sure the bibs you purchase have zippered legs, and the higher, the better.
Materials and Durability
Most bibs offer reinforcements in all the right places, especially in the knee and seat areas, to keep from ripping holes in them and exposing yourself to the element. These areas are highly prone to wear and tear after short-term use. You’ll either be sitting or resting on your knees while patiently waiting for your target. So consider durability carefully.
We know there are many theories about fit. Some believe form-fitting is better for warmth and keeping out moisture, while others feel that a roomy fit is better for mobility and comfort. Most hunters choose bibs 2"-3" larger than the biggest part of their belly. Regardless of your preference, it remains crucial to ensure both warmth and comfort. Some manufacturers have several fits to choose from.
We do not just need pockets, but they must be strategically placed and easily accessed. When you are reaching for your call or ammo, those pockets must not just be available but able to be unsecured and secured quietly. Stubborn zippers, snaps, buckles, or straps can spook your game and ruin your chance at the buck you have been tracking for months.
Hunting apparel that swishes when you walk or is so bulky you break every branch you hit will not put you in a position for a successful hunt. Material rubbing or latches, snaps, and buckles must be as quiet as possible, especially when reaching for ammo when the 12 pointer is already in your sites. We must consider the sound of each material, and it must work for us and not against us.
Advice From Expert Hunters
As you can probably tell, we are big fans of Sitka Gear and the high quality garments they produce.
Some of our readers have asked about Kuiu Gear, so we put the two to the test.
You can read about our findings by clicking here.
Layering is the key to comfort and safety when on a hunt, but that doesn’t mean just piling layers of clothing and hoping for the best. There is a method that will lead to success. You want each layer working together as a system to trap heat, resist moisture and protect against the elements.
Baselayers are the first layer of clothing that fits right up against your skin. The critical function of the base layer is to wick moisture away from your body, keeping you dry and warm.
The mid-layer supports the base layer, helping trap heat while resisting moisture. Mid-layers are the most flexible of all layers. If needed, you can double up your mid-layer or remove it altogether if you’re overheating. Polyester and merino wool work well as mid-layer fabrics, but nylon is also ideal. Your mid-layer can sometimes end up being an outer layer, so you may want a mid-layer that offers wind and water protection.
The outer layer is your protective shell, the first line of defense against the elements. Outer layers are designed to be durable and repel wind, rain, snow, and anything else nature throws at you. Keep weight and “packability” in mind when choosing your outer shell. You may end up stowing it later in the day.
Don't ignore your feet when preparing for a hunt. Make sure you have the best hunting socks that you can afford and don't be afraid to follow the layering philosophy outlined above. A good quality, moisture wicking sock liner can save the day by keeping your feet dry and warm.
Deer season is one of those seasons that is unpredictable depending on where you are. We may hunt in a T-shirt today and need thermal underwear the next morning. Hunting bibs are the best protection from the weather.
Hunting bibs have come a long way since our grandpa's overalls and coveralls. You remember, they were as thick as a mattress, and the fabric was stiff as a board. Climbing into a tree stand can be really frustrating when you feel like a Michelin or marshmallow man.
Sitka's performance and quality are worth the investment. with proper care and storage, they will last a lifetime. If you are a lifelong hunter or outdoorsman, you will not regret your purchase. With that being said, you do not have to have the very best gear to have a good hunt.
If you are new to deer hunting and you are on a budget, choose accordingly and find the best bang for your buck. And if you are just getting started and feel overwhelmed, don't be. The most important thing is to get out there and enjoy the sport, taking in the sights, smells, and sounds.
Include your family when possible and pass down your knowledge to your children. Hunting is our way of stopping to smell the roses. We should stop and be grateful for the ability to be outdoors and participate in the sport we love and fill the freezer for our family. It's our time to count our blessings and say a prayer for those not as fortunate as we are.
Stay safe, hunt often, and help continue the tradition. Always leave the outdoors better than you found it.