If you’re a skier like me, you always want a bib option in your closet or box of winter clothes. The Patagonia Powslayer Bib is an awesome option for any serious skier who spends their days chasing powder or pursuing backcountry lines. They aren’t quite a full chest bib, but they do a great job of keeping you warm and dry when the flakes start to fly.
- Where to buy: EVO, Patagonia, Backcountry
- Best for: A great option for backcountry skiers who spend a significant amount of time chasing fresh powder.
- Pros: A well built ski that’s backed by a trusted brand. It’s durable and has reliable performance over many types of conditions.
- Cons: Very expensive. Also not a full chest bib, which some people may not like.
- Alternatives: Flylow Smythe Bibs, Patagonia Snowdrifter Bibs, Bonfire Reflect Bibs
Why Trust Me
Born and raised in the mountains of Colorado, I’ve been skiing almost as long as I’ve been able to walk. I’ve skied all over the world and have decades of experience skiing on, testing, and reviewing different skis and skiing equipment. I talked to a few different skiers familiar with the Patagonia Powslayer Bib and did thorough research on the product as well. Below is my detailed review.
If you’re unfamiliar with bib-style snow pants, I highly recommend you give them a try. They are effective, comfortable, and look pretty dang cool. The Patagonia Powslayer hits all of those marks and provides plenty of warmth without getting in your way. Patagonia makes some of the best cold-weather gear around and their take on a bib-style ski pant is recommended if you like the style.
Bib style snow pants give you more material than regular old snow pants. They also fit over your shoulders, in a similar fashion to overalls. For me, that’s ideal for skiing just about all of the time, and I enjoy bibs over regular ski pants any day of the week. The Powslayer pants are a solid bib option that delivers in every category when looking at on-snow performance.
Designed to be fully utilized in the backcountry, these pants are durable, strong, reliable, and built to last. I have yet to try any piece of gear from Patagonia that left me feeling disappointed, and these bibs live up to that standard. They are comfortable and stay in place no matter if you’re headed uphill or skiing back down. They also do a great job of keeping your lower and upper half dry.
They aren’t a full mid-chest type of bib, so in really deep powder conditions there’s a chance of getting a few flakes into your trousers. However, if you’re lucky enough to find that good of stash, you aren’t going to be worried about it. They also stand out in the durability department and will hold up to year after year of steady abuse. That’s a to-be-expected feature with the elevated price, but Patagonia also provides repairs to their gear if you ever need it.
Warmth and Weather Resistance
Another area where these bibs stand out is their warmth and weather resistance. A backcountry pant needs to be able to handle just about every type of condition, and the Powslayer easily accomplishes that. They are warm enough to keep you cozy through blizzards and sub-zero temperatures but still breathable in case you go on a springtime backcountry adventure. Through all of it, they do an excellent job of keeping you dry.
The Powslayer’s face is made with a strong and durable 40-Denier ripstop nylon fabric that’s coated with a DWR finish. That provides excellent water resistance while still being strong and durable. Between the shell and the inner liner is a GORE-TEX Pro Membrane that provides a ton of breathability and another layer of protection against the elements. It also plays a role in how comfortable the bibs are.
The inner lining features a GORE Micro Grid Backer that adds a great layer of insulation and provides plenty of comfort no matter what you choose to wear underneath. The seams are fully sealed and the above design features provide a whopping 28,000mm waterproof rating alongside 25,000g of breathability. That’s the best of both worlds and helps to make the bibs worth their price.
Fit and Function
I love the fit of a good bib. They are roomier and more free-flowing than regular ski pants, and that’s why I love how they feel and function. While the Powslayer does provide a comfortable fit, they aren’t the most comfortable bibs I’ve ever worn. They are a little more of a regular to slim fit by design, and I prefer something that’s loose and a bit baggier.
They do have some articulated patterning built into the design to help create a more regular fit. That does its job and provides decent freedom of movement. You won’t notice these bibs holding you back when you really want to move around. They are also a lower cut than most other options. I don’t like this feature because I believe a true bib should cover half of my torso. These sit more like an inch or two above the belly button.
In terms of function, the bibs have quite a lot to offer. Bibs give you more material to work with, which means you will usually get an extra pocket (or three) to use to your advantage. The Powslayer Bibs have two fairly large zippered cargo pockets on the front of each thigh and one hip pocket on the right hand side. That’s plenty of room to store a few extra items but again, I miss having a higher bib because it creates a convenient chest pocket that the Powslayer lacks.
Price and Value
Bibs are typically more expensive than regular ski pants. There’s more material used in the build and sometimes that can justify the added cost. However, Patagonia Powslayer Bibs are very expensive. In my eyes, that gives them moderate value because I don’t think they quite live up to this high cost in terms of form and function.
They are a great option, but only if you can afford it. There are other options out there that provide similar characteristics for less money. You do get the benefit of a tried and trusted brand in Patagonia, but I’m not sure that’s enough. However, the company is well-known for providing excellent customer service, and the bibs come with a limited lifetime warranty. This makes the high cost a little more appealing, in my opinion.
What I Like
What I like the most about these bibs is their durable construction that focuses on performance. The materials used in the construction are top of the line, and that really shines when you’re dealing with serious conditions with no room for error. These bibs undoubtedly do their job, which is a reason I particularly love them.
The pants also have a few built-in design features that I really like. The gaiters are really effective and do a great job of keeping snow out of your boots. They are durable enough to not fall apart under heavy use thanks to scuff guards around the inside leg and bottom of the bibs. If you have a Patagonia jacket, you can also take advantage of the built-in loop to connect both garments together.
Patagonia’s brand name recognition and superior customer service is awesome as well. I’ve had some serious mishaps with Patagonia gear (due to my own hard-charging nature and not because of the quality) over the years and each time I was able to take it back to the store for a quick repair or replacement. The limited lifetime warranty on these pants is a nice bonus as well.
What I Don’t Like
The biggest thing to dislike about these bibs is their high cost. You can literally find skis for a lower price than what these will cost you brand new. If money is not a concern, then you have nothing to worry about. However, I find it hard to spend that much on a piece of gear that doesn’t actually help me slide down or get up the mountain. Look for deals when possible.
I’m also not a fan of the fact that these bibs don’t come up more near the chest. They are too low for my liking, and while they are taller than normal pants, they don’t quite hit the sweet spot for bib status. They are also a little restrictive and I like options that have a little more room to maneuver, all things considered.
If you’re looking for another option similar to the Patagonia Powslayer, all of the following are worth checking out:
- Flylow Smythe Bibs – These are my favorite ski bibs on the market. They are some of the most comfortable snow pants I’ve worn of any style, and they look awesome as well. The comfort and look are more than matched by their performance in conditions all over the mountain. They are great for the backcountry but also make for a good inbound option during the heart of winter.
- Patagonia Snowdrifter Bibs – Another alternative to the Powslayer is the Snowdrifter bibs, which are also from Patagonia. These are far more affordable than their more expensive cousins, and they also have a fit more in line with the high-chested options I prefer. These are also breathable, comfortable, and provide excellent protection against the snow.
- Bonfire Reflect Bibs – If you want a more budget-friendly bib, these are well worth checking out. They look almost like regular overalls, but still provide all of the warmth and weather protection you need out on the mountain. They also have some large cargo pockets if you want to store your extra gear for long days in the snow.
How does Patagonia’s limited lifetime warranty work?
This warranty highlights the brand’s ironclad guarantee. If you aren’t satisfied with the product for whatever reason, you can bring it back to the store for a repair, replacement, or refund.
Why are these bibs so expensive?
Patagonia focuses on using high-quality materials that are sustainably sourced, which adds to the cost of their products. While expensive, quality is consistently high across the brand.
I’m a large skier, will these bibs fit me?
It depends on the fit you want. If you’re looking for a flowy, comfortable fit, you may want to explore another option as these are definitely more of a regular. They do come in larger sizes, however.
The Patagonia Powslayer Bibs are built to easily handle the backcountry and provide you with a high-quality pair of pants that will last for many seasons of solid adventure. They are strong, durable, and come backed by a brand name that’s well known for its quality and commitment to customer service. They feature plenty of innovative designs and have material that will keep you warm and dry no matter how you ski.
You definitely pay for higher quality, as these are some of the most expensive bibs around. They also have a lower cut that some may not like. However, if money is not an issue, these are a good way to go. If you’re on a budget, there are other good bibs out there.