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Hardshell BIBs vs waist pants
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May 21, 2016
Old discussion, but also pretty old answers in the threads I've found. What's the latest opinions regarding hardshell bib versus hardshell waits pants for mountaineering, glacier walking, scrambling but perhaps not the most technical ice climbing?

Full bibs offers better weather protection, adds a bit of warmth (good and bad), doensn't interfere with harness or hipbelt. Suspenders make sure the backpack and harness aint dragging your pants down.

Normal pants might be easier to put on, you can even put them on only by opening the harness leg straps and open up the hip belt and still keep the backpack and shell jacket on. The lack of suspenders can be mitigated just by adding 3rd party ones.

I feel that normal pants could be something you can put on during normal winter living back home, where full bibs feels more like something you mainly use for activities like skiing or climbing.

Considering you have a good pair of softshell pants, when would you pick a BIB over a normal pant and the reverse?

I.e. a selection between Arc'teryx Alpha SV full bib and Arc'teryx Alpha SL pant (or equal gear).
shadowfire
Joined Feb 1, 2016
0 points
May 21, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Seneca Holloween
I don't think you need a pair of hardshell pants, bib or waist.

Mountaineering, glacier walking, and scrambling can all be done in you softshell pants; and realistically can be done in regular pants (non-hardshell, non-softshell) with your softshell as a bad-weather backup (if needed).

I think of a hardshell bib as a serious winter (or winter conditions) type of specialty piece. I have the Alpha SV and wear it almost exclusively for technical ice climbing (and love it), and have not even considered wearing it for what you have described. I don't know a lot of people who actually have a full hardshell bib. If you get one, though, make damn sure it has nice, big ventilation openings like the Alpha SV does.

I think of a hardshell waist pant as essentially a pair of rain pants. If you go this route, make sure you get nice, big ventilation holes.

If you are looking to expand you pant quiver, you could look at a hybrid softshell / hardshell. La Sportiva makes a pant called the Storm Fighter which has the proection of a hardshell but the suppleness of a softshell, they are also 3/4 side zip; they are my go-to pants if I am wearing ski boots (but never really considered them without ski boots). I am sure other companies make something similar and I'm sure you can wear them in regular boots (not just ski boots).

If you are looking for a bad-weather backup, and don't like you softshell for that purpose, I would get either the hybrid or the hardshell pants.

If you need a hardshell bib, you will know, until then, I would stay away from them.

Happy to answer any specific questions, I love my pants!

Dave
Dave Schultz
From Saratoga Springs, New York
Joined Sep 11, 2011
609 points
May 21, 2016
Dave Schultz wrote:
I don't think you need a pair of hardshell pants, bib or waist. Mountaineering, glacier walking, and scrambling can all be done in you softshell pants; and realistically can be done in regular pants (non-hardshell, non-softshell) with your softshell as a bad-weather backup (if needed). I think of a hardshell bib as a serious winter (or winter conditions) type of specialty piece. I have the Alpha SV and wear it almost exclusively for technical ice climbing (and love it), and have not even considered wearing it for what you have described. I don't know a lot of people who actually have a full hardshell bib. If you get one, though, make damn sure it has nice, big ventilation openings like the Alpha SV does. I think of a hardshell waist pant as essentially a pair of rain pants. If you go this route, make sure you get nice, big ventilation holes. If you are looking to expand you pant quiver, you could look at a hybrid softshell / hardshell. La Sportiva makes a pant called the Storm Fighter which has the proection of a hardshell but the suppleness of a softshell, they are also 3/4 side zip; they are my go-to pants if I am wearing ski boots (but never really considered them without ski boots). I am sure other companies make something similar and I'm sure you can wear them in regular boots (not just ski boots). If you are looking for a bad-weather backup, and don't like you softshell for that purpose, I would get either the hybrid or the hardshell pants. If you need a hardshell bib, you will know, until then, I would stay away from them. Happy to answer any specific questions, I love my pants! Dave


Cheers for the answer Dave.

I'm heading for alpine expeditions of different kind, but it will be like Denali, Vinson etc. Not that extreme technical nor ice climbing activities, however I might encounted extreme weather conditions and there will be lots of snow.

What I've seen in recommended gear lists and suggestions for Denali for example, there are bib's listed and I see alot of posts on forums from people claiming that bibs is a must go.

I believe the hardshell jacket can affect the choice aswell, and the one I have have got foams to stay in place under the harness and also is quite long at the back. Only way to get snow inside is if I fall and slide somehow. In that case a pair of bibs might protect a bit more, however if I fall off a mountain I believe I might have other things to consider.
shadowfire
Joined Feb 1, 2016
0 points
May 21, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Seneca Holloween
shadowfire wrote:
I'm heading for alpine expeditions of different kind, but it will be like Denali, Vinson etc. Not that extreme technical nor ice climbing activities, however I might encounted extreme weather conditions and there will be lots of snow.



I don't have experience with those peaks; I would likely have my skis, which would dictate my pants. BUT, between a pant and bib, I would definitely go bib for those areas. Again, I have not been, but still maybe work $0.01 ...?
Dave Schultz
From Saratoga Springs, New York
Joined Sep 11, 2011
609 points


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