Best Ice Fishing Bibs Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Plenty of things can be added to your loadout to better improve your experience lakeside, and even for those that brave the ice for the deep of winter. One of the most crucial components to your comfort is a fishing bib. These are a pair of pants that can and should make your lower half waterproof. It is a big ticket item to have for die-hard fishers because nothing spoils your serenity like soggy, soaked through legs and feet. Here, we will go through the ten best options on the market today, and why they should be on your vetting list.
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Zip-to-Knees for Easy On/Off
10 Best Ice Fishing Bibs
1. Cabela's Guidewear with GORE-TEX
Zip-to-Knees for Easy On/Off
Fits a little large
This sport and all types of open and moving water fishing can get to be pretty cold. Here (where I write this) in British Columbia, almost all of our fresh water comes from mountain ice melting, making the temperature frigid even on the hottest days. Which is where the bib comes in, and makes a huge impact on your time. The Cabela’s partnership with Gore-Tex has produced a ton of amazing products, none of them are more relevant than their Xtreme Bibs.
As it may seem very relevant, the most important part of the idea that one would want to stay dry, is the waterproofing, and there is no better, bigger, or more illustrious brand than Gore-Tex. They have been making water and full weatherproof gear from head to toe since the late 1970’s, and continue to be the brand and logo folks look for on their products they are vetting.
Something that is often left by the wayside when developing and designing products like this is the mobility, but thankfully the Cabela’s and Gore-Tex collab puts that kind of thing front and center. With gusseted crotch inlays, and articulated knee stitches and patterns help the wearer move comfortably in all situations.
Cost and Value
Everything on our list might surprise you at the heights they reach in the price department, but when you sit back and admire just how much extra comfort one gets while wearing them in the water, costs begin to dissolve. The Gore-Tex remix with Cabela’s house-brand is an insanely versatile, and a not horrible to look at version.
2. Frogg Toggs Pilot II
Zippers to the Knee
Suspenders aren’t the greatest
In a marketplace where even the average prices on premium products can be a little bit looming, we thought it proper to prop-up a product that could be considered “budget-friendly”, and the Frogg Toggs Pilot II’s are truly where it’s at when it comes to getting an absolutely great product for less than the average price. They’re not flawless, but they come to the table with a whole lot for roughly half the general asking price.
I’ve you’ve never suited up in the internationally known sealed out waterproof suit, then you understand just how difficult it is to get in and out of these things. Matched with the lock and hooks on your waterproof shoes and boots, it’s a trivial adventure dressing. Thanks to zips that ride all the way up to the knee, this is crazy easy to get in and out of.
All the D-Rings
There are a lot of things one can bring with them on the adventure that is fishing. So many accessories and tools that are both auxiliary and astoundingly useful. Which is precisely why Frogg Toggs steps up their game when it comes to being able to connect, and hook accessories all over the place on the Frogg Toggs Pilot II, for the ease-of-use for fishers in mind.
Cost and Value
At the budget end of our list, we were just as shocked as you probably were, in seeing how epically adorned with all manner of build quality, and all of the things they’ve added to ease the use, and provide solid quality of life. The biggest downside is most-likely life length of this bib versus the bigger brands, but there’s so much value to wade in here.
3. Striker Ice Insulated
Removable Cold Weather Lining
Striker Ice is one of those brands that just won’t quit, and it has become a very recognizable brand in the world of warmth and weatherproof gear, making a huge impact in the lives and practice of fishers the world over.
One thing that helps this product stand among the top of its class, and even poke its head out from the crowd every one and awhile, is the removable liner. Plenty of bibs are meant to keep your legs dry, and not necessarily warm. With the think liner in the Climate Bib from Striker Ice, you’ve got a product ready for even your wildest fishing adventures. And you can remove it during the hotter excursions, making it the best year-round pant.
As funny as it may sound, sometimes fishing in cold or moving water can become very dangerous. But this product comes with built-in SureFloat technology, assisting in keeping the wearer near or above the surface of the water.
Cost and Value
There’s a pretty average price here, but you get with that price tag an extraordinarily strong history of quality, mixed with a few really amazing, and mostly unique features. Through added safety, and cold-weather comfort, the Striker Ice Bib is flush with value.
4. Huk Nxtlvl
Awesome Color and Pattern
Some reports of zipper issues
Not many pattern options
Huk is one of those brand names that lives and breathes within the fishing world, and doesn’t much take dips outside of those walls. It’s well known among those with a lure, while being relatively undiscovered by any and all those without any connection to fishing. Their All-weather waterproof bib is one that must be vetting if you’re on the lookout for quality fishing gear.
There’s something to be said for a good mesh. Most men have known the crucial integrity of mesh and water mixed thanks to the design of swim shorts since the mid 20th century. The Huk Nxtlvl All-Weather Waterproof Bib has a large zipper-shut mesh chest pouch that can fit one or many of your belongings that you need to keep close and at hand.
Not many pieces of gear in any sport can claim that they have put much thought into their design regarding the fit and comfort of their wearer. It’s always about use, and safety. Bibs don’t usually fit all that well, and Huk Performance Fishing took their time to add a velcro waist cinch, helping the slouch disappear.
Cost and Value
Definitely on the budget end of the scale, the Huk Nxtlvl All-Weather Waterproof Bib is something that folks should be shocked by. People don’t come across products nearer the bottom of the tier list, that can also uphold in the industry for which they speak to. This, the Huk, is one of those rare exceptions.
5. Frabill I-Float I-Bib
Built-in Floatation Device
Water and Windproof
Above Average Price
It took us almost exactly half this list to get to a full-blown package deal, and that’s exactly what we’re propping up here with the Frabill offering in the I-Float suit, one of all-weather fishings largest, and whitest of whales. It’s full-bore, and brings everything it can to the table in order to provide wearers with the utmost protection and comfort. Granting them the ability to fish and enjoy it, regardless of weather conditions.
While standing in water is a normal occurrence in the world of fishing, and a lot of fishers can get away with simply wearing a pant bib, there comes a time where the fully-blown injection of bad or winter weather can be too much for the human body. Which is why sets like this one, offered by Frabill, come with a jacket to match the pants, creating a full suit of weather protection.
With the addition of the jacket, Frabill has been able to step up the on-board safety for the fisher in question, thanks to a full-fledged USCG Certified floatation device built in. This is especially crucial for those fishers that seek the scenic, and frigid temperatures and water that come with this sport.
Cost and Value
With this product from Frabill, you get an almost completely covering head to toe protective suit for comfortable fishing and sport in almost any kind of weather conditions possible, all of this while not doubling the average price, regardless of doubling the amount of coverage you gain. Now that’s real huge value.
6. Frabill I4 Jacket & Pant Suit
Emergency Rescue Kit
Insulated Jacket and Pants
Premium Build Quality
Some Reported Shipping Woes
Another astounding full-coverage suit from Frabill, the I4 Waterproof Insulated Jacket and Pant Suit brings all of their renowned features to this suit for prime weatherproofing of the human body, allowing enthusiasts to throw or drop a line at anytime, during any kind of weather you may find.
Nylon Oxford Shell
Something that many neglect to consider when they begin to shop for weatherproof, or waterproof gear is that in order to be so protective against the elements, the gear is normally not very airey. It gets sweaty, and warm, without the ability to circulate air. But thanks to the 300 Denier Nylon Oxford Shell in the Frabill I4 set, you’ve got a premium level of breathability.
Emergency Self Rescue
Fishing in the winter on the ice doesn’t, on the surface, appear to be that dangerous of a past time, but if you consider the weather conditions, the calm and zen of the action, and the normally solitary nature of partaking in the act, one can be exposed to some rather dangerous scenarios. The most dangerous of which is falling into the water and under the ice. The Frabill I4 comes with a built-in patented self-rescue ice pick set attached to the suit.
Cost and Value
Just slightly above the asking price of the previously mentioned Frabill full suit, the Frabill I4 Waterproof Insulated Jacket and Pant Suit is probably the most premium, and protective option on our entire list, as a whole outfit. It’s stellar in almost every way.
7. Helly Hansen
Helly Hansen is a prolific brand in Europe, and North of the United States, but just because it doesn’t pull the same amount of brand recognition elsewhere in the world, doesn’t mean it’s lacking in anything. The brand loyalty is strong with Helly Hansen, especially considering that almost all of their products come with a 100% repair, lifetime warranty.
The Simple Things
There’s always something to be said about taking the road less built, and simpler. Plenty of astounding products come from a place of the simplest designs, and many folks out there prefer things to be simple -- the minimalism trend is heavy, and boundless -- so Helly Hansen developing the perfect, and basic (in a good way) waterproof bib overall is a fantastic thing.
A Budget Buy
Due to the fact that Helly Hansen isn’t trying to take over any of the bigger kids at the table, rather, playing their own game in the fishing bib world, they have attached a very pleasing price on the Mandal Durable. It does a whole lot less than other options on our list, but comes in far below the rest of the weight class when it comes to prices
Cost and Value
Like we’ve mentioned in both of our two selling features here, the Helly Hansen Workwear Mandal Durable Waterproof Rain Pant Bib and Overalls are an extremely valuable budget pick. A sleeper draft (if you’re into those fantasy sports references) if we’ve ever seen one, in almost any industry.
8. Frabill I3
Knee and Seat Pads
No Crotch Zip
Back on the Frabill camp, we’ve got one final “must be included” addition to this list. And by “must include” we mean, you just can’t ignore it. Rated slightly below the other Frabill options on here, the I3 from Frabill is an astounding choice for those looking for something that’s not-quite budget, but still below average.
Giant Front Pockets
Something that everyone who would need to or ever choose to wear something like a fishing bib wants is more pockets. The Frabill I3 Bib has multiple pockets, but the real prom king and queen are the two gigantic pockets on the top of the thighs. They are almost full-size hoodie pouches, each.
Thanks to the waterproofing and other proofings, plenty of products in these markets are pretty tough to breathe in. Your body can definitely get stressed without the circulation of oxygen. But Frabill has solved that problem, with their zippered air vents. Obviously, these should be used when the vents aren’t underwater (unless you don’t want that waterproofing anymore).
Cost and Value
We mentioned it in the intro, the Frabill I3 is a fantastic product that sits slightly above the budget zone of this market, yet falls quite a bit below the market average. Even though it comes in at a pretty stellar price point, the Frabill I3 Bib doesn’t come shy with the goods, and that spells great value in any game.
9. Navis Marine
Hi-Vis Lined Hood
Hand Warmer Pockets
Life-Jacket and Harness Room
Some Shipping Woes
Fits Big (sort of on purpose)
Our time going through the marketplace of fishing bibs is nearing the finale, so we wanted to introduce you to a brand that is doing almost as much as the big boys, and their full suit offerings, while remaining closer to the average price of just the pant bibs offered by most of the popular brands. You get twice as much, without any bump in price.
There are plenty of amazing things that have been added and made to be part of the Navis Marine Coastal Sailing Jacket and Bib, but not many things beat out the simple change that Navis Marine has made to the lined hood of the jacket. Making it highly visible neon, making it concealable in the collar, all help folks see you, and keep your head protected from the weather and the wind.
No one needs to suffer through the action of fishing, regardless of the active weather, and doing so with the uncomfortable use of cold hands, which is why Navis Marine put hand warmer pockets inside the main coat pockets, allowing fishers of all sorts to add a bunch of extra warmth to their pockets with ease.
Cost and Value
Partially due to their lack of recognition, but in no way because of a lack of attention to detail, the Navis Marine full jacket and pant combo clocks in at around the average price of just the pants. It’s high quality, has a few touches that make it unique, and is a great value at both pieces, making for an impactful option for this list.
10. IceArmor by Clam Edge
Fleece Lined Pockets
Ballistic-Level Knee Armor
Almost Budget Priced
Quick Release Straps
Not a Lot of Fluff
This product from Clam Edge is one of those that will probably come up in conversation if you were to ever ask a fisher what they picture when they imagine the most essential piece of gear you could slap on top of your pants, to protect you from the weather. It’s simplistic enough to be filed below the market average but is drenched in quality.
From the perspective of someone standing on the shoreline, watching from afar, one might not suspect that fishers have to have padded and protected knees. But as a lot of fishermen find themselves working on the ground, or kneeling into the water to adjust, or catch, the ballistic nylon knee pads in the IceArmor bib from Clam Edge are premium additions that many of the competition doesn’t stack up to.
Fleece Lined Pockets
Much like the beloved slide pockets built for the slip of a pocketed hand warmer, the IceArmor from Clam Edge comes with fleece-lined pockets that act as a near instant hand warmer, attached to your body via pants, and this could mean the huge difference between warm and cold hands, with ease.
Cost and Value
Below the average price of most of the items on our list, the IceArmor from Clam Edge skirts the roof of the “budget friendly” range here, but it doesn’t shy away in the quality, and additions made by Clam Edge make it stand out amongst the crowd of popular brand names, and honorable builds in this market.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the most important factor in the probability of a good product in the scope of fishing bibs comes in the form of how well it keeps the weather away from the wearer. Yup. Huge shocker, right?
The use of these products is a large part of the act of fishing, especially that in two specific scenarios. The act of fly fishing -- in which a fisher is usually standing knee-to-waist deep in a rushing river -- in one of them, while fishing in winter on the ice is the other. Though, in the latter, there is a lot less of the actually getting in the water bit, because the water is dangerously cold. Which slides into the bigger subject; Weatherproofing.
Waterproofing is one thing and is generally the base to build on, but weatherproofing is something a whole lot larger, that is more necessary for the fisherman on the ice in the winter. Keeping oneself dry, and warm, is absolutely essential in the comfort and healthy partaking of this sport. It’s so cold, and potentially dangerous in its lack of physical exertion, and truly needs these proofings to keep the fisher healthy, and safe.
Almost all of the products on our list are bolstered by full-blown weatherproofing, because it’s practically necessary in this field, while others (one in particular) is a paired down, and solely waterproof option. If you’re seeking a pair of pants, or bib, that are waterproof, and warm, go weatherproof. Take the next step up. And if you’re heading to the frozen lakes and water, you absolutely HAVE TO go weatherproof.
Like most of the markets that are fashioned by long lists of fabrics, and materials, the fishing bib marketplace can be quite daunting when you’re doggy-paddling near the surface, shivering before diving right in. But, once you get below the general surface of the offerings out there, you’ll notice trends, and following these trends and etching them as standards, is a fantastic way to ensure that whatever product you’re vetting is a successful and worthy choice.
A smaller point of contention is the lining and protection of the zippers. They should be protected, and covered, in almost all cases. It’s important. Because the physically closed zipper isn’t a seal.
Other, possibly extremely important things to focus on are things like the knees of the bib you are vetting. Most of the options on our list will have gusseted fabric on the knees (and other joints, if they include other joints) that make the bend and physical movement while wearing them, far easier. On top of that, some of the more premium options on the market will have ballistic, or padded nylon on the knees, or both.
Keep your eyes peeled for protective brands like Gore-Tex, or YKK, because the inclusion of those names and materials can prove to make a product astounding instead of just adequate.
At the end of the day, the actual material doesn’t matter as much as the water and weatherproofing treatment that is applied to said materials. So while vetting products with this in mind will help you, it shouldn’t be tedious, or thought of above all else.
Pants, in essence, aren’t normally something we pair with the idea, or the desires, for features. But the world of fishing bibs and truly any gear that is worn with a specific activity in mind should and will have features. These don’t always make or break the worthiness of the product in question, but they sure do make a huge difference when you’re actually using or wearing them.
Very crystal clear ideas of solid features to have on things like all-weather, or weatherproof gear, are things like fleece-lined pockets, to warm your appendages, and lined internals, to keep your body within it as warm as possible.
Other more auxiliary feeling additions might include things like tool hoops, or pouches, helping any fisher keep their most needed tools close at hand without fright or fraught. While things like quick release straps, and or front zippers, can help in a pinch, or a trip to the lou.
Premium, and often life-altering features are that of the life-saving variety. A few of the option on our list have internal floatation devices, that assist in keeping any wearer from drowning. Others, have ice-breaking tools built-in, or simply just have enough room for one to be able to wear a life-jacket underneath. Smaller touches like reflective bands, or hi-vis colors, are great additions at hardly any difference.
Regarding which features you should look for, the answer is sort of nothing. It’s important that they (the bibs you vet) keep you safe, dry, and warm, everything else should be considered a miracle, or an absolute surprise.
There’s not a whole lot of variety when it comes to the price ranges of the best pieces on the market, but we’ve managed to dig up some really solid options at below average price, and one or two just a bit more than average.
At a few hundred dollars, the contained price range of the middle-range, to premium options in the fishing bib industry, is a pretty easy one to vet through. Anything far above that is probably over-priced, and anything two digits long in the price department either isn’t worth a dime, or isn’t the complete protection one is looking for. Case in point, our Helly Hansen choice, which is waterproof, and not necessarily weatherproof, making it a far cheaper resort.
As with many things, the entire world over, the price will often reflect the costs a manufacturer takes in and put forth within the materials and build of the product. This simply translates into “anything worth buying, is worth spending some money on” and that is no different in this market.
When you set out, note our industry average for top tier products, and attempt to stick near that, if you can afford it, and head a little lower if you need to. But we suggest not going higher.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
The sport of fishing has often been considered one of humankind's’ remaining moments of zen. Sure, sport fishing and tournaments can become pretty hectic, and don’t provide the kinds of relaxation that we’ve come to expect from the past time. But if we’re to focus on the act of grabbing your tacklebox, chasing the sunrise, and casting your thoughts, doubts, and stresses into the water as bait for some calm, then we’d be remiss to not mention that modern fishing is used almost exclusively for this outcome. No longer is it an extremely important source of food, but a brief escape from a modern world.
The biggest point of contention in the waterproofing of your fishing gear is the part where your boot meets your pants, and almost every single one of these bibs will have hooks or straps that help seal them around or within your boot. This is the most important part of the bib, and can make or break their effectiveness. If you, at anypoint, doubt the integrity of this seal (whether it be through description, or in reviews) you should walk away from that product.
Other Factors to Consider
As with all thing you wear, fit can play a large part in your decision process, and thanks to quick and easy-to-access user reviews, one can almost always find out how the pieces fit on an actual human. In general, one should always aim a little larger, because some of these pieces are designed to fit life-vest underneath, and a little bit of breathing room for your skin can add a little bit of extra comfort for those long fishing journeys.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Should I get a full suit?
This came up a lot, and is kind of an easy question to answer. If you’re looking to keep your legs dry, and that is the only thing you need from a fishing bib, you do not need a jacket. But, if you’re heading out into some difficult weather, you should ensure that your entire body is ready for the cold, and the wet, which is where the full body set-up is going to come in great handy.
q: Why are fishing bibs so expensive?
To be extraordinarily short with this question, they are fairly expensive because they take a whole lot of research and development to perfect, they use pretty expensive materials to make, and they are designed and manufactured to keep you completely dry, warm, and safe. All of these things spell money, and one will need to put a bit of dollars together in order to have all of those things at the ready.
q: Why do I even need one of these?
Every fisherman knows that it isn't unusual to have the best luck fishing in volatile weather. The hardcore fishermen won't let a little rain or storm stop them from getting out there but it's important to make sure that you're well-protected from the elements. That's where apparel like bibs come in. They will help to keep you dry, protected and comfortable during those cold and wet weather excursions.