Everybody remembers their first hunting season in the deep winter. Snow everywhere, freezing temperatures, and you trailing with your gear on your back. After going out with some normal camo pants you said never again, right? Well, if you are looking to correct that mistake and find well-made clothes for your next hunt, you are in the right place. In this guide, I will walk you through some of the best hunting bibs for cold weather and show you all the pros and cons of both cheap and expensive options. Later on, we will discuss the different features that you should keep your eyes open for when looking for a new pair of bibs.
First, let’s take a closer look at some of the top models for this year and see how they stack up against each other…
Hunting Bibs Comparison Chart
Best Overall – Mossy Oak Cotton Mill 2.0 Camo Hunting Bibs
The Mossy Oak Cotton Mill 2.0 Camo hunting bibs are one of the most well-rounded models for this year. While they don’t shine with any particular feature, they manage to bring incredible value to the table by being affordable, comfortable, and good enough for most types of terrains and scenarios.
Comfort and practicality are a major strong side here. The fabric is a mix between cotton, polyester, and spandex, making it soft to the touch and stretchable enough to withstand going through thick brush without tearing. There is little to no waterproofing and average windproofing, though. This is why I recommend impregnating them with a water repellent and a scent killer before you first go out with them. Convenience-wise, there are 7 differently sized pockets all over the front, sides, and rear that make them quite practical when you’re up on your treestand.
In terms of sizing and camo patterns, these hunting bibs really shine. There are 7 different sizes ranging from Small to 4XL. While Mossy Oak won’t give you a complete chart on how to find the perfect size, they give you waist numbers. The inseam is the same across all the sizes at 32 inches. The camo patterns are also 7 and range from Greenleaf, Bottomland, Obsession to Break-up Country, and other darker versions of the first camo options.
As a whole, these bibs manage to tick a lot of boxes without being exceptional at any single feature apart from their affordability. They are decently comfortable, fairly durable, and warm enough for late Fall and early Winter. While not entirely waterproof and windproof, they can be the perfect top addition to your base layers.
- Very affordable
- Excellent for late Fall and early Winter
- Come in a lot of camo patterns
- 7 different sizes
- Breathable and soft fabric
- Comfortable straps
- 7 pockets
- Not waterproof and windproof
- Not ideal for heavy snow and freezing temperatures
- No sizing chart
Best For Deer Hunting – Realtree Men’s Insulated Bib
The Realtree Men’s Insulated Bib has a few features that make it a great bib for hunting from a treestand. It is thickly padded with fiberfill insulation, has a durable polyester/cotton mix fabric, and is water-resistant. Everything about the materials here is great and will help the pair last quite a few hunting seasons. There are even scuff guards at the leg hems for added protection.
The insulation here is one of the best among all the other bibs on this list. There is 6 oz of heavy-weight insulation in the legs along with 4 oz around the chest and back. This really makes these bibs a great choice for someone hunting in deep snow but might be far too much insulation for hunters that need something for the mid-to-late Fall. Still, it allows you to hunt with a thin base layer and no other clothes. In terms of comfort, there is a semi-elastic waistband that helps with the bibs staying in place and not moving too much. There is also a zipper that goes up to the knees for easy on and offs. There are also quite a lot of pockets with 2 chest ones, 2 deep front pockets, and one more hip pocket with a concealed snap closure.
The downsides of these bibs are that there are just a few size options without any Small versions and 2-3XL ones. Moreover, the bibs only come in Realtree Xtra without any white camo patterns which would’ve been extremely suitable for such a well-insulated pair. As a whole, if you’re hunting deer from a tree stand in harsher conditions, this will keep you warm and dry and won’t cost an arm and a leg. While it is fairly noisy, it is extremely durable and not very expensive.
- Water-resistant finish
- Very well insulation
- Knee-high zippers
- Plenty of pockets
- Excellent for Winter hunting
- Very durable
- Doesn’t come in a lot of size options
- Only one camo pattern
- Not ideal for warmer days
Most Silent – Sitka Men’s Fanatic Bib
In the world of winter clothing, there is one brand that truly stands out from all the rest. That brand is SITKA Gear and they have been pioneering winter hunting equipment for decades now. Their Fanatic series of jackets, pants, bibs, and other clothes are extremely expensive but comes with all the bells and whistles you need to hunt in the deepest, coldest winter days.
One crucial feature of the updated SITKA Fanatic Bibs is that they are sound-proofed to an even further extend. They’ve managed to reduce the AED (audible engagement distance) by 50% from the first generation Fanatic bibs by improving the material combinations and adding features such as silent snaps for the pockets. The inner layer features Berber fleece which is incredibly soft on the skin and even more insulation. The material allows for water molecules to go out while the bigger warm air molecules stay inside where the heat is needed. There is around 3-6 oz of insulation across different parts of the bib with most of it being on the torso. On the outside, you have Gore-Tex Infinium fabric that makes the bibs full waterproof and windproof. Fitment here is true to sizing, although I still recommend getting one size above your own if you plan on layering heavily beneath the bibs. Luckily, there is a chart by SITKA that guides you through the dimensions of each size.
In terms of practicality, there are 4 multi-chambered pockets on both sides and zippers at the ankles along with elastic bands both at the waist and at the ankles to keep the cold air out and away from your legs. The Fanatic series also has Jackets, Hoodies, Vests, and Beanies. The major downside to all of them, however, is the incredibly large price tag. Another downside is that they all come in the patented Optifade Elevated camo pattern.
- Superb insulation
- Multi-chambered pockets with silent snaps
- Gore-tex Infinium as the outside layer
- Waterproof and very durable
- Ideal for deep snow and extreme conditions
- Only one camo pattern
- Extremely expensive
- Not suitable for warmer days
Best Budget Option – Frogg Toggs Men’s Classic Pro Action Rain Bib
While the SITKA hunting bibs have all the bells and whistles and cost a ton of money, there are some other models that seemingly do everything just about right and cost a fraction of that. The Frogg Toggs Classic Pro Action Rain Bib is one of the cheapest models out there but it doesn’t cut a ton of corners. First of all, it isn’t meant to be used in deep snow or extremely low temperatures, as it isn’t as well-insulated as the rest of the bibs on this list. Still, with proper layering, it is perfect for the Fall hunting season thanks to its waterproof but breathable fabric.
It is made out of 100% polypropylene making it very durable to scratches and tears. The downside of that material that it is a bit noisier than cotton or other noise-proof materials. There are adjustable leg openings that have bands around the ankles and a hook-and-loop system for opening and closing them. That, combined with the large front zipper make putting these bibs very easy. All the seams are taped which adds to the overall water and windproofing of the bibs. They are also among the lightest on this list, weighing less than 15oz.
While there are a lot of sizes, the fit is a bit tricky so I suggest getting the size above yours, especially if you plan to layer beneath the bibs. In terms of camo patterns, you can order these in black, Realtree Edge (dark), or Realtree Timber which is even darker. The solid black color works great if you’re hunting from a black-interior ground blind. Both Realtree combos work great if you want to hunt from a treestand. As a whole, there is a lot of room for improvement but for this price, there is almost no competition out there.
- Very cheap
- An excellent choice for the Fall
- Durable design
- Water and windproof
- Has black color which is ideal for ground blinds
- Not well insulated
- Not very true to their size
- No chest pockets
Best for Kids – Rocky Junior ProHunter Waterproof Insulated Bibs
The Rocky ProHunter Waterproof bibs are the ultimate starter pair of bibs for your kid to go out there and experience his/her first buck fever! Despite their minimalistic nature, they feature an insulated shell that offers a fair amount of movements in it, not restricting your kid’s energy. There are zippered outseam vents if things get a little warm, and they can get warm since the insulation is meant for the colder part of the Fall season or even winter. They do a great job in the rain as well with their waterproof construction.
In terms of comfort, they feature a polyester/cotton mix that is easy on the skin and is also quite durable. The leg cuffs can be adjusted, as well as the elastic shoulder straps. Everything can be machine washed at low temperatures which is always a welcome feature for the kids’ hunting clothing! The bibs come in three different sizes and three different camo patterns – Realtree Extra (camouflage), Edge, and classic RTE.
My issue with these junior bibs is that they often do not match their size and you have to order bigger if you want your kid to fit in them. Moreover, there aren’t that many size options to pick from, so sizing becomes a real issue. There are also just two front slash pockets which often isn’t enough for your kid to put all its small items around. A zippered chest pocket here would’ve been amazing. Still, for their money, these bibs are durable and insulated enough to keep your kid safe and warm.
- Decently priced
- Excellent for kids
- Adjustable suspenders and leg cuffs
- Not a lot of size options
- Only 2 pockets
- Not true to size
Advanced Insulation – Wildfowler Outfitter Camo Hunting Bibs
If you’re willing to spend a little extra, the Wildfowler Outfitter Camo Hunting Bibs are one of the most well-insulated and well-made bibs out there. The amount of material technologies and advanced sewing and stitching here really sets it apart from all its competitors in this price class.
These bibs have three layers that work together to create a perfect moisture-wicking, breathable, and thermally-stable environment for your body. The outer-most shell carries all the waterproofing and windproofing, while the inner membrane keeps the moisture away from your body while retaining the heat. The polar fleece lining also helps with heat retention thanks to its 6 oz per square ft insulation thickness. The thermal properties of these bibs have been tested at temperatures around -20 degrees (Fahrenheit) making them ideal for deep winter conditions. At the knees and on your seat you have reinforced fabrics to prevent long-term wear and tear. The shoulder straps are wide and are easily adjustable. Lastly, there are two pockets at the front and two at the back and they are all zippered.
The area where these bibs truly shine is the camouflaging. They have three color options – wild grass, wild tree, and blaze which are own unique for late Fall, Winter, and all-year-round hunting. The patterns are carefully selected and are much richly texture compared to cheaper bibs. In terms of sizes, you can choose from Medium to 3X-Large and the fit is true to the size, although you might wanna get one size above if you plan on using the bibs in heavy snow conditions with lots of layering. As a whole, there isn’t anything you could want from these bibs apart from a good large chest pocket and a slightly cheaper price.
- Excellent thermal insulation
- Protective layers at knees and seat
- Windproof and waterproof
- Great for deep winter hunting
- Perfect for treestand hunting
- Comfortable fit
- Market-leading camo patterns
- No chest pocket
- Slightly expensive
- Not suitable for warmer days
For Bowhunting – Legendary Whitetails Men’s HuntGuard Reflextec Camo Hunting Bibs
Bowhunters often face the challenge of stalking their prey high from their treestands or within hunting blinds with little to no protection against the elements. This is why having the most amount of insulation is paramount to them during the winter hunting season. The Legendary Whitetails HuntGuard Reflextec Hunting Bibs are one of the most resilient out of this list and can insulate your against the cold air in temperatures down to the whopping -90 degrees (Fahrenheit) when paired with the Reflextec jacket. Without the special Reflextec liners on the inside, the bib becomes more suitable for late Fall and early Winter hunting and is much more breathable and maneuverable.
The fit here is actually quite good and fits both men and women within the specific sizes (Small – 3XL). There is a variable inseam that can be adjusted for inseams of 30 to 34 inches. On both your legs, you have full-size zippers that make putting these bibs extremely easy. The overall weight of it is around 3.5 lbs with the liner. The construction is actually quite impressive with all sorts of different synthetic materials being used for different parts, including nylon, polyurethane, polyester, and more. Not only that makes the bib quite weatherproof but it is also machine washable. There are 6 pockets, 3 on each side, with two of them having silent zippers.
Another impressive feature here that will really help you get as close as possible to your target is the soundproof construction. The bib utilizes a micro-suede type of fabric that is 4-way stretchable and is far more muted than other synthetic hunting bibs. Moreover, there are no hook and loop fasteners here, just silent snaps like the ones we saw on the SITKA bibs.
As a whole, just like the SITKA hunting bib, the price is one of the biggest issues with the Legendary Whitetails HuntGuard. If you add their jacket, things get even more expensive. Nevertheless, if you are willing to spend the money, you will be left with an extremely warm pair of bibs that will keep you dry and happy throughout the hunting season.
- Very warm when the removable liner is attached
- Ideal for both cold and milder weather
- Durable fabrics
- Machine washable
- Professionally made camo pattern
- Tons of size options
- Quite expensive
- The fit isn’t very true to the size
Carhartt Men’s Big & Tall Quilt Lined Camo Bibs
Last but not least not this list is the Carhartt Men’s Big & Tall Quilt Lined Camo Bibs. These are one of the better-insulated pairs of bibs here with 12 oz insulation which is more than any other model we’ve been through. The functionality of these bibs is quite unique thanks to their design and overall form-factor.
There are a lot of high-utility pockets, both at the chest and on the sides, even though none of them are zippered which is a big downside for some people. The main fabric is 100% cotton which is a huge upside for people that want something softer and quieter but is also a big downside since 100% cotton fabrics tend to rip easier and aren’t as waterproof as some synthetic options out there. The insulation layer is nylon-quilted polyester that has fairly good thermal properties but doesn’t do a great job at wicking the moisture away from the skin. And while these bibs are excellent for cold weather, they are nowhere near as good in the slightly warmer days of mid-to-late Fall. Putting them on is easy, though, as you have knee-high zippers that allow you to equip the bib without taking your boots off.
As a whole, these bibs are for people that trust the brand for its top-shelf quality and want something that will keep them warm in the harsher days of the winter. If you look past the price tag, these are among your best options out there.
- Come in two unique camo patterns
- Very warm
- Knee-high zippers
- Lots of open pockets
- Comfortable fit
- Machine washable
- Lacks zippered pockets
- Somewhat expensive
- Not suitable for warmer days
Hunting Bibs Buyer’s Guide
Hunters nowadays tend to research more in-depth into things that will improve their experience and will make their day out easier. With the seemingly endless choice of products, however, beginners can be troubled with their choice, especially in clothing, where there are a lot of features that come into play. Before we dive into those features, let’s first go through a few other important questions…
What are Hunting Bibs?
A hunting bib is a pants-like clothing that goes above your waist and hangs over your shoulders with a set of shoulder straps. Bibs come in a variety of sizes with some having longer straps and lower-hanging covering portions, and others can insulate your body up to your chest. They have leg zips that make putting them on and taking them off very easy. Additionally, hunting bibs have a few more features that set them apart from normal working bibs. For instance, they have more pockets, they are often camouflaged, they have better water, wind, and cold protection, and some models even have scent- and noise-control capabilities.
Now, let’s check out what are the advantages and disadvantages of getting a pair of bibs as opposed to coveralls or pants…
Advantages & Disadvantages
It is difficult to put all bibs under the same roof and compare their benefits and disadvantages simply because they vary a lot from model to model. Some have scent-control features, are noise-proof, and very well-insulated, while others lack proper insulation, waterproofing, and windproofing, and aren’t that good at scent-control. This is why most bibs can be separated into ones that are good for the late Fall and early Spring months and others that are meant to be worn in deep snow or on very cold days. Either way, the common benefits and drawbacks that bibs have compared to coveralls or waders are the following:
- They provide a good amount of body coverage, keeping you warm and insulated
- Bibs keep your waist dry even if you’re sitting in the snow
- Even cheap models are good at keeping you warm
- Freedom of movement
- Easier to add or remove layers compared to coveralls
- Most models are priced reasonably
- Most bibs have a ton of pockets making them especially convenient
- Some well-insulated bibs can be limiting due to their bulkiness
- Not entirely waterproof like waders are
- Hard to put on and take off
A lot of people are confused about what to wear when hunting in the cold and they often have to choose between bibs, coveralls, or pants. To make it easier for you I’ve covered all the pros and cons for each of those options in a detailed article on the topic. Click here if you want to check it out!
How To Pick A Good Hunting Bib
Knowing how to pick a hunting bib can essentially be boiled down to a few features that you should look for. Those are:
- Cold weather protection
- Materials & Durability
- Mobility & Comfort
- Weather resistance
- Noise levels
- Pockets & Zipper Legs
Cold weather protection
While it is likely that you will be wearing the bibs over a pair of base layers and maybe one more layer of clothing, you still need to look for models that are meant to be worn in the cold. Insulation is often measured in oz (or grams) and anything above 4oz is often good enough when worn with additional clothing. More importantly, look for bibs that have their insulation at the right places. Apart from the legs, the most important area that needs insulation is the torso followed by your back. Some bibs have different levels of insulation for different areas with the legs getting slightly less since they typically produce more heat and need better heat management than the core of the body.
Another thing that really plays a major role in cold-weather protection is the body coverage of the bibs. Even though bibs, in general, cover a bigger area of your body than pants, there are still differences between the various models on the market with some going much higher than others. The bibs that go up to your chest and around it tend to keep your body’s core temperature well-regulated. Still, the more cutouts you have at the top of the bib, the more mobile you will be, so you have to look for the ideal combination of both these factors.
There are a lot of camo pattern options out there that can make things here a little bit confusing. As a whole, you should be looking for a bib that matches your general hunting area during that same hunting season. If you’re hunting primarily in snowy conditions, white-camo bibs are essential. Going out in the snow with a Realtree Edge/Xtra camo pattern will be the same as walking in the forest with a big arrow pointing down at you.
If you want to go for darker colors, some models offer complete blacked-out versions or even camo patterns like Realtree Timber. Other brighter options include Mossy oak break up country, Big Game 360, and the familiar Realtree Edge and Xtra. There are even bright orange bibs that are meant to have a high-visibility index even in low-light conditions.
Materials & Durability
Most modern hunting bibs come with their own special blend of materials. Moreover, some have different layers that all serve a different purpose. Such as some bibs that have polyester middle layers, a cotton base layer, and a Gore-tex fabric on top to keep the bibs dry. When it comes to toughness, the rule of thumb is that the more polyester there is in the mix, the more durable and flexible the fabric will be. Cotton is great at insulating but lacks breathability and is more fragile tear-prone than some other synthetic materials. Other materials used in the lining, inner shell, or stitching are polyurethane, polypropylene, spandex, nylon, and others.
Mobility & Comfort
Mobility, as a whole, is one of the stronger features of any pair of hunting bibs. There are no belts, no falling pants, or anything like that. You just put them on, adjust your straps, and you are good to go. That type of unibody construction allows your waist to be far more agile and free in your range of motions. However, if the bibs are insulated far too well, you might find them bulky and a bit limiting in terms of your movements. While those are ideal for extreme weather, I do not recommend them for anything other than a 10-degree day with 30 inches of snow since they restrict mobility and overheat your legs if the outside conditions are warmer.
In terms of comfort, there aren’t going to be a lot of situations where your body touches the bibs directly since most of the time people layer up beneath the bibs. Still, having a good amount of cotton in the fabric will make it easier on the skin and on other clothes. Some waist and ankle bands will also make adjustability easier. The only thing that isn’t going to be very comfortable is the process of putting the bib on and taking it off. There are things to make this process easier but if you’ve ever geared up for a long hunting day or had to take the bib off for whatever reason mid-day, you know that this is just an expected drawback of the overall design.
A lot of people use their bibs when hunting from a tree stand or a ground blind. In these situations, not moving for long periods at a time, any small discomfort can turn into a bigger issue for your back, shoulders, or neck. This is why you should try to carefully adjust your bibs straps in order for them to not feel tight around your shoulders. The same goes for the safety harness that you’re using on the tree stand.
With sizing, there is just one important thing that I want to hit on – choose a slightly bigger size than what you normally wear. If you’re picking a pair of bibs for cold weather hunting, then you will be most definitely wearing additional layers of clothes beneath those bibs. Getting your own size will make everything a much tighter squeeze than it has to be. Luckily, most companies nowadays provide you with detailed charts about the length, circumference, and overall sizes of their products, making it far easier to shop online for hunting clothes.
It would be wrong of you to assume that all bibs are waterproof or even water-resistant. Most cheap models do a poor job at keeping water out, even though they are good enough for an occasional splash. That is why people use coveralls for duck hunting where contact with water is inevitable. There are some bibs, however, that are rated to be waterproof. That is a major benefit in heavy snow or rain as it will keep your lower layers dry. It often also prevents mud and dirt from sticking to the bib, making them easier to clean afterward.
Even if your pair of bibs is rated to be waterproof, there is no harm in additionally preparing it for the season by impregnating it with a water repellent. If you are treating all of your gear at once, you can also add one more step where you scent-proof the bibs and other clothing along with your ground blind, chairs, shooting sticks, and other equipment.
Apart from water resistance, wind resistance is also very important in the winter. The wind chill is a serious threat in lower temperatures, especially if you aren’t well protected. Some brands combine Gore-tex materials with patented wind-resistance technologies that keep the materials breathable while blocking the cold air and moisture coming from outside. These, however, will set you back quite more than what you’d pay for an average pair of bibs.
the factor that matters a lot to hunters nowadays is how sound-proof their gear is. More and more companies are entering the race to create noiseless fabrics that reduce the AED (audible engagement distance) drastically compared to older types of materials. While this can easily seem unimportant, it is paramount in deer hunting.
Pockets & Zipper Legs
The pockets of the hunting bibs will define their practicality and usability when you’re out in the cold. The number of pockets isn’t the only important feature, though. Their depth, size, and ease of use are just as important. How easy they are to open with hunting gloves on is detrimental to the overall convenience. Imagine having to take your gloves off every time you want to reach for something in your front pocket and you will understand why this feature is crucial.
Zipper legs aren’t a mandatory feature but they do make things much easier when you take the bibs on or off. When unzipped, they allow you to pass through your legs through even with your boots on, which saves time and energy. And since people mostly use base layers and insulated socks that they tuck into their boots, demand for non-zippered legs has really dropped in recent years and now most of the bibs have this feature.
How to maintain your hunting bibs
The most important thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to washing your hunting bibs is scent-control. The other important thing you need to avoid is UV-brighteners in detergents. There are special laundry detergents that contain no brighteners and no chemical fragrances. Most animals have an acute sense of scent and will detect anything that smells unnatural for their normal habitat. To take things a step further, you can apply scent-killers on top of the already clean pair of bibs.
As a whole, it isn’t a good idea to machine wash your bibs at high temperatures even if the sticker tells you that you can. The reason for that is because the bibs can lose their camouflage color and contrast even if your detergent doesn’t have brighteners in it. Machine washing and machine drying can also damage some of the fabrics, so make sure you check with the manufacturer if those two are okay. If machine washing is permitted, make sure you use low-temperature with no drying programs. Hang-drying the bibs will be the best option and has a lot of benefits as opposed to tumble-drying in a machine. If your bibs have Gore-tex fabrics, you will need to apply a DWR (durable water repellent) coating after you’re done washing them so that they keep their waterproof properties.
If you have base layers that you also want to learn how to maintain and wash, head over to my article on that topic!
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you wear under your hunting bib?
Typically, when hunting in cold weather, hunters rely on having base layers that insulate their bodies and keep all the heat where it is needed the most. Modern material technologies have allowed these base layers to be both thermally efficient and moisture-wicking, meaning you won’t sweat up too much if it gets too warm. You can click here if you want to check out my guide on some of the best base layers for cold weather hunting.
How should I store my hunting bibs?
Storing your hunting clothing, in general, should be done in a way that prevents the build-up of scents. Those scents can drive animals away from you if you aren’t using any particular scent killer. For that reason, after you wash your bibs with a fragrance-free detergent, store them in separate boxes to keep them exposed to the normal scents around your house.
How long do hunting bibs last on average?
Hunting bibs are actually quite durable. Even better, with bibs cheap isn’t necessarily bad and cheaper models have fewer parts that can rip or break out on the field. As a whole, the most common damage occurring on bibs is the fabric thinning out due to excessive wearing. Discoloring can also be an issue with some models, especially if you don’t follow the cleaning recommendations.
Finding the best hunting bibs for cold weather is essential to your success this winter. Start off by setting up your target budget and work your way up from that. Look for good material combinations and the right level of insulation and scent control you need. Also, don’t neglect the camo patterns especially if you are hunting in thicker brush and there isn’t too much snow to cover things up.