The ski resorts may be closing soon, but there are still plenty of adventure filled days in the backcountry in the forecast. The Patagonia PowSlayer Bibs are the perfect match for both spring and winter ski conditions thanks to their incorporation of GORE-TEX® Pro fabric that delivers water and windproof protection in a lightweight, moves with you design.
I’ve been testing the Patagonia Women’s PowSlayer Bibs out in Steamboat Springs, CO on pre-dawn skin tours to the top of the gondola, all-day backcountry tours, and at the resort. No matter the activity or the conditions, the Patagonia PowSlayer Bibs have met and exceeded my expectations.
Venting, pockets, and features
The Patagonia PowSlayer Bibs feature an awesome drop-seat configuration. You may be asking, “A drop what?” The PowSlayer Bibs feature two way zippers along the thigh that allow you to do some serious venting: the Vislon® zippers are watertight and run from just above the knee up to the low back. When nature calls, you simply unzip from the top down and unsnap the button along the rear of the bib and voila, the entire back seat of the bibs is free and you an go about your business without the hassle of undoing your bibs from underneath your various layers.
If you don’t feel like utilizing the bibs while hiking, there are two integrated belt loops to allow you to wear the PowSlayers without the bibs up. There is an integrated rear loop that works with Patagonia snow jackets for a seamless coverage on deep powdery days.
The Patagonia PowSlayer Bibs feature two large-deep cargo pockets over the thighs that are perfect for stashing liner gloves or mittens, your cell phone, or any other key essentials. These pockets are also water tight and easy to open when on the move thanks to long pull tabs. There is a rear pocket with flap and snap closure and two low-profile zippered pockets along the top of the pants. The small zippered pockets aren’t used that much by me, aside from placing my phone in the zip, peaking out with the microphone to listen to NPR while skinning after work. I know that this is not what the pocket was designed for, but I rarely use it as my backpack has integrated hip belt pockets and I traditionally use these for small items.
I tested out the Patagonia Women’s PowSlayer Bibs in Chartreuse, aka bright yellow. I loved the color so much as they keep me easily visible with the snowcats, other skiers, and when out walking the dogs in a deluge. I feared that the yellow would get dirty pretty quick, but the fabric brushes off easily and doesn’t look any less bright after 1 month of solid use and no washing. The pants are also available in Underwater Blue, featured in the photos above. Some may say, where is the black option? I am actually very pleased to have diversified my ski wardrobe and no longer only have black pants.
I typically wear between a size 4 and 6 in hiking and casual pants; the size small fit like a charm and runs true to size. The Patagonia PowSlayer Bibs are roomy enough for layering, but an alpine fit that keeps the bulk down. They are available in XS to XL.
At nearly 5’9″ and with 33″ inseam, I need a tall in most pants or run the risk of having high waters. Fortunately, Patagonia offers plenty of length with the PowSlayer Bibs. The ability to adjust the bibs is key; I do worry that over time the velcro bib adjustment will wear out, but for now they are low bulk, secure, and easy to move on the fly.
Bibs can take many different shapes and configurations with rises just above your true waist all the way to covering your upper chest. These bibs rise about 4-5 inches above my true waist. This is obviously adjustable based on the bib design, but even with my long legs I felt the coverage to be enough to keep my backside warm without over heating all of the time.
The Patagonia Women’s PowSlayer offer reasonable venting, not fabulous. I wish that the zips would continue down below the knee as I am a heavy “knee pit” sweater. As for the warmth department, these pants kept me plenty warm with my Patagonia baselayers and Smartwool merino layers on colder days and light knickers on spring days. There is no fleece backing for added insulation or bulk and I didn’t seem to need them at all no matter the conditions. The articulated knees offer great range of motion, while the clips along the gaiters help to keep the pants locked around your boots. The scuff guards have held up to my skis, but I worry that over time they aren’t as burly as other scuff guards. The trade off is lack of bulk and low profile, which is the overall aim with these pants.
As mentioned above, the Patagonia PowSlayers feature GORE-TEX® Pro fabric. The three layer design is essentially three different materials stuck together in a thin package and gives the ability to provide water and wind protection, while not having to sacrifice breathability. The outer features a DWR finish to add even more repellency on wet, snowy days.
The Patagonia PowSlayer Bibs are available for both men and women. They retail for $599, but are available currently for a deep discount (30% off) or $419 from Patagonia.com