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Here in Northern Colorado we are off to the best ski season in years. Our local mountain has gotten over 150 inches of snow before the new year which has made for some of the best early season skiing in a long time. All of this great skiing has also made me realize that it is time to update some of my ski gear and this will start with the Archangel GORE-TEX Bibs from Outdoor Research.
Over the past few weeks I have been skiing in the Archangel GORE-TEX Bibs from Outdoor Research. Outdoor Research was founded by adventure enthusiast Ron Gregg. On an expedition in Denali, Ron experienced gear failure that led to the trip being cut short. Once back in home, Ron quit his job and decided to start engineering outdoor gear that would meet the demands of outdoor adventures. Today the company Outdoor Research is based in Seattle, Washington.
With storm after storm rolling in and more on the way this is the perfect time to get out and get some turns in. This was also a perfect opportunity to try out the Archangel GORE-TEX Bibs and see how they held up to the deep powder.
Initial Thoughts on the Archangel GORE-TEX Bibs
The Archangel GORE-TEX Bibs are designed to be all mountain ski pants that are made to withstand the rigors of deep snow and big mountain descents. The construction of these bibs is reflected in their engineering.
The Archangel Bibs are constructed using the GORE-TEX Pro 3L. The GORE-TEX Pro 3L offers top of the line protection from the elements. This material is a 3 layer system that provides durability, breathability, and mobility. The outermost layer utilizes 20- 300 denier fabric that is snag proof and tear resistant. Underneath this protective layer is a breathable, waterproof, and tear resistant inner layer. This technology is why GORE-TEX is widely known as some of the most bomb proof material on the market.
To allow for mobility, stretch panels have been incorporated throughout the design. These panels have been strategically placed in the knees, lower back, and crotch gusset. Around the ankles are adjustable safeguard cuffs. These durably designed areas are made to protect against ski edges and crampon punctures.
Outdoor Research also is on top of design features for times when “nature calls.” In the front there is a small zipper to allow for relief. Additionally, there is also a rear hatch that can be accessed by two zippers that run the length of the sides of the bibs.
The storage features of the Archangel GORE-TEX Bibs come from two pockets. One pocket is on the chest of the bibs. This pocket is relatively small and can hold items like a cell phone or car keys. The side pocket located on the right side of the bibs is quite deep. This pocket is more substantial than the chest pocket and could accommodate a small water pouch and snacks.
The suspender straps are held on by releasable suspender clips. These clips are designed so that straps can come off easily so that undergarments can be changed up easily and effortlessly.
Testing the Archangel Bibs
Weatherproof is how I would describe these Archangel Bibs. I have had a chance to ski these bibs when it has been dumping snow, in deep powder, and in howling winds. They have seen the full array of Colorado weather this month and I have been super pleased with how they have held up.
The GORE- TEX Pro 3L is some bomber material. Even when snow would be sitting on my thighs on a long chair lift ride, I would have no soak through. It was impressive how dry I stayed even through several days of skiing in weather where snow, ice, and water would build up on the outside of the pants. These pants are definitely waterproof and hold up well to inclement weather.
The Fit of the Archangel Bibs
For me the Archangel Bibs fit ok. I am 5’10 and 180 pounds and went with the large size. Most of the time I find myself somewhere between size medium and large. In outerwear I tend to error on the side of caution and go with the larger size. This allows for layering underneath. Since Archangel Bibs are a shell I was planning on wearing at least one layer underneath.
The length of the bibs were near perfect. I found that they came up low but not too low on my boot. I like this as it is another layer of protection from snow coming in.
A Couple Fit Issues
The waist and thighs are where I have most issues with fit. The waist of the size large bibs is too big for me. I have to admit that I may have gone a little overboard on holiday cookies this year but even so the waistline on the Archangel bibs is more than generous. The result is the leftover material bunches in the back. Though this is not a problem or even noticeable with a jacket over the top. If I was skinning in a snowstorm or on a sunny spring ski day where I didn’t wear a jacket over top, this could be a problem.
The other area I have a bit of fit issues with are the upper thighs and crotch. These areas of the bibs are a bit tight for me. I would consider my thighs large as I was a former collegiate sprinter so I sometimes have a tight fit in outerwear. However, I would think that in a size large I would be good to go, yet they were a bit snug. None of the fit issues were a deal killer but were definitely noticeable.
The Bells and Whistles
These bibs are definitely minimalistic which will work for most people. The front pocket is the perfect size for car keys and a cell phone. When wearing a jacket over the top I have really only used this pocket for my keys as digging for my cell phone would be a hassle. The hip pocket is really nice and deep. I have been using this for holding snacks and even a small hydration water pouch. Even with these items inside this there is still more than enough room. One thing that I find a bit interesting is why there is not a complementary pocket on the other side. This is really not an issue for me but I would imagine if I was left handed, I may like the pocket to be on the left side for easier access.
The scuff guard around the base of the bibs is great. I like how burly this is. When skinning I find that this is when my ski pants get the most torn up. My ski edges sometimes hit my pants causing small cuts that need to get repaired. I don’t see this being that much of an issue on these bibs. The rest of the leg cuff area is also well thought out. The inner portion of the cuff is a snow gator and can be snugly secured around the top of the ski boot. These have been great in the deep snow. Not even once have I had snow get into my boots.
Specs of the Outdoor Research Archangel Bibs Taken Directly From the Outdoor Research Website
- MSRP $649
- FABRIC GORE-TEX Pro 3L,
- WEIGHT :25.3 oz./716 g
- Fully Seam-Taped
- Movement-Mirroring Stretch
- Hybrid-Mapped Construction
- Cross Back Suspenders and Top to Bottom Side Zips
- Full-Separating Side Zippers
- Reinforced Scuff Guards
- Cuff Size Adjustment Tabs for Fit with Climbing or Ski Touring Boots
- Snow Gaiters
- Right Thigh and Upper Bib Pockets
- Long Zipper Fly
- Belt Loops
- Strong Light Metal Suspender Hardware
- Drop Hatch for Answering Nature’ s Call
Final Thoughts on the Outdoor Research Archangel GORE-TEX Bibs
If you need some of the most waterproof ski bibs look no further than the Outdoor Research Archangel GORE-TEX Bibs. These bibs constructed from GORE-TEX Pro 3L will be up for the challenge of the nastiest wettest weather. The features of these bibs are minimal but are well thought out and very handy. If a no frills bomber pair of ski bibs are what you are looking for then check out the Outdoor Research Archangel GORE-TEX Bibs.
For more info on the Archangel GORE-TEX Bibs and other Outdoor Research products, visit www.outdoorresearch.com.