Patagonia’s Dual Bib pants for women are a technical, waterproof garment that’s highly protective and allows you to move with ease. If you’re looking for breathable, high-performance alpine overtrousers to look after you in tough conditions, these are an excellent choice for protection in mixed summer conditions where ease of movement is important
Comfortable to wear all day
Bit fiddly to practice taking them on/off in mixed conditions
Bib is annoying if you’re wearing a harness and need to go to the toilet
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Patagonia Women’s Dual Aspect Bib: first impressions
Patagonia Women’s Dual Aspect Bib waterproof pants (available to buy direct from Patagonia) are a pair of waterproof overtrousers for wearing in the grimmest of conditions when moving fast through the mountains.
• List price: $400 (US) / £380 (UK) / €400 (EU)
• Style: Bib overtrousers
• Sizes: XS-XL
• Weight: 266g / 9.3oz
• Materials: Recycled H2No Performance Standard shell; 3-layer, 3.4-oz 30-denier ECONYL Nylon Ripstock fabric with a jersey backer; scuff guards: 7.3-oz 59% recycled polyester / 41% polyurethane durable mesh knit
• Colors: Black/ Smolder Blue/ Topsoil Brown
• Compatibility: Mountaineering, alpine adventures and hiking in wet weather conditions
They are designed to avoid the bulkiness that a traditional pair of waterproof trousers can sometimes have, particularly around the waist and hip line, and they are so much lighter and move better than any other waterproof pants I’ve tested.
Patagonia Women’s Dual Aspect Bib waterproof pants are predominantly aimed at being worn in alpine conditions when they also provide a decent level of wind protection. They're a versatile waterproof outer trousers that can be used on a windy belay ledge, or worn as a pair of hiking pants for deep snow plods, where keeping the snow out is essential to staying comfortable in the mountains.
Patagonia Women’s Dual Aspect Bib: on the trails
These Patagonia Women’s Dual aspect bib pants were tested in Scottish mountains at 1,000m, in conditions where the weather is highly changeable and unpredictable.
Waterproof pants need to perform well in some of the harshest conditions – not only do they need to withstand the battering they get from the elements, but they also need to be abrasion resistant, and resist accidental nicks and cuts. But is it possible to make a durable product using recycled materials?
The main body of the Dual Aspect bibs are made of a strong, yet surprisingly soft material designed to keep the water out. Formed from recycled nylon derived from fishing nets, the outer fabric has been treated with a PFC-free durable water-repellent (DWR) coating that does not contain any perfluorinated chemicals.
While wearing these on a particularly wet day, I noticed the fabric shift in color, yet underneath the waterproof I didn’t feel any discomfort or clamminess thanks to the three-layer, 3.4-oz 30-denier ECONYL layering that helped let moisture pass through.
Size and fit
Sizing can be a deal breaker when it comes to feeling comfortable when wearing waterproofs for long periods of time. As someone who usually wears Patagonia size small, these overtrousers felt true to size, with an option to either wear them with the bib on for additional support, or tucked in at the waistband.
These waterproofs were easy enough to wear over the top of a pair of leggings or thin walking trousers. They were relatively slim (so not quite the more traditional, one-size-fits-all baggy waterproof pants that get yarded on over bulky layers). Once I managed to work out how the bib top went on, and tested its four-way stretch, it felt surprisingly comfortable.
I also noticed that the top of the bib (which attaches to the trousers) had enough give so, if you need to go to the toilet, it’s just a case of pulling down the elasticated waistband of the overtrousers. I did think that with a harness and an upper bib and any other underlayers, it would be slightly more difficult to take off (you’d have to try and unclip the harness leg loops, then pull down the waterproof trouser, leggings / undertrousers, underwear and try to work out how to go for a wee – without the worry of accidentally peeing on yourself or tripping over!)
In terms of ease of use, it’s worth considering how practical it would be to easily wear these when it’s you versus the elements and you’re getting wet and cold. I’m not sure if I had these with me, whether I’d want to spend the extra time trying to get the bib straps on (taking all my layers off, putting the straps on, then putting all the layers back on again). However, with Patagonia’s bib trouser, you can wear them all day. You can also opt to not put the bib fully on, without them slipping down, which improves their overall functionality.
These bib trousers have significantly less bulk around the hips than most comparable pants. Doing away with buckles / webbing loops helps reduce weight and rubbing in that area, but I found the bib added more logistical complexity in terms of how to take them on and off. Having just a fabric high waist to keep the trousers up with the bib as a detachable option would be my preference.
Being deployed on the Dubhs Ridge on Skye, my bib trousers have seen a lot of classic alpine action as well as being worn in everyday terrain. Against the coarse granite and gabbro, the bib trousers needed to give me protection against the weather and sharp rocks.
Inset panels on the instep have been added for abrasion-resistance and durability – this increases the product’s overall weight but adds to the durability of the garment particularly when worn with crampons to avoid potential snagging and the level of protection they offer in the peaks.
I was pleased to see the bib seemed to still be attached even after multiple days of wear, and the trousers also washed well.
Waterproofing & breathability
Patagonia Women’s Dual Aspect Bibs lend themselves to being worn frequently, and they are well suited to wet Scottish summer conditions, thanks to a three-layer construction (which includes Patagonia’s own waterproof and breathable barrier) that helps sweat pass through but keeps water out.
Using Patagonia’s H2No Performance Standard shell, the waterproof uses a three-layer, 3.4-oz 30-denier ECONYL 100% recycled nylon ripstop face fabric with a slick jersey backer that still manages to make it feel like a wearable fabric. A DWR finish stops the water from seeping in, and unlike traditional waterproofs, these feel like they’re made of a lightweight material that didn’t “rustle” like cheaper versions. Nor were they super shiny.
The trousers have also been designed using an articulated pattern that fits an athletic fit – so when committing to high steps the design of the gusset allowed for comfortable, unrestricted wear.
Additional design considerations, such as a thigh pocket and small stash pocket in bib above the harness line, kept things secure and close at hand. So they might be the overtrousers that stay on for longer, simply because they’re more comfortable and practical to wear when the weather looks mixed.
Patagonia Dual Bib pants weigh a mere 266g – that’s basically the weight of two slices of bread. Weighing in 60g lighter than their alpine cousin, Patagonia’s Altvia Alpine Pants, and lighter still than the Torrentshell 3L pants, they coped well in the conditions I was wearing them in. I found they were able to cope with a fair amount of abuse in the summer mixed mountain conditions, but would still opt for a heavier weight trouser for more inclement and winter conditions. At a hefty price point of £380, these aren’t cheap – but I was impressed with how little space they took in my pack and a welcome addition to my technical wardrobe.
Patagonia Women’s Dual Aspect Bib pants are a high-tech, low-bulk pair of overtrousers that will come out with me on many more exciting mountain trips when I’m climbing in Alpine environments. But they’re equally at home when worn in changeable and challenging low-altitude conditions, such as those encountered in places like Scotland.
They’re comfortable, functional, technically savvy and designed for active use, with zipped pockets, built-in gaiter hooks and articulated panels. They’re a high-tech, low-bulk, lightweight pair of waterproof pants that will come out with me on many more exciting mountain trips. The bib will still be something I’ll practice taking on / and off, but these rank highly thanks to the trousers flexibility and comfort, even when worn all day.
A former brand ambassador for Merrell and current Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion, Jessie Leong’s lifelong outdoor odyssey began with Duke of Edinburgh’s Award walks in the Peak District. This segued into long hill hikes in the Yorkshire Dales, multi-day treks in the Lake District, scrambles in North Wales and adventures scaling alpine pinnacles. When not walking, she can be found rock climbing, wild swimming, cycling, photographing, filmmaking, writing and modelling. Jessie’s most recent claim to fame is playing a Miss World contestant in the 2020 feature film Misbehaviour.