Have you ever had a lump of damp, wet, snow in just the wrong place at just the wrong time? Bad times.
Well, I’ve got the solution for you today.
In this article, I’m going to talk about the best ice fishing bibs of 2020, give you some guidance as to what to look for, and maybe even make one or two suggestions.
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Which is exactly what you need in your bibs. But when you are wearing ice fishing bib pants you are looking for another feature as well as warmth.
What do I mean?
You are also looking for comfort. Fortunately, the Eskimo Roughneck Ice Fishing Bibs are fleece lined with Sherpa fleece technology. This insulation is lightweight and soft to touch. If Eskimo made comforters of the same material, I’d buy one.
Actually, yes there is. One feature that I really liked is the Uplyft float assist lining. If the unthinkable happens and you end up in the water you don’t want to have to fight with 10lbs of soaking bib pants. These pants aid buoyancy. So aside from being super comfy they also increase your safety.
Really durable and substantial.
Windproof, waterproof and warm.
These pants offer truly professional performance; however, they may not be suited to you if you are on a strict budget.
Think how often you will be using these ice fishing bibs. Although they come at a premium, for the money, they are some of the best bibs for ice fishing that I have seen.
They will last you an age. Consider them an investment.
Whilst we are talking about investments, let’s look at something else that is just as worthy. Striker know about ice fishing, we can tell just by looking at these.
Firstly, the material this bib is constructed from is super durable. It offers a high degree of windproofing and waterproofing. Think about the areas that are in constant contact with the Ice?
The seat and knee area have extra padding to make sure that you stay warm. They also offer a degree of protection if you take an inadvertent slip… Don’t worry we’ve all done it.
The best bit?
The trousers are breathable too! This is great as it ensures that you stay well ventilated in all the right places.
And there’s more.
Just as with our first suggestion this contribution by Striker has flotation assistance if you ever find yourself in a sticky situation.
The thing I really love about this great quality ice fishing bib is the thigh pockets. Even with a fishing jacket on you will be able to reach all of your bits and pieces. They even have a magnetic clasp on the pocket flaps!
You want to be warm but not hot. It seems Striker have thought of everything, they even include zip vents so if you need to get a bit of ventilation going, you can do so, with ease.
Rugged, with pockets and padding in all the right places.
Safety as standard with flotation assistance technology.
There’s one thing that prevents these from being the perfect ice fishing bib pants… If you need the bathroom you will be pulling them down past your knees as there is no zipper.
Ok so ‘comfort breaks’ aside these are pretty much perfect. They are hard-wearing, padded and functional. You couldn’t ask for much more.
If you read my site regularly, you’ll know that I consider ice fishing all-inclusive. I haven’t forgotten the ladies. These pants are some of the best cold-weather fishing bibs I’ve encountered.
Just as with the men’s bibs these are super warm and comfortable. You’ll get all of the great safety features as we saw in the men’s bib.
The pants are both breathable and highly waterproof, so they are sure to keep your legs dry on the ice. They are also lined with Thermadex insulation, which is lightweight but incredibly warm.
Is that all?
Well, I appreciate that women’s waists can be a different shape to that of a guy, and so do striker. And they may also need something slightly easier to remove if there is a ‘call of nature’… For that reason, they have included removable straps for the pants and also an adjustable waistband to make sure that you get a really great fit.
All-weather protection and flotation technology, just as with the men’s bib.
Adjustable to ensure a perfect fit regardless of size and body shape.
I would have liked to have seen a little more padding around the knees and seat.
Overall a really great bib set. They are easy to put on and take off and are customizable to make sure you stay snug and warm.
Now I’ll be the first to acknowledge that sometimes the ice fishing clothing market is geared around ‘big guys’. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Take a look at this.
These ice fishing bibs are sized entirely for ladies. They are available in a range of eye-catching colors so you’ll be able to let your personality shine whilst out on the ice.
As you would expect these pants have zips in all the right places to ensure that they are really easy to put on and take off. Very useful if you need to answer a ‘call of nature’. The pockets are lined ensuring that you have somewhere to keep your hands whilst you are waiting for a bite.
And get this.
The ankle section features boot gaiters, so if you are someone who likes fishing in deep snow, you’ll be able to ensure that you can keep the snow out of your boots.
Custom designed to fit ladies’ figures.
Easy on and easy off technology.
I would have liked to have seen a little flotation in the pants, especially as the foot gaiter may lead to water being held within the bibs if you were to fall in.
For the money a really great ice fishing bib set. It isn’t packed with too many features but should do the job.
When thinking about winter fishing, anything with 3M insulation gets a massive tick in my book. This ice fishing suit is packed with it. Even the hood is lined to make sure you stay snug whilst out on the ice.
What are its features?
I love that this is a floatation suit. If the unthinkable happens and you were to go through the ice, this suit ensures that you would come straight back up to the top.
Another really great feature is the number of pockets. Both on the pants and the jacket. You can barely put your hand down without finding a zipper, making it great for being organized.
You’ll know that I love buying American made, and this set is made in our very own Minnesota!
Well, that means warmth guaranteed. All that insulation means the bib set is slightly bulky, but to counter this you will find numerous zip vents and panels that can be opened to ensure that you stay cool.
It is a trade-off. What I can guarantee is that you certainly will never be too cold.
Made in the USA, great quality.
Possibly the warmest on my list, thick padding will keep you warm and dry.
Some may find this a little bulky, especially if you like to be mobile.
If you want to stay warm and bone-dry then this is the bib set for you. You’ll be matching with the included jacket, which offers excellent value and a one-stop-shop for a cold day on the ice.
Eye-catching and warm. ICE Armor have done a great job in this cold weather bib.
I really liked that the knees are padded. The pants are both waterproof and windproof too. The fixed internal fleece lining is kind to your skin and will definitely keep you warm.
Accessibility is really important when you are fishing. Fortunately, ICE Armor have thought of this. Each zip is covered with a magnetic flap. This might not seem important but it will stop your zips from getting wet and then freezing in really cold weather.
And the rest…
There are lots of little extras that make these pants a really great choice The bibs feature reflective strips. This is a useful feature if you are fishing in low light conditions and want to be seen.
The best bit?
These include a front zipper. It might not seem vital now, but when you are out on the ice and the snow and wind is blowing, and you need the bathroom, a well placed zip can save you some major inconvenience.
Magnetic flapped zips in all the right places.
Extra padding on the knees is a really nice touch.
A great feature would have been to allow you to remove the fleece lining for ease of washing.
This is one solid ice fishing bib. They are certainly some of the best ice fishing pants I have seen.
Frogg Toggs make really high quality and affordable fishing clothing. I hope it’s obvious that these are waterproof and windproof. This bib has made it onto my list because there are lots of little elements that go into making it into one of the best bibs for ice fishing.
What’s so great?
If you are a mobile angler or you just have a lot of gear this bib features expandable and quick drain pockets, along with added D-rings. This means that you can basically wear quite a lot of gear and have it close to hand when you need it the most.
The other nice thing about them is that they are super easy to don and remove. The leg of the bib features a zip that goes all the way up to your knee. So even if you are wearing a substantial set of fishing boots, you’ll have no trouble getting in and out.
And to top it off…
The bib comes with a removable fleece lining. This means you can use them in the summertime too!
I love to be able to give my ice fishing bib a quick wash from time to time. With this feature, it is really easy.
The removable fleece lining makes these a year-round bib, and it’s washable!
A truly all in one wearable storage solution.
Whilst I love the chest pockets, they aren’t accessible if I’m wearing my ice fishing jacket.
I think these are great. They are an affordable solution that will serve you in a variety of situations.
I’m not sure how cold I would like to go with them, but for someone who fishes in fair weather they are ideal. For what you are getting, they are really affordable.
As ice fishing bibs go, you aren’t going to get better. These are supremely warm, comfortable and should last you for a long time.
The insulation is second to none. You’ll be good all the way down to -40 degrees when you hop into a pair of these. You’d probably think that because they were so well insulated, they’d hinder movement somewhat.
You’d be wrong.
The bib is constructed in such a way that movement and flexibility is easy, you’ll be completely unencumbered. If you’re moving a lot then that’s got to lead to wear right?
Well, RefrigiWear have made sure that this won’t be an issue. Anywhere that is subject to stress, such as the knees and leg area are reinforced.
They haven’t skimped on the chest area; it covers you that well that you could even consider not wearing a jacket on milder days.
Complete warmth and complete dryness.
Strength, cover and mobility in the areas where you need them most.
I just wish they had flotation aids in the bib. But that said this brings a little bulk too.
This bib is for hardcore enthusiasts, with a price tag to match. However, if you were to invest in a pair, you would probably find that you wouldn’t need another for a very long time.
Buying Guide to the Best Ice Fishing Bibs
As you will have seen there’s a lot to choose from. And it can be hard to know what is right for you.
However, I’m going to tell you a few things that I look for when I’m shopping for the best bibs for ice fishing.
Consider the Conditions
If you are someone who only goes out on ‘clear blue’ days. You may not need to go for something that is quite as waterproof. That said, wet knees are still not fun. And regardless of what the weather is doing, it still might be really cold.
If you are anything like me, you’ll find that once you are cold it can be difficult to warm up again. By choosing a bib with decent insulation and waterproofing you can be sure that you never get to that situation in the first place.
If you do find that you are struggling to keep warm and dry, a great solution is an ice fishing shelter. If you have never seen one before they are pretty neat. If you’re interested I’ve written a guide that will tell you everything that you need to know about ice fishing shelters.
Conversely, you won’t want to go too heavy. If you prefer fishing in milder weather then you may find that by overdoing it on the ‘stuffing’ you might actually get too hot.
The best feature to avoid either of the above scenarios is in fact vent zips. You can basically tailor your level of warmth and ensure a supply of cool fresh air when you need it the most.
I normally like to open them if I am in my ice fishing shelter with my heater running. If you haven’t seen an ice fishing heater, they can sometimes kick out a fierce amount of heat.
Are you the kind of angler who likes to get safely tucked up in your fishing shelter and stay there for the day? Or do you prefer to cut holes further apart and wander between them?
If you want to move around, you’ll need ice fishing bibs that allows you to be mobile.
Features to look for are stretchy sections and reinforced areas to give you strength in the vital parts, but lightweight fabric in the areas that aren’t going to be subjected to quite as much stress.
If you fish in low light conditions it is vital that you are easily seen. It isn’t just danger from standing on the ice that you need to be mindful of.
If you fish in a busy area you may find that people drive their snowmobiles at a greater speed than necessary.
If you blend in with the darkness it could lead to a nasty accident.
Make sure you can be seen.
Generally, when you are looking to invest in an ice fishing bib, you’ll find that they come with an ‘MM’ rating. It is this rating that determines how waterproof the bib is.
Without getting all technical, as a bare minimum you will be looking for an MM rating of around 3000. The higher the number of the MM rating, the more waterproof your bib will be.
For people who fish in all weathers, it is worth considering going up to 10,000MM to be covered for all of the conditions.
If you want to know how they test this, why not take a look at this video.
Before I continue, I want to stress that you must never fish on ice that you can’t be sure will bear your weight.
I also recommend never ice fishing alone, it’s just too dangerous. Want to see something truly frightening and how quickly a good day fishing can turn bad? Check this out.
If you are going to go it alone you want to make sure that you at least have a fighting chance of getting out of the water. Bibs that have added buoyancy are a literal life saver.
Remember that if the bib can keep water out, it will normally be pretty effective at holding water in. Water actually weighs an awful lot, especially when you are trying to kick your legs to stay afloat in freezing water.
If safety is a concern for you, and it should be, consider a bib pair that helps you to float, not sink.
Part of being a great angler is to be really organized. I find the best way to do that is have what I need close to hand.
Pockets make this really easy (and also stop you from losing things in the snow). One thing that I always look for is magnetic flaps. They ensure nothing falls out and also prevent your zips from freezing.
Expandable pockets in particular are great for a range of things. You can stow smaller items like weights and lures, or even bigger items like fishing gloves.
Essentially, they keep your legs warm and dry. But they offer much more than a pair of waterproof leggings. Because they go all the way up your chest, they also offer a further degree of warmth.
I hate drafts. If you’ve ever had a jacket that has ridden up, especially when you are seated, you can find your lower back gets cold really quickly.
By wearing a set of pants up to your chest, with braces, you can ensure that cold air can’t sneak in.
You’ll also find that they will save your knees and make your experience when ice fishing much more pleasant. This is especially true when paired up with a jacket. If you want to see some ice fishing suits so that you can be matching, take a peek at my article here.
Do fishing bibs need to be waterproof?
I’m going to say yes. Absolutely. Whilst snow is not ‘wet’ when it falls, if it settles on a fabric, then it will melt.
There is no worse feeling in the world than being cold and wet.
Getting the best ice fishing bibs is a really worthwhile investment of your time and money. If you can’t sit in warmth and comfort, then you won’t enjoy your fishing.
What’s the coldest you’ve been when ice fishing? Did you have bibs?
Why not leave a comment below and tell me about your experience?