Backcountry Cottonwoods Gore-Tex Bib - Women's Review
Cons: Upper portion lacks flexible fit, no drop seat
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Backcountry Cottonwoods Gore-Tex Bib - Women's
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|Pros||Great weather resistance, solid durability, cool style||Comfortable, high-performing, pocket space, 'core' look||Roomy pockets, great weather resistance, comfortable, good value||Comfortable, warm, RECCO, great price, ideal for novice to intermediate skiers||Very warm, good ventilation, affordable price|
|Cons||Upper portion lacks flexible fit, no drop seat||Narrow upper thigh, cuff guard||Zipper construction, limited style and color options||Not great for backcountry use, waterproofing||Limited style and color options, few extra features|
|Bottom Line||This durable, weatherproof bib can be converted into a pant when needed, but lacks an easy drop seat||A comfortable and high-functioning bib for sidecountry missions and resort laps||A comfortable, protective, high-performing shell pant at a surprisingly reasonable price point||This pant offers resort style with comfort and warmth at an approachable price point||Simple yet functional, this bib is an affordable option for those looking for a basic design with solid performance|
|Rating Categories||Backcountry Cottonw...||Flylow Foxy Bib||Outdoor Research Sk...||Patagonia Insulated...||REI Co-op Powderbou...|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Fit And Comfort (25%)|
|Specs||Backcountry Cottonw...||Flylow Foxy Bib||Outdoor Research Sk...||Patagonia Insulated...||REI Co-op Powderbou...|
|Measured Weight||1.7 lbs||1.4 lbs||1.3 lbs||1.4 lbs||1.7 lbs|
|Waterproofing||3-layer Gore-Tex||3-layer Intuitive stretch stormshell||3-layer AscentShell||2-layer H2No Performance Standard||2-layer Peak|
|Vents||Inner thigh, outer thigh||Inner and outer thigh||Outer thigh||Inner thigh||Inner thigh, outer thigh|
|Insulation/Lining||None||None||None||100% polyester taffeta||40g polyester|
|Main fabric||70D nylon||3L Stretch Stormshell Intuitive||88% nylon, 12% spandex||75D 100% polyester||Nylon|
|Waistline construction||Snap and velcro||Bib||Button and zip fly||Button & zip fly||Bib|
|Pockets||1 zippered chest, 1 mesh chest, 1 zippered hand, 2 zippered cargo||2 mid thigh, 2 chest||2 zippered hand, 2 zippered thigh||2 zippered hand||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Constructed of a hardy 3-layer Gore-Tex material, the Backcountry Cottonwoods Gore-Tex Bib is designed to keep you dry and ready to ride even when the weather turns south. This model features two chest pockets — one made of mesh that could be used for wet skins, as well as two cargo pockets that can store your phone, keys, wallet, and more. One of the most notable features is the ability to convert into a pant by removing the top of the bib via zipper. This, combined with its many pockets, led to it scoring high in the features category. However, it did not score among our top contenders overall due to the lack of a drop seat, requiring one to unzip the top portion of the bib to use the restroom.
The Cottonwoods Bib comes in a variety of colors and also stood up well against our two-minute shower test. Its hardshell design means it blocks out wind as well as water, making it ideal for someone who frequently battles the elements while making turns.
The Cottonwood Bib stands out in the weather resistance category. Thanks to the 3-layer hardshell Gore-Tex material, it sheds water while blocking the wind with ease. We put it through our rigorous two-minute shower test to test zippers and seams as well as the material.
We found that while the hardshell material sheds water as expected, the zipper between the upper and bottom part of the pants, which allows the conversion from bib to pant, allowed some water to get in. This area of the bib is typically below one's jacket unless skinning uphill or in spring conditions, but it did result in a slightly lower score in this category. We noticed no other leaks in the pockets or vents and were otherwise impressed by this model's performance in this category.
Fit and Comfort
The Cottonwood Bib left a little to be desired during our fit and comfort testing. Hardshell outerwear tends to sacrifice a little comfort for a more rigid, protective material. However, we also noted that the upper portion of the bib had little stretch and might limit comfort and flexibility if not sized correctly. Many online reviews echoed this sentiment, so we'd recommend sizing up if between sizes.
The adjustable straps on the bib mean that one can otherwise customize the fit, and the pants have a large, adjustable velcro belt that helps create a snug fit when going without the upper bib portion.
The Backcountry Cottonwoods Gore-Tex Bib excelled in the ventilation category. It sports inner thigh vents as well as the ability to use the entry zipper as an outer thigh vent. The two inner thigh vents run from the knee to just below the crotch. Meanwhile, the right side of the pant features a long zipper that can be zipped from top to bottom to get in and out of the pants or bottom to top for venting and to quickly dump heat.
While the hardshell material that makes it score high in weather resistance isn't particularly breathable, the three venting options allow for various effective ways to regulate temperatures both uphill and on warm days.
While this shell pant does not feature insulation, its 3-layer Gore-Tex material is thick and sturdy, providing protection from the elements. By working well to block wind and water, it provides protection and warmth even when the wind chill drops.
However, due to its lack of insulation, this bib inherently scores low in the warmth category. For those who tend to get cold, this bib should be paired with warm base layers.
The team at Backcountry gave the Cottonwoods Bib an array of features for skiers and riders to enjoy. From a beacon-specific pocket to a quick gear-stashing chest pocket, this bib is fully loaded.
This model easily converts from bibs to pants for those who want the best of both worlds and has zippers on the boot cuff to accommodate a variety of boot sizes, too. However, the Cottonwoods Bib lacks an easy-to-use drop seat, making restroom trips inconvenient. This feature is important to many users and kept this model out of a top spot for features.
If you like to stay on top of trends, you'll appreciate what the Cottonwoods Bib brings to the table. With five different color options to choose from and a black accent mesh chest pocket, it looks cool and modern both on and off the mountain.
It also gets style points for being convertible into pants, offering different wearable options depending on the weather or mission.
For how well this model performed in our weather resistance test, as well as the plethora of features provided, it could be a great option for someone looking for a hardy and adaptable pair of pants and bibs. However, if having a drop seat is of importance to you when considering a pair of bibs, it may not be worth investing in this pair.
If you don't mind the absence of a drop seat when wearing a pair of bibs, the Cottonwood Bib should be on your consideration list. Those who live in wetter or windy climates will especially appreciate its weather resistance and hardshell construction, offering protection from the elements to help keep you shredding longer.
— Sarah Sherman
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