Reviews You Can Rely On

Backcountry Cottonwoods Gore-Tex Bib - Women's Review

This durable, weatherproof bib can be converted into a pant when needed, but lacks an easy drop seat
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Backcountry Cottonwoods Gore-Tex Bib - Women's Review
Credit: Backcountry
Price:  $399 List
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Manufacturer:   Backcountry
By Sarah Sherman ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 20, 2021
75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 17
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 8.0
  • Fit and Comfort - 25% 7.0
  • Ventilation - 15% 9.0
  • Warmth - 15% 5.0
  • Features - 10% 7.0
  • Style - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Backcountry Cottonwoods Gore-Tex Bib looks great and feels great when on the mountain. This model scored well in both our weather resistance and venting categories due to its thoughtful, hardy design that features a 3-layer Gore-Tex material, and both outer and inner thigh vents. It easily converts from a bib to a pant, though the zipper used to adjust it going to the bathroom in this bib a little harder compared to others. Overall, the Cottonwoods Bibs is ideal for those skiing or riding in harsh conditions who don't find the need for a quick drop seat.
REASONS TO BUY
Great weather resistance
Solid durability
Cool style
REASONS TO AVOID
Upper portion lacks flexible fit
No drop seat

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Star Rating
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Bottom Line A stylish bib that is very weather resistant, but lacks a convenient drop seat optionReady for anything, these bibs combine form and functionFor those looking for a high-performing shell, this pant offers technical features in a reasonably priced packageFor those who prefer the fit and protection of a bib, this option is warm and functional at an affordable priceThe Arctix checks all of the boxes for an insulated ski pant, without a hefty price tag these are economically priced and very warm
Rating Categories Backcountry Cottonw... Flylow Foxy Bib Outdoor Research Sk... REI Co-op Powderbou... Arctix Insulated -...
Weather Resistance (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
Fit and Comfort (25%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Ventilation (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
1
Warmth (15%)
5.0
5.0
5.0
9.0
8.0
Features (10%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
5.0
5.0
Style (10%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Backcountry Cottonw... Flylow Foxy Bib Outdoor Research Sk... REI Co-op Powderbou... Arctix Insulated -...
Measured Weight 1.7 lbs 1.4 lbs 1.3 lbs 1.7 lbs 1.5 lbs
Waterproofing 3-layer Gore-Tex 3-layer Intuitive stretch stormshell 3-layer AscentShell 2-layer Peak ThermaLock coating
Vents Inner thigh, outer thigh Inner and outer thigh Outer thigh Inner thigh, outer thigh None
Pockets 1 zippered chest, 1 mesh chest, 1 zippered hand, 2 zippered cargo 2 mid-thigh pockets, 2 chest pockets 2 zippered hand, 2 zippered thigh 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest 2 zippered thigh
Main fabric 100% nylon Recycled Tactic 3-layer softshell: 100% polyester 88% nylon, 12% spandex Nylon 100% polyester
Insulation/Lining None None None 40g polyester 85g ThermaTech
Waistline construction Snap and velcro Bib Button and zip fly Bib Button & zip fly

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.

Performance Comparison


backcountry cottonwoods gore-tex bib for women - the cottonwoods bib is a versatile option with excellent weather...
The Cottonwoods Bib is a versatile option with excellent weather protection for any type of backcountry missions.
Credit: Russell Brouillard

Weather Resistance


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.

backcountry cottonwoods gore-tex bib for women - this model did a great job of repelling water during the 2-minute...
This model did a great job of repelling water during the 2-minute shower test.
Credit: Russell Brouillard

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.

backcountry cottonwoods gore-tex bib for women - the back of the bib shows the adjustable shoulder straps.
The back of the bib shows the adjustable shoulder straps.
Credit: Russell Brouillard

Ventilation


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 the entire length of the inner thigh. 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.

backcountry cottonwoods gore-tex bib for women - the bib has both inner thigh vents and outer vents, creating more...
The bib has both inner thigh vents and outer vents, creating more airflow for heat dumping than most other options. Ventilation is a strong suit for the Cottonwoods.
Credit: Russell Brouillard

Warmth


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.

Features


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.

backcountry cottonwoods gore-tex bib for women - the two chest pockets, including a mesh pocket that's great for wet...
The two chest pockets, including a mesh pocket that's great for wet gear or things you want close at hand.
Credit: Russell Brouillard

Style


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.

backcountry cottonwoods gore-tex bib for women - when the top portion is removed, the bibs convert into pants.
When the top portion is removed, the bibs convert into pants.
Credit: Russell Brouillard

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

backcountry cottonwoods gore-tex bib for women - the cottonwood bib is a great versatile option for both uphill and...
The Cottonwood bib is a great versatile option for both uphill and downhill movement.
Credit: Russell Brouillard

Sarah Sherman