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Outdoor Research Hemispheres Bib - Women's Review

Backcountry enthusiasts, look no further than these uninsulated, well-ventilated, fully featured, and super mobile pants
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Price:  $599 List | $418.93 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Backcountry specific features, comfort and stretch, pocket space
Cons:  Price, boxy fit, not for resort days
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Sarah Sherman ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 17, 2019
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 10
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 9
  • Fit and Comfort - 25% 8
  • Ventilation - 15% 8
  • Warmth - 15% 5
  • Features - 10% 9
  • Style - 10% 6

Our Verdict

These bibs should be considered by all backcountry enthusiasts. The Outdoor Research Hemispheres Bib - Women's is a versatile and weatherproof bib that has all of the features one could want while still being comfortable and effective. The 3-way stretch Gore-Tex means that they move with you in all the right places, becoming more of an extension of oneself than something to be fussed with on the skin track or during transitions. To top it off, they come equipped with ample pocket space—including an avalanche beacon pocket—plenty of venting, and top of the line waterproofing to be ready for any adventure. If the price isn't a limiting factor, treat yourself to the Tesla of backcountry ski pants. For this application, we can't recommend another pair more highly. Note that these pants are unnecessarily technical for most middle-of-winter resort skiing unless you frequently hike inbounds to your favorite spot.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Hemispheres Bib was a standout during our testing process. They take many of the features that other products do well and combine them together, creating a high performing, technical shell of protection with bib-style comfort. They stood up to every test we threw at them at ease and found ourselves wanting to reach for them in the closet, time, and time again.

Performance Comparison


Ready to take some early season laps in the Hemispheres Bib.
Ready to take some early season laps in the Hemispheres Bib.

Weather Resistance


These bibs exceeded our expectations during their weather resistance test. The Hemispheres are made with a combination of 3-layer Gore-Tex and a stretchier 2-layer Gore-Tex in key areas where stretch is beneficial. We can't lie; we were skeptical of how the 2-layer spots would hold up. The material is ridiculously stretchy and seemed like wind and water would go right through.


That wasn't the case. We never noticed wind coming through the stretch material or the 3-layer Gore-Tex, and these pants completely withstood our 2-minute shower test. We focused the water on all parts of the pant, especially the zippers, vents, and different materials, and no water got through.

Shower testing the weather resistance of the OR Hemispheres. Our shower test didn't phase them at all  as the water simple beaded up and ran off the outer fabric  and didn't seep through the waterproof zippers.
Shower testing the weather resistance of the OR Hemispheres. Our shower test didn't phase them at all, as the water simple beaded up and ran off the outer fabric, and didn't seep through the waterproof zippers.

Fit and Comfort


One of the standout features of the Hemispheres is its comfort, as Outdoor Research thoughtfully designed the bib with movement and stretch in mind. First off, it features articulated knees which allow for uninhibited movement, especially when going uphill, as this gives extra room in high mobility zones. Second, they outfitted the bib with a stretchy Gore-Tex material in key tension zones, such as the crotch, sides, and lower back, allowing for uninhibited movement where you need it. This material is instantly notable for its stretch and comes in handy especially in the backcountry where stretch and space are key to crushing it both up and downhill. The fit is also forgiving if you need to layer up underneath.


Finally, its comfort as a bib is notable, as its straps are highly adjustable allowing a wide range of fits and heights to wear the bibs comfortably. They are baggier in the chest than many other pants on the market and this allows for a larger range of body types to wear the bibs without difficulty while still providing coverage and protection to the legs. While this baggier chest fit may not be for everyone, it certainly allows for versatility in the wearer and requires a less specific fit than a typical pant which measures at the waist. The slightly relaxed fit works well for this product's intended use. Enough fabric to allow movement without having too much material that would impede movement.

Ventilation


Two zippers, outside each leg and abdomen, help cool you fast and give you many options for where and how much air to let in.


The two-layer stretch Gore-Tex is also incredibly breathable, and strategically placed in areas, such as the crotch, where heat may build up.

The Hemispheres Bibs take ventilation seriously with massive  mesh-free vents that span from the top of the bib down to the top of the knee.
The Hemispheres Bibs take ventilation seriously with massive, mesh-free vents that span from the top of the bib down to the top of the knee.

Warmth


These bibs score low for warmth, as can be expected for any shell product. They simply aren't designed for that, but rather to keep the elements out and add protection. That being said, they have ample room for layering underneath, allowing for wearers to customize their level of warmth depending on what their day on the slopes calls for.


If you are someone who doesn't feel like they need added insulation in their pant and prefers a shell option, these pants will meet your expectations. If you prefer the added warmth to be built into your pant, these are probably not for you.

Features


The Hemispheres Bib is fully loaded with thoughtful features to make your next backcountry adventure a success. First off, it has four pockets that are spacious and well placed. The two thigh pockets are roomy, and the right pocket comes specifically with space to fit an avalanche beacon. The kangaroo chest pocket is the largest we tested, making it easy to warm up hands, keep a phone, stuff your gloves if things warm up, or more. Finally, the horizontal chest zipper pocket is an easy space to put keys, lip balm, a lift ticket should you be inbounds, or other small items that you want to keep at hand.


Another feature to note on this bib is the easy to use drop seat for when nature calls in the backcountry, making it easy to go without having to remove your jacket or other top layers. It has a ski boot power strap cutout in the boot gaiter to allow for easy integration.

The upper body portion of the Hemispheres Bib is well-designed with useful features.
The upper body portion of the Hemispheres Bib is well-designed with useful features.

Style


The OR Hemispheres Bib doesn't really turn heads with its style. It comes in only two color options, making it pretty limited if you don't like either of the colors. That being said, both are pleasing and muted.


The overall bib aesthetic is just alright for these, and the fit of the legs is flattering for most body types. One thing we did notice is that the chest of the bib is baggier. If you prefer a style that is more form-fitting, these may not be for you. The overall style and look of the bib is one of technical performance and "cool," certain to appeal to a backcountry ladies vibe.

The style of of these bibs is decidedly technical  but our testers managed to make them look great on a warm  early-season resort day.
The style of of these bibs is decidedly technical, but our testers managed to make them look great on a warm, early-season resort day.

Value


The Hemispheres Bib is pricey, without a doubt. If you can afford the splurge, these pants are sure to deliver. If you plan on spending a lot of time out in the backcountry, you want a pant that can keep up with you and deliver. These bibs are that. We would recommend these for an avid backcountry skier or splitboarder who expects a lot out of their gear. If that is you, then these pants are certainly worth the spend, especially after multiple seasons of use.

Taking in the views in some backcountry bibs.
Taking in the views in some backcountry bibs.

Conclusion


Our backcountry favorite, the Outdoor Research Hemispheres Bib - Women's comes fully loaded with all of the features we like for a day of ski touring. You can tell through its thoughtful design that these bibs are made to thrive in all conditions while keeping the gear you need for success close at hand. Backcountry slayers, these bibs are for you.

Sarah Sherman