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Backcountry Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro Bib Review

This weather resistant bib has tons of vents and an awkwardly snug fit
Backcountry Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro Bib
Credit: Backcountry
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Price:  $500 List | $224.98 at Backcountry
Pros:  Excellent weather resistance, many vents
Cons:  Funky fit, not warm, expensive
Manufacturer:   Backcountry
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 2, 2021
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 15
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 10.0
  • Fit and Comfort - 25% 4.0
  • Ventilation - 20% 9.0
  • Warmth - 10% 4.0
  • Features - 10% 6.0
  • Style - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Backcountry Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro Bib provides exceptional weather resistance and has great venting options, nearly matching the performance of the best bibs on the market. It features great shell fabric, waterproof zippers, and sealed seams to keep the water out, and has two long outside thigh vents, as well as two vents on the inner thigh to allow cross-flow when you need to cool down quickly. It has enough features to get the job done, and decent style, but our main gripe is that it doesn't fit well due to a tight crotch and chest. Our testers had trouble performing a wide range of motion for normal active skiing in these bibs. For that reason, we wouldn't recommend these pants for most body types.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $500 List
$224.98 at Backcountry
$549 List
$549.00 at Amazon
$650 ListCheck Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Excellent weather resistance, many ventsImmaculate weather protection, excellent fit, fleecy liningExtremely weather resistant, stylish cut, good freedom of movement, vents wellGreat performance at a low price, tons of features, weather resistant, breathableGreat value, warm, comfortable, relaxed vibes
Cons Funky fit, not warm, expensiveExpensive, light on featuresNot warmLacks good style and warmth, average comfortLimited seam and pocket sealing, less effective vent design
Bottom Line This weather resistant bib has tons of vents and an awkwardly snug fitThis model is perfect for those who demand the best from their ski pantsThis refined model are the best ski bibs that money can buyAn affordable hardshell that provides great weather resistance, ventilation, and featuresA good insulated ski pant for budget-minded resort skiers who don't need a technical pair of pants
Rating Categories Backcountry Cardiac... Arc'teryx Sabre AR... Arc'teryx Micon Bib Outdoor Research Sk... The North Face Free...
Weather Resistance (25%)
10.0
9.0
10.0
8.0
6.0
Fit and Comfort (25%)
4.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Ventilation (20%)
9.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
5.0
Warmth (10%)
4.0
5.0
4.0
4.0
9.0
Features (10%)
6.0
4.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Style (10%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Backcountry Cardiac... Arc'teryx Sabre AR... Arc'teryx Micon Bib Outdoor Research Sk... The North Face Free...
Main fabric 100% Nylon N80p-X Gore-Tex with Cordura Nylon 3L cuff fabric 80-denier plain-weave nylon 88% Nylon, 12% Spandex 100% Nylon
Insulation None Laminated fleecy lining None None 60 g Heatseeker Eco Polyester (50% Recycled)
Waterproofing Gore-Tex Pro N80p-X Gore-Tex (3-layer) 3-layer Gore-Tex AscentShell DryVent (2-layer)
Waistline construction (elastic? snaps?) Bibs Snaps. Built-in elastic belt Zipper fly, belt loops Snap/zipper fly with external velcro adjustment, belt loops Snap and zipper, Velcro tabs for adjustment, belt loops
Weight (in pounds) 1.48 lbs 1.32 lbs 1.28 lbs 1.32 lbs 1.32 lbs
Weight (in grams) 671 g 599 g 581 g 599 g 599 g
# of Pockets 4 3 3 4 3
Vents? Inner thigh zips Exterior thigh zips, no mesh Outer thigh zips Inner thigh zips Inner thigh zips, with mesh
Ski-specific features Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs Key/pass clip inside pocket, touring cuff, scuff guards Scuff guards, powder cuffs, barn door seat access Scuff guards, powder cuffs, articulated knees, beacon clip Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs
Recco? No Yes No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Backcountry Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro Bib ski pants - early season on-piste turns in the backcountry cardiac gore-tex pro...
Early season on-piste turns in the Backcountry Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro Bib Pant.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Weather Resistance


The Backcountry Cardiac Bib features a Gore-Tex Pro waterproof/breathable membrane to provide a dry user experience. It also has waterproof zippers on the pockets and vents and sealed seams throughout the garment. In our testing, we could not get water to penetrate these pants. Bibs tend to be the most weather resistant of all ski pants, and these rise to the top of the class. We could not find a weak point anywhere.

The Cardiac is fully seam-sealed, preventing water from getting in.
The Cardiac is fully seam-sealed, preventing water from getting in.
Waterproof zippers help the Cardiac remain waterproof in even the...
Waterproof zippers help the Cardiac remain waterproof in even the worst conditions.

Fit and Comfort


Unfortunately, we were disappointed by the Cardiac's fit. Our lead tester wears a size Medium in most other pants, but he's on the cusp and sometimes needs a large. With the Cardiac, he could barely spread his legs due to a tight crotch fit in size Medium, and the chest was a bit tight as well, even though the legs were comfortable and long enough. We have also noticed some online reviews that echo our concerns about the fit. It seems like certain parts of the bib may fit your body, and others might not.

Backcountry Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro Bib ski pants - the cardiac suffers from tight and restrictive tailoring in the...
The Cardiac suffers from tight and restrictive tailoring in the crotch area, which prevented our testers from spreading their legs widely or from easily bending over to buckle boots.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Ventilation


The Backcountry Cardiac has a long vent on the outside of each thigh, as well as a shorter vent on the inside of each thigh. This is our favorite configuration for vents because it allows air to flow through the pant, picking up and moisture and heat on its way through. This is useful, especially in a bib, because the pants cover the torso and chest, which is the warmest part of the body. Also, the Gore-Tex Pro membrane isn't as breathable as other technical membranes, and the dual vent system helped our testers ditch heat quickly.


Warmth


These bibs are a shell-only pant, meaning they come with no insulation below the outer shell fabric. Typically, bibs aren't insulated, meaning the user is responsible for layering appropriately to match the expected temperature outside. Still, these pants provide some warmth, due to the "overall" component which covers the torso up to the nipple line. Heat from this warm part of the body is trapped inside the shell, keeping the user warmer than they would be if they were wearing pants with a traditional design, everything else being equal.

Backcountry Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro Bib ski pants - a thin hard shell fabric is all you get to keep you warm in these...
A thin hard shell fabric is all you get to keep you warm in these pants. On this day, in temperatures in the low 20s, we had to wear long underwear to keep us warm.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Features


The Cardiac is light on features, with only two thigh pockets and one chest pocket. The chest pocket has an internal elastic strap that is fixed on both ends, which we used to stow an avalanche transceiver in vertical orientation. There aren't any clip loops in the pockets for a transceiver, but we used the elastic strap for this as well. There are no belt loops, but there is a small front zipper for bathroom breaks. We found this zipper a bit too short to use easily.

Backcountry Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro Bib ski pants - two thigh pockets and one chest pocket is all you get for features...
Two thigh pockets and one chest pocket is all you get for features, in addition to an awkwardly short front bathroom zipper.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Style


Our testers were on the fence about the style of these bibs. The lines are clean, but the black zippers and two-tone color panels seemed a bit off. And, there's a big company logo on the right thigh, in contrasting white. Our testers weren't crazy about the Cardiac's style, but you might disagree.

Backcountry Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro Bib ski pants - the cardiac looks stylish to some users and blocky to others. the...
The Cardiac looks stylish to some users and blocky to others. The large company logo threw us off.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Value


For the materials and construction principles used in these bibs, they come for a fair price. However, the awkwardly tight crotch feels poorly tailored and disappointing. These pants are less expensive than other Gore-Tex pants, but in general, these more expensive options come with major upgrades in fit, features, and style. There are also less expensive bib options that perform better overall.

Conclusion


The Backcountry Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro Bib checks almost all of the boxes for a great pair of ski pants, but the poor fit, off-putting style, and relatively high price tag make us think twice before recommending this product ahead of some other bibs we like more.

Backcountry Cardiac Gore-Tex Pro Bib ski pants - the backcountry cardiac bibs are good pants on paper, but in...
The Backcountry Cardiac Bibs are good pants on paper, but in practice, they fall short due to fit issues.
Credit: Jackie Kearney

Jeff Dobronyi
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