The Flylow Gear Baker Bibs are stout, heavy, and ready for the gnarliest of ski resort weather. They will hold up to use and abuse over the years. The style is bold but lasting. It is always ok to appear as if you ski all the time. The stiff fabric and large suspender straps and buckles compromise comfort for most, but many will justify these compromises for the protection and style. If you want the weather resistance of bibs but still want to remain comfortable, reach for the Top Pick-winning Marmot Discovery Bibs.
FlyLow Gear Baker Bib Review
Cons: Stiff fabric, suspender buckles are uncomfortable
Manufacturer: FlyLow Gear
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Our Analysis and Test Results
FlyLow's Baker Bibs are stout. The "three-layer" fabric, waterproofed with FlyLow's proprietary "Intuitive" laminate, is sturdy inside and out and the construction backs it up. These are no-compromise bibs for burly weather and extended resort use. The pants are relatively heavy and relatively confining, due to the sturdy fabric.
On our weighted scoring rubric, as compared to the 11 other competitors, the FlyLow Baker Bibs sit near the bottom third. This isn't such a bad thing. Our product selection is thorough, eliminating the products that we know won't hold up. Every product we select for testing is a good choice and worth consideration. In a stacked field, it is no surprise that this heavy and sturdy product scores, overall, like it did.
This is the scoring category in which the Baker Bibs shine. Their namesake mountain is known for tens of feet of snow and occasional rain to the top of the lifts. These bibs can take it all. All the pants we tested are waterproof and breathable. What makes the Baker Bibs stand out is the sturdy fabric that holds up to wind and chair lifts, complemented by the bib-height to seal out drafts and leaks and excellent construction and waterproof zippers all around. The only pants that do even better are those that feature these same attributes and add in more sophisticated "durable water resistant" coatings. The DWR of the Patagonia Powder Bowl and Top Pick Patagonia Descensionist, for instance, leads the industry. With rubbing and extended use, liquid water will stop beading up on the surface of your Baker Bibs. It won't get through to the inside, though this soaked external fabric may make the whole garment feel colder and contribute to clamminess on the inside from condensation.
Fit and Comfort
Our testers were a little torn on the fit and comfort of the Baker Bibs. Everyone found them to be stiff and sturdy feeling. A few liked this "armor-like" feel, while most wished for more supple fabric. When sized correctly, it is interesting to note that the shoulder straps/suspenders have large plastic buckles that sit on or near the wearer's shoulders. With plenty of layers beneath, at a resort, this isn't a big deal. On more slender people, with few or thin upper body layers beneath the bibs, these buckles are uncomfortable against many collar bones. The effect is even worse when the wearer adds a backpack over the top. The sensation, under a heavy backpack, can be virtually unbearable.
We found the fit of the Baker Bibs to be true to size. Stylistically they fit loosely around your legs. But the dimensions that matter are consistent. Other online reviewers suggest that the Baker runs both big and small. Could this be a quality control issue or an issue with crowd-sourced reviews? We have tested three different iterations of the Baker Bibs now, over four years and all in size medium and all on our 5' 10" 160# lead tester. He wears "Medium" in almost all clothing and found the Baker to be true to size in all three generations tested.
FlyLow pants are the only ones in our test group that come with vents on both the inside and outside of each leg. We dig this. Each leg gets cross ventilation this way. Both the Baker Bibs and the FlyLow Chemical Snow Pants feature this dual vent arrangement.
Further enhancing absolute ventilation is the lack of any mesh backing on these FlyLow vents. For maximum ventilation, no mesh is preferred. If you wish to have your vents open but slow the ingress of loose snow or maintain a little more modesty, mesh-backed vents are preferred. Overall, our team seems to prefer mesh-less vents like those on the FlyLow and the Arc'Teryx Sabre. The Top Pick Marmot Discovery Pants also have vents with no mesh.
FlyLow is known for ski and snowboard clothing that aims for the "core" look. When you buy FlyLow clothing, you make a statement, and you say you wish to look like a skiing "lifer." This is a worthy pursuit and seems to hold up across the line of gear we have tested from FlyLow. The Baker is one of their flagship products, and the look is decidedly "ski bum casual." The color we tested for 2019 even looks like a slightly faded pair of Carhartt pants. Of all the pants we tested, the FlyLow Baker Bibs make one of the most decisive style statements.
These are shell pants. The only insulation value you get is that which is inherent with what is effectively a single, thick layer of fabric. These provide warmth in terms of protection from some convective heat loss, and they help reduce evaporative heat loss by keeping you dry. They provide little help when it comes to conductive and radiative heat loss.
The "three-layer" configuration ("three-layer" is the naming convention for a type of textile that laminates three different layers - shell, membrane, lining - into one fabric) is the least warm configuration for ski pants. Those pants that have a separate "hanging" lining provide a little additional insulation, while the warmest are those that have dedicated "puff" insulation built right in. For instance, we granted the Spyder Dare pants our Top Pick Award for their insulating performance. The Editors' Choice Arc'Teryx Sabre is built in "three-layer" configuration, just like the Baker Bibs. The Sabre gets a slightly higher warmth score because their inner layer is just a little fuzzier. That fuzz provides some warmth, theoretically and anecdotally.
The Baker Bibs have a pretty good selection of features. The bib construction allows for more pockets, for instance. All the pockets are useful and well-placed. Our only wish is that the Baker Bibs had built-in Recco reflectors.
These are super-protective bibs for those that ski and ride in heavy weather and put in long days and seasons. The protection will last and last.
These aren't inexpensive, but they are still about half the price of the Editors' Choice. The construction and protection will hold up for years and years of even heavy use.
If the style works for you, and you ride in rowdy conditions, check out the Baker Bibs.
— Jediah Porter