Marmot Discovery Bib Review
Cons: Poorly designed features, baggy, compromised weather resistance
Our Analysis and Test Results
These pants are warm and well-ventilated. The fit, style, and weather resistance leave something to be desired, and the pockets design makes them almost unusable.
The Discovery Bibs feature Marmot's proprietary and waterproof "MemBrain" fabric. This fabric does a good job of keeping out liquid water. There is only one waterproof zipper, but it is small, and it is located inconveniently on the side of the lower thigh. Otherwise, the pockets have no closure system, so water and snow easily penetrate them and pile up. To us, this makes no sense. You choose a bib for its weather resistance, and yet these bibs offer no protection to anything that you put in your pockets.
Fit and Comfort
The bib of the Discovery is well cut and doesn't inhibit movement. We like the feel of the fleece liner, which is comfortable against the skin. The cut of the crotch, however, is too baggy and loose, to the point of inhibiting motion. Despite that, the fabric is stretchy, and the rest of the leg moves decently. The Discovery tends to run large, so if you are debating which size to choose, size down.
Ventilation in the Marmot Discovery is provided by two vents along the inside thighs, with no mesh backing. These move air well enough, though we wish they were along the outside of the thigh for increased air motion. Bibs are less ventilating than pants, because there is more fabric covering the torso, meaning warm air can get trapped more easily. Other bibs in our review have both inside and outside thigh vents, making up for the lack of torso ventilation inherent in bib design.
Most downhill skiing pants and bibs these days are either uninsulated, shell-only pants, or slightly insulated. This bib has a thin hanging fleece liner that adds enough warmth to keep the user happy for most days at the ski hill. It's not as warm as some more insulated pants in our review, which are better choices for the coldest days at the ski area.
This bib features six pockets, including two handwarmer pockets, two rear pockets, a thigh pocket, and a chest pocket. Amazingly, the front handwarmer pockets and rear pockets have no zippers, velcro, buttons, or any other closure mechanism. That means the pockets are open to the outside world, all the time, like pockets on a pair of jeans. This is a major oversight that renders these pockets useless for downhill skiing. Anything you put in them will fall out or get wet when the pocket fills with water or snow. For any conditions other than sunny days and low-exertion skiing, this is a deal-breaker.
There is a zippered chest pocket on the bib itself, but it is barely big enough to hold a smartphone. There is also a zippered pocket on the lower left thigh, but it is uncomfortable to put anything in this pocket because of its proximity to the knee.
The Discovery Bib is pretty neutral in styling, but a bit on the looser side. Pant design seems to be moving towards more snug-fitting styles, but the Discovery doesn't follow this trend. Overall, the style feels unrefined, and the cut is not as tailored as other options. The color options all look good but are limited in number.
These aren't as expensive as many other options in our review, but they aren't cheap either. The construction of the bib seems good, but the fabric is soft and might wear out faster than other options. In general, we would not consider these bibs a good value, mostly because of their limited versatility (due to the pocket design).
Bibs aren't for everyone, and for those that like them, there are better options in our comparison. Overall, the Marmot Discovery Bibs are ok for occasional skiers, but we wouldn't recommend them to most.
— Jeff Dobronyi