Salomon Chill Out Bib Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
These are basic insulated ski pants. They are called a "bib", but it would be more accurate to say that they are normal insulated ski pants with augmented (and removable) suspenders. The "bib" is simply one triangle of fabric at the lower back. The construction is adequate and the materials do the job. The fabric is soft and quiet while the fit is close and runs on the small side. The look is decidedly European.
Salomon's proprietary "AdvancedSkin Dry" shell fabric doesn't transmit liquid water through it. This is the good news. Other than that, we aren't particularly impressed by the Chill Out Bib's waterproofness. The vent zippers aren't waterproof, the rear pockets close with only a snap and a flap, and the DWR treatment fails with just a little bit of rubbing. The lower back suspender panel helps protect a little bit and the cuffs are solid and clean. The award winners all protect better against the weather. Notably, the insulated Spyder Dare offers better weather protection by addressing, primarily, the zipper and pocket issues that the Salomon has.
Fit and Comfort
We like the close fit and stretchy, soft design of the Chill Out Bib. These feel more like an insulated version of your soft-shell climbing pants than like ski resort wear. That is real nice. It is worth noting that the sizing generally runs a little small. Other online reviews note this same thing, and our entire test team found it to be true. If you are "between sizes", choose the larger option. Those on our test team that alternate between medium and large clothing were wishing for size large Chill Out Bibs.
The long, externally mounted, mesh-backed vents provide noticeable air exchange. Ventilation always feels more dramatic in insulated ski pants, because of the more significant differential between vented and unvented. The fact is, though, that these zippers vent just as well as any other similarly configured vents. Vents without mesh backing, like those on the Editors' Choice Arc'Teryx Sabre move even more air, but are more vulnerable to letting snow in. The dual (inner and outer, on each leg), unlined vents of the FlyLow Chemical Snow Pants (the same as on the FlyLow Baker Bibs) lead the field for ventilation. These super vented pants can be opened up to almost feel like wearing shorts.
Salomon makes European-centric gear for a variety of outdoor pursuits. These ski pants look and feel like ski mountaineering or climbing pants, while being insulated like resort wear. It is an interesting stylistic and features combination, but it works for folks. If you want to look like you just stepped off the Aiguille Du Midi tram for some high altitude Alps rock climbing, check out these pants. Just don't use them for rock climbing. You'll be way too warm.
The Salomon Chill Out Bib and the Spyder Dare are the only truly insulated pants we tested for 2019. These insulated pants are significantly warmer than any of the non-insulated options. Between these two, our test team found the insulation value to be indistinguishable. Beneath the looser fitting Spyder Dare you could add more insulation than beneath the closer fitting Salomon. Otherwise they are virtually identical.
The five pockets of the Salomon Chill Out Bib constitute its set of ski-specific features. These pockets are good. We especially like the zippered and fleece-lined hand warmer pockets. We wish the rear pockets were also zippered, both for weather protection and for containing smaller items. As they are, with just snapped flap closings, the rear pockets are more for decoration than any practical purpose.
The Salomon Chill Out Bib is your normal insulated ski resort wear. Others protect better in gnarly weather, but few go out to the slopes when it is that bad.
When the Spyder Dare offers better weather protection and similar insulation at a comparable price, it is tough to call the Salomon Chill Out Bib a value. You choose these for the stretchy, soft comfort and the Euro styling.
The Chill Out Bibs are good pants with basic functionality and features.
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