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The North Face Freedom Bib Review

Great value for ski bibs that check all of the basic performance boxes
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The North Face Freedom Bib Review (The North Face Freedom Bib has a nice fit throughout the leg, not too tight and not too loose.)
The North Face Freedom Bib has a nice fit throughout the leg, not too tight and not too loose.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi
Price:  $250 List
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Manufacturer:  
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 17, 2024
61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 19
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 7.0
  • Fit and Comfort - 25% 7.0
  • Ventilation - 20% 5.0
  • Warmth - 10% 4.0
  • Features - 10% 6.0
  • Style - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The North Face Freedom Bibs provide full coverage for skiers on deep powder days without breaking the bank, earning our respect for the best value for bibs. They have a waterproof fabric and enough pockets to make it work on the ski hill, along with a fit that isn't too baggy or too tight. They lack the refinement of other ski bibs, but they get the job done for a price that is hard to argue with. If you ski every day of the season, you'll likely need more protection, better pockets, and better ventilation, but if you ski only occasionally and don't want to spend a lot of money but still want the full-body coverage that bibs provide, these are a great choice. To see how the Freedom Bibs compare to the rest, check out our best ski pants review.
REASONS TO BUY
Good protection
Comfortable fit
Low price
REASONS TO AVOID
Poor ventilation
Features need work
Not much style

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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61
Star Rating
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Bottom Line Decent ski bibs for an excellent priceComfortable, flexible pants for ski touring and sunny days at the resortPlenty of performance for a low priceSolid insulated ski pants for a low priceThese pants are warm and moderately weather resistant, but not very stylish
Rating Categories The North Face Free... Outdoor Research Tr... Helly Hansen Legend... The North Face Free... REI Co-op Powderbou...
Weather Resistance (25%)
7.0
5.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Fit and Comfort (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Ventilation (20%)
5.0
9.0
5.0
6.0
6.0
Warmth (10%)
4.0
4.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Features (10%)
6.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Style (10%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
Specs The North Face Free... Outdoor Research Tr... Helly Hansen Legend... The North Face Free... REI Co-op Powderbou...
Main fabric Recycled Nylon Nylon/Polyester/Spandex Polyester Recycled Nylon Nylon
Insulation Recycled polyester None Polyester Recycled polyester Recycled polyester
Waterproofing DryVent 2L Ventia 3L Lower Legs Helly Tech DryVent 2L 2-layer waterproof breathable laminate
Waistline construction Bibs Snap/zipper fly with adjustable tabs Snap/zipper fly with adjustable tabs Snap/zipper fly with adjustable tabs Button zip fly with hook/loop adjustment
Weight (in pounds) 1.52 lbs 1.64 lbs 1.30 lbs 1.28 lbs 1.64 lbs
Weight (in grams) 689 g 744 g 590 g 581 g 744 g
# of Pockets 5 5 3 3 3
Vents Inner thigh zips Outer thigh zips Inner thigh zips Inner thigh zips Interior thigh zips
Ski-specific features Elastic cuffs, scuff guards Elastic cuffs, scuff guard, transceiver pocket, gussetted ankle zipper Elastic Cuffs, Scuff Guards Elastic cuffs, scuff guards Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs, elastic waist
Recco No No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

These bibs don't perform that well in any particular metric, but as a total package, they adequately protect the occasional skier who might happen to get caught in bad weather or time their ski trip to coincide with a deep powder day.

Performance Comparison


the north face freedom bib - ripping some early-season turns in the freedom bibs.
Ripping some early-season turns in the Freedom Bibs.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Weather Resistance


The North Face Freedom Bib uses a proprietary waterproof and breathable membrane called DryVent to keep water out. In our experience, this budget-friendly hardshell adequately keeps out water and snow. That said, the DWR finish on these pants wears off relatively quickly, meaning the shell fabric will wet out and feel less waterproof after a short break-in period.


The front of this bib comes up to about the nipple level on the user's chest, which accomplishes the primary purpose of ski bibs: to prevent deep powder from blowing up underneath the user's jacket on certain days of the year. This bib effectively seals out snow from underneath, although none of the zippers on the pockets or front of the chest are waterproof. In powder snow, this doesn't matter, but if the snow gets wet or if frozen precipitation turns to rain, these pants allow some water to penetrate.

the north face freedom bib - the front of the bib covers most of the chest and keeps deep powder...
The front of the bib covers most of the chest and keeps deep powder from getting into your inner layers.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Fit and Comfort


These pants fit surprisingly well, given their low price. The North Face Freedom Bib has good tailoring and a fit that isn't too loose and isn't too tight, just the way we like it. The best ski pants have an articulated fit that is pre-sewn to fit the contours of the body while performing skiing and snowboarding motions. These pants have a small amount of articulation, enough to provide a fit that is comfortable enough for hard-charging but also comfortable enough to wear at the après bar or while dropping the kids off at ski school.


The pants have a thin internal hanging liner fabric to add some space between the body and the shell fabric. This fabric is soft to the touch and pleasant on the skin. In general, we prefer shells without this hanging liner, but we can't deny that it makes the pants more comfortable. The high chest of the bib gets old quickly since we don't like our chests to be encumbered by heavy fabric all day, but the shell is softer than others on the market and not too bad from a comfort perspective.

the north face freedom bib - the north face freedom bib has a nice fit throughout the leg, not...
The North Face Freedom Bib has a nice fit throughout the leg, not too tight and not too loose.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Ventilation


These bibs have small internal thigh vents with mesh covering the openings, which don't provide all that much ventilation. When you add in the hanging liner that also prevents internal air motion, the result is a bib that doesn't breathe very well at all. The full-coverage chest increases the stuffy feeling of these pants.


These pants are not built to allow the user to ditch large amounts of heat very quickly, so they are best used by skiers and riders who plan to spend most of their day going downhill and not hiking or skinning for extra turns. If you have to perform a short climb, the vents will help, but if you're hiking fast, you'll get hot in these bibs. There's just no way around it.

the north face freedom bib - small, mesh-lined internal thigh vents provide the only ventilation...
Small, mesh-lined internal thigh vents provide the only ventilation in The North Face Freedom Bib, and they're not that effective.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Warmth


While The North Face Freedom Bib isn't designed to provide that much warmth, the hanging inner liner traps just enough air to add some heat to the user's experience. We generally don't like that much insulation in our ski pants, preferring to layer with the appropriate thickness of long underwear to match the temperatures and our expected aerobic output on any particular day. These pants give us just a small boost of warmth but still require the user to layer underneath.


That said, there is no insulating material besides a thin hanging liner, so if you like your ski pants to keep your legs warm on their own, you'll have to find a different pair of pants or bibs.

the north face freedom bib - these pants aren't thick with insulation.
These pants aren't thick with insulation.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Features


To be honest, we don't really like the features on this pair of bibs. There are two thigh pockets, one on each leg, and they close “cargo style” with two hook-and-loop patches on each flap. This doesn't make for a secure or waterproof closure, but we understand the corners that had to be cut in order to achieve such a low cost. There are also two waist pockets that close with zippers, but the zippers aren't waterproof.


There are scuff guards on the insides of the ankles that help extend the lifetime of the pants, but they aren't particularly burly. The internal elastic powder cuff is standard at this point for ski pants, and there is no way to adjust the circumference of the ankle cuff to tighten it around a boot. There is one chest pocket with a vertical zipper, but it's rather small.

The chest pocket has a vertical opening and a hook-and-loop closure...
The chest pocket has a vertical opening and a hook-and-loop closure, not ideal for expensive electronics like phones.
The North Face Freedom Bib's waist pockets are the only zippered...
The North Face Freedom Bib's waist pockets are the only zippered pockets on the pants.
The thigh cargo pockets close with a hook-and-loop flap, not ideal...
The thigh cargo pockets close with a hook-and-loop flap, not ideal for keeping valuables in or precipitation out.

Style


The North Face Freedom Bib isn't winning any fashion competitions, but it doesn't look bad, either. Most people don't want their ski pants to be the centerpiece of their style, and these pants are designed accordingly. They aren't too baggy or too tight, nor do they have any sight lines or seams that attract attention. If you are hoping to fit in with the crowd rather than stand out, these pants have a style that you might appreciate.


However, our testers like pants that try a little harder to look good while not looking all that different or noticeable. We prefer pants with a refined look that doesn't attract attention, but when attention is brought to them, their style can be appreciated. These pants are bland and uninteresting, which most people will like, but we can't (and won't) shower accolades upon them.

the north face freedom bib - these pants don't have much style, but maybe that's the way you like...
These pants don't have much style, but maybe that's the way you like it.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Should You Buy The North Face Freedom Bib?


The North Face Freedom Bib delivers acceptable protection and comfort in a bib, and it does so for a low price, so anyone looking for a bib for occasional days at the ski hill can do themselves a favor by giving them some consideration. More advanced and regular users will appreciate more refinement, but for the average skier, these bibs are perfectly adequate and will help augment your ski experience by allowing you to stay out on the worst weather days, which is when the skiing is often at its best.

the north face freedom bib - getting some turns at the local resort while testing the freedom bibs.
Getting some turns at the local resort while testing the Freedom Bibs.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

What Other Ski Pants Should You Consider?


If you are looking for a pair of bibs but want more protection, the Outdoor Research Carbide Bib is more weather-resistant, has better ventilation, and costs just a bit more. If you want a bib that delivers an excellent fit and plenty of protection, ventilation, and style, the Mammut Haldigrat HS Bib is our favorite bib on the market. If pants are more your style, check out the inexpensive Helly Hansen Legendary Insulated to provide a great value. And if you're looking for the best ski pants money can buy, the Arc'teryx Sabre is our test team's favorite.

Jeff Dobronyi