Expert Review: Flylow Men's Firebird Bib PantsPublished on 10/04/2022 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the pants, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
I felt comfortable and warm on windy ridge lines in the New Mexico backcountry. All photos courtesy of Derek B.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the pants, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
The Flylow Men's Firebird Bib Pants are a great pair of stylish bibs for colder climates, deeper snow, or someone who tends to get chilly on resort days.
About the pants I own
- Brand: Flylow
- Model: Firebird Bib Pants, Caldera Blue
- Size Fit: True to size
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 175lbs
- Pant size: M (I’m a 32W and 33/34 inseam)
- Experience: 32 years of skiing
- When I bought these: December 2021
- Days used: 20
- Where I’ve used them: Mt Baker and Stevens Pass, WA; Wolf Creek Pass, CO; Taos Ski Valley and Santa Fe backcountry, NM
- Weather conditions used in: Cold (typically <20 F), windy (> 15 mph), and generally clear days.
How they perform
What I was looking for
I was looking for a fairly priced pair of uninsulated bibs that would keep snow off my waist while keeping me warm on cold days. Durability and flexibility of movement were also key since I tour frequently and tend to be harder on my gear than most.
Why I chose this gear
I looked at several types of bibs: Flylow Baker, REI First-Chair, and Patagonia Snowdrifter, to name a few. I landed on the Flylow Firebird as a good blend of functionality, style, and affordability. There are certainly more featured bibs on the market, but these ones look and feel great, kept me warm on cold and windy days, and have stood up well to my abuse.
What I love about them
- Fit: I was looking for a trimmer fit that still allowed me maneuverability and layering capacity. I literally pulled them out of their shipping box, tossed them on, and did some squats to see how they would do—and they did not disappoint. Intuitive’s Stark fabric and articulated knees allow for plenty of mobility. I prefer more fitted clothing in general because I am on the slender side (although most of my weight is from the waist down), but I specifically don’t like the baggy fit that a lot of ski/snowboard gear has as a standard aesthetic. These bibs allowed me to still layer on one particularly cold day (wool base + midweight fleece bottoms) when I needed it without restricting movement. And there wasn’t a bunch of unnecessary bulk that could get caught on trees.
- Warmth: Although these are uninsulated, I have been much warmer in these bibs than my old insulated pants—even on the coldest/windiest days last winter. Part of that is the fact that bibs naturally retain more of one’s core heat, but the materials also keep the wind off while providing significant waterproofing and breathability. These bibs allowed the sweat to evaporate outward—even when I got sweaty on hard and fast skin climbs—without also making me cold as the wind whipped by during transitions and descents. Powder gaiters and a snap system to integrate with a powder skirt keeps the snow out and the warmth in.
- Waterproofing: Waterproof zippers, fully taped seams, a DWR coating, and a 10k/10k waterproof breathable membrane by Intuitive make these bibs well suited for wet days. Even on my wetter days in the PNW, it never felt like these pants allowed the melting snow to leak in.
- Breathability: These bibs are decently breathable but definitely geared more toward being waterproof. The jersey back on the torso wicked moisture away from under my pack. Venting zips on the outside of each leg allowed me to get a little more aggressive when I start to get sweaty during ridge hikes or on the skin track.
- Durability: Even after 20 days on the snow, I can hardly tell that these bibs have been worn. The extra reinforcing around the ankles doesn’t even show the marks from where I undoubtedly hit it with my edges.
- Weight: These bibs are on the heavier side to improve waterproofing. This helped keep me warm on cold, windy days both in the backcountry and in the resort. I tend to get cold on the chairlift from lack of movement, but these bibs kept me comfortable.
- Ease of movement: Articulated knees and a good fit allow for easy, natural movement. I appreciated this the most while touring, which requires good mobility without cumbersome bulk.
- Quality: These bibs look and feel great. I was initially a little concerned that the Caldera Blue color (probably closer to turquoise) might be a little garish, but I’ve gotten tons of compliments.
- Special Features: I really like the chest pockets for stashing my wallet and phone on resort days.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Other: I am not the biggest fan of the cargo pockets being on the front thigh. I’d prefer that there were no leg pockets or that they were on the sides. But I typically have a backpack on.
Favorite moment with this gear
Surprisingly, my favorite moment in these bibs was not ski related at all! Some friends and I took a trip to South Fork, Colorado, last winter to hang out and play in the snow. Only one or two of them have skied or snowboarded, so we usually sled, tube, snowshoe, or chuck snowballs at each other. We stopped at this awesome sledding hill, and I built up a little jump on the sledding track. We ripped it all afternoon and even got some of our more risk-averse friends to let loose! It was one of those moments where some of my New Mexico desert friends were having a blast on the snow and started to recognize why I spend so much time on skis.
Value for the money vs. other options
These bibs are a great value for the money for the skier/boarder that is looking for warmth and waterproofing. They’re less expensive and a little bit thinner than the Flyflow Baker. They’re a little more costly than REI’s entry-level bibs. But they more than make up for the small price point difference with a much better fit and higher quality materials.
The Flylow Men’s Firebird pants are a great value for the mixed resort/backcountry rider that is looking for some stylish bibs to keep them warm and dry without breaking the bank.