Expert Review: Burton Women's Avalon Bib PantsPublished on 07/13/2022 · 7 min read This review is my honest opinion of the bib pants, which I purchased with my own money in February of 2021.
Powder day on the backside of Mt. Bachelor. All photos courtesy of Tyese Messerman
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the bib pants, which I purchased with my own money in February of 2021.
The Burton Women's Avalon Bib Pants are extremely comfortable and are a great bib for a woman resort rider who isn’t necessarily chasing snowstorms. They have a stylish slim-fit design yet move with my natural body movements to provide a non-restricting comfortable fit all day.
About the pants
- Brand: Burton
- Model: Avalon Bib
- Size: Small
- Size Fit: True to size
- Height: 5’7”
- Weight: 130 lbs
- Pant size: 4
- Experience: 23 years of snowboarding
- When I bought these: February 2021
- Days used: 15+ days
- Where I’ve used them: Oregon and Utah
- Weather conditions used in: Sunny spring days, days when it is snowing hard, one rainy resort day, and a few backcountry days.
How they perform
What I was looking for
I had never owned a pair of snow bibs before and was looking for my first pair. I wasn’t sure if I would like riding in bibs, so I didn’t want to break the bank on my first pair, but I was sick of getting powder down my pants! Also, I wanted something very comfortable in which I wouldn’t feel constricted.
Why I chose this gear
I looked at several brands and styles of bibs and picked the Avalon bibs because they had a more stylish, slimmer fit than a lot, without being tight and constricting. When I tried them on, they had a soft material that felt really comfortable, and I could move freely in them. They also had zippers down the sides to allow for quick bathroom breaks, which many didn’t have.
I looked at The North Face Freedom bibs because a friend recommended them, but they were a little boxy fitting for my taste. I also considered the Burton Avalon GORE-TEX version and the Volcom Elm GORE-TEX, but I chose these purely because I didn’t want to spend the money on GORE-TEX bibs before I knew if I even liked bibs!
What I love about it
- Fit: I really like how these bibs fit. They are the perfect degree of slim design without being too tight or inhibiting my movement. The only problem is if they are too big, they can start to bunch in the back area.
- Comfort: I’d say comfort is where these bibs shine. The outer material is very soft and pliable polyester, and the inner lining is really smooth and comfortable. It is Burton’s ‘Living Lining’ as they call it, and it’s great. I thought these bibs were considered insulated when I first picked them up because they have a thicker feel than some uninsulated bibs.
- Warmth: For being non-insulated, I’d say these are on the warmer end of bibs. As I mentioned, the outer material and the lining feel thicker than average. I generally wear Smartwool tights underneath these and have only been cold one day when the temperature was about 15 degrees F.
- Breathability: These have a breathability rating of 10k, but I would say they perform more like my 15k pants. The pores in the ‘Living Liner’ that Burton uses are designed to expand or shrink based on my body temperature, and I feel like it does a pretty good job. I’ve never felt too hot at the resort, although I hiked a few times in a backcountry setting in these, and they aren’t quite breathable enough for that. They do have zippers along the inside of the legs I can unzip for added breathability, though.
- Ease of movement: The soft polyester material creates a very comfortable fit that has never inhibited my movement. I like to go fast, weave through trees, and I enjoy hitting jumps, and I haven’t felt constricted in these bibs.
- Quality: I think they are of good quality for what these bibs claim to be and their price point. The material looks sleek, and the liner is definitely high quality. I like the buckles used to connect the bibs, too. They are the classic style I used to see on jean bibs and are hard to break.
- Special Features: I like that there are zippers down the sides so that I can use the bathroom quickly. Many bibs don’t have this feature, making bathroom breaks much longer and more annoying! The deep pockets in the front do not have zippers, but they are softly lined inside, making them nice to quickly warm up my hands if I'm hanging in the parking lot after a long day. There is also a tiny velcro pocket inside one of the bigger pockets, assuming to keep some cash safe. The front pocket on the chest zips and is nice to hold credit cards or cash. I think it is designed for a phone, as it has a small hole for a cord to connect headphones, but I find that putting a phone there is too heavy and gets in my way. I have to put my phone in a jacket pocket when I wear these bibs.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Waterproofing: I would not say waterproofing is where these bibs shine. They have a 10k rating, so when I wore them on sunny days at resorts, they were awesome, but on the days I rode in wet precipitation, the polyester material wetted out pretty fast. The day it rained on me (why was I even there?!), my Smartwool tights were even a little damp after a few hours. Any day it snowed on me, I was not damp inside, but the pants themselves wetted out and began to feel heavy.
- Durability: I think these bibs are average. There is no material anywhere reinforcing them, and I notice at the bottom down by my boots there are frays at the seams. I also bought a light color in these bibs, and sometimes the lift drips grease after they have serviced it. The polyester material absorbs this grease or any other dirt from rubbing up against a car, etc., and it’s quite hard to get out. I have a lighter color pair of GORE-TEX pants, and the grease and dirt rub right off of these, as a comparison.
- Weight: They are on the heavier end for a non-insulated pair of bibs, but this definitely adds to their comfort. I have never felt like they are ‘heavy,’ although, like I said, if they wet out, they get heavier.
- Other: As much as I’m glad there are zippers down the sides to unzip when using the restroom, I have found that they easily slide down. There are two snaps at the top, but even when these are snapped, I have had the zipper(s) come down as I was riding.
Favorite moment with this gear
The first day I took these bibs out was on a bluebird day with fresh powder from the night before. I felt like I was in heaven, as there was no way for any of that fresh pow to get down my pants, even if I plowed through a deep section and sprayed snow everywhere. It was a really fun day, and I felt even more inclined to hit kickers and try spins because I knew I’d still be safe from the snow if I fell. We snowboarded a full day and then tailgated in the parking lot afterward. I loved having the extra warmth up top from the bibs, and that’s when I realized how nice the deep-lined pockets were! They kept my hands warm without having to wear gloves while hanging out. It was a great day!
Value for the money vs. other options
I think these bibs are above average in their value for money. I found it hard to find bibs with any butt zip at this price point. The Airblaster Hot Bibs are about $20 more than the MSRP, have a butt zip, and are also 15k waterproofing as opposed to 10k, so these would be a contender. Overall, I’d say most bibs at the same price point as the Avalons or lower have fewer features.
Overall, I think these bibs hit a great price point for entering into the world of wearing bibs and shining in their comfort and style. These bibs are perfect for a woman resort rider who mostly rides on sunny days. I enjoy wearing these bibs, but looking back, due to my riding style of chasing powder and loving the backcountry, I wish I had spent the extra money right away and gotten GORE-TEX.