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Stoic Bombshell Bib or Northface Freedom Pant?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hey Everyone,

 

I'm looking to buy some new pants for the upcoming season. So far I've been looking into the Stoic Bombshell Bibs and the Northface Insulated Freedom Pant.

 

Does anyone have any experience with these two pants? I want something warm, waterproof and durable. I really like the idea of getting the Bombshell Bibs but I know too little about them.

 

Any suggestions?

post #2 of 26

I'm not sure about Stoic, but Northface has some solid stuff.  Check out the review from Xela on the Freedom Pant

http://www.epicski.com/products/the-north-face-freedom-pant-mens

post #3 of 26

Those are two VERY different sets of pants you're considering.  You may first want to figure out if you need/want bib pants or not.  Also, what body size/type are you?  How do you want your pants to fit?  Those will then determine (in conjunction with budget) what you might choose to buy.

 

In any event, I've tried MANY different pants (I'm picky that way). I have owned and wore the Freedom pants, along with pants from Karbon, SunIce, Mountain Hardwear, Arcteryx, and Columbia.  In a nutshell, I found the Freedom Pants were ok, but nothing spectacular.  Waterproofness was decent but not spectacular, fairly warm, articulated cut was good.  My problem was they were too baggy, I felt like a teenager.  Wearing a belt didn't help much.  Unless you have really stocky legs/hips and absolutely love baggy (they call it "relaxed", I call it "loose") I would caution you on the Freedom pants.  I ended up selling mine after half a season, I couldn't stand it anymore.

 

Anyways, I switched to Mountain Hardwear Returnia pants (they have Insulated and Non-insulated versions) and never looked back.  Far better waterproofing, better pocket design, better fit, not baggy.  Many colours available and very affordable if you find a deal.  Hands down better than the Freedom pants, no question.  There are absolutely better pants than the Returnia out there, but not at this price (around $100 on sale).

 

Here's my brief review:

http://www.epicski.com/products/2012-mountain-hardwear-returnia-insulated-pant

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post

My problem was they were too baggy, I felt like a teenager.  Wearing a belt didn't help much.  Unless you have really stocky legs/hips and absolutely love baggy (they call it "relaxed", I call it "loose") I would caution you on the Freedom pants.  I ended up selling mine after half a season, I couldn't stand it anymore.

That's all I needed to hear! I'm really trying to avoid the baggy clothing. The Bombshell bib has a fit too perfect to resist. My only worry is that it won't be warm enough. I've never owned a pair of non-insulated pants so don't really know what to expect. I'll have to check out the Rerturnia as well. Thanks!

post #5 of 26

In my mind, uninsulated is always the way to go.  You can always add layers under.  For this reason, I'd also suggest pants over bibs so you don't end up with two layers over your abdomen.

 

As for the Freedom Pants, they do seem a bit baggy.  They don't, however, look this way in pictures of me skiing.  Since my waist is smaller than my rear, the loose cut probably helped me.

post #6 of 26

Depends where he skis, I suppose.  East Coast......I'd NEVER go out in uninsulated pants, the weather just doesn't support it like the West Coast. I ski with base layer and insulated pants.....-25C (-teens F) with a damp windchill in the evenings when I often ski is too chilly otherwise. If I skied primarily out West, I'd absolutely have a set of shell pants (which I do, but never use on the Ice Coast).

post #7 of 26

I have the Bombshell jacket from Stoic and a friend of mine has the Bombshell Bib pants. To our surprise, Stoic make very good stuff for a house brand, I have to say.  The breathability is acceptable, as for the insulation, like Xela, I believe it is a good thing to have the option of adding layers when you need than the other way around.

post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douz View Post

I have the Bombshell jacket from Stoic and a friend of mine has the Bombshell Bib pants. To our surprise, Stoic make very good stuff for a house brand, I have to say.  The breathability is acceptable, as for the insulation, like Xela, I believe it is a good thing to have the option of adding layers when you need than the other way around.


Good to know! I was considering getting the Bombshell jacket too but I'm waiting to see if I can find the yellow and black model.

 

I've heard that the bibs are "more than just a shell" meaning that they're a little warmer than typical shell pants because of the three layers used. Does your friend find them pretty warm for being uninsulated?

post #9 of 26
The yellow and black Bombshell jacket (which is in fact yellow with dark blue zippers) is an older model, I think, I bought mine in 2011. On the other hand I heard that Stoic is closing up, so you have to dig more for that one. I use the jacket with a baselayer and occasionally with another layer when skiing at high altitude or when it is very cold. About the pants, my friend is always using a baselayer under the pants, but that doesn't mean anything because he is very sensitive to cold weather biggrin.gif, and always complaining  about it... but prior to this pants he had a pair of Helly Hansen, and says Bombshell Bib pants are better, so... 
post #10 of 26

Shell > Insulated  Optionality wins. Simple as that.

 

I can't think of a case, for normal recreational skiing, where a good shell pant/bib or jacket (especially 3-ply) is not a better call than an insulated garment. That goes for conditions ranging from sunny and warm, to rainy, to -12F.

 

Also, I am always skeptical when anyone claiming to be a normal recreational skier makes lots of claims about sub-zero skiing. Get much below zero F and you get into some pretty funky stuff - including potentially dangerous. While some people play in those conditions - very few people do. And even then, a top tier shell offers more options for insulation

post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

Shell > Insulated  Optionality wins. Simple as that.

 

I can't think of a case, for normal recreational skiing, where a good shell pant/bib or jacket (especially 3-ply) is not a better call than an insulated garment. That goes for conditions ranging from sunny and warm, to rainy, to -12F.

 

Also, I am always skeptical when anyone claiming to be a normal recreational skier makes lots of claims about sub-zero skiing. Get much below zero F and you get into some pretty funky stuff - including potentially dangerous. While some people play in those conditions - very few people do. And even then, a top tier shell offers more options for insulation

You're right, it is also my experience. There are however particular situations, I ski in Eastern Europe, where even we do not have very high mountains, we have extremely cold areas at certain times of the year, when you can get caught in the skilift at -20C ... On the other hand, it depends on what you do on the slope: if you have long periods of inactivity, an insulated jacket worth attention. As a general rule for recreational skiers, but not only, a shell and some layers are sufficient. The essential condition for a good shell is to have good breathability, in order not to sweat in it.
post #12 of 26

Another vote for uninsulated pants. Hiking, no matter what the temperature, was way too hot. Even on the really cold days at Stowe, I would have traded my insulated pants for a shell. 

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

Shell > Insulated  Optionality wins. Simple as that.

 

I can't think of a case, for normal recreational skiing, where a good shell pant/bib or jacket (especially 3-ply) is not a better call than an insulated garment. That goes for conditions ranging from sunny and warm, to rainy, to -12F.

 

Also, I am always skeptical when anyone claiming to be a normal recreational skier makes lots of claims about sub-zero skiing. Get much below zero F and you get into some pretty funky stuff - including potentially dangerous. While some people play in those conditions - very few people do. And even then, a top tier shell offers more options for insulation

 

The biggest case I can think of is that of being female. We get chilly. 

 

If I had only one pair of pants, I would get a shell, but I am happy in insulated pants at anything 20 or below. If I know I'm going to be doing a lot of hiking, that might drop to 10 or 15. 

 

I think East Coasters (US and Canada) spend a bit more time in sub-zero temps than you might think. How sub-zero do you mean?

post #14 of 26

Personally, I don't see gender impacting this discussion.  You can layer as much or as little as you want under a shell. Including down sweaters or parkas on top of other the layers.

 

As for temps - it is honestly hard to make absolute statements as air temp sincere wind, sun, humidity (such as it might be) - and even activity level - all impact what is really going on. But in my experience skiing, much below ten degrees usually starts to get uncomfortable if there is any wind at all. As soon as true air temps are below zero F, wind or airflow on exposed skin starts to be somewhere between uncomfortable and the need to be careful zone. Somewhere between 5 and 10 below, it seems it becomes a real danger. The one time I spent a day out at -12 F true air temp, we made sure there was zero skin exposed - full face masks, etc, etc. And rechecked each other routinely. Even taking a glove off down to a liner glove was painful after a moment or two. 

 

Again, all of those factors I mentioned influence what is really going on. And different strokes for different folks. But I know when things start to get really cold, the crowds drop off pretty quickly (sometimes including me...). I've seen this enough places that while I have not skied the eastern US or Canada, I'm reasonably sure it plays out similarly there. Hence my assertion that optimizing for super cold conditions does not really matter for most people. And that furthermore, true subzero conditions demand layering even within any typical consumer oriented insulated garment.

 

Another thing I have noticed is that manufacturers often use insulation layers to mask cheaper fabrication of the shell proper. Obviously there are some fine insulated tech oriented garments out there. But my sense is that this is less than typical. A 3 ply shell leaves little room to hide anything in terms of stitching, taping, welding, etc. What you see is what you get...

 

Finally, regarding the "baggy" comment above...any shell leaving room for layering options is likely to be a bit "baggy". No need to go crazy baggy, but there is a point where going for sleek is trading off function for fashion.

post #15 of 26

RainWhenIDie

 

 

I skied in bibs for years, worked fine for me.  My last pair were from  North Face, which worked as good as anything I had ever seen.  Never had a problem with getting cold, I just wore polypro underneath.  Myself, don't know about the need for an insulated pant.  Maybe you can find a good deal in the off season in the middle of summer.

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xela View Post

In my mind, uninsulated is always the way to go.  You can always add layers under.  For this reason, I'd also suggest pants over bibs so you don't end up with two layers over your abdomen.

 

As for the Freedom Pants, they do seem a bit baggy.  They don't, however, look this way in pictures of me skiing.  Since my waist is smaller than my rear, the loose cut probably helped me.

 

Another pair of Freedoms, not insulated, not too baggy? I tried on Medium and Large and the large were way more bigger and baggier, I am short and fat so YMMV. When it's cold I wear 3/4 length polarTec or Hot Chili's. When it's warm like this day side vents are sweet. I've had them in all conditions and have no complaints. Nice price on these usually.

 

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

Personally, I don't see gender impacting this discussion.  You can layer as much or as little as you want under a shell. Including down sweaters or parkas on top of other the layers.....

Not really .... once I get past 2 layers, I start feeling like a sausage. I am very happy in my insulation in cold weather, I've tried all types. Sure, if you only have one pair of pants, probably a shell ... but I know a LOT of people who have only one pair, and it's insulated, and they are pretty happy. I just don't think it's quite so clear cut as you made it sound...

post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 

A lot of good responses, thanks for the info! I might just shoot for a pair of uninsulated bibs to try it out. The seasons here in Colorado haven't been too cold at all anyway.

 

I will however look more into the freedom pant. It may be a little baggy, but not to the point where its ridiculous or even that noticeable. The pics of the guys sporting the freedom pants on here looked fine. I am hearing that stoic gear is pretty awesome though. So we'll see!

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Not really .... once I get past 2 layers, I start feeling like a sausage. I am very happy in my insulation in cold weather, I've tried all types. Sure, if you only have one pair of pants, probably a shell ... but I know a LOT of people who have only one pair, and it's insulated, and they are pretty happy. I just don't think it's quite so clear cut as you made it sound...

You may be right about the sausage thing but in my experience you rarely need more than 2 layers under a good shell, even if skiing at -20C in windy weather, which is the worst scenario you can usually encountered when you ski resorts or make quick backcountry hits. Actually it can be counterproductive to put more than 2 layers. A top shell, with good breathability and well sealed, as Spindrift said above, will allow you to keep your under-layers dry during the day and will not exchange air with the environment by convection. In other words, with fewer and less hydrophilic layers the system will work better. The big advantage is that this setup is lighter and much more manageable than the insulated one.

 

P.S.: Hei, RainWhenIDie, that's my jacket after a havy storm; the pants are Burton AK 2L Cyclic

 

 

and this is my friend's Stoic Bombshell setup...

 


Edited by Douz - 7/26/13 at 12:00am
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douz View Post

You may be right about the sausage thing but in my experience you rarely need more than 2 layers under a good shell, even if skiing at -20C in windy weather, which is the worst scenario you can usually encountered when you ski resorts or make quick backcountry hits. ....

 

Ok, you guys are right, I'm making all this up. Never mind. 

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Not really .... once I get past 2 layers, I start feeling like a sausage. I am very happy in my insulation in cold weather, I've tried all types. Sure, if you only have one pair of pants, probably a shell ... but I know a LOT of people who have only one pair, and it's insulated, and they are pretty happy. I just don't think it's quite so clear cut as you made it sound...

I'm with you on this one.  I have  ummmmmmm, more than one pair of pants, and I am happy that I have insulated options for those super cold days.  Even Tahoe had some negative temps during the holidays last season. 

 

Like everything in the technology world, insulated pants aren't what they used to be.  The fabrics are stretch, the loft is warm but not bulky, the lines look attractive.

 

Having an insulated and shell option is a win win. 

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Not really .... once I get past 2 layers, I start feeling like a sausage. I am very happy in my insulation in cold weather, I've tried all types. Sure, if you only have one pair of pants, probably a shell ... but I know a LOT of people who have only one pair, and it's insulated, and they are pretty happy. I just don't think it's quite so clear cut as you made it sound...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

 

Ok, you guys are right, I'm making all this up. Never mind. 

 

 

BWAAHAHAHA You had me at "sausage. I am very happy" but that's just me. Maybe you need more data points, probably should get out moar. You know what, sometimes I wear a layer UNDER my insulated pants, is this ok? We'll do a study next year.

post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy View Post

 

 

 

BWAAHAHAHA You had me at "sausage. I am very happy" but that's just me. Maybe you need more data points, probably should get out moar. You know what, sometimes I wear a layer UNDER my insulated pants, is this ok? We'll do a study next year.

I'll bring the video camera.  

You and Segbrown can demonstrate your layering process with insulated and shell pants.  Data will be kept on the outside and inside temperature, as well as the temperature of the subjects (you and segbrown) 

I also think that we should keep data on what you eat so we know who has what calorie intake and output. 

 

We got this !

post #24 of 26

Love the Northface Freedom uninsulated pant. They fit! I have 3 pair and at 5'7'', the "medium short" is just the right size. Northface is one of the only companies to offer "short" sizes and the price is right.

 

I have season passes East and West so I ski 60 to 70 times a year and these pants have never let me down.

post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douz View Post

You may be right about the sausage thing but in my experience you rarely need more than 2 layers under a good shell, even if skiing at -20C in windy weather, which is the worst scenario you can usually encountered when you ski resorts or make quick backcountry hits. Actually it can be counterproductive to put more than 2 layers. A top shell, with good breathability and well sealed, as Spindrift said above, will allow you to keep your under-layers dry during the day and will not exchange air with the environment by convection. In other words, with fewer and less hydrophilic layers the system will work better. The big advantage is that this setup is lighter and much more manageable than the insulated one.

 

P.S.: Hei, RainWhenIDie, that's my jacket after a havy storm; the pants are Burton AK 2L Cyclic

 

 

and this is my friend's Stoic Bombshell setup...

 

I decided to go with the bibs! Only 70$ so it was a steal. Douz, the jacket looks really nice (awesome pic too by the way) . I like both the yellow you have and the orange your friend is wearing. From what I hear about the quality I might try to find me a Bombshell jacket too. We'll see how I like the bibs first!

post #26 of 26

Good for you!smile.gif In case you haven't already read it, here's a pretty honest reviews about the Stoic Bombshell ...

http://backcountryskiingcanada.com/index.php?p=page&page_id=Stoic%20Bombshell%20Jacket

 

I agree with the guy, and that will include I am a  little gear snob myself and the fact that the yellow jacket is not easy to keep clean... biggrin.gif

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