Core Concepts is a relatively-new player in the outdoor apparel market. With jackets, pants, mid and base layers in their offering, this up-and-coming company is making inroads in the industry. I’ve had an opportunity to wear the Core Concepts Uncle Ben Bibs for the past month both inbounds and in the backcountry and it’s now time for the verdict.
Built with waterproof/breathable stretch fabric lowers and Schoeller soft and stretchy uppers, the Uncle Ben Bibs are built to keep the elements at bay while protecting your backside from unwanted snow. Stylish enough for resort duty but durable and efficient enough for backcountry skiing, the Uncle Ben Bibs are decked out with the following features:
- Waterproof and breathable (20k/15g) stretch shell pant
- Lightweight Schoeller® Dryskin Extreme bib upper
- Fully taped seams
- Zippered chest pocket
- Two zippered hand pockets and one cargo pocket
- Double-snap closure at waist
- Zippered vents at thigh
- Schoeller® Kevlar reinforced scuff guards
- Built-in adjustable gators
- 100% nylon Shelter Stretch shell
- MSRP: $220
Core Concepts Uncle Ben Bibs Review
The Uncle Ben Bibs were my pants of choice for an uber-cold day at Solitude Resort. I wore my mid-weight Kombi Bamboo/Charcoal Merino base layers and despite the single-digit temps, I was warm and cozy all morning. The Schoeller bib material is soft and comfy despite being form-fitting. Core Concepts did a great job selecting this fabric as it remains one of the premiere “softshell” fabrics on the market. As far as bibs go, these are unique in the fit of the uppers.
I’ve since used these bibs on several backcountry ski tours and various other snow activities (sledding with the kids, shoveling snow, etc.). Overall comfort is solid with excellent water-shedding capabilities. I really appreciate the brushed lining and stretch fabric for quiet comfort and flex when needed. The material has been bomber in spite of repeated snagging during carwash exits (scrub oak and maple branches).
While touring, these pants have provided excellent flexibility and freedom-of-movement throughout the stride. When the activity level gets ratcheted up, the side vents allow you to dump some heat, but could be a bit bigger in both length and opening, in my opinion. I appreciated the bevy of pockets (hand, single cargo and bib) to stash small items for quick access.
Speaking of quick access… don’t plan on anything quick should you need to use the bathroom as it entails a near-full disrobe to get these pants down. Clips on the straps would improve this so at least you wouldn’t have to take off your jacket and mid layer anytime you need to take care of business.
The only other gripe is something Core Concepts can remedy easily and it’s regarding the strength of the snaps at the bottom of the inner gaiter (see above picture). I repeatedly unsnapped these when trying to raise and lower them or to gain access to my boot buckles. Getting them snapped again almost always required glove removal (also see my glove above). Hopefully they can source a bit more burly snap in the future.
Good Uncle Ben
- Good breathability via leg vents
- High-quality fabrics with Schoeller, etc.
- Myriad of useful pockets
- Bomber scuff guard protects against sharp edges
- Zipper pulls are easy to grab with gloves on
- Strong fabric resists tears despite repeated snagging
- Comfortable fit that keeps the snow out
- Form-fitting upper minimizes bulk
Bad Uncle Ben
- Straps should have a buckle for quicker on/off
- A dropseat would be nice in lieu of fully disrobing to use the restroom
- Snap closures on inner gaiter are weak and unbutton anytime it is adjusted up/down on the boot
- Ventilation zippers could be longer/wider-opening
- Straps dropped off shoulders while shoveling snow
Bottom Line: Core Concepts Uncle Ben Bibs
For the money, these bibs are hard to beat. A few relatively-minor gripes (all things considered), but these bibs are solid performers. Should you not opt for the bib, the Uncle Ben’s are also available in a pant version.
Buy Now: Visit CoreLayers.com