Ahh, the Arc’teryx Bib Pant: perhaps the holy grail of backcountry design and performance, with a price tag to match. For touring in the wet, wild Pacific Northwest, the full-coverage protection is a must have and I’ve enjoyed testing some great bib pants over the years. We’ll shake these down for how they performed with some hard wear, plus chat a bit about how they stack up to similar offerings to see where they shine.
Arc’teryx Rush Bib Pant Features:
- Fortius™ DW 2.0 is durable, has four-way stretch and next-to-skin comfort
- N70d Most Rugged GORE-TEX PRO 3L construction delivers complete weather protection
- Ultra durable 100D Cordura® PowderCuffs™ fit over boots to help seal out snow
- Two bib pockets with zippers
- Two thigh pockets with zips
- WaterTight™ thigh vent zippers with zipper garage to protect from snow and rain
- TPU instep patches protect cuffs from sharp ski and crampon edges while reducing bulk and stiffness of a traditional instep patch
- RECCO® reflector aids search and rescue in emergency situations
- Contains materials that meet the bluesign® criteria
- Micro-seam allowance (1.6 mm) reduces bulk and weight
- Regular fit provides freedom of movement with room for layers
- Full-length front bib for maximum coverage
- Adjustable suspenders hold bibs up
- Weight: 725g
- MSRP: $650
Big Protection for Big Lines:
The Rush line from Arc’teryx has come and gone over the years, but mostly has been a stable presence in the Arc’teryx lineup as their all-mountain focused hit-big-lines-don’t-die kit. It’s a bit more burly than bibs and shells in their LT lineups, but doesn’t have the frills and insulation that make their resort pieces so sought after. This is the type of gear that I could see people using for sled-assisted access in big terrain, but I’ve also spent plenty of time earning turns in the Rush Bibs and never felt too slowed down. Clocking in at 725g, these aren’t ultralight by any stretch (compare with the Arc’teryx Sabre LT at 620g), but they don’t feel cumbersome.
One touch is that the top segment of the bib is Arc’teryx’s Fortius DW 2.0 fabric, which is a four-way stretch weave meant for next-to-skin comfort. For most layering approaches, this won’t be next to your skin, but it gives the area around your chest a feeling of being protected but unrestricted. The rest of the bib is N70d Most Rugged GORE-TEX PRO 3L, which is a bomber fabric built for years of heavy use. The denier range on garments like this go up to 100D, so N70d basically connotes a really durable fabric that is perhaps a step down from ‘professional-grade’ use like their Alpha SV. For 99% of outdoor users, N70d is a sweet spot of protection and light weight.
Some other big features stand out, notably the 1/2-length zipper dropping down the left side all the way from the garment edge. Because it goes all the way to the top hem (rather than a conventional side vent), you can use this to drop these babies down for a mountain-side poop. Many of us try not to poop on the skin track during our day-to-day recreation, but if you’re out charging big lines during all-day excursions, it can be harder to time your bowel movements. The nice thing about this is you can unzip to expose the booty without significantly undressing or exposing too much of your vulnerable skin to the elements. The right side has a simple non-meshed side vent.
Other details are pretty straightforward, like the dual bib and thigh pockets located on each side. The stretchy Fortius DW 2.0 on the bib pockets can accommodate bars, keys, phones or what have you, and you can drop lots of stuff into the thigh pockets. The paneling and tailoring helps keep your knees moving freely without bonking against the contents of the pockets. It goes without saying that all the pocket zips are waterproof.
The last feature to touch on is the instep and the 100D Cordura powder cuffs. I really like the way Arc’teryx designs their powder cuffs. The 100D Cordura is a totally bombproof choice, and it’s hard to get better than this in terms of durability. Arc’teryx leaves a slit at the back of the cuff for you to pop your boot’s powder strap through, and then you cinch that down over the cuff onto the boot. The result of this ‘Touring Cuff’ is a killer seal. I used these with Scarpa Maestrales and Dynafit Radical Pro’s, and the Hoji lock system on the Dynafit’s worked just fine. It’s a great feature.
One of the interesting details on this end of things is the instep. Rather than a dense fabric instep (many companies put 100D Cordua here), Arc’teryx drizzled on a TPU grid to fend off ski edges. I’m a feet-together skier, which is how my old-school Tahoe ski instructor Dad taught me, so I tend to put instep material through their paces. While I’m just midway through a season with these, they’ve held up well to my ski edges. There are a lot of variables here, and I think AT-oriented powder hounds have different opinions about edge sharpness than ski racers. My edges aren’t crazy sharp. That said, so far, this innovation seems like a weight-saving choice with promising durability. Time will tell.
So that’s a whole lot of technical detail about fabric, design and purpose. How do these things actually ski? Well, really stinking well. Let’s start with the uphill.
On the skin track, the Rush Bib Pants benefit massively from the generous side vents. The right vent runs a full half length, and you can dump a ton of heat out of it. The left vent is a more conventional 1/4 length vent at the knee, and it does its job. The bib design that Arc’teryx chose is simple, and I noticed that the suspenders didn’t tend to slip and lose tension throughout the day.
I always recommend that you try on a piece of high-dollar gear before you buy, but in my case I was pleased with how the Rush bibs fit for touring. The cut is a little more generous than the Sabre LT’s I previously reviewed, and I think that goes with the all-mountain focus. They can accept moderate layering and didn’t bunch up in the thighs or crotch.
I also loved using the Touring Cuff because it made transitions a little easier. Often, when you’re transitioning, fiddling with cuff fabric to get it over/off/onto your boot can require taking gloves off or stripping to liners. Not having to do that was a major benefit on bitingly cold days.
After you transition and start to head down, the bibs essentially disappear. Where are they? No one knows. You forget, because you’re just charging powder and you just know that you’re reasonably dry and warm. They’re full-protection, and there’s no chance snow’s getting up in through the bib. Or, maybe you’re on a classic North Cascades ski-out that involves some bush whacking; the N70D fabric shrugs off whippy twigs or rough bark. No worries.
Fit: I’m 5’11” and around 200 lbs, wearing a size large jacket and pants.
- It’s pretty hard to argue with the design and construction of Arc’teryx bibs. These work really well.
- The features are well-implemented, particularly the position and tailoring of the knee pockets and excellent Touring Cuffs.
- Integrated RECCO which, while increasingly becoming standard, is good to note and might save your bacon
- The fit isn’t constricting without feeling baggy on my 5’11”, 200lb frame
- GORE-TEX N70p fabric should provide many years of hard use
- I like the TPU instep and I think it’ll hold up. If not, I’ll update this.
- Some users may prefer dual full-length or 1/2 length zippers for more versatility and being able to change without taking boots on/off
- At 720g, a touch heavier than more uphill-focused options
- People who will mostly ski in the resort with resort-tuned edges may experience accelerated wear around the insteps, with or without the TPU technology. These aren’t built for that.
The Bottom Line: Arc’teryx Rush Bib Pants
I think it goes without saying that these are really good bibs. The real question is: who will these be great for? Arc’teryx offers a number of bib and pant options, from the Alpha series to the Sabre LT already mentioned (and currently available as the Sabre bib). The Rush is situated in between the Alpha SV and the Sabre. It’s not quite as movement-focused as the Alpha SV bib, which I’d recommend more for ski mountaineers. But it’s not as heavy as the current Sabre iteration, which has a taller bib for more coverage. The Alpha SV has burlier fabric and is also 140g lighter, but its travel-specific features won’t be needed by every user and neither will the extra protection of the Sabre’s taller bib. In all, the Rush is a balanced offering which maximizes uphill mobility and downhill protection. If you’re looking for a do-it-all bib, the Rush is Arc’teryx’s top offering this season.
Buy now: Available from REI