Arc'teryx Sabre Bib Review
|Great bibs for a terrible snow season|
This Winter I've been fortunate enough to get my hands on Arc'teryx flagship Whiteline bibs, the Sabre bibs. As much as the Sabre bibs have been awesome, the winter in the PNW has not. I was hoping to get way more days on the Sabre bibs early in the season but the Pineapple express had its way. I noticed when I was researching to buy the Sabre bibs, there weren't many reviews on them. I hope this review answers any questions you may have as the Sabre bibs can be hard to find at most retail locations.
Arc'teryx decked out the Sabre Bibs with 80 denier Gore-Tex with a low-loft fleece backer for a soft touch that provides additional warmth. The Gore-Tex that Arc'teryx uses for the Sabre bibs is the older version of the Gore-Tex Pro. Here are their exact words, "Please note that Gore-tex (Standard) is a just the re-named Gore-tex Pro-Shell. When Gore-tex came out with the new membrane for their Pro fabric, they re-named the Pro Shell to just Gore-tex and many people have begun referring to this as Standard"
One of the questions that should be asked is how come Arc'teryx didn't use Gore-Tex Pro which is a more breathable membrane? Arc'teryx's response is," The Pro does offer added breath-ability as it has a different membrane, but with the addition of the fleece like backer, the breath-ability given with the Pro would be lost and thus is not used." I don't entirely follow their logic as the lo-loft backer would reduce the breathability of either membrane, might as well put it on the most breathable to begin with! I think my answer hits the nail on the head, that the Sabre bibs were designed as a powder orientated on piste and side-country bibs. The additional price to make a low-loft backer for the Pro shell membrane would be unnecessary because the Sabre Bibs weren't designed as a high cardio output garment.
One of my pet peeves in the ski industry is the lack of insulated ski bibs. I know I'm not the only person who runs cold. Even a little synthetic insulation in the butt makes a huge difference in the over all comfort of an on-piste bibs or pants. Considering the retail price on the Sabre bibs, I think a little insulation in the bibs would have been a nice touch.
The Sabre Bibs comes with 2 deep thigh pockets, one on each leg. These are pretty spacious pockets, allowing for a large smart phone, wallet, liner gloves, etc... On the chest portion of the bibs, there are 2 more pockets, one large horizontal zipper and a small 45 degree angled zipper. The large horizontal zipper is about a smart phone x smart phone size. The smaller 45 degree angled zipper is best used for smaller items like keys, chapstick, RFID ski pass, etc...
|Arc'teryx Sabre Bibs in Crystal Mountain Resort|
The Sabre Bibs are cut to a "Relaxed Fit", which I found out to be extremely baggy. I'm 5'10", 160lbs, 33" waist and the Mediums were absolutely huge. I tried the smalls one and the they fit extremely well, not euro-fit snug but a very comfortable "athletic fit". I've never sized down from anything form Arc'teryx but the Sabre Bibs and pants, I had to size down. For comparison sake, I own Arc'teryx's Sawatch ski pants and the Mediums fit perfectly. If you like your pants looking like sails, then get your standard size. If you want your bibs to be practical, size down. Other than sizing down, the Sabre bibs fit extremely well. The bibs are articulated well in the legs for skinning or boot-packing and the adjustable crossback suspenders are easy to adjust and stay adjusted.
I've been skiing in the Sabre bibs most of the season at Crystal Mountain Resort in WA and it's been spectacular. In fact, the bibs have been more enjoyable than the paltry ski season. The mountain gods finally gave Crystal Mountain 10" of fresh powder on a bluebird day in January. From the first gondola up, to boot-packing out from the backcountry gate in Campbell Basin, the Sabre bibs kept me dry and my body temperature regulated. The Bibs have held up really well from catching a ski edge a couple times causing me land not very gracefully. I only have a small, hardly noticeable, blemish on the fabric from grazing me ski edge across the main fabric.
|One of the few powder days in January this winter|
The price point may be high, but the Sabre bibs are beautifully crafted and come decked out with a plethora of features. Snow-sports enthusiasts willing to spend a little extra will find the Sabre bibs to be exceptional for on piste powder or side-country riding. Cold blooded riders unfortunately will find the low-loft backer on the bibs not sufficient enough to replace synthetic insulation.
- Beautiful fabric and design
- Leg vents dump massive heat
- Low-loft backer adds just the right amount of warmth for PNW environments
- Pockets, pockets, and more pockets
- Waterproof, windproof, and bomb Proof 80D Gore-Tex
- Huge Instep patches for scuff protection
- Relaxed fit is more like enormous fit
- Not warm enough for cold-blooded riders or cooler climates