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Best Fishing Bibs for 2021

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Whether you’re facing a sudden squall, a punishing wind that’s pushing spray sideways, or waves that are breaking over the deck, foul weather means fishing bibs that doesn’t know the word “quit.”

We’ve already covered the boots we’d choose for those conditions, and now it’s time to turn to foul-weather bibs.

You may not even know where to start or what to look for in a good bib, but we’re here to help, and we take our cues from the men and women who work the water for a living.

You probably don’t make a living on the water, but if you do, you’ll know a few of the products on our list.

Black Friday Rain Gear For Fishing Deals: Grundéns Black Friday promotion - Take 25% off Grundéns' holiday collection with code HOLIDAY21 at checkout.

Quick glance at the best foul-weather fishing bibs:

Related:

Best Fishing Bibs Reviewed

Grundens Men’s Full Share Bib - Our Pick!

Grundens Men’s Full Share Bib | Waterproof, Breathable, Orange/Grey, X-Small

Grundens | Amazon 

Material: 500-denier nylon with a 2.5 layer waterproof/breathable laminate and an exterior DWR coating

Waterproof rating: ???

Breathability: ???

Grundens originally designed the Full Share bib for commercial fishermen working crab boats and other nasty, wet jobs. 

Uncompromising quality and top-notch waterproofness have made these bibs legendary among people who work on the water, and if you’re an angler who needs serious protection from spray, rain, and waves, look no further.

Grundens’ bibs are trusted by commercial lobstermen.

The Full Share is built from tough fabric that’s been tested in the real world, and unless you fish a crab boat, they’re going to last you a very, very long time.

Expect a 2.5 layer waterproofing system that delivers, and though Grundens doesn’t report the waterproofing or breathability level, they’re both very high, as reported by people who work in them. For sport anglers, these are simply going to be next to impossible to beat.

I can guarantee that they’ll keep you dry in the rain and spray for hours on end, and unless you’re hauling bait to and from crab traps on deck, you won’t get clammy either. 

If they can depend on Grundens, so can you.

These bibs are that good.

The Full Share uses comfortable, adjustable suspenders and sports lower-leg zippers for easy on-off over boots. You’ll also discover a chest pocket for storage and reflective, hi-viz color options and reflective decals, both front and back.

Check Grundens’ size guide for a proper fit, ordering up if you plan to layer.

For sport anglers, these bibs are pretty much as good as it gets.

Pros:

  • Good fit with adjustable suspenders 
  • Real-world tested as supremely waterproof by people who earn a living on the water
  • Very tough
  • Big storage pocket on the chest
  • Zippered lower legs for easy on-off over boots.

Cons:

  • ???

Grundéns Men's Weather Watch Fishing Bib

Grundéns Men's Weather Watch Fishing Bib Trouser, Black - Large

Grundens | Amazon 

Material: nylon shell with a breathable waterproof inner layer and DWR exterior coating

Waterproof rating: 8,000 mm

Breathability: 3,000 g/m²/24hr

Grundens knows fishing, and if rain, spray, and waves are in your future, you’ll be well-served by their Weather Watch fishing bib. Reasonably priced, it delivers performance in the mid-range, providing most anglers with the protection they need from water.

Everyone from tugboat workers to merchant marines rely on these bibs, and you can, too.

Right off, you’ll notice adjustable suspenders to keep this bib in place and ensure that your chest, back, and sides stay dry. Adjustable velcro cuffs at the ankles ensure a proper fit to length, but be sure to check Grunden’s sizing chart for the right option for you.

Made from durable, tough nylon with a mid-layer of breathable waterproof material and an outer layer of DWR coating, the Weather Watch bib is truly waterproof - featuring sealed seams - but over time, the waterproof rating of 8,000 mm suggests that some soak-through is possible in prolonged downpours or where pressure is involved, say, in heavy, constant waves.

In the real world, sailors and merchant marines love these affordable rain bibs because they work, keeping them dry on deck in all conditions and outperforming much higher-dollar products.

The only criticism I have of these bibs is that some customers have had problems with durability. And keep in mind that kneeling in snow or on wet ground is not what this product is designed for.

If you use these as fishing bibs, you can count on them to keep you dry in the worst conditions.

They’re also machine washable, making cleanup no sweat.

Do yourself a favor and take a look at these bibs.

Pros:

  • Good fit with adjustable suspenders and velcro cuffs
  • Real-world tested as waterproof by people who earn a living on the water

Cons:

  • Newer models may suffer durability issues
  • Not as breathable as some of the other products on our list

FROGG TOGGS Men's Pilot II Guide Waterproof Breathable Rain Bib

Frogg Toggs Pilot II Guide Bib, Shoreline, Large

Amazon 

Material: polyester exterior with DriPore Gen 2 mid-layer and micro-textured tricot fabric

Waterproof rating: ???

Breathability: ???

Frogg Toggs has built an enviable reputation among outdoorsmen for warm and dry outerwear that’s affordable, and their Pilot II Guide bib is a good example of the kind of product that has won them so many fans.

Constructed with a tough polyester exterior, the heart of the waterproofing is their proprietary DriPore Gen 2 midlayer, a waterproof, moisture-wicking fabric similar in design to GORETEX. The company doesn’t say if it adds a DWR coating to the exterior, but I’d bet on it.

With fully taped and sealed seams, this adds up to very good waterproof protection with impressive breathability.

As you’d exp[ect, you’ll find comfortable suspenders up top and “zip-to-knee” zippers below for easy on and off. Add plenty of pockets and D-rings, and you’ve got a solid, serious rain bib that any angler would be proud to own.

Sizing tends to be a bit unusual, so definitely consult Frogg Toggs’ sizing chart, select the appropriate product, and measure carefully. Otherwise, the bib may be very large for your height and weight, compromising fit.

Now keep in mind that this product is made for the sportsman, not the commercial fisherman, and consider exactly what that means. Yes, this will keep you dry, and yes, it’s quite breathable.

But in terms of pure durability and toughness, as well as no-nonsense performance, I’d take what tugboat workers, merchant marines, and commercial crabbers wear every time.

Pros:

  • Good fit with adjustable suspenders 
  • Very waterproof
  • Breathes well
  • Nice pockets
  • Zippered lower legs for easy on-off over boots.

Cons:

  • Sizing is a little strange - be sure to consult their chart and measure carefully
  • Not as durable as the commercial alternatives

HUK Men's Grand Banks Bib

Huk Men's Grand Banks Water Proof & Wind Resistant Heavy Duty Rain Bib, Iron, X-Large

Amazon 

Material: polyester with DWR coating

Waterproof rating: ???

Breathability: ???

HUK is no stranger to the water, and it comes as no surprise that their bibs are popular among wet-weather anglers.

Let’s see how they stack up against the admittedly tough competition of our shortlist.

HUK’s Grand Banks bibs are constructed from tough polyester, and at least as far as the company is willing to admit, they use only a DWR coating on the exterior to create waterproofness. “Strategic venting” is employed to increase moisture transfer, which further supports my guess that there’s no membranous waterproofing to be found in these bibs.

In the real world, that’s not confidence-inspiring.

As long as that DWR coating is intact, it will indeed repel water - in both directions. That means that until it’s compromised, neither rain nor sweat will pass, guaranteeing that these bibs will start to get clammy unless that ventilation really works.

The bigger issue is that relying solely on a DWR coating isn’t a smart plan, and as plenty of anglers have discovered, a hard rain, lots of spray, or splashing from waves can wet these bibs.

You’ll find a typical pants zipper on the front, leaving these bibs more like overalls, and for some anglers, that makes them difficult to put on and take off. Certainly, a full-front zipper like the Frogg Toggs’ makes this easier, but as you can see from Grundens and Helly-Hansen, that’s also a design feature that invites water penetration.

You’ll find the typical adjustable suspender system and plenty of pockets on the HUK Grand Banks bib, so full marks there.

But overall, the competition is fierce at this price, and there are better bibs to be had.

Pros:

  • Good fit with adjustable suspenders 
  • Nice pockets

Cons:

  • A DWR coating is the only waterproofing measure on these bibs
  • Not as durable - or as waterproof - as the commercial alternatives

ONYX Thunder Rage Fishing Bib

ONYX Thunder Rage Fishing Bib, X-Large (502000-700-050-16)

Amazon 

Material: ???

Waterproof rating: ???

Breathability: ???

ONYX Thunder Rage fishing bibs look to compete in a crowded field, including real-world-tested bibs that commercial fishermen and merchant marines rely on day-in, day-out.

The company won’t talk about the materials or coatings comprising these bibs, which makes me quite suspicious. When you’re proud of your product and know that it includes premium materials, you say so.

ONYX claims that the Thunder Rage bib is “100% waterproof and breathable;” real-world use suggests otherwise, but without any specifics as to materials or construction, it’s hard to say why.

Expect the usual adjustable suspenders and a long, shielded zipper up the front that makes these bibs easy to put on and take off. You’ll also find zippers on both legs that run up to or above your knee, making them easy to take on or off with boots, and in a thoughtful touch, they’re covered by Velcro-closure storm flaps.

You’ll also find plenty of pockets, so there’s nothing to complain about there.

But in the real world, these bibs aren’t up to the standard set by the best on our list. Neither as durable nor as waterproof, there’s a reason you won’t see Maine lobstermen or Dutch Harbor crab men wearing Thunder Rage bibs, and while these may not be the jobs you face, I’d give these bibs a pass.

If you do decide to give them a try, be aware that sizing runs small, so order up.

Pros:

  • Nice pockets
  • Nice zippers - easy on/off, even over boots

Cons:

  • ONYX doesn’t report the material, waterproofing, or coating it uses for these
  • Not as durable - or as waterproof - as the commercial alternatives
  • Sizes run small

Helly-Hansen Men's Workwear Mandal Bib Pant

Helly-Hansen Workwear Mandel Waterproof Bib Overalls for Men - Heavy Duty Protective Bib Pant - Adjustable, PVC-Coated Polyester, Durable, Breathable, High Mobility, Dark Orange - L

Amazon 

Material: PVC coated 410 g/m² polyester

Waterproof rating: Completely

Breathability: No

Helly Hansen is second only to Grundens for its popularity among the men and women who make a living at sea, and their Mandal bib is an excellent choice for anglers who need a lot of protection from rain, wind, spray, and waves.

These fishermen aren’t messing around with their wet-weather gear.

Made from very tough, very durable polyester coated in a thick layer of PVC, these bibs are as waterproof as waterproof gets. Spray yourself with a pressure washer, stand on the bow during a storm - whatever - the only moisture you’ll have in these bibs is the sweat your body produces, because PVC doesn’t breathe.

Micro-welded seams are just icing on the cake here, and the only reason the Grundens are more popular is breathability. The Grundens’ Full Share (and similar bibs) are just the best on the market, hands down, and unless you prefer the total protection of PVC bibs, they’re probably the best bet for you.

Helly Hansen’s bibs are common wherever the work is wet.

But from Maine to Alaska, the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll find the HH brand working just as hard as the men and women who wear it.

Pros:

  • Good fit with adjustable suspenders 
  • Real-world tested as supremely waterproof by people who earn a living on the water
  • Very tough
  • Boot cut for an easier fit

Cons:

  • Not breathable and will get clammy as you work

Fishing Bib: What You Should Know

What Does “Waterproof” Really Mean?

Obviously, fishing bibs that can’t stand up to wind and water is pretty much useless. And from sprinkles to full-on storms, you need outerwear that can keep you comfortable and dry.

For anglers, this means skipping anything labeled “water resistant” and moving on to “waterproof” options. That term can be trickier than it seems. “Waterproof” is thrown around a lot in advertising, but it’s defined pretty specifically in the textile industry.

This is something you need to be clear about, and understanding what fishing bib manufacturers mean with technical descriptions can be the difference between a great day fishing and a miserably cold and wet slog.

As clothing experts from HuffPost.com explain, “A textile’s level of water resistance is measured in column pressure… imagine a one-inch tube that’s sitting on top of the fabric, and it’s filled with water. At one point, the column is high enough that there’s so much pressure that the water will actually come through the membrane. That’s the number you’re looking for in terms of grading waterproofness.”

Keeping that measurement system in mind, “waterproof” means that a given fabric can withstand the pressure of a one-inch column of water 5,000 millimeters tall. But that’s not good enough for serious outdoor gear, and instead, you should be looking for clothing rated to 15,000 to 20,000 millimeters.

As Ian Nicholson from OutdoorGearLab notes, “the US Military requires that fabric must be able to resist 25 PSI (or 16,700mm) to be considered waterproof.”

Most of the options on our list exceed that requirement, with only the budget Nevis gear missing the mark.

What Does “Breathable” Really Mean?

When a material is described as “breathable,” it allows moisture--sweat vapor--to escape, while keeping the rain out. That outward airflow keeps you dry even as you heat up, and it’s a critically important element of good fishing bibs.

As REI says, “Transferring sweat vapor through a shell happens in part because the warm, moist air inside is attracted to colder, relatively drier air outside. The efficiency of that vapor transfer process helps determine how dry or clammy you feel, and improving that efficiency has been the focus of outdoor brands for decades.”

As a result of all that research, top-end options like Gore-tex and eVent work wonders, allowing sweat to evaporate while locking rain out.

Any rain suit needs to be breathable. Otherwise, while it’ll keep the rain from wetting you down, it’ll trap moisture inside, leaving you clammy and damp.

Breathability is measured in grams per square meter over 24 hours (g/m²/24hr). Here’s a chart reflecting how various activity levels relate to these measures:

Where possible, we’ve researched the fabric and reported these numbers.

Materials, Construction, and Coatings

Outerwear manufacturers can pack some advanced tech into fishing bibs, varying materials and construction methods to meet a given price point or provide an edge in performance.

By far, the most common materials used in breathable fishing bibs are expanded polytetrafluoroethylenes. ePTFEs like Gore-Tex and eVent are essentially the same material as the Teflon coating in your skillet, just stretched into a thin layer that forms a lightweight, porous membrane. And through its dotted with billions of holes per square centimeter, they’re so small that the surface tension of water won’t allow it to seep through, while air--and sweat vapor--can escape.

ePTFEs combine waterproofness with breathability, making them an outstanding choice for fishing bibs.

Three-Layer Construction

Three-layer construction is probably the most common option for quality rain gear.

The outer layer, also called the face layer, is typically a tough fabric coated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellant). It’s there to protect the middle layer of ePTFE, where the real waterproofing takes place, and its job is to keep the pores of the ePTFE from getting clogged by sunscreen, dirt, or other contaminants.

Beneath that outer layer, you’ll find the heart of your rain gear--the high-tech layer that really seals water out while still letting moisture escape.

And against your skin, you’ll find the third and final layer, often of polyester. It protects the ePTFE from dirt and body oils that might clog those all-important pores.

2.5-Layer Construction (eVent DVstorm)

It’s possible to alter the recipe of the sandwich a bit, swapping out the inner layer for alternatives. A 2.5 layer approach does just this, using a “painted on” inner layer to cut down on weight and bulk while still protecting the inner ePTFE layer.

eVent DVstorm is one such proprietary combination.

According to Ian Nicholson from OutdoorGearLab, “eVent [DVstorm] uses an external face fabric with a very similar polytetrafluoroethylene membrane [to a 3-layer system]. Where the big difference is in the inner-most layer: instead of using a solid material like Gore-tex (which uses a hydrophobic polyurethane (PU) film on the inside), eVent uses a secret propitiatory coating that protects the individual fibers without clogging the pores.”

The result is a lighter, less bulky product that’s just as waterproof and breathable.

2-Layer Construction

Some outdoor applications require very flexible outerwear, and 2-layer construction is the best way to meet this need.

This construction tech uses a thin layer of waterproof stretch polyurethane (think Spandex) coated with an ePTFE. When done well, it results in a breathable, waterproof shell that’s stretchier than typical Gore-Tex because the waterproofing material can be very, very thin.

It’s uncommon on rain gear designed for anglers and hunters.

Single-Layer Plastics

A final approach to rain gear is a single layer of tough PVC or polyester, especially with an added waterproof coating. Polyvinyl chloride and polyester can be tough stuff, and both are entirely waterproof, but neither are permeable to water vapor, meaning that they can’t breathe.

DWR Coatings

ePTFEs rely on those tiny holes to do their thing, which is why they need to be protected from your skin by an inner layer. But external contaminants can also compromise their function, which is why they need that face layer, too.

“Because oils from our body, sunscreen, funk, etc. have low surface tension, they will invade the membrane and inhibit the pores from keeping out water, so most PTFE membranes (such as Gore-Tex) are now coated to stop these contaminants,” Matt Gugel from PattyPallin.com.au explains.

“Basically a DWR is a coating that is applied to the outside of the fabric (either fluropolymers [sic], silicones or hydrocarbons), that increases the contact angle or surface tension of the fabric when water comes in contact with it. This causes the water to bead and to simply roll off your garment, instead of allowing it to flatten and seep into the fabric.”

DWR coatings are applied to waterproof fabrics to increase their resistance to saturation. This improves breathability and prevents water from transferring through soaked fabrics--but most importantly, it prevents the holes in the ePTFE from getting clogged.

Over time, this coating will wear off, and you’ll need to reapply it with a product like Nikwax.

What We Look for in Excellent Fishing Bibs

Obviously, waterproof and breathable are the key words for good fishing bibs, but there’s a bit more to consider when you’re looking for the best option for you.

Seam Quality

When your fishing bib is assembled, there will inevitably be seams where needles poked holes in the waterproof materials. How these seams are joined and protected is important, and there are three methods common to waterproof applications.

Fully Taped Seams

Fully taped seams result when a manufacturer applies internal waterproofing tape to every seam on the garment, using a very strong, waterproof adhesive to fully protect each joint.

Welded Seams

With some materials, it’s possible to heat and press the seams to create a “welded” bond that closes any holes and results in a water-fast attachment.

Critically Taped Seams

Finally, on lower-end fishing bib, a manufacturer can skip taping every seam and just focus on the ones most likely to be hit by direct water: shoulders, neck, etc.

We generally prefer fully taped or welded seams to the lower-cost, lower-quality alternative, and all of the options we reviewed that have seams are fully taped.

Our Pick - Grundens Men’s Full Share Bib!

When your house note depends on your ability to work in foul weather, you don't mess around when choosing a fishing bib. That’s why looking to the professionals who work in all weather is the way to go.

And more commercial fishermen, deckhands, and merchant marines choose Grundens bibs than any other brand except perhaps Helly Hansen.

And for you - the serious angler - the breathability and comfort of the Grundens’ Full Share are just unbeatable.

Offering superior waterproofing, no downpour, spray, or wave is going to get through these bibs. They’re also tougher than heavyweight contenders and will take a beating that nothing else will survive.

Designed for the worst Mother Nature can throw at you, these are the bibs I’d spend my own money on to fish in bad weather.

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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