Best Ice Fishing Bibs for 2022



Published Sep 2, 2022 9:00 AM

One of the most essential pieces of gear you need for the upcoming winter angling season is a pair of high-quality ice fishing bibs. Nothing can ruin a day on the ice faster than getting cold and/or getting wet. Whether you’re dealing with the blistering winds on Devil’s Lake in North Dakota, the bone-chilling damp cold of Michigan’s Saginaw Bay, or anywhere else where frozen water does not deter you from a good day’s fishing, proper attire is a necessity. 

The right bibs for you will check off a lot of boxes, depending upon what you are looking for. You need the right amount of insulation based on the weather, a comfortable fit that allows you mobility, and potentially something made of waterproof material. Below are our top picks for the best ice fishing bibs, along with guidance on how to choose the right pair for you.

Best Overall

Why It Made the Cut: 

Every element of the Apex has been designed for comfort, safety and function.

Key Features

  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Flotation: Yes
  • Outer shell: 320D nylon tussor
  • Insulation: 80g Primaloft Gold insulation with cross core

Pros

  • Warm yet light
  • Adds floatation for safety
  • Waterproof
  • Flexible

Cons

These bibs check all the boxes for what you’d want and need in premium ice-fishing bibs. They have PrimaLoft Cross-Core insulation, which is about as lightweight as you’ll get while preserving the warmth you need. This stuff is amazing and was developed with the help of NASA to add warmth without the bulk. Then add in Striker’s SureFlote for peace of mind. As someone who has gone through the ice before, I can attest that anything that helps keep you at the surface and works to get you out of the water faster is a life saver, and I mean that in every sense of the word. Striker adds that to all of their garments, and is a major reason why I recommend them. These are some of the most flexible bibs you’ll find with amazing freedom of movement. 

While these are pretty close to being perfect ice fishing bibs, they do have one downside: the price. The Apex bibs will set you back some cash, but are more than worth it if you spend a serious amount of time on the ice in the winter months, or fish where the ice thickness is sometimes questionable.

Best Waterproof

Why It Made the Cut: 

These will keep you dry for hours on end, and are designed with hard-water fishermen in mind.

Key Features

  • Waterproof: 30k waterproof rating
  • Flotation: No
  • Outer shell: 2-layer 100% nylon shell
  • Insulation: Synthetic 140 gsm fill batting

Pros

  • Completely waterproof 
  • Warm for fishing
  • Allows for mobility
  • Durable

Cons

  • Limited sizing in insulated model

Aftco is at the top when it comes to fishing clothing that was designed for serious all-day angling. The Barricade bibs and jacket make for the ultimate in waterproof fishing gear and the fit is designed to be comfortable and supportive. While Aftco is known more for open-water angling gear, their insulated Barricade line was made especially for hard-water guys. 

The fit is generous, allowing for layering, and the quality of the construction is outstanding. Wide shoulder straps give more than adequate support, so you can wear these bibs all day long without feeling like they’re weighing you down. These even have a built-in action camera mount, so you can record your angling fun. 

Best Floating

Why It Made the Cut: 

If something should happen and the ice gives way, these bibs give you added floatation so you can make it to the ice edge or shore.

Key Features

  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Flotation: Yes
  • Outer shell: 3M
  • Insulation: 100g fixed insulation

Pros

  • Wide range of sizes, including big & tall
  • Clam’s MotionFloat tech
  • Comfortable
  • Warmth and value

Cons

  • Sizing can be a little off
  • Straps not as comfortable as others

Clam is the name in ice fishing gear, whether you’re looking at shanties, rods, or clothing. They make it all, and they have years of experience backing up what they design. These guys are hardcore ice anglers. The Rise Float bibs, and the matching jacket for that matter, are designed to be functional and warm, letting you fish out on the hard water in the coldest of weather. 

While none of the floatation bibs available anywhere are rated as Coast Guard-approved floatation devices, these bibs will not add to the weight and drag you under, which is a big plus. When you add in that the Rise Float bibs are completely waterproof, have reinforced knees for durability, and come in a wide range of sizes to fit all anglers, it’s an easy call to say these are worthy of a serious look.

Best Women’s

Why It Made the Cut: 

These waterproof bibs are designed by women, for women.

Key Features

  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Flotation: Yes
  • Outer shell: Coated polyester shell
  • Insulation: 170g Primaloft insulation and Flotex layered foam

Pros

  • Extremely well-designed and loaded with features
  • Wide size range
  • Mobile enough for any winter outdoor sport
  • Floatation and warmth

Cons

  • They don’t make a men’s version

DSG Outerwear is a Wisconsin-based company that was founded by a woman who was tired of outdoor gear that didn’t match women’s styles and fit. The company set out to produce gear specifically for women that matches the features and intensity of female outdoor enthusiasts, and quite frankly, it’s awesome. My wife uses DSG gear and the fit and quality is outstanding. These bibs have everything you’d want in winter outdoor sports gear. They’re waterproof, mobile, and have the required floatation. The brand also added some features that set the bibs apart from other manufacturers, like the drop seat for those times when nature calls, or the integrated cloth for wiping your hands after you handle a fish. These bibs have the mobility to work well for snowmobiling, or even hiking in cold weather, too. 

Best Insulated

Best_Ice_Fishing_Bibs_Carhartt

Why It Made the Cut: 

Built for tough environments

Key Features

  • Waterproof: Water-resistant with rain defender
  • Flotation: No
  • Outer shell: 500-denier Cordura-nylon shell
  • Insulation: 150g 3M Thinsulate insulation

Pros

  • Great fit range
  • Extremely durable
  • Warm
  • Versatility

Cons

  • Run a little on the small side
  • Not specific to ice fishing
  • Need to be broken in

My father-in-law always says that you can tell the locals out on the ice because at least one of them is wearing an old pair of Carhartts, and is sitting on a 5-gallon bucket catching fish like crazy. Carhartt bibs and jackets aren’t made specifically for ice fishing, but they sure do work well for doing so. We all know that Carhartt workwear is tough. It will last for years, keep you warm, and hold up to abuse. With this pair made with the brand’s Rain Defender material, they stay dry and fit great. Unlike some of the other bibs on this list, I’ve found that Carhartt bibs and jackets really need to get broken in to fit best. Once they are broken in, however, the fit is hard to beat. They come in short, regular, and tall sizes, making them a great option for a wide range of people.

Best Budget

Why It Made the Cut: 

These minimalist bibs might not have a bunch of features but they’re very comfortable and a great value.

Key Features

  • Waterproof: No
  • Flotation: No
  • Outer shell: 1200-denier polyester oxford shell
  • Insulation: 150g 3M Thinsulate insulation

Pros

  • Oversized zippers
  • Padded knees and seat
  • Comfortable fit
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • No floatation

These bibs from Frabill don’t have all the bells and whistles of some of the other options, but what they do have is something that is very important: comfort. They fit very well and offer good lower back support. The back support isn’t something that I expected, but the cut and design naturally provides it. They have oversized zippers, which I found to be a nice touch, too. I like these bibs for fishing when I know I’m going to be moving around a lot, but when I know the ice thickness isn’t going to be an issue. I wore a pair in South Dakota with ice that was pushing 18+ inches in thickness. I was more concerned with cold and with mobility, which these bibs handled with ease. 

Best Professional

Best_Ice_Fishing_Bibs_simmsfishing

Why It Made the Cut: 

For those who make their living on the ice, you can’t go wrong with these heavy-duty insulated bibs from Simms.

Key Features

  • Waterproof: 100% Gore-Tex
  • Flotation: No
  • Outer shell: 100% nylon with DWR
  • Insulation: Multiple density PrimaLoft Silver High Loft

Pros

  • Completely waterproof
  • Warm
  • Durable

Cons

For many of us, a pair of ice fishing bibs that cost as much as the Simms Guide does not make much sense. That is, unless you earn a living wearing them, or spend as much time on the ice as someone who does. These are not inexpensive. In fact, you can likely buy the bibs, parka, hat, and even boots from some other brands for less than what these bibs cost alone. However, these bibs do offer a few things to keep in mind. They are made with a complete Gore-Tex lining, meaning they are going to be completely waterproof. They have a premium insulation, meaning they will keep you warm, too. They are Simms, so the fit and construction is top-notch. They tend to run a little large, so you can layer, too. If you are a guide, or fish like one, these are definitely worthy of a look. 

Things to Consider Before Buying Ice Fishing Bibs

There are lots of little things to take into account when buying the best ice fishing bibs for you. Of course, price is always going to be an issue, and the old adage of you get what you pay for definitely plays into things here. But you should also consider the following.

Material

Most of us will want something that is waterproof—or at least water-resistant—as getting wet can ruin a day of ice fishing faster than most anything else. Do you absolutely need to have waterproof bibs? Not necessarily, but it helps. 

You can also opt for the best rain gear for fishing. If you add the right amount of layering underneath to keep you warm, this will work just fine, and is something I did for a while using some of the older Cabela’s Guidewear they used to sell. I just went up a size to add room for insulation. The same can be said for your hunting gear or a good pair of snow pants—as long as they fit right and are comfortable, you can be just fine. 

All that said, I like specific gear for a specific task, keeping my hunting snow pants and fishing rain gear separate from my ice fishing gear. It makes everything last longer and helps me stay a little more organized.

Fit

To me, fit is very important when it comes to buying bibs. I need to be able to move around and be comfortable, especially if I’m going to be out all day. There are options with a wider array of available sizes and inseam lengths. Getting the size right will make a world of difference.

Flotation

Floatation is something that several options offer, and if you fish in the early and late parts of the hard water season, when the “hard water” may not always be so hard, this is a consideration. Speaking as someone who fell through the ice – it sucks and is about as scary of a situation as you’ll encounter on the ice. Luckily for me, I was in fairly shallow water, and I had some buddies close by who saw things unfold. No fish is worth dying over, so floating bibs and a jacket may be a great idea for you.

Warmth

Of course no one likes to get cold, especially when ice fishing. But how warm is too warm? If the outside air is warm, you can start sweating pretty fast if your bibs are really toasty. Sweat is your enemy, especially if you plan to fish after the sun goes down. Dress in layers and don’t feel like you have to have the ultimate in warm bibs if the average winter weather is on the warmer side. 

FAQs

Q: Are ice fishing bibs worth it?

If you spend much of any time on the ice chasing fish, then yes, ice fishing bibs are worth it. They provide the support and fit you need to stay comfortable and safe while out on the ice for extended periods of time.

Q: What are the warmest ice fishing bibs?

Actual warmth is subjective and depends upon the person and the layering underneath. However, just based upon the bibs alone, the Striker Ice Apex and the DSG Avid Ice for women are the two warmest ice fishing bibs available right now.

Q: Are fishing bibs waterproof?

While not all ice fishing bibs are waterproof, the best ones are and that’s something you should consider when looking at which bibs are best for you. You can get away with bibs that aren’t, however, depending upon what you’re doing.

Q: What are the best cold-weather fishing bibs?

If I were picking just one pair of ice fishing bibs for extreme cold based upon this list, I would likely grab a pair of the Striker Ice Apex bibs. They have the best insulation, features, and floatation overall. However, the real best bibs are whatever works for you.

Final Thoughts

I don’t know about you, but I love to fish. I don’t care if I’m in my boat, standing on shore, wading in the river, or walking over frozen lakes—I want to fish. Like with every other kind of fishing, when I’m ice fishing, I spend a lot of time going over every aspect of my gear to make sure I’m using what works for me. That is so important. What works for me

When you decide which ice fishing bibs you want, you need to look at what you want to get from your bibs, and pick the bibs that best suit your needs, style and budget. Being true to yourself will make you happier in the end. Good fishing!

Methodology

The author is from northern Michigan and has been ice fishing for decades on water across much of North America, so he started this article from a position of experience having tested and reviewed many of the ice fishing bibs currently available while he searched for the perfect pair. What he realized is that there is no one perfect pair, but several that can be used to match the weather conditions and the style of fishing being done on that day, especially when taking into account the ice thickness and the outside air temperature. 

We also considered reviews from shoppers at Amazon, Cabela’s and more. These are important because we realize that not everyone uses equipment the same way we do. 



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