I had always been reluctant to try snowboarding in bib pants, mainly because I associated it with skiers wearing high and tight salopettes in a 90s winter version of Simon Cowell. But with skiers now being the cool kids on the slopes and us snowboarders are apparently in decline, I am probably safe to go bib without losing my X-Factor. In this Marmot Randonnee Pant review I will not just talk about the pants but how once you go bib you’ll never go back.
Marmot is a US brand hailing from Colorado. Set up in 1974 they initially focussed on mountaineering and sleeping bags but they quickly moved onto jackets and other clothing and branched out into other outdoor sports. Marmot have been using GORE-TEX® for longer than anyone else in the outdoor industry.
Marmot Randonnee pant – designed to freeride
The Marmot Randonnee pant has been designed with freeride in mind. It is all about laying fresh lines through virgin powder. Being up to your waist in snow without the snow getting in your pants. This is achieved through great design of mountain ready features and by using the highest quality materials available.
The Marmot Randonnee pants have a loose fit and articulated knees to give you a full range of movement. On your uphill climbs or downhill shredding you will not be restricted by your pants range of movement. For the uphill, warm days or just sitting in a warm pub there are full length side zips to help you regulate your temperature.
To keep the elements out you have internal gaiters with gripper elastic. Plus, if you combine the pants with the Randonnee jacket, a zip-in gasket allows for full pant and jacket integration. Snowboarding in bib pants you will have to be doing something pretty weird to get snow down the back of your trousers, particularly with the adjustable suspenders keeping everything in place.
The Marmot Randonnee pants have two hand pockets, a very useful thigh pocket and a back pocket – all have waterproof zippers. There are scuff guards at the base of the legs which will help extend the life of the trousers. For the fly they have even added a two way zip which is very useful when nature calls.
To be honest the use of GORE-TEX® makes this Marmot Randonnee pant review much easier to write. As the outdoor industries leading material we all know how good GORE-TEX® is. In the Randonnee pants Marmot have used the 3-layer GORE-TEX® construction which is simply the best there is.
GORE-TEX® fabric is built around an extremely thin membrane that has over 9 billion pores per square inch, it is not just extremely waterproof, windproof, and breathable but also highly durable. To create the GORE-TEX® fabric the membrane is bonded between high-performance lining and shell textiles. The three layer construction provides extra durability while keeping weight down – the Randonnee pants weigh under 690g.
The weakest part of any technical clothing is the seams and zips. For that reason GORE-SEAM® tape is applied to the seams throughout the Marmot Randonnee pants – this is only done by specially trained manufacturers in certified factories. The Marmot Randonnee pant uses waterproof zippers throughout to keep the elements at bay. The materials used mean that even in the most extreme conditions the Randonnee pants will keep the elements at bay while letting your sweat escape.
Marmot Randonnee pant review
As mentioned at the start of this Marmot Randonnee pant review I was reluctant to try snowboarding in bib pants – mainly due to hideous memories of 80s and 90s ski wear. But now in my late thirties, with two kids, and more grey than black in my beard, it is time to wear the best pants for the job rather than worry about style. Plus the bib on the Randonnee pants is fairly small so it’s a not like wearing a pair of dungarees.
I have tested the Marmot Randonnee pants in everything from warm spring like conditions (in January!) in Megeve, to bitterly cold blizzard in Tignes, I have trekked some serious off-piste in Sainte Foy and spent time boarding with the family in Austria – this involves a lot of sitting or kneeling and waiting. In every resort I visited this season there have been two constants:
- There has been plenty of fresh snow (lucky me)
- No snow has found it’s way into my pants (happy me)
The Marmot Randonnee pants have kept me perfectly dry, no moisture is getting through the 3L GORE-TEX® fabric. They have also kept me surprisingly warm considering they have no insulation. They are perfectly windproof – even around the zips – and I found wearing them with a three quarter length baselayer kept me as warm as my old insulated pants.
Warm and dry that left me to shred in comfort and I have been fortunate enough to get some great riding in this year. The Marmot Randonnee pants are loose enough to enable a great range of movement, from freestyle to freeride they have never restricted me. I find a lot of snowboard pants are too tight across the top of my thighs when my knees are fully bent but did not have that problem with the Marmots.
The only thing I was not hugely keen on the Randonnee pants is the full length side zips. Personally I have no use for them except to cool me down when things get hot, and although they undo both from the top and the bottom, for cooling they really need is to be able to open in the middle. For this job I prefer inner thigh vents with a bit of meshing.
When hitting the bars after a day on the slopes the bib folded down inconspicuously and the braces dangled. At this point the two way fly comes into its own, particularly if you have a lot of beers. Beer fuelled with braces dangling I felt like a newskool freeskier and it was the greying beard not the bib pants that scared away the youngsters.
Snowboarding in bib pants – Conclusions
I have heard it said that once you go bib you’ll never go back, and I have to say I agree. In deep powder even with spectacular falls, when snowboarding in bib pants you never get snow where you don’t want it to go. However I have been spoilt by first going bib with the Marmot Randonnee pants as they are an extremely high quality bit of technical clothing.
I will conclude this Marmot Randonnee pants review by saying next time you are in the market for pants go bib. If you like to freeride then don’t wait until you need them – go bib now. And if you are going bib be sure to check out the Randonnee pants as they won’t let you down, and as the above picture proves you won’t lose your X-Factor when wearing them either…..
The Marmot Randonnee pants come in Dark Sapphire (blue), Cinder (grey) and Lichen (green) the RRP is £400 but Marmot was selling them for £300 the last time I checked. To find out more visit: www.marmotshop.co.uk