Struggling to stay warm and cozy when angling in frigid temperatures? You need to wear an ice fishing bib! This must-have fishing apparel adds extra insulation to protect your body from the cold. Some even use a waterproof fabric and an integrated floatation tech to keep you dry and safe!
What You Should Consider Before Buying an Ice Fishing Bib
Fit, material, padding, and insulation usually come to mind when shopping for an ice fishing bib. But factors like pockets, floatation feature, and even the ease of getting in and out of the bib are also crucial.
A form-fitting or body-hugging ice fishing bib is not ideal if you wear multiple layers underneath. As a rule of thumb, always size one up when shopping for fishing bibs. Look for bibs that have sealed seams, doubled-up zippers, and adjustable straps, cuffs, inseam, and waist for a better fit.
When fishing in the cold, melting snow, water, and cold weather are your enemies. So, it is more critical to be prepared! Look for a fishing bib with a waterproof exterior and an insulated inner layer to stay warm and dry.
When ice fishing, you will spend most of your time sitting and kneeling. Thankfully, most ice fishing bibs have reinforced kneepads and extra seat cushioning to make the waiting game more tolerable and comfortable. And, if you should ever slip and fall on the ice, the padding is your defense against bruising!
Insulation is measured in the weight of a material in grams per square meter of fabric. You will need a fabric that offers protection from cold conditions and allows your body to breathe. This is a careful balancing act, as you want to be warm but not sweating. Three of the top material for insulation include:
- Thermadex – ideal for providing warmth without a lot of extra weight or bulk
- Fleece – ideal for a pocket lining to keep hands warm, as it breathable, dries fast, and is lightweight
- Thinsulate – a lightweight, thin material that offers warmth and comes in four different types (Type C, Water Resistant, Flame-Resistant, and Featherless). The lower the number value, the more layers underneath you will need.
Expert Tip: As much as possible, look for an ice fishing bib with removable insulation so you can wear them in varying temperatures.
When selecting the insulation for your fishing bib, you will want to understand how the insulation scale works. For extreme temperatures, you will need higher numbers in the rating.
For example, less than 40 will offer you a small amount of warmth and minimal bulk. You will want this fabric for layering with your jackets or pants. However, for ice fishing bibs, you will want items between 60 and 200 grams per meter.
Fun fact: Some products have over 200 grams per meter insulation scale. These are best for fishing in the arctic.
What Are the Best Ice Fishing Bibs?
Once you know what to look for in bibs and your needs, it is time to start the selection process. If you need expert recommendations, these top six fishing bibs available are worth considering.
1. WindRider Ice Fishing Suit Insulated Bibs and Jacket
The WindRider combines multiple elements to create an affordable ice fishing bib and coat combination. You will find extra padding in the seat and reinforced kneepads. Plus, its pockets are large on both the bib and the jacket so that you can have lures and other small ice fishing gear within reach. However, they did not stop there — the smaller pockets are insulated with fleece so you can keep your hands dry and help wick the sweat away.
But the best feature of this bib and jacket combo is its floatation tech, which is a lifesaver if you ever fall through ice!
We highly recommend going up a size as they do run small. The quality is excellent overall — the zippers are reinforced, and it is fully adjustable — however, it has velcros that may wear out over time.
2. StrikerICE Hardwater Bib
Unlike the WindRider, the StrikerICE is a solo fishing bib that uses Thermadex for advanced insulation. It is designed for colder weather but still offers the floatability that the WindRider does. The knees are reinforced, and the cuffs are designed to drain water quickly. While it provides insulation from extreme temperatures, it allows you to move without a lot of bulk.
If you are worried about Velcro wearing out on the WindRider, the StrikerICE Hardwater comes with a magnetic front closure. This garment does better in frigid weather and pairs with the Hardwater jacket.
You will want to keep in mind that this is very warm, and you will not need to worry as much about layering underneath. Therefore, while measuring, go true to size with the purchase.
3. Frabill I-3 Bib
If you are looking for a budget-friendly bib to stay warm while ice fishing, the Frabill I-3 bib is one of the best for extreme temperatures. It has a 300 denier nylon shell that is windproof, waterproof, and completely breathable.
This product also offers holsters for ice pics, denier waterproof reinforced knees, and Thinsulate insulation. Plus, its hand warmers are insulated with tricot rather than fleece!
This option does cut costs, and it’s the ease of bathroom use — you will have to take your bib almost entirely off when nature calls! Overall, this is an excellent budget-friendly product when you look past the sizing struggle and the design flaw for bathroom trips.
4. StrikerICE Women’s Prism Bib
Men are not the only people who love to ice fish, and the StrikerICE Women’s Prism takes this into consideration. It fits a female’s body, with extra padding where it is needed. The floatation fabric, Sureflote, offers two hours of floatability. It also has a drop seat for more accessible bathroom trips.
Like Hardwater, Striker uses Thermadex on this product, but it comes with more adjustable components for a better fit. However, they do run a little small, so go up a size when purchasing.
5. ICE ARMOR by Clam Ascent
Clam Ascent is a well-known brand in the ice fishing industry, and the ICEARMOR is one of their budget-friendly products. Plus, there are plenty of zippers to add more insulation or adjust for multiple layers.
It is not as floatable as other bibs on the market, so you will want to make sure you have other preventative measures. The legs are also very wide and are not adjustable.
6. Eskimo Lockout Bib
The Eskimo Lockout Bib is another budget-friendly option suited for casual ice fishing anglers. Although it looks pretty simple in terms of design, it has a waterproof polyester shell and even a Suerflote liner for floatation. There are also plenty of large pockets for small fishing items. There’s even a panel in the crotch for bathroom trips. Moreover, the inseams are adjustable!
There are mixed reviews on the size fits, so it will pay to make sure you try it on when purchasing or know the return policy.
From keeping you warm and dry to helping you stay afloat when you accidentally fall through the ice, ice fishing bibs are a must-have! Hopefully, our review and buying guide will help you find the bib for your needs!