Marmot Stretch Armstrong Bib
The Stretch Armstrong Bibs are a full-on alpine mountaineering-style…
Fabric: Membrain WB
Price Paid: around $200 or so
The Stretch Armstrong Bibs are a full-on alpine mountaineering-style bib from Marmot. There is an accompanying jacket (which I don't own). Overall, they are a typically very good product from a very good vendor.
Membrain is Marmot's proprietary waterproof breathable fabric. Marmot makes garments out of Gore-Tex and charges top dollar for them. Then they often make similar garments out of Membrain and charge a lot less. This is an example of that practice. Thank you Marmot! Gore-Tex might be a bit more breathable, but I can't really tell the difference. Membrain is just as waterproof; and just about as breathable.
This is a really nice bib. It does what you really need a set of bibs to do. They keep you dry in awful conditions. I found these on sale and got an even better deal and I'm thrilled. They fit me perfectly -- even in the inseam length; which can be a problem for me. Many outerwear pants are too long for me. This might be something to be concerned about if you are long-of-leg. These might be too short for you. I would say I'm 'average-of-leg.'
These don't have any kind of internal gaiter in them. I don't miss this feature because I'm always wearing a heavy duty gaiter (OR Crocodiles) when I climb and winter hike. Having an additional internal gaiter is overkill for me and the extra fabric just gets in the way.
Don't be fooled by the word 'stretch' in the name. These are not made from one of the new-fangled waterproof stretch fabrics. The main pant portion of these bibs are a standard nylon fabric (with a 3-layer Membrain membrain). The upper part -- the part around your torso -- is what is stretchy. That part is some kind of nylon/lycra fabric. It is not waterproof up top. However, this stretchy upper area makes the fit really nice.
One last comment: the bib has a zip that goes from the top front all the way down through the crotch and up the back. This is designed to aid in anwering the call of nature while in the wild. Generally, this is a tried and true solution to this problem; however, the zipper and the storm flap covering it on these bibs is a bit big and bulky. On the plus side, it all works. On the minus side, that bulk is more than a little bit uncomfortable down there in the sensitive areas. Most bibs have the same feature, but this one was just a bit more uncomfortable than some of the others I've owned over the years. Just a bit...