I started ice fishing in Wyoming when I was a teenager, and let me tell you, my first few trips were miserable! The icy wind cut right through my jeans, even though I had a thermal layer underneath. Even worse, when I would bend over to reach into the fishing hole, my coat and shirt would come up and expose my lower back to the freezing winter air. It was awful!
My ice fishing game changed completely when I invested in a good pair of ice fishing bibs. These overalls covered almost my entire body and stopped the wind completely. They are also mostly waterproof. Bibs keep you warmer longer on the lake, even on the coldest days.
If you’re ready to put a stop to uncomfortable frozen legs like I did, it’s time to pick out some quality fishing bibs. But since one piece of clothing needs to fit you from ankle to shoulder and around your legs, chest, and belly, you need to pick the right size.
Follow this guide to find the right size ice fishing bibs for you so you can maximize your investment and have more fun fishing!
How Should Ice Fishing Bibs Fit?
Ice fishing bibs should fit your body size and shape without being too snug or too baggy.
If they are too tight, you won’t have room to add extra layers underneath in extra cold conditions. You also might find them binding up when you bend over or twisting while you drill holes and fish.
It’s okay if they are a little bit loose, because the air in between layers can actually have an insulating effect and keep you warmer.
I like to judge by whether I can keep my bibs up when I’m not wearing the shoulder straps. If it gets sunny on the lake, it’s nice to be able to unclip the straps and roll them down to waist level, but if they are too baggy, they will fall off your legs.
The most important factor is that you get bibs that are tall enough for you. Luckily, there is room to adjust the straps, but if they are too short, you will find it hard to stand up straight and your ankles won’t be covered by the warming bibs.
With deep snow, you need as much protection on your ankles as possible.
Ice Fishing Bibs Size Guide
The first thing you should do is select a brand (I offer a few suggestions later in this article) and try to find an official size chart on their website. Sizes aren’t always exactly the same between brands. For example, here are the size charts for Eskimo and Striker bibs.
The average man of about 6’1” and 200 pounds would usually need to buy a size large, or possibly an extra large for heavy layering underneath.
A smaller average man of 5’10” and 175 pounds would likely be comfortable in medium bibs, but he may need a large if his legs and inseam are longer.
Some brands offer extra-tall versions in size XL and larger. Many brands have an adjustable cuff that will accommodate all but the tallest fishermen.
The best thing you can do is find your brand in a store and try them on. If this isn’t an option, you can call the customer service line for the company and ask them to help you choose a size based on your measurements and proportions.
Bibs are a big investment, so it’s worth making a phone call or driving to the store to make sure you get a comfortable size for your body.
How to Measure for Ice Fishing Bibs?
Use a soft measuring tape to measure around each area of your body. You may want to have someone help you take your measurements because it’s easier than holding the tape with one hand.
Go to your bibs’ website to find their sizing guide. This will list which areas to measure, but usually, you will need to measure waist, hip, and chest size, arm length, and inseam.
Always measure at the widest point. If your belly is larger than your hips, count your belly measurement instead of your hips.
Measure over whatever clothes you will wear under the bibs. This is very important for ice fishing gear. I get so cold when I fish, I always wear a hoodie and a coat underneath my bibs. Some people wear only a long-sleeve shirt.
However many layers you will wear when you fish, put them on for your measurements so that you have room in your new bibs.
3 Good Ice Fishing Bibs Brands
Striker is a really well-known brand for ice fishing bibs, and one of their best lines is the Striker Ice Climate Bibs .
These are not the cheapest bibs by any means, but they offer a proven waterproof and breathable outer shell.
The insulation will help you float for up to two hours if you fall in the water, especially if you purchase the matching Striker jacket. The insulating layer provides unbeatable warmth, but it’s also removable in case you want to fish on a sunny day.
If you don’t need ultimate below-zero insulation that the Ice Climate bib offers, you can check out a cheaper model like the Striker Ice Predator Bibs .
This brand can be a little more affordable while still offering optimal insulation and warmth. Check out the Eskimo Keeper bib for a great option.
Eskimo advertises their great ability to stop the wind on super cold days. So if you’re from a windy, freezing climate, these are your best bet. They offer floatation ability too, just in case.
The seams on Eskimo bibs are made to stretch and not tear, with special gussets in the crotch and padding in the knees. So if you’re actively climbing or kneeling down a lot on your ice fishing adventures, Eskimo is probably the best brand for you.
3/ Frogg Toggs
If you don’t need bibs that are insulated for hardcore cold weather, you can save some money by going with Frogg Toggs Pilot II rain bibs . They are great because they can be used in warmer seasons when you aren’t ice fishing.
The sizes tend to run a little bit large, but that is perfect because you may need an extra insulating layer underneath when you go ice fishing.
While the Frogg Toggs don’t offer an insulating layer, the patented fabric is durable, waterproof, and lightweight. It will stop the wind and water from ruining your day. Note that without an insulating layer, these do not provide floatation assistance.
As a bonus, they are available in a ton of colors and are more affordable than highly insulated bibs. If you’re in a warmer climate or want to use the bibs for summer activities too, these are a great buy.