Top positive review
287 people found this helpful
The best defense against cold weather!
on October 21, 2009
First, let me say that Carhartt bib overalls are one of those things that I had eyeballed in the store for a long time, but never could bring myself to shell out the cash to buy. I figured I could just dress in layers, and for a long time I did. But I was always cold or hot, and not very comfortable feeling like the "Michelin man". And since I don't work outside full time, these were something I considered a "luxury".
So when I was preparing for an ATV trip in the mountains recently and found out the temperatures were going to be in the low 30s, I knew I had to do something. Layers were just not going to cut it on this trip, and I knew I'd also be getting wet and muddy. A friend suggested that I really needed some lined bib overalls. Coveralls would be too bulky. I considered it, and knew I wanted the Carhartts. I looked at all the camo hunting bibs, but none came remotely close to being this durable.
I bought my bibs and wore them on my trip. It WAS cold that day, but I was NOT. These things are AWESOME!! They kept me warm without being hot, and kept me dry from neck to boot. They had lots of pockets, and wearing them over a thermal shirt but under a jacket was not too bulky. I had lots of "flex" room. They were so comfortable, I almost didn't want to take them off! They were easy to slip on and off, and when I was done I just hosed them down and threw them in the washing machine. They came out nice and clean, which is surprising considering the mud I got on them. The fabric was "broken in" a little, which only made them feel nicer when I put them on.
Now I'll share the lessons I learned, in hopes of saving you some trouble:
1. Bib overalls are NOT the same as coveralls. Overalls are sized based on your waist/inseam. Coveralls are sized based upon your jacket size.
2. When I purchased my bib overalls, there was a sign in the store that suggested you choose a size 6"-8" BIGGER than your waist/pant size. Bibs are sized with the shell, not the lining. Plus, you will be wearing clothes underneath. So if you wear a size 36" jeans like me, you'll want to purchase them in at least a 42" or 44". Personally, I found the 42" to be as big as I wanted or needed. But if you plan to work in some REALLY cold stuff and wear lots of bulk under them, then you might want to consider going up 8".
3. It is suggested that you SUBTRACT 2" from your inseam on lengths OVER 32". **This is important, and where I made a mistake.** I knew this in advance, but didn't pay attention to the key word "over". Plus, I was mislead by a store clerk. So I purchased a 30" length because I typically wear a 32" in jeans. The length seemed "just right" in the store and on my trip. Well, these are 100% cotton shells. I learned AFTER buying, wearing, & washing that Carhartt states (on their site) to expect shrinkage of 3-5%! That's up to 1.5" on a 30" inseam!! So unless you wear OVER a 32" inseam (meaning 34" or greater), DO NOT size down! This is especially important if you plan to follow the washing instructions with a warm wash and tumble dry (vs. hang dry).
4. That said, the main reason for sizing down a little (and expecting/desiring SOME shrinkage) is that you do NOT want these dragging the ground. It's not only dangerous if you're doing work, but if they are touching the ground they will leach moisture (rain, etc.) and will eventually make your leg wet.
After washing mine, they were WAY too short and I was very disappointed... they came 1/2 way up my ankle! Fortunately I bought them from an awesome place (not Amazon or one of the currently listed vendors) and they took them back on exchange with no questions. It was when I was picking out my 42x32's that I noticed it said to size down only on sizes OVER 32". But I'm good to go now with a new pair that should be just right! I washed them on cold, and the 32" length did not shrink up as much as the first pair did. I may wash them on warm and dry them to see if I can shrink them a little, but otherwise they're perfect!
In conclusion, if you are doing anything outside, from 4-wheeling to leaf raking to fence building or snow shoveling, I HIGHLY recommend that you pick up a pair of Carhartt Quilt Lined Duck Bib Overalls! They'll last forever, and you won't be sorry!
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After a year of solid use both 4-wheeling and on the farm, these are holding up great! They were worth every penny. Though I was a tiny bit concerned that after washing even the 32" length would be too short, it's NOT. The leg openings are becoming a bit worn, which means they are getting rubbed on stuff. Any longer and I'd be walking on them.
As an update to my review, I would like to point out that my review is for the RED quilted bibs, and not the BLACK ("Arctic") lined bibs. That said, I believe the fit would be similar, though perhaps a bit more snug with the black. Also, my original review is assuming you are wearing pants underneath. I guess some people don't, but that's their business. And finally, my review is not for UNLINED bibs. Unlined bibs should be purchased with the same waist and length as your normal pants size.
Finally - and this is just an opinion - but don't waste extra money on the "sandstone" (pre-washed) versions of these. They charge you a nice premium for what the plain "duck" bibs will look like after about 3-4 washings. As a tip, I spray mine with a little water-proofing spray just to help maintain the water-shedding element. It works great.