Weather is a fickle beast. It can change in the blink of an eye. You checked the weather prediction before you left and it promised sunny skies but now you’re standing in heavy rain.
If you’re not prepared, you’ll regret it. That heavy rain is drenching your whole body. And you’ll feel frustrated, sad, and maybe even a little bit angry at the local weatherman.
This is why you need to invest in fishing rain gear. But since everything claims to be waterproof or water-resistant, where should you start?
What to Look for in Your Fishing Rain Gear
All fishing rain gear advertises that it’s waterproof and the best choice out there but not every piece of gear can be the best. Some pieces are better than others. Some qualities really stand out.
So, we’re going to break down what to look for in your rain gear. Everything you need to know is in this article.
There are two types of waterproof material – breathable fabrics and non-breathable fabrics.
Non-breathable waterproof fabric is the cheaper option. It keeps you dry on the outside but not so much on the inside. And because the fabric isn’t breathable, if you do too much moving around, it doesn’t allow any air in. Not only does this make you sweat but that sweat also has no place to go. You’re left hot and sticky.
This type of rain gear is best if you’re going to be sitting the entire ice fishing trip. The breathable waterproof fabric allows your skin to breathe. Most fishermen prefer breathable waterproof fabric. You can move around without overheating.
Most of these pieces of gear have a mesh lining and the fabrics themselves have a coating of PVC that makes them waterproof.
When something is labeled as “water-resistant”, it’s not quite the same as being waterproof. Water-resistant means that it can keep water out but only from light rain. Water-resistant gear might be okay in a pinch but when it comes to fishing, waterproof is always better.
When a company refers to the shell, they’re talking about the outside fabric of a coat. There are several types of shells for rain gear, including an insulated shell, hard shell, hybrid shell, and softshell.
Insulated shells are insulated to keep you warm, which is perfect for ice fishing. They also have sealed seams so nothing can get through, water or snow.
Hard shells are, well, hard. They’re stiff and take a while to get used to and they’re waterproof but they not insulated.
Softshells are a lot softer than hard shells. Since they’re so soft, they’re also breathable plus they’re insulated to keep you warm. Because they’re so breathable, though, they’re not the best for tough weather conditions. They’re only water-resistant. Anything more than light rain and you’ll end up soaked.
Finally, there are hybrid shells, a combination of any of the shells listed above. Depending on your situation and where you’re fishing, hybrid shells can be quite effective.
Let’s not forget the seams on rain gear, no matter if it’s a jacket or not. They’re as important as the shell or having it waterproofed.
Shoddy seams are what’s going to cause water to seep inside and get you wet. Quality stitching is important, not only for holding the fabric together but also for keeping moisture out.
Some rain gear uses glue along the seams to protect it from water. It’s one of the cheapest options but it’s important to understand that this glue wears away fast and can come apart if there’s the slightest stress put on it.
Another seam option is taped seams. Taped seams are completely covered so no water can get through.
Other types of seams include welded seams and ultrasonic seams. These two seams are the strongest. They stop water from coming through and make the garment more durable. It’s not easy to tear apart these seams.
How to Care for Your Fishing Rain Gear
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to fishing rain gear. We’re going to share our helpful tidbits and what we’ve learned.
If you do decide to wash your gear in the washing machine, make sure it’s on the delicate cycle. Use warm water and very little detergent. You don’t want your washer tearing up your expensive jacket or other rain gear or the detergent stripping away the waterproof quality.
Don’t put the gear in your dryer. That will tear it up or even shrink it. Hang it up and allow it to air dry.
We prefer to hand wash our rain gear. It’s safer and doesn’t take as long as you would think.
To make your gear last longer, you should rinse it after every time you wear it fishing. Be sure to undo zippers and buttons before you rinse them. Then, hang the gear until it’s completely dry. You don’t want to put it away while it’s still damp.
A few things other things to keep in mind:
- Never use bleach on your gear
- Don’t iron your gear
- Never dry clean your gear
- Don’t use harsh soaps on your gear
- Don’t use any chemical cleaners on your gear
- Don’t wring out your gear while it’s wet
Fishing rain gear is essential. It may not seem like it at first but once you’ve been stranded in the rain, you’ll understand. Don’t let yourself suffer. Go out and get yourself a waterproof jacket right now.
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