Below the Waterline: When it comes to rain gear, these are the good old days

Below the Waterline: When it comes to rain gear, these are the good old days

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What is the best outdoor clothing to include gloves and rainwear for fishing in inclement weather?

We used to use ponchos, rubberized suits and plastic garbage bags, but not anymore. Today’s angler knows the importance of staying dry and comfortable. Old suits were cumbersome, hot and leaky. The good old days are now when it comes to rainwear.

Budget, climate and what the clothing will be used for are equally important when choosing what is best for you. To most that spend a lot of time on the water, rainwear is a major investment, but it is one that you get what you pay.

Paying for the best does have its benefits. What used to be an afterthought is now a priority and the technical apparel continues to get better. Most are designed for multi-use to include fishing, but they are great for spectators and working outdoors, too.

Some suits and gloves are great for cold weather while others are better when temperatures rise. Materials have gotten even better.

Opinions vary based on if you are a sponsored angler, your relationship with clothing companies or prior ownership. This is not a one size fits-all market and it can become difficult to navigate.

No question price is a major consideration as the best suits that last the longest can cost nearly $750 for bibs and jackets, but it is determinate on if you want to stay dry or not. Properly cared for, a great rainsuit can last a very long time. High tech is the rule now.

A lot depends on the materials they are made from and the type of climate they are used in. Layering options are also critical. Customer Service is also important, believe it or not.

Companies like Frogg Toggs, Simms, AFTCO, Huk and GILL are the leaders today, but some up and comers like Mustang Survival and BuckNBass are getting great reviews, too. Carhartt also provides a quality yet reasonably priced rainsuit ($360.00 for bibs and top) with that famous Carhartt name so you know it should be good. Any of the aforementioned are excellent choices, but proper care of them after the purchase is equally important. For example, hang dry your suit in the garage after each use.

Space-age materials like Gore Tex and other watertight materials have led the market, but equally important are zippers and closures. Breathability is a key. Keeping water out from the outside and letting heat out from the inside are very important.

Comfort used to be thought of as a luxury over being dry, but now with so many options, it is near the top on the priority list. The old rubber suits used to weigh as much as a Studebaker bumper and were hot. Today’s clothing is light weight, dry and comfortable and is cut so you can fish all day without fatigue from weight pulling down of your shoulders from poor bib strap designs.

Hoods, collars and face guards protect anglers. Fish Monkey has taken the leadership position with gloves and face guards that include breathability and grip. Gloves used to be used only on cold days, but now are part of every savvy angler’s arsenal.

Handling rods and reels plus handling fish are much better with Fish Monkey Gloves and they also protect you from the sun’s rays. Most are compression fit which keeps hand fatigue to a minimum. I wear them all the time and they just make the experience better.

T-H Marine and Mustang Survival have joined the fray with U/V protection gloves. They were designed by anglers for anglers and dry quickly. Most gloves are reasonably priced under $30 per pair.

Right now is a great time to shop for rainwear and gloves as pricing and color options are most available now. Inventories are at their highest. Make sure you try them on before purchasing as they can differ on size by manufacturer. Pockets are a critical component. Most of us like to color match our outdoor wear, but functionality is much more important.

Finding the best raingear is not just finding one on sale but rather hunting for one that suits you and your outdoor interests the best. Spend a bit more for quality has always been my opinion. I think you will agree the next time you’re caught in a downpour.

Terry Brown is President of Wired2Fish.com, an industry leading, daily website and social media fishing centered community that provides information on products, industry newsmakers and fishing techniques. You can read more by going to www.Wired2Fish.com.

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