Which wading jacket?
WE EXAMINE SEVEN OF THE LATEST OPTIONS
James Beeson examines the latest weather-beaters
IF YOU ARE a river angler a good wading jacket is essential, but with so many available and at different prices, choosing the best option can be difficult. Here, we look at six of the latest designs from Airflo, Snowbee, Patagonia, Hodgman, Vision and Guideline plus the popular Simms Guide model. Look for a shorter-cut jacket to make deeper wading easier, without pockets positioned below chest height, which would otherwise fill with water. One of the most versatile styles is the shell, which can be worn over insulating layers in cold weather, or on its own in warmer weather. Extra-light or summer-specific jackets are usually more packable, making overseas travel easier. If you fish in spring, an insulated lined jacket will help keep out the cold. Finding the right fit is most important, especially being able to comfortably move your arms during casting. You should try on the jacket before buying, though should you buy online most retailers will accept returns (if you aren’t too hasty in removing the tags). Check the accessibility of the pockets – especially any hand-warmer pockets – and make sure you can use them with the main zip done up and when wearing a life-jacket and/or net. Take a fly-box or two with you to see if they fit in the pockets and are easily removed. The hood should be roomy enough to accommodate a cap, a wire-reinforced brim can form a useful peak, and drawcords should enable you to adjust the fit. Most hems will be adjustable with drawcords, too. The cuffs should be adjustable to keep water out (when releasing fish or raising forearms during casting) and it is worth ensuring the tabs are easy to grasp. The number and style of the pockets, D-rings (front and back), retractors and other specialised pieces of equipment are really a matter of personal preference. Do you prefer top- or side-opening pockets? If you opt for top-opening pockets, a good storm flap is necessary. The need for additional pockets depends on how much gear you normally carry and what can be left in a game bag, chest- or sling-pack.
“Take a fly-box with you to see if it fits in the pocket and is easily removed”
AIRFLO DEFENDER £69.99 WHAT WE LIKE: Good-quality features for an excellent price. FEATURES: Cut for deep wading. Two large chest pockets for fly-boxes. Two outer pockets with waterproof zips. Windproof, waterproof and highly breathable. Fleece-lined hand-warming pockets. Mesh lining. D-ring on back for net. Tailored cut for unrestricted movement. Drawcord at waist. Adjustable storm cuffs. Adjustable hood. Storm flaps on main zips. Sizes: M to 3XL. Contact: Airflo. Tel: 0871 911 7045. Web: airflofishing.com