Fishing is not a hobby for people who want to stay dry. That being said, there’s no reason to get soaked if you don’t have to. There’s plenty of raingear for fishing on the market that won’t hinder your movement but will keep you dry in either a little drizzle or even the most torrential downpours while you’re trying to reel in that big one.
Choosing the right rain gear for fishing isn’t as simple as buying the first raincoat you see on the rack at Walmart. But it doesn’t have to be a complicated process either. There’s rain gear out there for every budget and for every circumstance, whether you’re fishing for pike in the coldest rain imaginable off Baffin Island, or you’re in the middle of the Bayou wrangling a catfish in some oppressive heat and humidity.
When it comes to top of the line, serious sport fishing in the most daunting conditions from the back of a boat the buck stops with Grundens Buoy-X Gore-Tex gear. This is not going to be easy on your wallet. But if you’re dedicated to the sport and do it often enough to justify the price tag, this is probably the best option you can find on the market today for high-quality rain gear for men.
The folks from Grundens say this gear was designed with “salmon and steelhead anglers trolling downriggers from a North River boat“ in mind. Or Gulf Coast redfish anglers. Or anyone else in-between, for that matter. From unexpected rain storms to merciless boat spray, this is rugged, breathable, dry, and warm.
The jackets and bibs are built with Gore-Tex three-layer laminate, neoprene shingled cuffs, dual zippered storage pockets, a kill-switch anchor, and C6 DWR coated fabric for the most effective water beading that will even slough off fish slime, oil and blood to prevent the dreaded wet-out.
For a more budget-conscious angler there are other versions than the Buoy-X like the Downrigger, which is made with two-layer laminate and drops the price nearly $130 and the lightweight Charter which is even cheaper and meant for less intense experiences.
Basically, this is as dry as you’re going to get on a boat short of sealing yourself in a plastic bag.
Frogg Toggs is one of the biggest names in rain gear for fishing and it’s been that way for over 20 years now. The men’s classic all sport waterproof breathable rain suit is one of the most popular on the market thanks in no small part to the fact that it’s both effective and well priced. It comes with both a full-length jacket and pants. Check out the Amazon listing and you’ll see over 3,500 reviews to attest to this set’s popularity.
Available in a wide variety of colors, the hood is also removable and both the waist and leg openings are adjustable with cords and cord locks. The pants have a four-panel cut that makes them very comfortable and maneuverable though they can be sized a little large making them potentially clunky. All things being equal, Frogg Toggs is one of the best names in the industry and definitely worth your money
Grundens continues to prove its reputation in the rain gear market with the Dark and Stormy line. Designed with what they call eVent fabric, it is both breathable and maneuverable while remaining 100% waterproof.
There are times when fishing gear that excels at keeping you waterproof in extreme circumstances proves its shortcomings in the maneuverability department. You tend to trade mobility for ability to repel water. Grundens Dark and Stormy actually has a remarkable ability to move with you such that casting is a breeze.
Decked out with 7 pockets, waterproof zippers, and an adjustable hood, hem and cuffs there is a more steep price tag when dealing with Grundens, but many anglers do consider it worth the extra price.
Made from a coated nylon with mesh lining, the Navis Marine coastal sailing jacket with bib pants is highly flexible and reportedly waterproof to 12,000 mm. Unlike a lot of foul weather fishing gear, Navis Marine includes an abundance of pockets in their gear which can be handy in a pinch. Even better, the deep pockets are all made with waterproof zippers and storm flaps to ensure that every inch remains waterproof.
The hood offers high-visibility, is adjustable and can be hidden away when needed. The collar even has a padded chin for extra comfort. Keep in mind that even though this is a lightweight and comfortable set, it also has one of the lowest waterproof ratings on the market. But if you’re not looking to fish in severe weather and just want something to handle a light rain, this could be the gear for you.
Sizing is reportedly unusual
Lower waterproof rating than most
5. Helly Hansen Men's Impertech Deluxe Rain and Fishing Jacket
The Helly Hansen Impertech fishing jacket is not just waterproof but it’s also extremely flexible, something that some kinds of rain gear don’t always take into consideration with the design. The result is a jacket and pants that can move more comfortably and make it feel less like you’re wearing a bulky and cumbersome costume.
The hood is attached but it can roll up into the collar and comfortably stay out of the way when you don’t need one. The microweld seams are top quality and ensure that you’re dealing with a 100% waterproof design. The sleeves are also adjustable, and the coat features some pockets that have enough room to store a decent amount of gear
The biggest downside in reviews seems to be that size was not consistent with expectations. Some customers have noted that the coat is a bit larger than they expected, while others had the opposite experience and said it was too small, so if you have the chance to try it on first you might want to try that.
Most rain gear is designed for full body coverage that’ll keep you dry and warm in intolerably cold conditions. What’s often overlooked is hot weather gear. Fact is, sometimes you’re down south somewhere and the mercury just keeps on rising.
Wearing some of this gear when you’re in a warmer climate would just be uncomfortable. The Foxelli hooded poncho has that open poncho design which keeps the temperature down. At 95 inches long it gives you coverage spanning a good distance down your legs regardless of how tall you are, and the coated polyester is tough and durable so it should stand up to some punishment just as easy as it stands up to rain and wind.
The hood can be cinched up to keep rain and even the most brutal winds from slicking down the sides of your face and into your poncho. The major downside here is that it’s not breathable at all so you are going to sweat in this thing if the temperature is especially high.
The Foxelli poncho only weighs 11 oz and it can be folded down and into pretty tight space so there’s room to pack several if you and a few friends are heading down on the Bayou. As an added bonus, because of the design you can MacGyver some extra uses out of the poncho. If you need it as a sleeping bag cover, or even a camp blanket in a pinch it has you covered quite literally.
Compared to a lot of rain gear, the Foxelli poncho is a decent price and it also comes in a wide range of colors if you’re looking to add a bit of personality and flair to your rain gear, or you just want to make sure people can see you from a distance.
Made from 3-layer waterproof/windproof V-Tech breathable polyester fabric, Hodgman’s Storm Shell jacket and Storm bib make for some extremely rugged and durable rain gear for fishing. The high wear areas are layered with 500 Denier Cordura nylon and should be able to stand up to any punishment you dish out.
It’s rated waterproof to 20,000 mm which means this suit can stand up to a blizzard if need be. It’s also decent in the breathability department so you don’t need to worry about developing an uncomfortable level of sweat below the collar, either.
One thing to be aware of is that the jacket and bib are sold separately so getting the full set can be a punch to the wallet. Alone each piece if mid to high range in price while together they can be even more expensive than some of the best gear on the market.
Limited range of colors
Choosing the Best Rain Gear for Fishing: What You Need to Know
With so many options available for foul weather gear there are a few things you need to keep in mind when comparing one brand to another.
It should go without saying that you need to check the size of whatever you might be buying before you make the purchase, extra attention often needs to be paid when dealing with rain gear for fishing. Sizing is not consistent between manufacturers, and what is a large for one company may be an extra large for another and a medium at yet another.
Whenever possible your best bet is to try something on first to get an idea for the fit. When shopping online and that’s not an option, check the size charts that are available or scan the reviews to see what other customers have had to say about how things were sized for them.
Sometimes it’s best to err on the side of caution and go one size bigger than normal just in case.
Just like size, the weight of your rain gear is something you want to keep in mind. There are some remarkably lightweight jackets on the market that still do a great job of keeping you dry. On the other hand some of them can be quite bulky and will weigh you down a little more than expected.
Considering that you may also be carrying gear in your pockets, it’s worth remembering the weights and how it affects your ability to fish.
All waterproofing is not created equally. It’s worth paying attention to the seams in any rain weather gear, as well as what chemical coatings, called durable water repellency coatings (DWR) may have been applied to the fabric. For that matter, the fabric itself is something that you should pay attention to.
Materials like polyester might offer up better waterproofing than others, but they also suffer from poor breathability which could make you feel hotter and uncomfortable when you wear them.
Most jackets come with waterproofing ratings represented by a number between 0 and 10,000 mm.
0 to 1,500 is considered resistant rather than waterproof and would stand up to a light rain.
1,500 to 5,000 is considered waterproof and would be able to handle walking in normal rain.
At 5,000 it’s able to handle heavy rain
10,000 is highly waterproof and able to keep you dry in a bad storm.
Some rain gear will be rated over 10,000 even as high as 20,000 or more. This kind of gear should be able to stand up to a heavy storm on a boat with waves crashing against you.
When it comes to rain gear 5000 would be the bare minimum that you would consider looking at, and even then you’re risking coming home with soggy feet. Avoid anything that simply says water resistant as it offers no meaningful protection from the elements at all.
If you’re going to be serious about fishing and wet conditions, look for gear rated 10,000 mm and above. If you want to go with an exceptionally high bar, the military requires anything to be rated at 16,700 mm or more to be considered waterproof.
These ratings are determined by something called a hydrostatic head test. The material is stretched over a 1-inch diameter tube of water. The rating is the number of millilitres of water that can build up in the tube before it starts to leak through the fabric.
Some gear is made with an exceptional amount of care and detail which involves triple-layer fabrics and various linings to improve not just the gear’s ability to repel water but to keep you warm.
The downside to this attention to detail is often that it becomes bulky and cumbersome at times. This is especially noticeable in the arms and shoulders when you’re trying to do something as simple as casting. If the gear is too bulky it becomes very impractical, and it’s almost too difficult to even get your line in the water.
As with anything, if you can’t try it on first, always keep an eye on the reviews to see what other buyers have said. One of the biggest complaints for some gear is the mobility issues and you’ll see right away if it’s a recurring theme among other buyers.