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When it comes to a distant fishing adventure, you don’t want to risk getting caught unprepared.
With that in mind, a good waterproof fishing jacket is a staple in any serious angler’s kit.
Wading jackets can be the difference between landing that rainy-day trophy, or going home wet, cold, and empty-handed.
Whether you fish the blowing surf for striped bass, or brave the cold rain for chromed steelhead, your wading jacket needs to be up to whatever challenge nature can throw at you.
That’s why the Fly Fishing Atlas team reviewed six of the best wading jackets below; to help you decide which fishing jacket will perform best for your next fishing adventure.
Rivers West Kokanee Wading Jacket
The Kokanee Wading jacking from Rivers West took our top choice spot with ease.
This fishing jacket is robust, comfortable, and offers features you’ll only find in super expensive wading jackets.
First of all, the jacket just looks classy. Along with the sleek and stylish look comes rugged durability and functional waterproofing that any hardcore angler will appreciate.
Speaking of functional – fishing with soaking wet sleeves is miserable.
A huge selling point on this affordable fishing jacket is the adjustable neoprene wrist cuffs that can be cinched tight to keep water out.
The Kokanee wading jacket keeps your sleeves dry when reaching into the water to land a fish, or casting heavy rain.
Experienced anglers know exactly what we are talking about – this is a really helpful feature.
The oversized hood is another impressive part of this jacket. For one, the hood can be stowed away when not needed.
But when the rain comes, the built-in visor prevents rain from dripping on your face or obscuring your vision.
Even if the wind blows sideways, the hood features a three-way adjustment system to ensure a customized and tight fit.
We were really impressed with the hard-warmer pockets which feature sewn-in pouches to hold disposable hand warmers.
Hand warming pockets are also lined with thick sherpa-fleece to warm up your hands quickly.
Wet and cold hands can make the fishing less enjoyable. We thought this was a very innovative and effective solution.
The exterior is a rugged and breathable 600 denier woven oxford and is offered with red, green, or olive color schemes.
Deep waterproof zippered chest pockets can hold personal items, or whatever fishing bits you might choose.
You also get a few D-rings located just above the waist for small gear attachment points.
Another D-ring is on the back of the collar area which is convenient for a possible net attachment point.
Dual bottom draw cords can cinch up to keep the elements out. This wading jacket makes you feel like you could take on a fire-hose.
Rivers West places great emphasis on ensuring that the Kokanee Jacket is 100% waterproof and windproof with all seams fully sealed.
We put this fishing jacket at the top of our list because it meets at the perfect crossroads of performance, style, and price.
If you are in the market for an all-around winner in wading jackets, this one is worth your attention.
Frogg Toggs Toadz Firebelly Wading Jacket
This fishing jacket is the most affordable option of all the jackets we reviewed, but the inexpensive price point did not equate with a lower rating.
Realistically, there are other features that add value to a wading jacket other than just waterproofing.
First and foremost, you’ll notice this jacket is lightweight and allows for very easy movement when casting and walking.
This also makes the wading jacket pack away nicely and won’t take up much space in a backpack.
The fishing jack features adjustable neoprene cuffs somewhat similar to our top choice.
One main difference being that they didn’t seem as easy to adjust and might let a little water penetrate. For rain and wind, they are quite functional.
This Frogg Toggs jacket features a long cut and elastic waist which keeps wind and wet weather out.
An adjustable hood keeps your head and face dry with an extended visor that directs water away.
When the weather breaks, the hood can be rolled up and stowed in the collar.
For pockets – this fishing jacket offers three sets of packets with smart and convenient locations.
Hand warming pockets are comfortable and located slightly high which helps to keep them out of the water while wading.
A second set of large pockets with flap-style closures are located directly on top of the warming pockets.
These pockets offer significant storage capability for items like fly boxes or tackle boxes.
They also have small grommets that allow drainage in case you need to wade deep, or take a spill while wading.
The third set of pockets sit high on the chest and features zippered pockets to keep the contents secured from accidental loss.
These zippers aren’t waterproof so be careful with sensitive electronics like cellphones.
Overall this fishing jacket is a great value and will keep you dry through heavy and blowing rain.
Long-term, the lightweight nature of this jacket might impact it’s durability, but these jackets are remarkably inexpensive for what they do.
Frabill F2 Surge Waterproof Wading Jacket
If you’re looking for a waterproof fishing jacket that is ready to face the elements, then the Frabill F2 Surge wading jacket is definitely worth considering.
This two layer breathable shell is ready for extreme weather, with a 330 denier nylon construction that is both waterproof and windproof.
Furthermore, Frabill understands that moisture inside your wading jacket is not a helpful addition to your sense of comfortable.
With that in mind, this jacket features a breathable membrane to allow excess moisture to escape, so you stay dry.
The sleeves sport an adjustable cuff to help keep rain and water out.
Though we prefer the neoprene cuffs, these are a decent alternative and accomplish the task of fending off foul weather fairly well.
In order to keep your head and face protected, the three-way adjustable waterproof hood features a reinforced sun visor.
Even in heavy rainfall, the visor prevents rain from dripping and running down your face.
To protect your personal items, the F2 Surge Jacket features a chest pocket with water resistant zipper.
Plus large hand pockets are enhanced with zippered closures and impressive storm flaps that can shed some serious water.
Rain and waves don’t stand a chance of splashing through the main zipper due to the large rain gutter which provides coverage from the bottom hem up to your chin.
Ergonomic curved sleeves add to the overall comfortable fit and finish of this fishing jacket, while an adjustable bungee cord at the bottom hem cinches up to hold back the bad weather.
For accoutrements, the chest D-rings and side seam D-ring are great for your favorite fishing tools, like tippet tenders or nippers.
Wright & McGill Essentials Big Horn Wading Jacket
The Big Horn wading jacket from Wright & McGill is a serious wading jacket made to stand the test in harsh conditions.
Made with the same four layer construction as W&M fishing waders, you can rest assured that cold wind and rain are locked out entirely.
Everything about this wading jacket is designed for cold and wet weather.
From oversized zippers so that cold, wet fingers can still access the pockets and main zipper – to fleece lined “hand warmer” pockets to keep your hands warm between casts, this wading jacket provides protection from the elements.
Additionally, this fishing jacket doesn’t fall short on storage and pockets, which are strategically located throughout the jacket.
Storage pockets are placed inside the right upper chest, the left storm flap and even the left sleeve to keep your gear accessible.
And the front of the jacket features two large pockets that can accommodate quite large tackle or fly boxes.
This wading jacket also provides a huge gear pouch located on the back of the wading jacket that can be accessed without taking the coat off.
The large, roll down hood also provides excellent coverage, with dual draw pulls to keep weather out.
A feature we always like to see in a high-quality wading jacket is neoprene cuffs to keep out water.
The Big Horn Wading Jacket comes through in this department, with cuffs that protect your sleeves when landing and releasing fish.
Overall, this is a true guide-grade wading jacket that will provide tremendous benefits to anglers who spend a lot of time on the water.
And when the barometer drops this jacket will prove itself time and time again.
Frogg Toggs Cascades Sportsman’s Pack Jacket
The ToadSkinz technology used to design it enhances its performance.
The interior is made of mesh for breathability especially when the weather gets hot. Due to its lightweight, it dries within a short time.
The hood is fully adjustable and can be folded away if you want your head out. The extended coverage bill offers more warmth to your neck area.
All seams are fully taped and the DriPore waterproof technology lamination adds to its weatherproof properties.
The waistband has a shock cord that is adjustable in case you want it tight fitting at the waist.
Attached to it is a rod holder that can be folded away to place in your fly rod for quick reachability.
Both inside and out, this jacket has 16 spacious pockets to place your accessories, items, valuables and fly boxes. They are accessed via water-resistant zippers and storm flaps.
You don’t need to look boring when going out for sporting. Frogg Toggs Cascades Wading Jacket is a stylish jacket that does its protective function fully yet leaving you looking executive and striking.
The many spacious pockets on it is a highlight you will love because organizing your items becomes easy.
You might not need those heavy sports bags when going out. Cleaning and maintenance are easy because after washing polyester dries quickly.
What is a wading jacket?
A wading jacket is a waterproof jacket that a fisherman wears while he is wading.
It is designed to withstand the rigors of the elements including the wind and the rain.
A good wading jacket will pack up in a small area so that it can easily be carried on a fishing trip.
It should also be breathable and include specific features to support fishing.
On what to pay attention to when buying one?
When you are looking to buy a wading jacket, you should look for the following things:
- Breathability – to ensure maximum breathability look for a jacket that has microscopic pores. This makes the pores too small for water drops to pass through. This ensures waterproofing, while also providing for maximum breathability.
- Waterproofness – When you are wading, there is no certainty that you will catch a fish, but there is a certainty that you will get wet. That is why having a waterproof jacket is pretty much a necessity.
- Storage Space – Look for a waterproof jacket that will provide you with plenty of pockets to store your nick nacks when you’re knee-deep in water.
- Sealed Cuffs – Sealed cuffs will not only keep your arms warm, they will prevent the annoyance of having water dripping up your arm as you are casting your line.
How to wash your wading jacket?
The first thing that you need to when preparing a wading jacket to be washed is to check all of the pockets and empty them out.
This includes the pockets on the inside of the jacket.
Once you have emptied out all of the contents of the jacket, then zip it up completely and then fasten all of the buttons and other fastenings.
If the jacket has any removable parts, such as collars and hoods, then you should remove them from the jacket.
Before placing the jacket in the washer, you should inspect it for any rips and tears. If you find any, you should mend them before washing the jacket.
If you don’t, the tear may get worse through the washing process.
Use a washcloth to wipe any debris or grime from the jacket. If there is some serious dirt on the jacket, use a brush to get it off, working in a circular motion.
Keep doing this until you have removed all the dirt you can.
Before putting the jacket into the washing machine, check the label to see if there are any special washing instructions.
If so, you should follow them. Some jackets will state that they are not machine washable. If this is the case, then you will have to wash the jacket by hand.
Place the jacket in your washing machine. Now add some specific washing liquid that is designed to be used for waterproof clothing.
Be sure to select a gentle setting on the machine to prevent the jacket from ripping. You should also use warm water.
Water that is either hot or cold may be too abrasive for the jacket material. Do not use bleach when cleaning a wading jacket.
When the first wash cycle is complete, you should run an extra rinse cycle. Then take the jacket out and inspect it.
If there is no soapy residue on it, then it can be hung to dry. If it does have residue them give it another rinse cycle.
When the wash is complete, you should dry the jacket straight away. This will help to minimize any wrinkling.
Check to see if there are any specific drying instructions on the label. Put the jacket in the dryer and set it to a gentle spin.
If the jacket cannot be machine dried, hang it on a hanger, either inside or out.
What is the best material for a wading jacket?
A combination of polyester and spandex will provide a good level of waterproofing while also providing the flexibility and freedom of movement you need to fish without restriction.
This combination is the best material for a functional wading jacket.
We know that fishing is more than just a hobby or, a sport.
Feeling that fish charging on the end of the line is what we’re after, and logging countless hours on the water is how we find it.
That doesn’t happen without solid fishing gear that can perform and keep you dry, warm, and protected from the elements.