Monday, January 27, 2014

Cabela's Guide Gear WindStopper Jacket Review

Toward the end of 2013 I was fortunate enough to have received a jacket from the Cabelas' Guide Gear Series.  The jacket is known as the WindStopper.

Since I first put this jacket on it has really transformed how I look at the Cabela's clothing line and their partnership with Gore (tex).  That being said, I thought I might put together a short review for those that may be in the market for the perfect fishing jacket, and being South Louisiana is having a winter warning and a snow advisory tomorrow I thought it might be fitting.

My first impression of the garment was good, it looked good, it felt like a soft neoprene shell, but flexible like a cotton blanket, the interior was lined with a very soft fleece type material that only enhances both the interior look and feel of the jacket. 

 In my world of outdoor equipment and clothes, this jacket immediately ranked in the classy edition.  But like most of you, I work hard for my money and if I'm going to spend it on clothing and not equipment, outdoor toys as my wife says, classy is the last thing I'm looking for, I want practicality and I want the product to do what it claims, and if it happens to be classy, well then maybe I can wear it in public with my wife and not just in the woods or on the water. 

After more than a month of putting the WindStopper through the gambit if woods, water, rain, lots of fish slime, temperatures in the teens, and winds in the 15-25mph range while on the water, I was impressed to say the least.  This is my new favorite, go anywhere and everywhere jacket.  This past Saturday I wore it to the movies with my daughter and 12 hours later I was wearing it in a kayak as I chased specs in reds throughout the day.

Following is my review, the good, the bad, and the .....well there wasn't any ugly to speak of..

The feel, the warmth, the
look, and the style is excellent. 

The elastic cuffs are great, although I am not the biggest
fan of the rubberized Velcro tab on the bottom of the wrist. When sitting at a table,  tying flys/lures,its tends to dig into your wrist a little bit. Personally, I would like to see a
more flexible, thinner, softer rubber.

The jacket does as it says, it blocks wind.  I
actually wore it in teen degree weather on the water with 15-20 knt winds and it did its job, it also repelled a lot of white cap splash and I was able to stay dry throughout the trip.   

The reflective logos on the chest and sleeve are
great, they are classy and non-obtrusive, but practical in every way, especially within the kayaking community.  Kayakers are always looking for something that can help them be more visual on the water.

The material even holds up well after it's torn(I almost cried when this happened).  I landed a double treble in the left sleeve after an aggressive hook set and was forced to quickly displace
the hooks from the jacket, leaving a few small holes, but those holes have
failed to fray or spread in any way and as someone who sees a lot of flying
hooks on a weekly basis, this is a huge Plus, and I guess it's only right for me to thank my new WindStopper for stopping those trebles from penetrating my arm.  Thank you.

 The lower pockets are great sized, with hands in, there is no skin left open to the elements. 
The breast pocket fits a wallet and a cell phone perfect, as a kayaker, this is
where I hold my phone all day long. 

The interior of the jacket is warmer than expected for being so light weight and the exterior of the jacket appears to be made of a neoprene  type material, but then when you touch it you will immediately notice its not neoprene at all, its way to soft and flexible.  If you ask me, the guys and gals of  Gore (Tex) must be sneaking a few bills to NASA to bring back some special alien fabric from worlds unknown, because what they have been producing over the years just keeps getting better and better, its lighter, its quieter, more water resilient, and most of all it's warm.

A common jacket issue that drives me insane is when the interior of  jacket pockets are made of something different than the rest of the jacket.  For instance you buy a rugged jacket, not naming names, its exterior is of coarse jean like material, ripstop in every form,  its liner is exposed cotton/wool, feels great on the skin, keeps you warm......until you put your hands in the pockets to find out that the inside of the pockets match the harsh unwarming exterior and not the soft warm interior that keeps you warm.  I don't put my hands in my pockets to feel a hardy ripstop material, dang it, I put my hands in the pockets to either get my keys or to warm my hands.   The WindStopper jacket does have the same fleece like material inside the pockets that is inside jacket. To me, it's a nice touch, and it shows the development was 100% and no corners were cut to save a few pennies.  

The hood is a great addition, at first glance I wasn’t a fan, but after wearing it time and
time again, I don’t even realize there is a hood back there.  It lays down
perfect but somehow gives a feel like it’s a collared jacket(it's got to be the alien material). 

Keeping the drawstrings tight to the material is also another nice feature, there is no
string flying around or threatening to hang up in something(a fly rod or a radiator fan), but
works well when synching the hood down in a downpour of which I did experience more than once during the testing period.

To sum it all up, I would buy this jacket 10 times over, it is hands down my favorite all around jacket.

<<<<<<< WindStopper in Red and Charcoal



<<<<<<WindStopper in Red and Charcoal

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