Die-hard anglers know that foul weather can mean great fishing, and a little rain and wind won’t keep them off the water. They do this with the help of the best rain gear for fishing
But to make the most of the action a front can bring with it, you need outerwear that can shed rain, block wind, and wick sweat to avoid feeling clammy and damp.
Quick glance at the best rain gear for fishing:
Table of Contents (clickable)
Material: coated polyester
Waterproof rating: completely waterproof
Foxelli’s hooded rain poncho is a great choice for warm climates and high temperatures where a full rain suit would prove intolerably hot.
Made from tough, coated polyester, it’s truly waterproof but not breathable. For its intended purpose and climate, that’s fine, but we would absolutely not recommend this as rain gear for colder conditions, where the accumulation of sweat could pose a dangerous hazard.
But if you’re chasing reds in the salt marshes of Florida or sac-a-lait in the steamy bayous of Louisiana, this poncho makes a great choice. 95 inches long and 55 inches wide, it’ll reach to mid-calf on most anglers, providing plenty of rain-proof coverage. And of course, there’s ample space for casting and fighting, an advantage of the poncho design.
Available in a wide range of colors, these ponchos pack-down into a 3.5 x 9-inch bag and weigh just 11 ounces. That’s awesome, as you can store a few of these in your boat, drop one in your tackle bag, or store one under the seat of your car.
For warm climates and sub-tropical temps, this is a great choice.
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Material: coated nylon with mesh lining
Waterproof rating: 12,000 mm
Breathability: Yes?--rating not reported
Navis Marine built its business keeping sailors dry, and their rain gear for fishermen is every bit up to the task, too.
Made from strong, coated nylon with a mesh liner, Navis claims that this combination is not only waterproof to 12,000 mm--which is substantial--but that it’s also breathable. They’re a bit cagey about the exact composition of these materials and that coating, and we’d prefer that they told us what this suit was made of. That said, real-world use revels no complaints about waterproofness or breathability, and this suit will keep you warm and dry in foul, cold weather--if you layer properly underneath!
One thing we really like about Navis’s rain gear is the attention to detail. In addition to the fully taped seams, you’re also offered adjustable wrist, ankle, waist, and hood closures, helping you seal out wind-blown spray and rain. That’s a really nice touch and something we know you’ll appreciate at this price-point.
This suit is also very light--just 2.2 pounds, making it easy to carry with you.
The jacket is fairly close-fitting, and with the necessary layers beneath, it’s probably not the most fishing-friendly option on our list.
Overall, we like this fishing rain gear for the price, and if you’re on a tight budget, this may be the best option for you.
Material: nylon shell and lining/Gore-Tex Pro mid-layer
Waterproof rating: 28,000 mm
Available at Bass Pro
Bass Pro’s 200 MPH jacket and bib are serious wet-weather protection. They’re not cheap, but you’ll be well-guarded against rain in even the worst storms.
Bass Pro uses 3-layer construction, sandwiching a waterproof layer of Gore-Tex Pro between a face layer of DWR-coated nylon and an ultra-thin Gore Micro Grid backing layer. The result is a fabric that’s durable, light, and also superior to virtually all others in waterproofness and breathability.
Seriously--Gore-Tex Pro is that good.
With adjustable closures at the neck, ankle, waist, and wrist, this separately purchased outerwear will keep you dry in even the worst conditions. All the seams are sealed, and its rating of 28,000 mm of waterproof protection pretty much guarantees that with anything short of a swim means you’ll come home as dry as you left. Its breathability rating is second to none as well, and you can literally jog in this suit without exceeding its ability to vent sweat and keep you dry.
One thing some people may not like is that the adjustable hood uses flap closures that can block peripheral vision when open. Whether or not that’s a deal-breaker depends on how you feel about this issue.
Breathability is awesome, and Bass Pro has you covered no matter how hard you’re working in this rain gear. Designed for active outdoorsmen, there’s also plenty of space for casting and fighting.
In cold weather, it’s best to layer beneath this gear, and it’s sized with that in mind.
The jacket and bib are only available in a crimson/black color scheme, but it’s sure to get you seen in an emergency.
Material: polyester shell and lining/V-TecH mid-layer
Waterproof rating: 20,000 mm
Breathability: Yes, rating not reported
Hodgman’s H5 Storm jacket and bibs is serious outdoor gear, and when properly layered, it’ll help keep you as warm and dry as you’d be in your living room watching Bill Dance on TV.
Sold separately, these high-tech garments are built almost indestructibly tough, using 500 Denier Cordura nylon in areas that’ll see wear and abuse. Hodgman uses a 3-layer construction with its proprietary ePTFE--V-TecH--as the waterproof layer. Rated to 20,000 mm, it’ll take rain, snow, sleet, and hail--pretty much anything that Mother Nature can throw at you--and keep you dry.
We weren’t able to find V-TecH’s breathability rating, but we’re pretty sure it’s in the 10,000 to 15,000 range, given its competitors. In short, while probably not the equal of the Bass Pro option, you won’t need to worry about getting clammy and cold at the end of the day.
Vecro cuffs, a drawstring waist, adjustable ankle closures, and a unique face and nose guard keep storms and spray out while trapping body heat in. Expect fully taped seams throughout.
Layering is necessary in cold weather, but Hodgman designed this outerwear with that in mind. Anglers were their target audience, so you can count on what they call a “R.O.M.” or a Range Of Motion fit to keep you casting and fighting in comfort.
Available in a camouflage and gray color scheme, if you’re looking for high-visibility for safety, look elsewhere. But if you need the toughest stuff around, the Hodgman H5 jacket and bib are a great choice.
Material: polyester shell and lining/V-TecH mid-layer
Waterproof rating: >15,000 mm
Frogg Toggs’s Pilot II Guide fishing rain gear is durable, waterproof protection designed for cooler weather than the Hodgman or Bass Pro alternatives. Available with an additional zip-in puffy jacket, the Pilot II can handle extreme, nasty weather and keep you warm and dry.
Frogg Toggs builds this outerwear with 3-layer construction, using their proprietary DriPore Gen 2 waterproof fabric in the middle. Soft micro fabric interiors and a tough DWR-coated face layer protect the ePTFE and provide a soft feel against your skin.
And while not the equal of Gore-Tex Pro, this material will stand up to even the heaviest rain while maintaining respectable breathability. Truly heavy exercise in this rain gear will probably exceed its capacity to shed internal moisture, but if you’re hiking to your spot or rowing, you should be OK as long as you vent when necessary.
Expect fully lined seams and adjustable closures at the wrist, waist, ankle, and neck. Designed around hunting and angling, you’ll find plenty of room for casting.
Available in a wide range of colors from high-vis to camouflage, whatever you’re looking for, the Pilot II has you covered. If you regularly fish when the mercury dips but rain is still likely, this is an excellent choice if you add the extra liner.
Material: polyester shell and lining/eVent DValpine mid-layer
Waterproof rating: 20,000 mm
Grundéns’s Dark and Stormy jacket and bib are high-quality outerwear options for anglers looking for an alternative to Bass Pro’s 200 MPH gear. A supplier to professional fishermen facing the worst conditions the sea can throw at them, you can count on this separately purchased jacket and bib to bring you home warm and dry.
Grundéns applies the usual 3-layer construction to this outerwear, using polyester treated with a DWR on the face layer, a mid-layer of outstanding e-Vent DValpine, and a bottom layer of soft polyester. The result is a durable, waterproof fabric that can keep you dry in bone-chilling weather. It’s also extremely breathable--though still not the equal of the Gore-Tex Pro--allowing sweat to wick into the surrounding air even while working hard.
Expect fully sealed seams and the usual adjustable closures, plus a fold-away hood design and an awesome wind skirt beneath the jacket. That’s a nice touch, especially on windy days or when running a boat in a storm.
Designed to suit the needs of anglers, there’s plenty of space for casting, as well as the sizing you need to layer beneath. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for high-visibility color options, you won’t find any here.
Obviously, fishing rain gear that can’t stand up to wind and water is pretty much useless. And from sprinkles to full-on storms, you need outerwear that can keep you comfortable and dry.
For anglers, this means skipping anything labeled “water resistant” and moving on to “waterproof” options. That term can be trickier than it seems. “Waterproof” is thrown around a lot in advertising, but it’s defined pretty specifically in the textile industry.
This is something you need to be clear about, and understanding what fishing rain gear manufacturers mean with technical descriptions can be the difference between a great day fishing and a miserably cold and wet slog.
As clothing experts explain, “A textile’s level of water resistance is measured in column pressure… imagine a one-inch tube that’s sitting on top of the fabric, and it’s filled with water. At one point, the column is high enough that there’s so much pressure that the water will actually come through the membrane. That’s the number you’re looking for in terms of grading waterproofness.”
Keeping that measurement system in mind, “waterproof” means that a given fabric can withstand the pressure of a one-inch column of water 5,000 millimeters tall. But that’s not good enough for serious outdoor gear, and instead, you should be looking for clothing rated to 15,000 to 20,000 millimeters.
As Ian Nicholson notes, “the US Military requires that fabric must be able to resist 25 PSI (or 16,700mm) to be considered waterproof.”
Most of the options on our list exceed that requirement, with only the budget Nevis gear missing the mark.
When a material is described as “breathable,” it allows moisture--sweat vapor--to escape, while keeping rain out. That outward airflow keeps you dry even as you heat up, and it’s a critically important element of the best fishing rain gear.
As REI says, “Transferring sweat vapor through a shell happens in part because the warm, moist air inside is attracted to colder, relatively drier air outside. The efficiency of that vapor transfer process helps determine how dry or clammy you feel, and improving that efficiency has been the focus of outdoor brands for decades.”
As a result of all that research, top-end options like Gore-tex and eVent work wonders, allowing sweat to evaporate while locking rain out.
Any rain suit needs to be breathable. Otherwise, while it’ll keep the rain from wetting you down, it’ll trap moisture inside, leaving you clammy and damp.
Breathability is measured in grams per square meter over 24 hours (g/m²/24hr). Here’s a chart reflecting how various activity levels relate to these measures:
Where possible, we’ve researched the fabric and reported these numbers.
Outerwear manufacturers can pack some advanced tech into rain gear for fishing, varying materials and construction methods to meet a given price-point or provide an edge in performance.
By far, the most common materials used in breathable rain gear for fishing are expanded polytetrafluoroethylenes. ePTFEs like Gore-Tex and eVent are essentially the same material as the Teflon coating in your skillet, just stretched into a thin layer that forms a lightweight, porous membrane. And through its dotted with billions of holes per square centimeter, they’re so small that the surface tension of water won’t allow it to seep through, while air--and sweat vapor--can escape.
ePTFEs combine waterproofness with breathability, making them an outstanding choice for rain gear for fishing.
Three-layer construction is probably the most common option for quality rain gear for fishing.
The outer layer, also called the face layer, is typically a tough fabric coated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellant). It’s there to protect the middle layer of ePTFE, where the real waterproofing takes place, and its job is to keep the pores of the ePTFE from getting clogged by sunscreen, dirt, or other contaminants.
Beneath that outer layer, you’ll find the heart of your fishing rain gear - the high-tech layer that really seals water out while still letting moisture escape.
And against your skin, you’ll find the third and final layer, often of polyester. It protects the ePTFE from dirt and body oils that might clog those all-important pores.
It’s possible to alter the recipe of the sandwich a bit, swapping out the inner layer for alternatives. A 2.5 layer approach does just this, using a “painted on” inner layer to cut down on weight and bulk while still protecting the inner ePTFE layer.
eVent DVstorm is one such proprietary combination.
According to Ian Nicholson, “eVent [DVstorm] uses an external face fabric with a very similar polytetrafluoroethylene membrane [to a 3-layer system]. Where the big difference is in the inner-most layer: instead of using a solid material like Gore-tex (which uses a hydrophobic polyurethane (PU) film on the inside), eVent uses a secret propitiatory coating that protects the individual fibers without clogging the pores.”
The result is a lighter, less bulky product that’s just as waterproof and breathable.
Some outdoor applications require very flexible outerwear, and 2-layer construction is the best way to meet this need.
This construction tech uses a thin layer of waterproof stretch polyurethane (think Spandex) coated with an ePTFE. When done well, it results in a breathable, waterproof shell that’s stretchier than typical Gore-Tex because the waterproofing material can be very, very thin.
It’s uncommon on rain gear designed for anglers and hunters.
A final approach to rain gear is a single layer of tough PVC or polyester, especially with an added waterproof coating. Polyvinyl chloride and polyester can be tough stuff, and both are entirely waterproof, but neither are permeable to water vapor, meaning that they can’t breathe.
Even in a rain poncho, you’ll start getting clammy and damp underneath, and in a full suit, this can quickly become a problem.
We won’t recommend any full PVC suits for this reason.
ePTFEs rely on those tiny holes to do their thing, which is why they need to be protected from your skin by an inner layer. But external contaminants can also compromise their function, which is why they need that face layer, too.
“Because oils from our body, sunscreen, funk, etc have low surface tension, they will invade the membrane and inhibit the pores from keeping out water, so most PTFE membranes (such as Gore-Tex) are now coated to stop these contaminants,” Matt Gugel explains.
“Basically a DWR is a coating that is applied to the outside of the fabric (either fluropolymers [sic], silicones or hydrocarbons), that increases the contact angle or surface tension of the fabric when water comes in contact with it. This causes the water to bead and to simply roll off your garment, instead of allowing it to flatten and seep into the fabric.”
DWR coatings are applied to waterproof fabrics to increase their resistance to saturation. This improves breathability and prevents water from transferring through soaked fabrics--but most importantly, it prevents the holes in the ePTFE from getting clogged.
Over time, this coating will wear off, and you’ll need to reapply it with a product like Nikwax.
Obviously, waterproof and breathable are the key words for good rain gear, but there’s a bit more to consider when you’re looking for the best option for you.
When your rain gear is assembled, there will inevitably be seams where needles poked holes in the waterproof materials. How these seams are joined and protected is important, and there are three methods common to waterproof applications.
Fully Taped Seams
Fully taped seams result when a manufacturer applies internal waterproofing tape to every seam on the garment, using a very strong, waterproof adhesive to fully protect each joint.
With some materials, it’s possible to heat and press the seams to create a “welded” bond that closes any holes and results in a water-fast attachment.
Critically Taped Seams
Finally, on lower-end rain gear, a manufacturer can skip taping every seam and just focus on the ones most likely to be hit by direct water: shoulders, neck, etc.
We generally prefer fully taped or welded seams to the lower-cost, lower-quality alternative, and all of the options we reviewed that have seams are fully taped.
If your rain gear doesn’t fit tightly at the wrists, neck, or waist, wind can blow rain or spray inside, defeating the point of wearing it in the first place.
Good rain gear will provide adjustable closures at these critical points.
You’ll be casting, reeling, and fighting, and your outerwear needs to work with you rather than against you.
And a jacket that might be fine for a brisk walk may not provide the range of motion in the shoulders, arms, and back to cast.
We’ve assessed how fishing-friendly each option is, letting you know what to expect.
Bad weather can mean good fishing, and we hope these reviews help you pick the best fishing rain gear for your needs.
If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to leave us a message.
We’d love to hear from you!