Technical Rainwear: The Right Tool for the Job

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The 1st chapter of this article examined the science behind the waterproof, breathable raingear available in today’s market–this chapter will provide information to help you make the best choice for your specific uses.

When looking at pictures of rain jackets on a web page, they all kind of look the same. How does one choose? Simple: honestly prioritize your needs as a user and choose the jacket that best fits those needs.

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First, we’ll take a look at the attributes shared by all Filson breathable, waterproof rainwear.
  • Filson waterproof jackets are designed in our Seattle headquarters with input from experienced hunters, anglers and outdoorsmen. These same experts then field-test the jackets to ensure they provide the highest level of performance.
  • Filson waterproof jackets are fully-seam sealed. Every seam in the waterproof shell fabric has heat-glued waterproof tape on the inside to ensure that water does not leak through the seams or stitching.
  • Filson seeks out the best manufacturing partners in the world for making technical raingear. Partners with state-of-the-art factories. Partners that treat their workers well. Partners that run clean factories with minimal environmental impact. In other words, partners with conscience. Our manufacturing partners make the best gear, and they do it the right way.
FILSON WATERPROOF JACKETS

3-Layer Field Jacket

The Filson 3-Layer Field Jacket is optimized for upland bird hunting. The fabric was developed specifically to stand up to moving through heavy cover and brush. The 3-layer fabric is a very tough 100% nylon outer shell with a laminated, waterproof membrane and brushed fabric backer. With large pockets designed for fast access to shells, high-set handwarmer pockets, and a zip-open rear game bag, this jacket can actually replace a hunting vest in some situations. When tough waterproof protection is the priority — along with the ability to carry plenty of shells and a limit of birds — this is your jacket. It’s designed without blaze orange to be discreet enough for wear in non-hunting situations, and can be paired with our Blaze Orange Safety Vest when orange is required.

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Skagit Waterfowl Jacket

Our Skagit Waterfowl Jacket is a specialist tool for the waterfowl hunter, available in Mossy Oak® camouflage patterns. It’s cut a bit shorter to allow wading while setting out decoys without dragging the hem in the water. The hardware is rubberized to protect from corrosion, and shell pockets have magnetic closures for rapid access. The fabric is a two-layer laminate consisting of a midweight-nylon shell and waterproof/breathable membrane with a hanging fleece liner for warmth. The Velcro®-adjustable neoprene cuffs seal out water when cinched tightly. Our warmest waterproof/breathable jacket, it’s best-suited to low-exertion use, or extremely cold temperatures.

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NeoShell® Reliance Jacket

The NeoShell® Reliance Jacket is an all-purpose, do-anything waterproof jacket. Since breathability was a top priority in the Reliance’s design, NeoShell fabric from Polartec® was the natural choice. A 3-layer laminate, it has a soft exterior shell, the Neoshell membrane and a brushed tricot backer. The fabric allows an imperceptible amount of wind to pass through, so it feels a bit cooler to wear, while the mixing of interior and exterior air dramatically improves breathability. Pit-zips allow you to dump excess heat. Though not specifically-intended for hunting or fishing, under a game bag or tucked into waders it works very well for either. The fabric’s slight stretch provides non-binding comfort when mounting a shotgun, scrambling up a steep scree slope or casting a fly rod. Mountain biking? Works great. Cross-country skiing? Perfect. Maximum breathability and versatility are the Reliance Jacket’s strengths.

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Skagit Rain Jacket

The Skagit Rain Jacket is optimized for fishing. The 3-layer laminated fabric has a waterproof, breathable membrane sandwiched between a midweight nylon shell and light tricot backer. Center-chest pockets hold large fly boxes and Velcro®-adjustable neoprene cuffs seal out water when casting. Low-set hand pockets are handy for everyday situations, and high-set handwarmer pockets are easy to reach when seated in a boat. Fabric loops at the sternum make attaching zingers or accessories a snap. With fishing-oriented features, the Skagit Rain Jacket can be cross-purposed for any outdoor use, on or off the water.

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Swiftwater Rain Jacket

The Swiftwater Rain Jacket and Pullover are minimalists, our lightest-weight and most-packable waterproof rain shells. The fabric is a 2.5-layer ripstop nylon with laminated membrane that’s protected by a printed-mesh grid. With no brushed-fabric liners, they can feel cool when rain hits the surface, but they will keep you dry. Both can be stuffed into their own pockets and take up little room in a pack, vest or duffle. Where the Jacket has Velcro-adjustable cuffs and drawcord-adjustable hem, the Pullover has stretch-binding on cuffs and hem. The Swiftwaters are ideal for packing away small and pulling out when the weather turns foul.

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Swiftwater Rain PULLOVER

The Swiftwater Rain Pullover is a half-zip version of our most packable waterproof jacket, built to keep you dry when foul weather hits. Constructed from the same 2.5-layer waterproof and breathable fabric as our full-zip the Swiftwater Jacket above, with a laminated waterproof membrane—an interior printed mesh grid adds durability. Packs small, fitting into its own center-chest zippered pocket, so it’s ready to carry wherever bad weather might turn up. Fully-adjustable hood and elastic binding on hem and cuffs are designed to keep the elements out. The front kangaroo hand pocket uses YKK® AquaGuard zippers, and packs away into its chest-pocket bag maximizng portability.

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Here, we rate the suitability of Filson waterproof jackets on a scale of 1-4 for various applications. All Filson waterproof/breathable jackets will serve in multiple applications–this rating system is a subjective evaluation of their relative strengths.

Hopefully this has provided some insight that will assist in choosing the best jacket for your needs. It’s really a matter of identifying priorities for your uses and choosing the jacket with the performance and design features that best align with those priorities.

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