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Apparel Review

More Than Just Rods and Reels:  The Shimano Technical Softshell Hooded Jacket

Date: 3/16/13
Tackle type: Apparel
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Wolbugger

Total Score: 8.0 - GREAT

Introduction: What's
one of the most important things during a fishing day?  Well, catching fish and having fun is obviously first and foremost.  What about comfort?  I don't know about you, but if I'm not comfortable the overall fun factor takes a huge nosedive!  The popularity of “technical” apparel the last several years has been explosive, to say the least.  Not only do these garments aim to keep your comfort at a paramount level, but they can look quite stylish too.  While rods and reels are Shimano's claim to fame, they do also offer a few types of apparel.  Introduced at ICAST 2012, their new Technical Softshell Hooded Jacket promises to keep anglers warm and dry when the weather is less than ideal.  Will it deliver as promised, or leave you out in the cold?


Shimano Technical Hooded Jacket Specifications

Material 2 layer bonded Polyester stretch material, fleece
Sizes M, L, XL, XXL
Colors Black, Blue/Black
Features Moisture wicking, antimicrobial, stretchable fabric; thumb holes, draw string hood, welded arm pocket, fleece inner liner.
Origin China
MSRP 119.99


The jacket fits great without any unsightly bulk.

Impressions:  This jacket makes a great garment for a cool outing, or is also ideal for layering up under a raincoat or beefier jacket.  It's relatively thin, and in hand has similar weight to your average sweatshirt.  Definitely not just a fishing jacket, it immediately struck me as something I can comfortably wear on the way to the lake or grocery store.

Arms are not saggy which aids in fluidity of motion.

The exterior is a 2 toned blue and black color, although just a solid black is also available.  The outside is both soft and smooth, and ours features a white Shimano logo across the back and on the left front chest.  The jacket is not called technical for nothing; the 2 layer bonded polyester material has several characteristics to improve overall feel and comfort.  Not only is it stretchable to more easily move along with you, but it is both antimicrobial and moisture wicking.  Though not water proof, light moisture tends to bead up and roll off the garment.  A heavy blast of moisture soaks right thru quite fast.  Don't wear this jacket in anything but very light rain and you'll be fine.  When the jacket does get wet, it dries quite fast.

The soft fleece inner liner feels extremely comfortable.

The hood is roomy and comfortable to wear.  There are draw cords on both sides that are easily accessed to cinch it down quickly when the wind starts cranking up.  The hood also allows enough room to comfortably wear a hat or beanie underneath.

The hood allows for plenty of room to wear a cap underneath.

The arms of the jacket seem pretty standard until you get down to the wrist cuff.  Shimano has designed a thumb hole into the cuff, which allows the jacket to cover the top of your hand.  This is a great idea since it adds a bit of extra sun and/or cold weather protection to your hands.  When not in use, the thumb holes keep a very low profile and are really not noticeable at all when worn in a normal fashion.

For me, the cuffs provided protection up to the knuckles.

This technical jacket features several pockets for storage of small items.  On the left arm, there is a small welded zipper compartment between the elbow and shoulder.  This would be ideal for storing small items like a cell phone, ipod, or money.  I was a bit disappointed that there was not a matching pocket on the right arm as well.  On the outside, 2 zippered pockets are located in the standard lower front positions and are an ideal place to warm your hands.  On the inside of the jacket and directly behind the front pockets, are deep inner pockets for more storage.

The left arm has a handy welded pocket.

Overall, this is a stylish and very comfortable piece.  At 6'3” I'm taller than average, but the size large jacket I have fits and feels quite nice.  It has an extremely clean look to it, and looks perfect with any pair of pants.  While it fits really well, due to my height I wouldn't mind seeing about another inch in length added to the waist section.  Another zippered pocket or 2 added to the outside would be nice, too.

The stretchy material allows for ease of motion.

Real World Tests:  Living in south Florida, testing out cool weather garments can be a challenge!  Fortunately, we do manage to get a few cold fronts during the wintertime which bring along cold, very dry Canadian air.  Thankfully, the Shimano Technical Softshell Hooded Jacket arrived to me just before a drastic cool down struck the area.  While northerners would consider it a heat wave this time of year, when temps dip into the 40's this far south it's one of the few times I get to bust out the cold weather gear.

The inner pockets provide yet another storage solution.

The jacket was used during local evening pond hopping excursions here in southwest Florida, and also was worn early in the morning on a very foggy Lake Okeechobee boat ride.  Other than a few light sprinkles, it never saw any rain, but I did give it a good “garden hose test”.  I also tested the jacket on some really wild and exotic adventures to the mall, work, and grocery store.

Casting while wearing the jacket is easy due to it's non restricting fit.

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