Than Just Rods and Reels: The Shimano Technical Softshell Hooded Jacket
I not only look pretty smooth in this jacket, but the overall operation is
pretty smooth too! I love the look of the garment, as it is cut very close to
the natural contour of the body. This eliminates excess material and that
hanging, bulky look. It fits very similar to what a “fitted” long sleeve shirt
is like; not too tight, not too loose, but just right. This is especially
important when fishing. Keeping the jacket more streamlined allows you to cast
with more ease since you don't have to deal with the rod butt constantly
catching the under arm or front side of the jacket. You'll really notice it if
you have to transfer your rod back and forth between hands often. It makes that
hand transfer motion much easier! Let's not forget the stretchiness of the
material too. That really helps to keep your casting motions fluid and
The hood draws
down nice and tight via the 2 cords on either side.
The zippers all
work with a worry free smoothness. Even with repeated motions, they never
snagged, got stuck, or failed. Each one has a little rope tie and small plastic
finger grip that makes finding the zipper without looking a cinch.
All the zippers
feel solid and provide smooth action.
When you hook a
big fish does the sweat start pouring off of you, even if its 50 degrees out?
If so, this jacket can help ease that clammy feeling. The moisture wicking
material seems to do it's job pretty darn well. It keeps a relatively dry
feeling at all times and works well to transfer the moisture to the outer
garment layer. Unlike jackets of the past that get that hot, stuffy, and
sometimes gross feel, this jacket always feels dry and fresh. Let's face it, it
is a jacket so if you go and run a mile in it you'll definitely be sweating, but
under normal circumstances it's very pleasant to wear and breathes very well.
The welded zipper
proved to be water proof, but the surrounding material is not. Water will
eventually seep into the pocket if there is enough exposure.
The added hand
protection allowed by the thumb holes is a really nice touch. I have a
condition (with a weird name) which makes my hands change color and even swell
up in cold weather. In my case, any extra hand protection I can get is much
appreciated. Though it's not going to cover your hand up like a glove, the
cuffs offer some nice bonus protection.
The Shimano logo
on the back is easily visible.
During an early
morning bass boat run, or simply fishing in 20mph winds, it's nice to put the
hood on and cinch in down tight. The bungee cords on each side of the hood
allow you to easily tighten it, and the adjustable plastic blocks hold your
desired adjustment in place without any drama. While the hood offers great head
protection up through the neck, the face protection is pretty much non
existent. Some jackets have a face shield or at least a really tall collar that
zips up to your nose, but being a light duty jacket this one does not. For a
cool early morning run down the lake, you might want to bring a more appropriate
jacket or at least some type of face protection along.
The hood draw
cords make for easy adjustments.
A look at the palm
coverage of the sleeve.
I didn't go to
the moon and back with the Shimano Technical Softshell Jacket, but I wore it a
fair amount. There were no durability issues to speak of, and about the only
thing I see as being a possible weak spot are the letters on the back. With
heavy abuse and/or washing they may begin to wear or separate from the fabric,
but again, pure speculation. All the stitching and seams are straight and
tight, and pulling on them with modest force elicited no unnerving sounds or
zippered pockets are perfect for hands or car keys.
At a price of
$119.99 I look at the jacket as being a fair to good price. Jackets like this
one are all over the map as far as design, construction, and pricing, but the
quality here is definitely worthy of the price. After paying full retail for it
you should not be left disappointed at all.
As nice as the
jacket is, it's definitely not the only one you'll need. If fishing in very
cold weather you're going to want to at least layer up, whether it's adding a
couple form fitting base layers underneath or going with a roomier, heftier
jacket over the top. It also packs down nice and small when not in use. Just
roll it up, and it takes up about as much room as an average sweatshirt.
In Florida, strong
cold fronts and big Bass don't mix!
Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide)
A high quality garment all
The jacket does what it
says and can be used alone or as a base layer under something like a rain
A bit pricey for a lighter
Some nice features in
design and construction but an extra zippered pocket or two would be welcome
and fits really well. For tall people like me, an extra inch in length
would be nice but it's not a big deal
Great for fishing in cool
temps but also looks and feels nice enough to be worn casually around town.
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
Pluses and Minuses:
+ High quality
- A little pricey for just
a light jacket|
+ Fitted nicely and not
bulky at all
+ Warm without that clammy
+ Looks great on or off
Shimano has become legendary for their quality rods and reels, and this jacket
does nothing to tarnish that reputation. If you are like me and enjoy fishing
on those less desirable days, you'll need some quality gear to keep you
comfortable. For a lighter duty offering, the Shimano Technical Softshell
Jacket would be a wise choice for those seeking a garment to wear fishing or
just casually around town. As the name implies, the technical fabric maximizes
comfort and movement on those cool days, all while looking stylish at the same
time. For those Shimano die hards out there, perhaps this jacket is the next
step in expanding your arsenal of Shimano products!
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