Guide To Lightweight Shell Jackets

Looking for a lightweight shell jacket to wear over your fleece? Well, there’s plenty to choose from but what points do you need to consider to make sure you end up with a jacket that suits your style of fishing? This handy Anglers' Net guide covers some of the important points you’ll need to consider before making a purchase.

If there’s one thing you can count on when out fishing on a regular basis, it’s that it’s going to pour down when you least expect it. Even when you think you’re as well informed as the man at the Met Office when you leave the house, what happens after that, in reality, is often another matter altogether.

Having the right clothing for the job is imperative, but how do you ensure you’ve got the right gear for the session ahead if you never truly know what’s just around the corner?

In essence, what you want to do is make sure you have clothing in hand for whatever Mother Nature might throw at you – for better or worse. You can always under layer before you go out, that bit’s simple, simply take some off if you get too warm, it’s when you need extra layers that problems can occur, as you need to make sure you have the relevant clothing at hand should you suddenly get caught out.

My own way of dealing with such situations is to have a good outer shell layer packed away with my kit. This extra layer is always there as an insurance policy, irrespective of what the weather’s doing as I leave the house. If it’s raining when I leave, I’ll wear another waterproof jacket to get to the lake, get set up, sorted and settled. I’ll then take off the wet coat and leave it to try and dry out knowing I’ve got another dry shell should I need it.

The main reason for this is so that I don’t have to sit there in wet gear. There’s honestly nothing worse than sitting in a bivvy cold and wet. Once the cold sets in, it’s very hard to get warm again, so this is where the spare layers come in. You may think that spending a few extra quid on an extra set of waterproofs won’t put you any more fish on the bank, but in a way, you’d be quite wrong. If you want to catch big fish consistently, then you’ve got to be on the ball mentally, and it’s very hard to remain focused when you’re cold and wet. In such instances you’ll more than likely get tucked up in the sack to try and get warm – if you have that luxury – but whatever you do, you certainly won’t have your mind on the fish!

I find the best lightweight waterproof spare to have is what’s called a 'shell', a very lightweight coat with no fleece or quilted lining, purely there to act as a breathable waterproof layer over a fleece or hoody. In summer, it’s always there as back up should it rain. I’ve lost count of the occasions on which the forecast has guaranteed perfect dry conditions, only for it to rain at some point during the session! This is never a problem with the extra shell layer though; I don’t even know it’s there until I need it.

I’m not one for carrying unnecessary weight, so it’s imperative that the shell takes up the minimal amount of weight and space. My favourite shell coat has given me perfect service for over ten years now, and I’m pretty sure it’s obsolete, though there are countless quality options from a whole host of brands. It’s worth checking out some of the specialist coats from some of the outdoor suppliers too.

Whatever you go for, the key is to look after it. If you chuck a proper breathable waterproof coat in the washer there’s a chance you could ruin it. Before you part with your money, check out what special cleaning is required to make sure your shell layers remain waterproof and breathable. Usually, it’s a case of washing them in a special waterproof liquid you put in your washing machine. I tend to do all my waterproofs with it once a year and they perform faultlessly.

As a keen stalking angler, I often go out for full day sessions in just a pair of chest waders and a shell coat knowing full well that it’s going to rain all day. In such situations it’s vital I can rely on my clothing, and by looking after my kit I know that in return, it’s going to look after me.

So, what should you go for? Well, budget will be one of the main factors to consider, as there are offerings from a whole host of fishing and non fishing brands, but below we’ve picked out a few worthy of further investigation.

The TF Gear Storm Shell Jacket offers outstanding value for money. This 2010 model offers 100% waterproof protection, and is windproof and breathable. This lightweight clothing packs down to nothing and can be stowed easily in your kit bag until required.

Superb protection at an unbeatable price, with matching trousers also available. Priced at £39.99; Full details – CLICK HERE.

TF Gear Storm Shell Jacket

 

The Trakker Downpour Waterproof Jacket is another great lightweight option. This 100% waterproof jacket is made from a lightweight, waterproof, yet breathable fabric so it’s superb on its own during the summer months, or when worn over additional layers in the colder weather. It features a detachable hood, fleece lined collar, large front pocket. The jacket packs away neatly and very small for easy storage. Priced at £39.99; Full details – CLICK HERE.

Trakker Downpour Waterproof Jacket

 

For simplicity itself, the Target Dry 'Mac in a Sac' Classic Jacket is perfect. Waterproof, windproof and breathable, it’s convenience at its best. The stylish jacket is both lightweight and an affordable option for angling use and features a full length zip and a hood concealed in the collar. There are two zipped front pockets, adjustable cuffs and drawcord adjustment at the hem. The total convenience the jacket offers is completed with option to stow it away into its own small mesh sac which can be left in your tackle bag until required. Priced at £21.19; Full details – CLICK HERE.

Target Dry 'Mac in a Sac' Classic Jacket

 

For the serious specimen hunter, there’s also the Berghaus RG1 Light Printed Camo jacket. It’s a lightweight and breathable jacket ideal for year round general use. It is made from an Aquafoil® fabric that has been designed to provide waterproofing. It also has a Durable Water Repellent treatment that increases performance by delaying saturation of the face fabric during prolonged use. The RG1 Light Printed Camo Jacket boasts a hydrophilic moisture transportation system that allows perspiration to escape keeping you dry on the inside at all times. It also features an elasticated drawcord hem to allow for fit adjustments, two external zipped hand warmer pockets and a rollaway hood. The Berghaus RG1 is a premium quality jacket that is perfect for the angler who needs to guarantee unyielding performance all year round. Priced at £90.00; Full details - CLICK HERE.

Berghaus RG1 Light Printed Camo jacket

 

We hope this waterproof clothing guide has proved useful, and don’t forget to check out all the jackets available via the Anglers' Net Fishing Tackle & Bait Finder.

Julian Grattidge
December 2010

All prices and offers correct at time of publishing.