This past spring, the fine folks at Patagonia, sent out the new SST Jacket for me to test all season long. How kind of them, I thought to myself….I needed a new rain jacket and their gear tends to be as good as anyone elses…..even Simms. My buddy Drew, above, wore this jacket this spring while his was on order and I was on crutches. It got the “Drew Approval” right away.
First I want to talk about fit and functionality. When thinking about fit, I need something that not only works when fishing, but also when rowing the boat, since that is where I am at most of the time. The SST Jacket is comfy in all regards – fishing and rowing. There are no pockets to get hung up on as the side pockets are zippered. The hood is super sweet and there is a great fleece liner which protects the H2No from becoming soiled from dirty hair….yes I need a hair cut, but nobody asked you….the hood pull is bad-ass and helps to see everything I need when it’s raining cats and dogs. The reverse StretchCoat cuffs are lovely and have yet to catch line – even when fishing streamers. Last year, the SST Jacket did not have a waist pull, which was a mistake. This year that has been remedied. Overall, this jacket is very light, which might make some folks see it as “cheap” item which won’t last. Thus far, it has held its own. Plus, it packets up nicely for my guide trips/day hikes in Yellowstone.
Staying Dry. Back in June, I wore the SST on the Missouri for 3 days straight – ramp to ramp. It rained so hard that I had to pump the boat out before and after lunch each day. I stayed dry, my boat did not. This jacket breathes well and I never get sweaty when rowing the boat or hiking through Yellowstone in the rain.
Pockets & Zippers. This should have been addressed in the paragraph about function, but I feel that pockets and zippers need their own section. I was a little skeptical of the pockets at first glance. Were they big enough for guide boxes, tippet, floatant and such? Yep, they are. However, impressed I was not with the handwarmer pockets. While they can hold more stuff, they are not lined and the zippers are little rough on the hands in cold weather. I do like the idea of closeable handwarmer pockets, as my Simms coat is always catching on the oars, resulting in torn pockets and frustration when rowing. Maybe some type of magnets could be used to keep the pockets closed instead of hardy zippers…..hmmm. The inside left breast pocket, in my humble opinoin, could have been deeper……I like deep pockets. The key clip probably should have been concealed inside the breast pocket out of the way of boxes and fishing tackle. On some garmets, Patagonia has had some problems with their zippers – while trying to use the lightest zippers known to man theses zippers fail quite often. Lightweight works great for alpine climbers, but anglers could give a shit about lightweight zippers – we want it to last and be useful in cold climates. The new zippers are friendly to anglers and the zipper pull is very helpful when wearing gloves or mitts.
Grade: B+ Why not a solid A you ask? Well, the handwarmer pockets need to be fleece lined and while the zippered pockets are great for someone rowing, not that many anglers spend a whole lot of time behind the oars.
Stayed tuned for another gear review. Up Next – the Rio Gallegos Waders. Once the weather really cools off and I am able to wade fish on the Madison in these, I will have more insight.
Patagonia Fly Fishing – check it out……..