If you are looking for a new set of waterproof, breathable fishing clothing then this review might be of use. Here Robbie Winram of Trout Fisherman magazine takes a closer look at the new Airtex Pro range of fly fishing clothing from tackle company Airflo.
Airflo’s new clothing range consists of three key elements: a wading jacket, three quarter length jacket and a bib and brace, and they are what I would class as ‘shell’ garments.
They are made from a three-layer nylon fabric and importantly there is no loose material or mesh linings, the layers are all formed into one. This makes them more durable and the fine backing layer on the inside enables them to slide and ride freely over your base and mid layers. They are also very quick-drying, and will shed water with one good shake. All three garments have a durable water-repellent finish, feature fully taped seams and are windproof, waterproof and breathable.
There’s nice attention to detail on the zips which all have high-vis yellow nylon cords with rubber pull tabs, and all tuck away into their own protective fabric housings.
I had the large size for review and it sat comfortably at hip level. It has a main single zip opening with a good-size storm baffle behind it and the zip tucks away into a neat fleece lined chinguard that forms part of the high collar. The collar’s microfleece lining provides warmth and comfort around your neck.
The collar also houses the fold-away hood. When the hood is pulled out the collar can be folded down and secured in place with velcro fastenings. The hood itself is a very good design, giving excellent protection from the elements while also allowing for good peripheral vision. It has a reasonably stiff peak and an elasticated cord and toggle lock adjuster each side so it can be tightened around the face. The volume of the hood can be adjusted by another elasticated cord and toggle lock adjuster on the back of the head.
The sides of the hood can also be fastened to the collar with popper studs, helping to hold it in place. The jacket sleeves taper down to soft rubber cuffs with a tab and velcro fastening on the outside.There are no internal pockets, but on the outside there are plenty!
On the chest there are two large box pockets with vertical zips on their inside edges, protected by stormflaps. On the front of these pockets are smaller zipped accessory pockets, and set behind them are zipped pockets with a micro-fleece lining on one side to keep your hands warm. There’s also a small zipped pocket on the left arm.
Additional features include two rubber tool tabs located just above the right hand pocket, two D-rings set into fabric covers just below the chest pockets, and a larger D-ring on the back of the neck. The bottom hem has an elasticated cord and toggle lock adjusters and I notice that seams have been kept away from the vulnerable areas over the tops of the shoulders.
Bib & brace
The perfect garment to partner up with a wading jacket on the bank or in the boat as they provide maximum coverage, especially around the waist and the upper body. The high wear areas around the seat, crotch, knees and the inside of the ankles are further strengthened with extra fabric panels. An elasticated section at the back of the waist and a set of adjustable, elasticated webbing braces (fixed at the back and with quick-release
buckles at the front), ensure a snug and comfortable fit.
The main single zip opening is protected by a rain gutter and a large stormflap that secures with four popper studs. The legs are slightly contoured and articulated for
freedom of movement, and incorporate 10-inch zips that open up a gusset section at the ankles. This increases the leg opening by 3.5 inches, but I still wouldn’t try pulling them over your boots. The zips are protected by a stormflap with velcro fasteners. There’s an additional velcro tab adjustment on the bottom hem of the legs so you can cinch them up over your boots. There are four pockets – a small zipped pocket on the left chest, two zipped flat pockets on the waist and a thigh pocket with a large stormflap and velcro closure.
I had the medium size bib and brace with an inside leg seam of 33 inches and a waist of 38 inches. They were a good fit but just too long in the leg, so I had to pull them up slightly and secure them using the velcro tab at the ankles.
This is the perfect length to give good coverage over a set of thigh waders or waterproof trousers. It has the same sleeve, hood and collar design as the wading jacket, but the pocket layout is different. There are two chest pockets with vertical zips and two more at waist level that have micro-fleece linings on one side. There are no D-rings on this jacket, and because the yoke design is slightly different there is a seam running over the shoulders. I picked the large jacket which was a roomy fit in the body and sleeves, and it actually seemed at least half a size larger than the wading jacket.
I think this is the best set of clothing that Airflo have produced to date, both in terms of value for money, comfort and design. They provide great coverage and protection from the elements and the hood design on the jackets is excellent.
The three Airtex Pro fly fishing garments are available in M to XXL and all cost £99.99 each, or buy any Airtex Pro jacket and the bib & brace for £179.99.