Rain won’t stop you from fishing, right? As long as you have a decent rain jacket, you’ll keep warm and comfy until the sun comes out to play.
One of the most overlooked pieces of gear anglers should bring are rain jackets. Wherever you fish in the world a rain jacket is a must.
Tropical fishing destinations isn’t always blue skies, sun and sand. The tropics get the most random weather in the world. Skin frying heat one minute, pelting rains the next.
No rain? No problem. Early mornings in the tropics can get cool and misty. Add chop and salt spray and you’ll get chilled spines fast.
If you still don’t have a rain jacket for your fishing trips and are looking to buy one, here are some important things to consider when shopping around:
What to look for:
With all the gear we haul during trips, a bulky rain jacket is a big no-no.
Packable rain jackets or those with the smallest footprint possible is the obvious way forward.
Modern packable rain jackets fold into their own pockets and are the size of a toiletries bag. No more reasons to leave your rain jacket behind.
Having a fully water-resistant rain jacket is pretty much obvious, but there are jackets out there that aren’t as waterproof as the others. Look for “fully taped seams”, zippers protected by “storm flaps”, adjustable cuff closures.
These aren’t just marketing parlance for rain jackets but are features that are essential for maximum fishing enjoyment, even while in the rain.
Storm flaps cover the front zippers, keeping water from seeping through the zips.
Fully taped seams are just that, waterproof plastic tape that keep water from getting inside through seams.
With our arms moving around so much when fishing, cuff closures are key to keeping water from entering through the cuffs.
Breathability is one of the key factors for making a piece of kit comfortable.
The thick plastic rain jackets of the past kept the rain out well but also kept moisture and heat in.
When fishing, you want to keep the rain out at the same time letting your body heat out.
Mesh linings add another level of breathability providing more airspace for air circulation which keeps things nice and cool on the inside.
Most modern jackets are super lightweight, making them barely noticeable when put in your bag and when worn.
100 – 300g jackets are very common, making no detrimental effect to you overall luggage allowance limit.
Let’s check out the 5 rain jackets that easily meet the criteria of being the best fishing jackets for the tropics.
This is not a ranked list, but a compilation based on the criteria and qualities needed to be a good rain jacket for fishing. But I’ve got my personal favorite jacket in there too.
If you’re into fishing, you should already know Simms. These guys have been providing top quality gear to anglers for I don’t know how long already.
From head to foot, they’ve got you covered, literally.
Like all of their quality gear, their rain jackets don’t pull any punches.
Their Waypoints jacket is a no-nonsense minimal piece of kit that ticks all the boxes of a great wet weather fishing jacket.
It has a “Toray” membrane that maintains reliable waterproof protection. It is very lightweight and packable so you can stuff it into its own pocket when the sun is out.
Other features include a flapped chest pocket, good for smaller items that aren’t prone to water damage. 2 zippered handwarmer pockets with drainage, and an adjustable hood.
Cuffs also have adjustable hook and loop closures. The hem or waist also has a concealed drawcord for adjustment and closure.
A minimalist in form, but a heavyweight in function. It is US$ 150 on their website. $149.95 to be accurate.
Another heavy hitter from the outdoors gear world, Patagonia comes in strong with their $149 3-layer 100% waterproof and breathable rain jacket.
The Torrentshell may be simple and unpretentious, but it is packed with must-have features for the avid angler.
It’s 3-layer waterproof/breathable H2No® Performance Standard shell provides the highest levels of comfort and performance, and long-term waterproof durability.
But this 3 layer construction also makes it the heaviest in this list at 394 grams dry.
I love that the 2 zippered hand pockets have exterior storm flaps and water repellent zippers, allowing me to keep my phone safe and dry but ready and waiting for pictures when a fish is on.
Getting a bit steamy inside the jacket? The Torrentshell has zippered pit vents for added breathability and ventilation.
They also have storm flaps and have the water repellent zippers, so you can rest assured that your pits stay dry.
As standard, hook and loop cuff closures are present along with an adjustable hem drawcord closure.
Adjustable hood with a visor packs away with a simple and effective drawcord system.
Now into the more budget friendly options, we have the ever-reliable Columbia PFG Storm Jacket available for only US$70.
Don’t let the low price deter you from this awesome piece of kit.
It has all the great features the perfect rain jacket needs. Fully seam sealed, waterproof, breathable and lightweight. It also packs into its own pocket so luggage space won’t be an issue.
Similar to the others listed above, it has zippered hand pockets with storm flaps, an adjustable drawcord hem or waist and hook and loop cuff closures.
The inside is lined with mesh so you know it will be breathable and cool inside.
Definitely one to consider when shopping for a new rain jacket.
The sleeper of the group, Frogg Toggs are not as famous as the other brands, outside of North America.
But they should be in your top “TO CONSIDER” list due to the fact that their single purpose and mission is to keep you comfortable during your outdoor pursuits.
If you are a gear junkie, having a look at their website and their offerings is already a treat in itself. But for now let’s look at the Stormwatch jacket.
Also with all the features needed to become a great fishing jacket, it has fully taped seams, adjustable hood, hook and loop cuff closures and adjustable drawstring waist or hem closure.
The Stormwatch has some additional features that may persuade you to choose this amongst the rest.
Apart from just the 2 standard zippered hand pockets with storm flaps, it also has 2 more internal pockets that is great for items that you want to keep dry.
In terms of storm flaps, it has both inner and outer storm flaps with snap closures too! Talk about value for money. For US$70, it value packed indeed.
Once my current jacket finally sinks down to Davy Jones’ locker, I’ll get one for my future fishing adventures for sure.
And now finally to my current daily driver, it’s the Shimano Dryshield jacket. If you are a Shimano fanboy like me, then this jacket is perfect.
Apart from the obvious branding brownie points that adds to the legitimacy of being an angler, this jacket has very impressive features that we all love.
100% waterproof, zippered hand pockets with storm flaps, storm flaps that cover the main zipper, drawstring adjustable hood and waist, hook and loop cuff closures and a mesh lining for breathability, this piece of kit has almost all you asked for in a jacket.
Only downside to this bad boy is that it doesn’t stuff into its own pocket. Not really deal-breaker as I’ve stuffed my Dryshield jacket into a fanny pack sized baggie when travelling.
My jacket has been used and abused for almost 6 years now both in fresh and saltwater fishing destinations, around mud, sand rocks, bush, and trees without issues whatsoever so I can vouch for the durability of the product.
After use care
We all want our gear to last long for seasons upon seasons of use, so after care for these items are very important.
Different manufacturers use different materials and have different care instructions, so make sure that you read and follow the instructions on the labels for your specific brand.
After each use, especially in saltwater, all zippers, buttons and snaps should be undone, rinsed with fresh water and allowed to air dry away from any direct heat source.
Avoid bleach, dry-cleaning, wringing, and ironing, unless specified by the manufacturer.
Always allow to completely dry before storage.
As with all our fishing gear, how long it lasts will depend on the care you give it. I very rarely wash my jacket after each use.
A thorough rinse with freshwater to remove salt and dirt, then air drying is mostly what I do, and it has lasted me for almost 6 years now and will probably last a few more seasons if lucky.
When choosing your next piece of rain kit, money can often be the deciding factor, because if you want the best gear for success, it can become expensive.
But with options from all our favorite manufacturers, it all boils down to what is the most practical and functional.
Waterproof, breathable, lightweight, packable, durable and comfortable.
With all of the above in the bag, catching fish is the only thing you’ll need to worry about.