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Apparel Review


More Than Just Rods and Reels:  The Shimano Technical Softshell Hooded Jacket (continued)

Operation:  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 unrestricted.


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 damage.


Lower front zippered pockets are perfect for hands or car keys.

Price and Applications:  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)

Shimano Technical Hooded Jacket Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A high quality garment all around 8.5
Performance The jacket does what it says and can be used alone or as a base layer under something like a rain coat 9
Price A bit pricey for a lighter duty jacket 7
Features Some nice features in design and construction but an extra zippered pocket or two would be welcome 8
Design (Ergonomics) Relatively lightweight, and fits really well.  For tall people like me, an extra inch in length would be nice but it's not a big deal 8
Application Great for fishing in cool temps but also looks and feels nice enough to be worn casually around town.  7.5

Total Score

8.0
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ High quality construction - A little pricey for just a light jacket
+ Fitted nicely and not bulky at all  
+ Warm without that clammy feeling  
+ Looks great on or off the water  

 

Conclusion:  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!

 

Looking for the Shimano Technical hooded Jacket?
Try Tackle Warehouse

 


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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