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Combs makes a pretty good case for neoprenes and rubber style fishing jackets for winter steelhead conditions in Steelhead Fly Fishing. I was wondering if anybody has an opinion on using either material for winter fishing; especially rain jackets.

Does anybody use PVC Rubber Rain Coats in lieu of breathable materials like Gore or H2NO?
 

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No, what Trey wrote might have been true in '91 but not in 2006.
 

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Rain coats

All I know is this:

A couple of years ago I was on the Skagit and it rained solid for 7 days, hardly letting up. I had my new SST with me and figured I had the wet weather covered. After 3 days of being out in the stuff my SST was soaking wet inside. I had brought along my old Columbia $35.00 raincoat, that I have had for several years as a back up and used it the rest of the trip. The Columbia has a rubberized coating on it and kept me dry from the constant downpouring

Henry
 

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Synthetics have treated me great

I haven't used a rubber coat in the rain for 4 or 5 yrs. Even in construction work I wear a breathable synthetic (Helly Hansen or Columbia), comfort's well worth it IMO. My pataguchi SST's treated me fine, haven't heard of the above wet scenario before.

For non-wading (ie. ocean trolling/bucktailing etc) I often wear my Helly Hansen bombproof coat, I have worn it 6 days in a row 10 hr days in pouring rain and not gotten wet at all. I only wear my SST when I know it's poor weather, love it and don't want to wear it out early although I've heard first hand from quite a few how durable their's has been. My other breathables are all lifetime (ie. HH), although I've heard Patagonia's good with warrantees.

I'm not Olympic/out of shape etc and have found the synthetics leave me a lot less tired at end of day and far more comfortable. Hiking in any sweat disappears quick if present at all and full day is quite comfortable and no sauna legs at days end from neoprene either. (only switched to breathable waders just lately).
 

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The new waterproof breathable coats are top notch and should be fine no matter what. Now with that said, nothing is fullproof. Old rubber raincoats are fine if you aren't going to move in them. They do not let moisture out and sweat is moisture, thus you get wet and cold if you sweat in them.

John
 

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I agree with Sinktip. I haven't used my Helly Hansen oilskins in 15 years. Goretex raincoats are all I've been using, no matter how miserable the weather, and I haven't been let down yet.

Sincerely,

Salmo g.
 

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Like Sinktip, I haven't used my non-breathable Columbia rain jacket in 7 years, which was when I bought a good breathable one. Why get clammy or even cold from sweat or condensation inside the rain jacket when you don't have to.

Don't get me wrong, if you don't have much to spend, a good quality non-breathable will keep you fairly dry; but be aware that you will get condensation on the inside.
 

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jhicks said:
The new waterproof breathable coats are top notch and should be fine no matter what. Now with that said, nothing is fullproof. Old rubber raincoats are fine if you aren't going to move in them. They do not let moisture out and sweat is moisture, thus you get wet and cold if you sweat in them.
This is a good point and also why layering well with the breathable fabrics will keep you warmer. If you just wear a big heavy wool sweater under Goretex, you're likely to overheat the interior and end up wth a damp coat. if you layer-up with a next-to-skin, then midweight, then fleece/wool-type system you'll wick moisture better, and the gore-tex, h2No or whatever it is will breath properly.
Also, (and I know many here know this) don't wear cotton. "Cotton kills" is the saying when it comes to cold weather insulation. Maybe not as critical with fishing as with mountain sports, but once cotton is damp with sweat it's useless as insulation.
dn'l
 

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Ever taken a really good dump in the river?

Try swimming in a full 'rubber rain coat.':saevilw:
 

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Have not used neoprene in over 6 years, breathable wadders and raincoat with proper layering have kept me cosy in the most unbeleivably foul wintersteelheading conditions - coated with freezing rain and assaulted by howling wind after sweating to get to the river from hiking in a couple of km's in knee deep snow!!!!??!:Eyecrazy:
speydoc
 

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I agree with speydoc... properly layered gore tex or gore tex like materials are the best by far... I'm a Simms guy and have had no problems getting poured on in my gore tex stuff
 

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I will admit I weas a little slow to give up my 5 mm neoprene waders for winter fishing but once I did, it was amazing how much warmer you are with breathables and decent layering.
 

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I just ordered a Helly Hanson 100% waterproof raincoat for 19.95. Pretty sure its just PVC rubber coating or something. We'll see how I like it, but I fished last year in two different "breathable" jackets, that in heavy rain werent all the way waterproof. Staying dry is crucial especially for multi day trips in the rainforest. I also use neoprenes, but thats because I'm poor.
 

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Winter Clothing Layering

Attached is an article I wrote on breathable clothing layering. The Army Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWS) clothing is great and reasonable if you have a surplus store nearby. It is good from 40 to -60 degrees F. The key, as stated earlier, is to avoid cotton. Use polypropylene, or other similar (but more expensive Capilene or similar if you want to, but it is not much better.) Loose, not tight, microfleece for the next layer. And a breathable jacket. Dont's forget a breatable hat and neck warmer. A windproof jacket can add 25 to 50 degrees of warmth, according to the Army and Arctic Research people. My discount/outlet stores have Duofold underwear in several weights, from light to heavy, for $2-$6. I don't mind a small hole I can sew vs. $20+. I got a Gore-Tex wading jacket for $17. Small tear. They only had one. Read my article, based on US Army and Polar Research Station research. I am just as warm in my layers and breathable waders at 20 degrees as I was in my neoprenes, but not damp. Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. I do safety and health for my staff as far north as Alaska.
Warm fishing.
Don
 

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