Jan 19, 2014

Simms ExStream Jacket Gear Review

Hunting Chrome
For many, fly fishing is a warm weather hobby, one associated with sunshine, buffs , hoppers and cold beer. For others, fly fishing is a disease, on which causes its subjects to be on the water year around, no matter what the weatherman projects. For those of us who have been infected, winter time does not mean it’s time to hang up the rods and bust out the skis. It’s the time of year when we get to see some of our favorite rivers free of crowds, full of fish, and surrounded by snow and ice...

Many watch and wonder what could make a person want to stand in a 34 degree river with 20 degree air temps, taking a beating from the snow and wind. Speaking as a person who has this disease, I must say, it can be very enjoyable to fish in these conditions… if you have the right gear. The right equipment can be the difference between hypothermia, and enjoying a day on the water fishing for winter steelhead. As winter angler, the greatest addition to my arsenal of fishing gear has been the new Simms ExStream Jacket.

"Extreme Conditions requires ExStream gear!"


Full Metal Jacket: Gunmetal
The Simms ExStream Jacket is a product that they introduced in 2013. It features Primaloft insulation, one of the leading materials in cold weather gear. This stuff is the real deal. Even when this material is completely soaked it retains 85% of its warmth. When its dry it is an extremely lightweight and effective insulator that will keep you toasty on the coldest of days. This jacket also features a 100% polyester diamond weave fabric which sheds water and is very breathable. Two front hand warmer pockets, chest pocket and 3 point adjustable and insulated storm hood ensure that every part of the upper body will stay warm when the weather is cold. The hood is also easily removable.

Primaloft Technology

I have spent the last four winters fishing for trout and steelhead.
Before owning this jacket, My typical clothing system consisted of a wicking base layer, a wool shirt(or two), sweatshirt and rain jacket. This system worked but is uncomfortable and very heavy. With the ExStream jacket I can wear nothing but a wicking base layer and the jacket and will stay warm and comfortable until the air temps get down around 25.On days when I am hiking, this is all I will wear with some additional layers in the pack if I get too hot and need to shed the coat. The couple of days I have spent when temps are colder than this I have combined the jacket with a heavy wool shirt or sweatshirt underneath. The combination of the two kept me warm and comfy all day, I even caught myself sweating when the sun snuck through the clouds on a frosty day on the hood. For the long cold days I've had in the drift boat this has been the winning combo as well, I usually shed the sweatshirt if I end up rowing. Then there are the days where its 25 in the morning and 40 in the afternoon. This is where the weight of the jacket comes into play.

A couple weeks ago a friend and I spent a full day fishing the lower Deschutes River. When we showed up to the parking lot, temps were well below freezing. I began my day as usual with a wicking base layer and my ex-stream jacket. By about 11 am the sun was out the air temps had made their way into the high 30’s. I found myself getting sweaty and decided to shed the jacket and put on my wool shirt I had in my back pack. This jacket weighs around 26 ounces and can be compacted almost as small as a soft ball. Unlike heavier layers I had worn in the past this jacket was so easy to carry that I preferred having it in my pack as opposed to my heavy wool shirt. It takes up hardly any room and adds little weigh t to your load. Later in the evening when the sun began to recede, I swapped the wool shirt for the Exstream jacket once again, At this point I really noticed how much lighter and pack-able this jacket is in comparison to other products. The fact that a jacket that can keep me comfortable and warm in temps down to 25 degrees weighs less and is less bulky than a heavy wool shirt was a real eye opener for me. You may notice that there are not a lot of features to be talked about with this jacket, It does not have all the bells and whistles like you may find on other jackets, which is something I like.

This is a strictly business ExStream Weather Jacket, It doesn't have any retractors or fly patches. It does not have anywhere to put your bugger barn or a spot to hang 20 spools of tippet, but what this jacket does offer is protection from the elements. It’s a portable shelter for the angler who does not want to let the weather keep them from getting there fix. In my mind it is one of the most useful pieces of equipment I own, for one simple reason. It allows me to enjoy myself on the river, no matter what kind of curve ball Mother Nature throws at me. I would highly recommend this jacket to anyone who plans to spend time on the water in the winter time.

Jeff Heiskell
Gorge Fly Shop

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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