The rain sometimes improves a bite, but it can also take the fun out of being on the water unless you have rain gear for fishing. Many be
The rain sometimes improves a bite, but it can also take the fun out of being on the water unless you have rain gear for fishing. Many beginning anglers make the mistake of buying subpar rain gear, figuring that it’ll be “good enough” or that they won’t ever get caught in a bad storm. That’s a mistake, and one of my fishing mentor pointed out to me early in my fishing career. When I asked him what I should buy with some extra cash, figuring he’d suggest a particular rod or reel, he replied bluntly: “The best rain gear you can afford.”
At that time, in the mid-1990s, there were relatively few top-notch options made specifically for anglers. Today, we live in a golden age of rain gear. Whether you want a heavy parka or light jacket, bibs or pants, there’s an option out there that will keep you dry. From my years of covering professional bass tournaments and as a tournament angler, I’ve tested nearly all the rain suit options on the market. Here are my picks for the best rain gear for fishing.
Things to Consider Before Buying Rain Gear for Fishing
The best rain gear for fishing is gear you’ll have for a long time, so consider the options carefully and choose wisely. Here are some factors consider when making your choice.
Pants vs. Bibs
I strongly believe that all other things being equal, bibs will keep you drier than pants and that makes them an obvious choice for most situations. However, I also get that they’re harder to get on and off, they make it harder to relieve yourself, and they tend to be bulkier. Don’t sacrifice breathability or dryness, but figure out which you’ll want to keep on through the rain.
Jacket vs. Parka
A parka will hang lower across your back, which means your butt won’t get wet if you sit on a damp seat, but again, it’s typically heavier and a bit more restrictive.
What can you afford to spend? Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be pennywise and pound foolish. Believe me, early in my fishing life I bought a bargain basement, untested rain suit, and quickly found out that it wasn’t much better than having nothing at all. It was a sunk cost, and it’s long been relegated to the dustbin of history and replaced by better gear.
What Features Matter
If you use a GoPro or another action camera, a proper mounting point may be critical, but if you don’t it may just get in the way. In cold weather, fleece-lined hand warming pockets are essential but maybe not so much if you live in Florida. Most of these features cannot be ordered a la carte, so find the one that has all of your “must haves” and fewer of your “don’t needs.”
- 3M insulation in the body, sleeves, and hood
- Handwarmer pockets
- Sizes: M to 3XLT
Why It Made the Cut
The Cabela’s Guidewear line has served anglers for anglers, and the Xtreme Late Season has the same time-tested design but with extra insulation for cold, wet weather.
- Proven design and durability
- Adjustable hood, cuffs, and waist
- Reflective accents to remain visible in miserable conditions
- Heavy, and may bake you in even semi-warm weather
- Only one color available
Cabela’s Guidewear was the first premium rain suit that I owned. I wore one out over the course of 20 years by treating it terribly—stuffing it into suitcases, putting it away wet, and exposing it to the worst weather imaginable. After all that abuse it held up great. When I’m fishing in cold and wet weather, I always grab the Cabela’s Xtreme because I know it won’t let me down in the worst weather. Even my Guidewear uninsulated suit is a fantastic wind and foul weather barrier, but this Xtreme suit takes it up a notch by adding substantial insulation without substantial bulk. While the Xtreme is not inexpensive, it still costs less than many of its competitors and is widely available. Like that first set I bought back in the early 1990s, you can expect this one to last you a long, long time without allowing any penetrative moisture, as long as you occasionally wash it. They’ve upgraded a few features, like the pockets, hood, and sleeve linings, but Cabela’s hasn’t messed around with the basic formula that always made this rain gear a great buy.
- Two layer 100% nylon shell with 100% polyester mesh lining
- Vented hood
- Rubberized internal sleeve cuffs
- Optional camera mount
- Sizes: 3XL to 5X
Why It Made the Cut
This no-compromise fishing rain gear covers up plus-size anglers while retaining a full range of motion.
- Comfortable adjustable shoulder system
- Adjustable leakproof side zippers on bibs
- Sizes up to 5X available
- Only comes in charcoal
- No tall sizes
AFTCO has a legendary history in saltwater, and they’ve made a heavy push in recent years to provide clothing aimed at freshwater anglers. This suit covers fresh and saltwater, and it’ll also cover up big guys without restricting their motion. The bibs cover your full chest, and both the bibs and the parkas provide pockets in all the right places. They’re easy-on, easy-off, and offer a full range of angler-specific options—like a place to mount your action camera and a pocket specifically made for pliers, so you don’t have to dig to find them when you need them most. Comfort shouldn’t mean that you have to sacrifice functionality, no matter your size, and guys up to 5X will appreciate that this rain suit is the best of all worlds.
- XPLORE 2-layer fabric construction
- Hi-Viz hood with two-way adjustment system
- Jacket available in Ocean Blue or bright red
Why It Made the Cut
The Gill Women’s Coastal’s no-nonsense design means that women no longer have to suffer the inefficiency of using gear not made for them.
- Built specifically for female body shapes
- XPel stain-resistant technology
- Wide range of sizes
- Bibs only available in graphite color
For decades women who wanted premium angling rain gear had to buy products tailored to a generic male physique. Gradually, that’s changed, and Gill has led the way with this high-quality trouser and parka set made specifically for female bodies. These aren’t just generic rain gear that fit women well, they’re one of the best rain gear for fishing—highly water-repellent, stain-resistant, and breathable. My wife, who’d worn ill-fitting male-centric gear for years, was thrilled with her Gill gear, and literally cried when it disappeared on a trip. It meant that much to her ability to withstand the elements. Fortunately, she quickly got another Gill suit, and while it’s not inexpensive, it still cost less than many comparable suits—many of which do not block out the elements nearly as well.
- Adjustable hood with cord locks
- Storm flap over front jacket zipper
- Elastic cuffs and waist
Why It Made the Cut
The frogg toggs Ultra-Lite rain suit will keep you dry, and it’s priced so you can have one in the boat for the friend who forgot to bring their own.
- Lightweight material is remarkably durable
- Highly compressible and packable
- Elastic waist and wide cuffs make it easy to put on
- Lacks features like lined pockets available in more expensive rain gear
There are inexpensive rainsuits, and there are cheap rain suits—and no one can call this offering from frogg toggs cheap. It does a fantastic job of keeping the elements out at a fraction of the competition’s. You may give up some features, but the price point allows you to purchase multiples, so you’ll never get caught out in the elements. Want proof that it works? Plenty of top tournament anglers I’ve interviewed and fished with can afford the pricier best rain gear for fishing, but they choose this option because it allows for great comfort without sacrificing waterproofness. One important thing to note is that while the Ultra-Lites are one of the best rain gear fishing, they aren’t the most durable. If you’re going to be hiking through brush or are planning a trip to Alaska, invest in a more durable set of fishing rain gear.
- 100% nylon with film lamination and Teflon
- Shingled neoprene cuff
- Seamless shoulder, neck, and side construction
Why It Made the Cut
Ironclad means it can stand up to the harshest commercial fishing situations, which means that any recreational scenario you can throw at it will be a breeze
- Reinforced knees and cuffs to stand up to decks and other abrasive surfaces
- Hi-visibility yellow fabric for emergency situations
- Sizes from XS to 3X available.
The Grundens name is synonymous with saltwater durability, and while they’ve been making inroads in freshwater markets in recent years, the proof of their bulletproof quality resides in their salty heritage. You see their suits on deckhands from the party boats of the northeast as well as the commercial crabbers off Alaska. Outdoor Life staff writer, Tyler Freel, even used Grundens Tourney rain gear while caribou hunting in Alaska.
Historically durable rain gear were bulky, non-breathable suits that could be hosed off and ready to go again. Now, the stain resistance and reinforcements persist, but with added breathability and comfort. Grundens offers a wide range of collections and various price points, but the Ironclad set is the most feature-packed of the bunch. If you want the best rain gear for fishing in saltwater, or extreme conditions they are the ones to buy.
- Gore-Tex Paclite Plus
- Dark Stone and Storm colors
- Zippered chest pockets and hand pockets
Why It Made the Cut
The Simms Flyweight minimal packable size doesn’t have to mean sacrificing waterproofness, and Simms takes all levels of rain gear seriously.
- Gore-Tex reliability
- Adjustable brimmed hood sheds rain when pulled up
- Self-stowing pouch with clips to attach to Simms waders and packs
- More expensive than many other packable suits
Whether you’re traveling into the Amazon rainforest or the Alaskan bush, you may be limited on packing weight and space, but you’re nevertheless almost certainly going to be exposed to the elements. That makes premier and packable fishing rain gear a must-have. Even if you never visit either of those places, you still may not be in a position to bring a bulky suit wherever you go. Simms has sacrificed nothing in constructing their Flyweight products, yet they take up minimal space. If I’ve learned one thing over 40 years of fishing is that you never leave home without some sort of rain protection, and the diminutive size of this set means you’ll always have space to stuff it. The components fit securely and keep the rain out.
Q: What rain gear do fishermen use?
Anglers use a wide range of rain gear for fishing, but the most common are bibs and jackets made from goretex or rubber. Top brands are Simms, Grundens, and frogg toggs.
Q: How much does rain gear for fishing cost?
Rain gear for fishing can cost between $50 to $1,000 for a bib and jacket set. More expensive rain gear fits better, keeps you dry longer, and is more durable. Inexpensive rain gear works well for emergencies or occasional use.
Q: What is the best warm weather rain gear for fishing?
The best warm weather rain gear is lightweight and breathable. Consider the frogg toggs Ultra-Lite or the Grundens Tourney for warm weather rain protection.
You could send me on a fishing trip to the desert in the dry season, and I’d still take one along a rainsuit. Squalls seemingly have a way of popping up when they’re least expected, and even if it’s not cold you can quickly get uncomfortable. In a worst-case scenario, you could suffer from hypothermia. So, invest in the best rain gear for fishing and you’ll never have to worry about rain ruining your day.
I’ve worn my rain gear in snowy bass tournaments and in 98-degree temperatures in the Amazonian jungle. Most importantly, I keep at least one set in my boat at all times, ready to go. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always take the best care of my gear, crumpling them all up in a ball and putting them away wet, but the best gear is remarkably forgiving. As noted above, get the best you can afford or you’ll end up buying more in the not-too-distant future. Ideally, you should look forward to fishing in the rain and the potentially positive impacts on the bite.