By Todd Ceisner
The forecast probably should have said, “Stay inside” or “A perfect day for dusting and vacuuming.”
The local news indicated there was a 100 percent chance of rain. The radar showed every shade of green imaginable on the map of western New York, obscuring the eastern half of Lake Erie. For once, the meteorologists got it right.
It wasn’t exactly prime smallmouth fishing conditions, considering the water clarity on this end of Lake Erie already resembled a bottle of Yoo-Hoo, a far cry from its usual gin-like hue. It was early May and northeast winds were doing us no favors either.
The forecast, if nothing else though, gave me a 100 percent chance to give the new Carhartt Force Extremes Shoreline Angler rain suit some field time.
Rain suits are great for those mornings when the boat seats are covered in dew or those days where there’s a bite in the air, which is just about every day in Buffalo between October and May.
Rain suits are also like PFDs in fishing. They’re a must-have, but you hope to not have to need it all that much. When the need does arise, though, having a trusty suit that is able to keep the moisture out and be comfortable at the same time is a must.
Carhartt gets high marks on both fronts with its latest effort.
Standout in a Crowd
The rain suit market is extremely competitive nowadays, much like the rod and reel segment. New brands have popped up in the last few years like Huk and STORMR while established outerwear brands like Gill and Carhartt have expanded their product offerings to be more angler-focused.
When you slip on something carrying the Carhartt name, there’s a sturdiness to it and a built-in trust factor based on the brand’s reputation for making durable and comfortable apparel.
The Force Extremes Shoreline Angler jacket and bib falls in line with Carhartt’s heritage. After laying each piece out and inspecting them, it’s evident the designers enlisted anglers to offer input on the suit’s fit, form and function.
From the soft, elasticized water-repellent membrane cuffs inside the wrists of the jacket to the angled Velcro strips around the ankles on the bibs, few, if any, details were missed. I’m 5’10” and 215 pounds and the large version of both the coat and bibs is plenty big with room to layer underneath.
Let’s Get Wet
On the day I encountered the spring deluge, I wore a hoodie on top of a t-shirt and a heavier, fleece long-sleeved shirt and my freedom of movement wasn’t impaired at all, under the bibs and jacket.
The buckles on the bib are stout and the straps are wide and soft and easy to adjust. There’s even a clip attached to each strap to tuck away the tag end so it doesn’t get twisted around and create an uncomfortable fit. See, it’s the little things.
The outer shell of the Force Extremes Shoreline Angler jacket repels water as soon as it gets wet.
The bibs feature roomy Velcro pockets on each thigh and chest pockets on each side equipped with waterproof zippers. A 13-inch zipper on each leg allows you to slide the bibs over hunting boots or flip flops with ease. Each zipper is protected by a generous flap to seal out moisture.
The main chest zipper is a two-way YKK zipper that makes answering nature’s calls easy. The red and gray colorway is also a simple yet bold, eye-catching combination.
Like most other suits, the Shoreline Angler suit features fully-taped waterproof seams and during its maiden voyage into a steady spring rain, the water immediately beaded up and rolled away as if I’d just been treated with a coat of Rain-X.
Another angler on the boat was decked out in snowboarding gear and was lamenting his choice as the water started to permeate this jacket and pants and he felt weighted down. Not me.
I deployed the hood and cinched it down easily with the elastic straps that hold in place. An additional Velcro strap on top of the hoods allows you to dial in the comfort even more. The hood acts as a cocoon around your noggin while offering freedom of movement without feeling too constricted.
The 2 1/2-layer Storm Defender fabric is breathable, but for those days when additional air flow is needed, there are zippers under each arm to allow more air to circulate under the jacket.
For the internal lining, Carhartt partnered with Colorado-based apparel company Cocona, which has incorporated its patented 37.5 technology into various fabrics. The fabric responds to body heat faster than other material and speeds up the conversion of liquid to vapor, which increases drying rates. Basically, the hotter the user gets the more comfortable the bibs and jacket will remain.
The following images detail some of the key features of the Force Extremes Shoreline Angler rain suit:
To learn more about the Force Extremes Shoreline Angler rain suit, click here.