The STORMR jacket is coined as “an adaptation of the wetsuit for land”. This makes perfect sense because it’s made from neoprene, the same material that divers and surfers have used for years. This tough rubber exterior protects you from the elements while the soft micro-fleece lined interior keeps you warm and cozy. So does the STORMR really “defy the elements” or is that just clever marketing? Continue reading to find out!
The STORMR jacket (MSRP $199 USD) exterior is made from neoprene, well-known for its insulating and waterproof properties, and commonly used for wetsuits and insulated fishing waders. All of the seams are fully sealed in a three-part process where they are glued, stitched, and then covered with an exterior “liquid tape”. This means that you can put the STORMR through some very rigorous work and never worry about the seams coming undone or leaking. The interior is fleece lined to provide a soft contact with your skin and trap an extra layer of insulating air. The STORMR also features a full hood with drawsting, two exterior and one interior pocket, heavy-duty zippers, sleeve tightening straps and reflective lines along the arms and head for added visibility at night. At about 3 pounds, the STORMR is fairly heavy for its size but it provides nearly 5 pounds of positive buoyancy. Though it’s not approved as a flotation device it does mean the jacket itself probably floats. Before you ask, no, I did not try throwing my jacket in the water to see if it floats. Another important thing I should mention, if you didn’t already know, is that if you have an allergy or hypersensitivity to latex you should probably avoid this jacket or anything neoprene for that matter.
The design of the STORMR is flexible, windproof, and perfectly comfortable to wear for all types of fishing in all types of foul conditions. The neoprene exterior is very tough too, standing up to thick backwoods hiking without so much as a scratch. The STORMR’s insulation works very well in cold and wet weather, and I definitely appreciate the full hood in the rain and snow. I think a drawstring around the waist would be a welcome addition and provide additional insulation. I could get a smaller size but I prefer the extra room for layering. The heavy-duty zipper takes a bit more force to use than you’re expecting, but you get used to it.
There are some drawbacks to the neoprene construction however. If you’re the type of person who perspires heavily, the lack of natural ventilation will mean that you to soak your clothing and possibly the interior lining of the STORMR. Even unzipping the front can still mean that your backside is dripping wet. It’s not the end of the world of course, but it’s pretty uncomfortable when it’s too cold outside to take the jacket off. After several big fishing trips I would come home and find that my outer shirt was soaked and the interior lining of the STORMR was wet to the touch. The neoprene exterior dries quickly in the sun but to dry the interior I had to turn the jacket inside out and leave it hanging on my porch for a few hours. The liner is pretty thin, and it’s black, so it won’t take too long and as long as you don’t need the jacket right away drying it like this is perfectly acceptable. If you’re on a multi-day trip with little to no time to allow the liner to dry, you could be in for some discomfort.
If I was going to make any improvements to the STORMR, I would first add a drawstring around the waist to prevent cold gusts from coming up the jacket and to increase the insulating factors. Secondly I’d like to see at least one chest pocket because I like to carry lots of important stuff in my pockets and not in my backpack, which is often on the shore several feet away when I’m fishing. Finally, some underarm zippers in the neoprene could help with ventilation when you get too hot. I think you could even put a similar horizontal opening on the upper back to vent some of the heat and moisture. A neoprene awning would keep water from entering and provide a good place for the STORMR logo. It should be noted though that my ideas would probably increase the cost of the garment due to the extra zippers and seams that must be sealed, but the drawstring could be applied to the current design for very little cost.
All things considered I really like the STORMR jacket and it served me very well for winter steelheading, early spring pike, even getting to work or walking the dog in the snow and slush. It’s definitely not a fair weather jacket, but it was never designed to be, and while it may have some faults it definitely lives up to its “Defy The Elements” moniker. The STORMR sells for about $200 USD but right now you can buy it on sale for $189 from TackleDirect.
The STORMR isn’t perfect, but it’s still a great jacket. It’s designed to keep you protected in foul weather and it does so with ease.