International fishing power Shimano (parent company of G.Loomis) is launching a new line of raingear for 2012 called Dryfender 3T. I got a hold of some of the first samples (jacket and bibs), and took them straight to the car wash. They proved to be tough as promised, and at MSRPs of $249.99 for the jacket and $219.99 for the bibs, will no doubt make their own waves in the outdoor apparel niche—in fly, conventional, salt and more—in the coming months.
The jacket is made of three-layer Dryfender material, and is fully seam sealed. Cuffs are sturdy and snug, though you don’t feel like you’re wearing tight surgical tubing around your wrists (a plus). The pocket layout is simple: two cargo pockets at the hips, and a zipper pocket on the chest. I stuffed each with Kleenex before the dousing, and all stayed dry. What I like best is the stowable hood design. The hood is easy to deploy, yet when tucked away, it forms a stand-up collar that’s a beefy rain shield in and of itself, which I can see coming in handy when the rain (or snow) isn’t quite dumping, and you want to stick with a billed cap.
The bibs offer good mobility when slipped over base layers, and also have functional pockets, including a plier pocket on one side, which I think is a slick touch.
I wouldn’t call the material supple, nor would I say it’s a rainsuit for tropical climates. But it isn’t heavy either. I terms of toughness, and especially practical “been there, done that” design insight, the advantages are obvious out of the box.