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Simms Guide Windbloc Foldover Mitt In-Depth Review

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The Simms Guide Windbloc Foldover Mitt is a new iteration of Simms foldover mitts, succeeding the Exstream Foldover from a couple of years ago. The subtle changes to the mitt from the previous iteration did not improve upon the initial design in our opinion, but with the Exstream foldover no longer in production, the Guide Windbloc became the focus of our cold-weather winter fishing glove review. 

 

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Winter time fishing…the bite can be hot and the weather can be very, very cold. For many so called “anglers” the fast approach of winter and dipping temps often means it’s time to winterize the boat and wait for the thaw in spring to get back on the water. But, for the die-hards that will continue to battle through the elements and fish all winter long regardless of the blistery cold, some serious attire is required. 

There’s a large section of the country where the water doesn’t quite get cold enough to freeze over but the temps consistently hover above or near the freezing point making for conditions, albeit not favorable, that allow for fishing to continue. Can you think of a more miserable day then 34° temps, wind blowing and a light drizzle? I’m sure you can, but for the sake of the article, lets just say it doesn’t get much worse. So how do we combat what mother nature throws at us? Well it starts with having the right gear. Base layers, wool socks, a good set of a jacket/bib combo, beanie or stocking cap and probably most important, a pair of warm gloves. 

As anglers that have fished these conditions, we all know how imperative it is to have a pair of gloves but we also know they can be a pain. We don’t just need any gloves, but we have needs, right? They need to be warm, waterproof or resistant, light, and provide the dexterity we need to tie on lures, cast a baitcaster and thumb the spool or feeling the line when we are waiting for those light bites. This can be a tough bill to fill no doubt, but we have found a solid contender in the Simms Guide Windbloc™ Foldover Mitt, let’s take a closer look. 

What We Like About It

Construction

In order to be in contention for our glove of choice for the winter, the glove in question had to be both warm, lightweight, provide as much dexterity as possible while being water repellant and comfortable. The mitt is constructed of a dense knit multi component fabric (essentially a softshell) that provides a healthier balance between warmth and breathability. This material is called Polartec Power Shield® Pro and has all the attributes of a material ideal for a cold weather glove including water resistance as well as durability and comfortability.  What this equates to is a glove that is warm, dry and provides high dexterity. Additionally the inside upper part of the glove is lined with a Sherpa fleece material of some kind that is soft, warm and as aforementioned, breathable. Coming in at 3.2oz this glove has all the right things going for it, but let’s talk some more about the features that we find most appealing. 

Features

 The name leaves no ambiguity as to the main feature of the glove *spoiler alert* it incorporates a fold-over mitt. This is great when you are running down the lake on a cold winter day, but when it comes time to drop the trolling motor and make that first cast, the mitt folds over and snaps into place out of the way exposing a finger-less glove. Like most gloves, it is more of a half finger than “finger-less” but what was different from gloves we have had and used in the past is a separate thumb sleeve that can either be folded down or can be flipped up like the mitt but rather than being held in place with a snap, it uses the same snap as the mitt for the thumb sleeve to store out of the way. This was a truly appreciated addition as most gloves in the past, you had to choose one or the other; have a thumb sleeve (in most instances it had to be cut off to allow for the use of baitcasters), or just not have one at all. We can buzz down the lake at 70 with our mitt folded over our fingers and thumbs covered and when it’s go time, all digits are exposed and able to perform the tasks they need to. The cuffs also deserve recognition for their length which comfortably covers the entirety of the wrist and stretches nicely, in fact it stretches enough to cover a watch (always wearing our watches) and still remains comfortable. 

We were able to test the gloves in a variety of conditions alongside the Buck N’ Bass Bibs and Jacket and although the gloves perform well in cold conditions, they failed miserably in cold AND WET conditions. The gloves are marketed as water resistant, so our expectations were low, however, during testing, the glove almost seemed as if it had no water resistance in the construction materials whatsoever. As aforementioned, meeting all the demands we have as anglers can be a tough bill to fit when warmth, waterproofness, and dexterity are necessities. 

Suggested Improvements

As with most things, the gloves, though great all around, are not perfect. At times, the button snap that holds the fold-over portion of the mitt in place when not in use is not, in our opinion, the most ideal type of “lock down” mechanism. We would like to see the same glove with a magnetic “lock down” mechanism which is common among other cold weather gear. Additionally, making the outer shell of these gloves waterproof would be much appreciated. In rain testing, the gloves did not hold up well to a day of cold, rainy weather that eventually lead to our hands being very cold. I would suggest that a company like Simms that has the resources, that they consider putting a little more R&D into a product prior to release. 

Simms Guide Windbloc Vs. The Competition

One might ask, well, how does this glove compare to the competition? And to be frank, there is not much competition to be had in this particular category. Yes, there are gloves that are warmer and there are absolutely gloves that offer better dexterity, however, you will be hard pressed to find one that finds the right balance between these two needs. The ultimate cold-weather fishing glove offers the best of both worlds; dexterity, while maintaining warmth and Simms has accomplished that with these gloves. By utilizing the foldover design, it is our belief that no other glove comes close to meeting both of these needs that is currently available on the market. 

Closing Remarks

These gloves are a very nice and accomplish their purpose, but are not the end-all glove for cold weather fishing by any means. They keep your hands warm and provide great dexterity, however, they do not hold up to wet conditions that we often encounter in the winter. A good glove that with a little tweaking could become an amazing glove. Additionally, at $65, they are a little pricey for what they are, but as with most big-name companies like Simms, one comes to expect it. All things considered, we still would recommend this glove over the competition.

 

Buck N’ Bass Reservoir Rainshell Bib In-Depth Review

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The Reservoir Rainshell Bib is the compliment bib to the Reservoir Rainshell Jacket that we have also reviewed. As with the jacket, Buck N’ Bass continues to prove that though the news guys on the block, they’re aiming to take over with a vengeance. With the incredible technology integrated into their jacket, it comes as no surprise that their bibs would be anything less than fantastic. Likened to Tony Starks’ Ironman suit of Hollywood, this duo of the Reservoir Rainshell bib and jacket won’t give you the ability to fly or make you a cool, rich, handsome superhero BUT it WILL keep you impervious to any elements mother nature can throw at you on the water.  

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In a light, passing drizzle, we can choose to just throw on our rain jackets until the front passes, but in the event of more serious or long lived conditions, more extreme measures must be taken to keep you dry and comfortable. Enter the Buck N’ Bass Rainshell Bib. Utilizing many industry first technologies and materials, these bibs are sure to impress. 

What is the Buck N’ Bass Reservoir Rain Shell Bib?

Peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, milk and cereal, Netflix and chill; these are all examples of things that on their own are good but together are great. The Reservoir Rainshell Bib is the Sonny to the Reservoir Rainshell Jacket’s Cher (some younger folks may need to Google Sonny & Cher to get the reference). We had the privilege of running the bib through the ringer and after many days on the water, testing in all types of adverse conditions, we are here to report on our findings. 

First, let’s take a technical look at the bibs and get down to what sets them apart from the competition. Technologies incorporated into the bibs includes:

  • Field Pockets ™
  • Fidlock® V-Buckle
  • Iron Shell ™ Dry
  • YKK® Aquaguard® Leg Zippers

Field Pockets 

 

Pockets on bibs are only as good as the zipper or flap that prevents water from entering them. Most often, we put our phone, wallet, keys, or other items that we NEED dry into these pockets and so often, they fail; that is simply not the case with these bibs. Large pockets located near the hips not only utilize YKK® Aquaguard® zippers but also a liftable flap to ensure that no water enters the pockets. If you are someone who may not utilize these pockets, but knows the frustration of leaving a pocket open that fills with water and subsequently leaks, have no fear. These pockets can (though unlikely) fill with water and WILL NOT LEAK, giving you that extra assurance of staying warm and dry all day. Aside from the leg pockets, the bibs also feature chest pockets, perfect for warming up your hands during a cold morning lull or keeping any essentials close by. 

 Fidlock® V-Buckle

Never to be outdone, the bibs feature cutting edge technology not seen elsewhere in the industry, specifically in reference to the  Fidlock® V-Buckle magnetic strap buckle system. German engineered, the V-Buckle is self-securing using a magnetic system, which likely is raising some eyebrows for those reading. The kicker, is the buckle the more weight there is on the buckle, the more force is required to open it i.e. self-securing, with a rated load capacity of over 150lbs. The ease of opening and closing these buckles is incredible. So often we find ourselves in a pop-up rain shower and are rushing to hop into our bibs, and these buckles could not be more secure or easier to use. Easy on and easy off, so much so that you can do it all single handedly. Normal buckles require two hands to push the two buckle pieces together, however, this is not so with the V-Buckle system; one hand operation is a breeze. 

Iron Shell ™ Dry

The same material as the Reservoir Rainshell Jacket, Buck N’ Bass’ Iron Shell Dry is marketed at 6x more waterproof than the competition. With a water column rating of 49,000, this material is sure to keep you dry all day regardless of conditions. Taped seams, zippers at the industry technological forefront, coupled with the Ironshell Dry material make this product impervious to anything you may come across on the water.  High winds? Monsoons? Snowpocalypse? There is nothing mother nature can throw at you that Iron Shell Dry cannot stop, giving you the confidence you need to perform your best under the most adverse conditions. As with the jacket, Buck N’ Bass is so confident in their product that they stand behind it 100% with their Ironclad Dry guarantee. If either product does not perform to the promises made, simply return it for repair or refund with one of the best customer service teams in the industry. 

YKK® Aquaguard® Leg Zippers and TIZIP® Masterseal

As with the Reservoir Rainshell jacket, the main front zipper is the TIZIP® Masterseal which is world renowned for its waterproofness. Commonly found in other outdoor gear where waterproof seals are essential, this zipper cannot be outdone for its designed and intended purpose of keeping water from entering the bibs via the zipper. The leg pockets utilize the  YKK® Aquaguard® zippers providing superior water repellent properties. The same zipper is also incorporated into the pant legs of the bibs along the outer seam. This allows for ease of slipping in and out of the bib while an adjustable ankle cuff further ensures the proper leg/ankle fit. 

What We Like About It

As with the jacket, the bibs feel tailor-made for the individual. Most bibs are bulky, loose, and engulfing as seen here. 

Not, the Buck N’ Bass Reservoir Rainshell bib. Elastic around the waist keeps the bib snug around the angler, coupled with adjustable shoulder straps and ankle cuffs, wearing it can only be likened to slipping into a fleece lined bathrobe without the draft. Additional features we took a particular liking to are the chill chest pockets. So often we wear bibs without our outer shell jacket especially in the spring; morning temps may be in the 30s or 40s with afternoons in the 50s, and with the jacket off, the chest pockets are perfect for putting your phone inside when you catch ol’ big and want to grab a quick pic before googans spot you and try stealing your juice. 

Suggested Improvements

Overall, the bibs are really quite outstanding by our standards, and very little has been overlooked in their design and construction; that being said, if we had to make a suggested improvement, it would be to include zippers on the chest pockets. More times than not, the chest pockets are covered by the outer jacket, but if utilized to hold a phone without a jacket and the angler bends over to land a fish, stuff could fall out, though unlikely based on their design. Very minor, but added security is always nice when it comes to expensive things potentially falling in the lake. 

Buck N’ Bass vs. The Competition

How does the Buck N’ Bass Reservoir Rainshell Bib compare to comparable products on the market such as offerings from Simms, Aftco, or Gill? Simple answer is it’s better, period. All the aforementioned brands make a quality product without a doubt, but at this stage in the game, nobody is on the Buck N’ Bass level. The quality of the components and the Iron Shell Dry material are simply unparalleled amongst other industry giants.

In a head-to-head test, we compared the Buck N’ Bass Reservoir Rainshell bib to the Simms Challenger bib on the water under extreme tournament conditions. 1.5 inches of rain fell during the course of the standard 8 hour tournament day, coupled with sustained winds and 40 degree temperatures. At the end of the day, the Buck N’ Bass gear had left us totally dry; the Simms gear? Absolutely soaked all the way through over the entirety of the body. To say that this product defeats the competition would be the understatement of the century. 

Closing Remarks

After extensive on-the-water testing in nearly every condition that we can come up against as anglers, it is our professional opinion that the Buck N’ Bass Rainshell Bib is unmatched by any other competitor on the market today. What truly sets this bib apart is the Iron Shell Dry material sporting a 49,000+ water column rating, ensuring a dry and comfortable day of fishing regardless of the conditions. Additionally, the fit of the bibs is phenomenal, especially around the midline where so many other bibs are very loose, similar to a bankruptcy barrel. In closing, we highly recommend these bibs to any angler but due to the price point, they are generally tailored to the serious tournament angler; that being said, if you are a serious tournament angler or an extremely die hard fisherman, these bibs are for you. Available for purchase exclusively at bucknbass.com

Buck N’ Bass Reservoir Rainshell Jacket In-Depth Review

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The Reservoir Rainshell Jacket from Buck N’ Bass is the company’s flagship jacket, and to say that Buck N’ Bass did their homework on this one would be an understatement. After extensive research and development with numerous professional anglers on what bass anglers need in a rain jacket, and what the competition was lacking, Buck N’ Bass created THE jacket us anglers have always wanted. Incorporating individual technologies specific to our needs as anglers, this jacket was tailor made for us. 

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In bass fishing it is widely known that weather fronts can produce big bites. A cold front, warm front, precipitation, low pressure or high pressure front; they all have the potential to encourage a big bass to bite. One issue in bass angling with fishing the conditions has always been battling the elements. Unlike conventional sports, bass fishing doesn’t stop for rain, bass fishing doesn’t postpone an event because of the bitter cold. You simply have to fish the elements and being comfortable and focused can be difficult when your gear cannot keep up with your demands. 

Some might often dread spring and fall events due to weather unpredictability because the two worst things you can come up against as an angler, weather-wise, is being wet and being cold; put the two together and you have a miserable day on your hands. It’s always tough to make the choice of whether to chase the bite and be cold, wet, and miserable, or, stay home, all nice and warm bundled up on the couch. Many times, the latter wins out and the prospect of what could have been caught will haunt anglers persistently. 

The issue has always been, how long is this gear going to keep me dry? A few hours? Half a day? Do I really want to endure an 8 hour day on the water being wet? Am I going to perform my best when I’m outside of my ideal fishing condition comfortability?  These are the questions that run through every anglers mind, though some may argue that you just need to “toughen up” but if you had the choice to be dry and comfortable or cold and sopping like a wet sponge, any person in their right mind would choose the former. 

What is the Buck N’ Bass Reservoir Rain Shell Jacket?

With so many huge industry names making rain gear, finding room to break into the industry can seem a daunting task to say the least, but if you have a quality product that the company stands behind, it can be a refreshing breath of air to the angler who expects more out of their gear. If you expect nothing but perfection and performance out of your gear, and are in the market for a new rain jacket, look no further than the Reservoir Rain Shell Jacket from Buck N’ Bass. 

We had the privilege of testing out the brand new jacket and were impressed to say the least. Their motto of “Built for Bass” rings true from the moment you slip into the jacket.  The jacket wears comfortably, and is chock full of innovative technologies designed around the bass angler, including: 

  • Dryloc Cuff ™
  • Casting Comfort System™
  • Full Throttle Hood™
  • TIZIP® Masterseal
  • Iron Clad Dry Guarantee™

Let’s go a little more in depth with each of these Buck N’ Bass patent pending technologies. 

Dryloc Cuff

The Dryloc cuff consists of an innovative and integrated double cuff system. Utilizing extra tough neoprene and Velcro cinching system, the double cuff prevents water from dripping down your sleeve under the most intense conditions. The inner neoprene cuff allows for comfort around the wrist while still maintaining its ability to prevent water migration while the outer cuff also cinches to prevent water from getting up your sleeve and from getting in the way of fishing like other loose cuffs may do. After fishing a full day utilizing the Dryloc Cuff, it was evident that the system was well thought out and with the angler in the forefront of the mind of the designers. Performance and comfortability, are what the angler needs in a cuff, and Buck N’ Bass produced with this one. Additionally and equally appealing was how refreshing it was to reach into the livewell after a day of sore-mouthing some largemouth and not worrying about wet sleeves trying to pull the feisty fish out. 

Casting Comfort System

When looking into raingear, we as anglers often ask about breathability because who wants to spend 8 hours + wearing a stuffy trash bag? Nobody. One concern we had in the Reservoir Rainshell Jacket was the extremely high water column rating of 49,000. With an increase in waterproofness, we have had to sacrifice breathability in the past, however, with the Casting Comfort System, this is no longer an issue. By utilizing a system of vents and channels, the jacket assists in regulating your temperature while also employing a four-way stretch system for superior comfort while fishing. The jacket at no point felt stuffy, or restrictive in any way during testing. Whether power fishing a jerkbait or slow rolling an umbrella rig, the jacket fished comfortably and moved well with the various motions we as anglers perform while casting, cranking, hooksetting, fighting the fish and landing said fish. 

Full Throttle Hood

Another often overlooked part of bass fishing is the time we spend behind the wheel. We are constantly running and gunning from waypoint to waypoint, or making long runs to secret honey holes and when its tournament time, every moment counts. The Full Throttle Hood eliminates hood flopping issues that have plagued other, inferior, jackets. Simply raise your hood (no cap removal required), cinch down the hood, and go on your merry way, even if it’s at 75mph+ down the lake. In the past, one would have to remove their hat, cinch down their hood, and either pack away the hat in a compartment in rough conditions or hold it with a foot. As with most anglers, we have lost our share of hats, and though not critical to have, it sure makes for a more comfortable day being able to fish with it. With the Full Throttle Hood, the hood did not move, our cap stayed in place, and the time saved utilizing the simple and effective cinch system on the hood made wearing and removing it a breeze. The design of the Full Throttle Hood was well thought out in that it does not flop and stays tight on the head while driving, but being the innovators that they are over at Buck N’ Bass, the uppermost portion of the neck area zips up to act as a face shield as well, leaving only the important part of your face exposed; your eyes. Long runs on cold days are nothing to fear anymore.  

TIZIP Masterseal

Any outdoorsman that has utilized a zip up dry bag of some kind has likely come across TIZIP. These are the number one name in the game of waterproof seals. Used in such products as dry bags, watersports clothing, tents, and other outdoor gear. Utilizing a durable, polyurethane coated tape and plastic teeth, the Masterseal is made for one primary purpose, to keep water out. The seal of the zipper is so tough, that NASA uses the same line of zippers in their spacesuits, now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that this zipper is going to meet all your performance needs. 

Ironclad Dry Guarantee

The last and most notable bit of technology incorporated into the Reservoir Rain Shell Jacket is what Buck N’ Bass calls their Iron Shell Dry. This new material developed and exclusive to Buck N’ Bass, is 6 times more waterproof than the competition, and the jacket features an ergonomically friendly design with minimal seams, meaning a comfortable fit and minimal possible points of failure. To doubly ensure that no weak points fail in the jacket, taped seams are utilized; giving you the peace of mind of a jacket that won’t leak at the seams. Besides engineered controls to best mitigate possible failures, the Iron Shell Dry material has a water column rating of over 49,000. You may be asking, what does this water column rating even mean?  Let’s do a little science, shall we? For water column tests, a tube of 1in in diameter is placed over a portion of the material being tested. The tube is then filled with water until leakage is observed in the material. The amount of water in the tube at the time of the leakage is the materials water column rating or its waterproofness. The higher the number, the more waterproof the material. To put into perspective, imagine this tube of water and continuing to fill it until the material leaked. For the Iron Shell Dry, the tube would be over 160ft tall and the pressure at the bottom (where the material lies) would be nearly 70 PSI. A water column rating of over 40,000 is indicative of a material that would structurally fail before water leaked through, meaning that you can be sure that this jacket will keep you dry. Buck N’ Bass is so confident in their product that they stand behind it 100% with the best warranty on the market. If there is any issue with this product not performing to the satisfaction of the angler, you can return for repair, replacement or refund and know that the folks over at Buck N’ Bass are going to get you taken care of. 

What We Like About It

All of the technology is great; however, a black trash bag can keep you dry; it is the fit of the jacket that really is the cherry on top of this product. As aforementioned, the jacket has been ergonomically designed with minimal seams and built around us as anglers. How we stand, cast, bend, it is all incorporated into the jacket where at no time you feel impeded in any way. This is vital in bass fishing where you may find yourself in some wild positions and situations and if a loose sleeve gets caught on your rod and keeps you from getting a good hookset, it can be the difference in cashing a check or going home with your tail tucked between your legs. Utilizing Buck N’ Bass’ unique size and fit guide, we were able to get a jacket that almost seemed tailor made for us. The sleeve length, chest, and torso portions of the jacket fit perfectly. It’s not often that one can honestly say that a rain jacket fits as well as a t-shirt, but this jacket simply is that comfortable. No loose portions, no bulk, just a snug, cozy fit providing all day comfort. 

Suggested Improvements

As with all products, nothing can be perfect. Although we were supremely satisfied with everything about the jacket from the various incorporated technologies to the nearly tailor-made fit, we do have some suggested improvements. One primary improvement would be the follar of the jacket. When fully zipped as you run down the lake, it is perfect but when you stop to fish, the collar crowds the face a little. During heavy rain, one would keep the jacket zipped up all the way regardless, however, if you are between rain showers and want to let down the zipper a bit, it would be nice to have some magnets incorporated to hold back the collar away from the face or some similar feature. 

Buck N’ Bass vs. The Competition

So how does Buck N’ Bass compete with the competition? When it comes to high end rain jackets for the serious angler, the Reservoir Rainshell Jacket is in a league of its own. All of the best attributes from the competition can be found without any of the ill side effects in this jacket. The fit, the zippers, the shell material, the taped seams, all of it combined makes this jacket superior to all others in a BIG way. With names like Simms, Aftco and Gill firmly established, Buck N’ Bass could be likened to David taking on a three headed Goliath. Not only did they meet this challenge head on, we don’t think it too bold to say that they have toppled the giant. 

Closing Remarks

To say that we were impressed with this jacket after extensive field testing and review would be an enormous understatement. Will and the team over at Buck N’ Bass, have absolutely done their homework and put together what is undoubtedly the best rain jacket made specifically for bass anglers, bar none. Every feature integrated in this jacket was done so for the bass angler. Though some may balk at the price-point, if you are serious about fishing and want the best gear available on the market, then look no further than the Buck N’ Bass Reservoir Rain Shell Jacket.  Available for purchase exclusively at bucknbass.com