I remember my first deep sea fishing experience. If only I had known then just how valuable a proper waterproof heavy-duty jacket would be at sea.
As luck would have it, the day we decided to take our very first excursion into the deep turned out to be a rather cold one, with heavy winds. As a result, the surf was extremely choppy, and by the end of the day, every single one of us was soaked to the bone.
I have since learned my lesson and come to appreciate the need to invest in a good quality waterproof jacket. A reliable, heavy-duty, waterproof jacket is an essential part of any serious angler’s arsenal but finding one that ticks all the boxes can be a challenge.
My hunt for the perfect waterproof jacket has led me to discover the Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket. Let’s say I wish I had taken one of these with me on that first trip out to sea.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Heavy-Duty Waterproof Insulated Jacket.
As mentioned, finding the perfect waterproof heavy-duty jacket can be a challenge, but only because there are a few things to consider if you are looking for a jacket that will do the job properly and stand the test of time.
Straight away, the first two things you need to ask yourself are: “Is it going to keep me dry?” and “Is it going to keep me warm?”
To effectively keep you dry, the jacket must have a good waterproof rating. Waterproof jackets are rated on a scale after undergoing what is called a Hydrostatic Head Test. This test measures how much water pressure the jacket can stand before the ingress of water into the material begins.
It is recommended that, for extreme and heavy rain conditions, a waterproof rating of 10K to 20K is required. That is a jacket that can withstand up to 20,000 mm of pressure before any water gets through.
When it comes to warmth, you are looking for a jacket that provides an adequate level of protection against cold temperatures and winds. You want a jacket that is not only well insulated but that comes with an adjustable hoodie and adjustable cuffs to keep the wind from getting in through any potential openings.
Another important factor to consider is the breathability rating of the jacket. Breathability is also measured on a scale based on how much moisture the jacket can expel from the inside out.
For anyone doing a great deal of activity where perspiration is heavily increased, such as hiking and skiing, a minimum breathability rating of 15K is recommended.
Some other important factors to consider are pocket space, comfort, and breathability.
Bear in mind that you are looking for a jacket that will endure for years to come. Therefore, the quality of the stitching, material, and fixtures (such as zippers and drawstrings) must not only function well, but they must be hard-wearing too.
The Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Insulated Jacket
As mentioned, I came across the Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket in my search for the perfect waterproof heavy-duty jacket. This jacket seems to offer the most features and benefits of all the jackets I have looked at, which is why I have decided to review it.
The jacket is currently available in the 2020 upgrade of Aftco’s Hydronaut jacket. It promises to be the evolution of their previous offering, which had been highly praised as one of the best performance outerwear garments.
It’s impressive waterproof rating of 30K should make it a great choice for the extreme conditions of deep-sea fishing, winter fishing, and any other activity that may see you exposed to heavy rainfall, wind, and very cold temperatures.
Here are some of the key pros and cons I have discovered for the Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket:
- It is comfortable to wear (breathable, light, and easy to move in).
- At a 30K waterproof rating, it can withstand heavy rainfall and snow.
- The jacket is insulated for protection against extreme cold temperatures.
- You will not lose your hood because it is attached to the jacket and cleverly ventilated.
- There is plenty of sealed pocket space to hold accessories and devices.
- You may need to get a slightly larger size if you plan to wear a hoodie or sweater under the jacket with the Aftco Heavy-Duty Bib.
- It seems that if you have a particularly slim wrist, there may not be enough Velcro on the outer section of the Double Dry Cuff to stick the excess strap down when you tighten it.
Key Features & Benefits
2-Layer Nylon Shell
The nylon shell of a waterproof jacket is the coated outer layer of the jacket and is the layer responsible for repelling the water.
Finding a heavy-duty waterproof jacket that is 100% waterproof and breathable is not possible. Any textile used to make a waterproof jacket would have some level of breathability.
Unless it is made of non-porous rubber, like a rubber slicker jacket, the jacket would have zero breathability.
In other words, it would trap any perspiration and be extremely uncomfortable to wear.
Most rain jackets have one outer shell treated with a hydrophobic coating called Durable Water Repellent (DWR). The DWR repels water making it bead on the surface of the jacket instead of seeping into the material.
The Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket’s outer shell is coated in the same way and comes with a 30K waterproof rating. This rating indicates a highly waterproof jacket that will likely be rather durable and, therefore, a good investment.
The second layer of the jacket is the membrane layer, which is responsible for drawing out perspiration from the inside of the jacket to ensure that the jacket is breathable and that you remain comfortable when doing any activity that may make you break a sweat.
While I could not find the official breathability rating for this new 2020 model of the Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket, I found that the previous version of the jacket carried a rating of 20K.
I assume that this upgrade would be the same, if not better, which means that it would be a highly breathable and comfortable jacket to wear.
It is important to mention that the DWR coating of a waterproof jacket may start to wear in certain jacket areas over time if used regularly in harsh conditions. Once the DWR coating has worn off, the water will no longer bead on the surface and will penetrate the jacket.
What is also great about Aftco is that if the DWR coating on your jacket does wear off, you do not need to fork out the cash to replace your jacket completely. Aftco has a full range of outerwear care products, which includes a DWR coating.
This means that should some of the coating wear off, you can re-treat the surface of the jacket by applying the DWR coating, and the water should be beading straight away.
Double Dry Cuff
The Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket design incorporates an outer and an inner cuff for added protection against water penetration and wind.
Each cuff is fitted with a Velcro strap so that you can adjust the cuff to fit your wrist simply by lifting the strap, pulling it tight, and re-fixing the strap to the Velcro strip around each cuff.
Aftco has rubberized the end of the internal cuff, which means that if your cuff is submerged, the water will not get in under the cuff and will not penetrate the jacket to your skin.
As mentioned above, I discovered that if you have an unusually slim wrist, you may find that you are left with a small piece of the outer cuff strap dangling of when tightening the hold of the Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket cuff around your wrist. However, it seems that this is rare, and I doubt it will be an issue for the large majority.
The hood section of the Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket comes with a few different features that are worth mentioning.
The hood includes what they call SpeedventTM Ventilation, which comprises a large vent on each side of the neck at the back of the hood and a smaller vent near the crown of the head.
You may be wondering whether these vents will just let the cold air in and defeat the purpose of the jacket, but after watching a few review videos on YouTube, it seems that this is not the case at all.
These vents have been included to protect your neck against strain in strong winds. They also prevent your hood from acting as a sail when the wind is strong, which often results in the hood blowing straight off your head. This happens more often than you would think, so I think it is a great feature.
Double Articulated Storm Flap
The Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket comes with a storm flap built into the front of the hood on either side.
The overlapping sections of the flaps are lined with Velcro and can be closed by connecting the flaps along the Velcro lining, one on top of the other, at the front of the hood.
The storm flap essentially covers the lower half of your face to keep the wind and water out when poor conditions. The flap will also help to keep your face and neck warm in very cold conditions.
The jacket’s hood comes with a peak that runs across the top of the hood and down the sides a bit to protect your eyes against the wind and rain on each side.
The adjustable drawstring on the hood allows you to close the hood around your face, bringing the peak closer to the eyes and closing off any possible openings when needed.
Cyclops Camera Mount
The Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket comes fitted with a camera mount system suitable for a Go-Pro type of camera. The camera mount system is behind a zip which is located on the left-hand side of the chest. The camera mount itself is sold separately, however.
I have never seen this feature on a waterproof jacket before, so I’m assuming it is unique to the Aftco jacket. Whenever I have seen people with these kinds of cameras on them, they are usually strapped on with a body harness or something similar.
This feature, therefore, mitigates the need to buy the harness and allows you to film that big catch of the day to show to your friends and family, or the guys and girls at the office, later.
I feel that the placement of this camera mount has been well thought out and that, compared to a harnessed camera mount, the Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket mount will likely offer you a much clearer shot and angle when filming.
Rear Mesh Panels
To ensure optimum breathability and comfort, Aftco has included 100% polyester mesh lining at the back of the jacket.
It is important to note that the jacket already incorporates a membrane layer under the double nylon shell, which functions almost like a sponge drawing moisture out of the jacket. The membrane, therefore, prevents the build-up of perspiration and aids in breathability.
With the mesh lining at the rear, the jacket is sure to remain comfortable to wear, even if the temperature rises a little after the rain while you’re still out on the water.
Aftco says they have taken this jacket design to the next level when it comes to insulation of the Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket.
They admit that it does make the jacket a bit heavier than the previous Hydronaut model, but, according to the buyers, the jacket is still not restrictive or heavy and is easy to move around in.
The upgraded insulation gives that extra bit of protection against the cold and is said to be suitable even for ice fishing. It would also be ideal for slimmer individuals who need that extra bit of warmth.
The Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket comes with loads of pocket space, and the pockets are nice and deep.
The jacket comprises covered chest pockets, top entry pouch pockets, and hidden pockets inside the jacket.
The pockets are also well protected against the elements. Velcro flaps or durable zippers keep them closed, which means that any accessories, devices, and personal items stored in them will remain dry.
This heavy-duty waterproof jacket has been fitted with hard-wearing zippers for added resilience. These robust zippers feature large tags, meaning you do not have to take your gloves off to unzip the jacket or pockets.
The main zipper down the front of the jacket is also very well protected against the elements by a double set of flaps secured using Velcro from top to bottom.
What Do The Buyers Say?
Buying a really good quality waterproof heavy-duty jacket that is going to last several years is a real investment and, as such, requires some proper research.
Having all the fancy features, bells and whistles is one thing, but how does the jacket perform in real-life situations?
To find out, I took to the internet to see what people who have purchased the jacket are saying, and I found loads of positive reviews. Here are just a few that I thought maybe of benefit.
Almost all the reviews I read about the Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket were positive, with just one or two critical reviews from customers who had a small isolated issue but were still happy with the jacket on the whole. This is a very good sign that the jacket is probably a good value purchase and investment.
After scouring the internet to find the perfect waterproof heavy-duty jacket for those unpleasant, wet, and cold fishing conditions, I feel that Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket will be the best fit for the job at hand.
I have considered all the key requirements, and this jacket seems to tick all of the boxes and more.
The Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket appears to be the closest one can come to get a 100% waterproof jacket that is breathable and comfortable.
When it comes to insulation, it seems that Aftco has gone above and beyond with the Hydronaut jacket, so I am convinced it will keep anyone warm in extreme cold weather conditions.
With a double-layered shell, DWR coating available for re-treatment if required, durable zippers, and a hood that will stay put. It looks like the Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket may be the perfect long-term investment for my fishing kit.
If you, like me, are looking for a sturdy, long-lasting, and waterproof heavy-duty jacket, click here to have a look at the Aftco Hydronaut Waterproof Heavy-Duty Jacket. It may just be the jacket you have been looking for.