Frabill Ice Suit Review
By Terry Wiest
Here in the Pacific Northwest do we really need an "Ice Suit"? Well not if we only wore it in the ice. But, that being said, I don't like freezing every time I go out on the rivers in sub freezing weather, or out on the sound blackmouth fishing. Up until now I've always "layered" clothes to the point I feel like the Michelin Man. I may stay warm but I can't move.
Introduce the Frabill Ice Suit. I talked to my friends at Frabill originally to get the Snow Suit which I have friends that use and love it. They however suggested I seriously consider the Ice Suit. What??? OK, so after thinking it over I agreed since they are the experts.
were they right! This is an awesome suit that provides warmth and protection
from the elements as its both windproof and waterproof - exactly what
we need in the Pacific NW. It's also breathable which is always important
and a major plus over other suits that don't breathe and give you that
added comfort. Speaking of extra comfort, this suit has extra padding
in the knees and in the seat. The later is a major benefit as most the
boats we now fish in, be it a sled, driftboat or saltwater boat, is
aluminum is not very inviting to sit on when ice is forming.
All the major points are also fully articulated to give you complete range of motion in the elbows, knees and seat. And check this out, put on the hood and cinch it up, then turn your head from side to side - IT MOVES with you!!! Can't say this about very many hoods.
An important factor when looking at any suit is the ease of putting on or taking off. Frabill has you covered here. The legs are fully zippered (top and bottom) completely from the bottom of the leg to the waist. Velcro flaps are extra protection once zipped up to keep water and wind out of the already waterproof zippers. Cuff straps on both the legs and the arms also provide extra protection.
The suit fits true to size. I'm 5' 9" 180lbs and generally wear a large. I have the large in the Frabill Ice Suit and its almost as it was custom designed for me.
So, how warm is it? I guess this is the real reason we'd be looking at a suit like this. Well, Frabill doesn't disappoint. Warm... it's very warm but not hot. If you do get too warm again it is breathable plus there are zippers on the inside to allow extra air circulation if needed.
I've wore the suit just twice now and wish I had this years ago. Out on Puget Sound blackmouth fishing it was 37 degrees with about a 10 mph steady wind - definitely cold. I wore the Ice Suit with just a pair of jeans underneath the bibs, an Under Armour base layer shirt, hoody and the jacket. I was very comfortable even sitting on the aluminum gunnels. The second time was a bit colder and we were fishing from a sled. 17 degrees and flying up the river, I was soooo glad I had my ice suit on. Cold? Not me. This day I also added a pair of Under Armour base pants and a heavier Under Armour shirt under my hoody. After it warmed up to about 30 degrees I took the jacket off and just fished with the bibs on except for when we shot back down the river.
No more Michelin Man for me, no more cold. I'm warm and I can enjoy fishing more in comfort. Whether you're a steelheader or blackmouth fisherman, take a serious look at this suit.