Jackson, Wis. – Fleece ain’t what it used to be. When the lofty, pillow-like material confronted its first gust of cold wind, anglers and hunters were taken aback by its warmth. Early offerings performed as intended: your body’s natural heat was trapped in air pockets with the result being warmth. Since then, fleece has gone cheap. Literally, you can pick-up a fleece jacket for fewer than twenty bucks. Guess what, though? You get what you pay for. There’s a lot of worthless fleece out there.
For ice fishing 2011-12, Frabill is putting the ‘Arctic’ back in fleece with the FXE Windproof Fleece Jacket. It stands next to the outwear industry’s other pioneers and elite quality advocates like Marmot, Patagonia and The North Face, but does so in angling fashion…and with fashion to boot. Unlike the aforementioned brands, however, the FXE Windproof Fleece Jacket is engineered explicitly for the angler.
Firstly, as the name touts, Frabill’s new jacket is fully windproof, treated with a special laminate to cut crisp winter crosswinds. An extended height collar keeps that same frosty air off your neck. Under rigorous testing, the FXE Windproof Fleece Jacket provided enough warmth and wind protection in most conditions to perform as standalone outerwear, even without an outer shell parka.
And we’re just hitting stride talking about the fishing-specific features. FXE Windproof Fleece Jacket design engineer Chris Leonard elaborated. “Catering to the range of motion required for a long day on the water, we built in ergonomic pre-curved elbows. Not only does this make the sleeves more flexible, it also reduces arm fatigue.”
Water-resistant cuffs are another real hallmark of the FXE Windproof Fleece Jacket. It’s that first several inches at the wrist that seemingly gets soaked every time you reach for a fish. Our distinctive design stops water from wicking past your wrist and into the fleece, keeping your arms dry.”
Perhaps harder on any garment known to man is Frabill Pro Staff Brian “Bro” Brosdahl – a human wrecking machine that spills everything from coffee to bean burritos on himself with regularity. “I can’t tell you how many times DuPont™ Teflon® fabric protectors have kept me from looking like a walking buffet,” quipped Bro. “So trust me, when I heard the FXE Windproof Fleece Jacket was being treated with the stuff…well, I ordered another burrito.”
Final features that make the FXE Windproof Fleece Jacket a cut above the rest include a protective nylon taslan overlay on the collar, shoulders, sleeve cuffs and elbows. Underarm zipper vents let you self-regulate temperature when the outside air warms or you get all sweaty from drilling. A dual cord-lock adjustable hem further improves fit. Pockets? Well, Leonard considered their location and design like he does every feature – impeccably shaped and located.
“There are multiple zipper pockets, including one on the chest for quick storage; warming hand pockets placed at the perfect angle; and a lycra stretch internal pocket for items like sunglasses and small bait containers.”
The FXE Windproof Fleece Jacket stands to salvage, even elevate the good name of ‘Arctic Fleece.’ No surprise it’s from Frabill, either, a legacy manufacturer of fishing-specific gear since 1938.
Frabill, Inc. (Jackson, Wis.) is in its 73rd year of engineering premium, trusted fishing equipment. Frabill’s ice fishing product lineup consists of portable ice fishing shelters, rod and reel combos, tip-ups, bait containers, portable aeration, and premium ice fishing apparel, including FXE Snosuit. Openwater products include landing nets, portable aeration, bait containers, bait care, bait traps and seines, accessories, and premium openwater apparel, such as FXE Stormsuit. Visit www.frabill.com.