It all started with me needing some new raingear for a trip to Texas to test a new ATV. I have some gear that I’ve used and abused for a few years, so I could have taken that, but it looked, shall we say, rough. I wanted to try out some new stuff, and Bass Pro Shops’ newest 100MPH GORE-TEX clothing looked sweet—and it’s been performing even better than it looks.
I ordered the matching parka and bibs and decided the first test would be a sledding party for the kids. Contrary to what some believe, GORE-TEX has no insulating properties, so I had to layer. Even with a few extra articles of clothing underneath, the gear was comfortable and fit well. I could run and jump onto the sled with my kids. I was impressed. Let the serious testing begin.
Hold the phone
Let’s run through the basics of the construction and features a bit. The body and sleeves of the Bass Pro Shops 100MPH parka are nylon-lined. All of the zippers are sealed to keep that pesky H2O stuff out. There are two upper chest pockets that do a good job holding my iPhone, and two hand warmer pockets that are fleece-lined. The gear sports a 150-denier by 300-denier polyester shell with a full GORE-TEX membrane. The collar is lined with fleece and the cuffs have neoprene inner cuffs with a Velcro, wrap-around outer cuff. Bring on the worst weather, baby!
The best part of the parka, and one feature that is so long overdue for us guys, is the butt flap. Oh, I know they refer to it as a “hip” flap, but it’s for your butt. It is simply a drop-down flap that enhances the parka’s ability to keep your rear end dry. I can’t tell you how many times I would have loved to have this feature.
The bibs are constructed the same way as the parka. The cuffs on the legs cinch down over your boots or shoes to help keep the moisture out. The zippered top of the bibs is gusseted with the same material as the bibs, so if you have one too many pieces of fish from shore lunch, you can open it up and still be able to breath when you sit down. The knees are reinforced for durability, and that’s a good thing for me—I’m tough on stuff.
Put to the test
The cool thing about buying a certified GORE-TEX garment that they have rated for Extreme Wet Weather is that you know it’ll do what you expect it to. To meet GORE’s Extreme Wet Weather standards, they test it in 22 inches of rain per hour in the Gore Storm Chamber using wind-driven and drenching overhead rainfall. I have a friend who toured the facility and witnessed the testing process. She said it was amazing. Bass Pro’s 100MPH gear passed with flying colors.
Never one to take a company’s word, however, I wanted to do my own tests. Problem is, it’s winter here in Michigan. There isn’t a lot of rainfall right now, although the snow has been serious this winter. So into the shower I went. I geared up and hopped in, much to the amusement of my kids. I turned it on full-blast and sat there for quite a while. I even played on my phone, thanks to the new LifeProof Realtree MAX-5 iPhone case. The case is just as waterproof as the raingear.
Now back to the Texas deal—I was going down to test out the Polaris ACE. They said there was a chance of rain, but they were wrong. However, there was a chance of cold wind and a heck of a lot of dust. I’ve tried out a few coats that are designed specifically for riding ATVs and motorcycles. The Bass Pro parka fit better and worked better than those. There is a full range of movement in the sleeves, and nothing bunched up and got in the way during the rides.
Next up was an ice fishing trip. The sun was shining and the temperature was mild, so I didn’t go crazy adding layers, but I suited up in the parka and bibs. Well, as the old saying goes, if you don’t like the weather in Michigan, wait a minute. Unfortunately that saying fits when you do like the weather, too. The wind kicked up and the snow started flying. It got very cold, too. Other than being a touch chilly because I wasn’t as insulated as I should have been, I was pretty comfortable. Drilling holes with the auger and letting some sloppy freezing slush fly, I was still dry even with globs of ice on my bibs and boots.
Every outdoorsman needs a good set of raingear, and that’s where the Bass Pro Shops 100MPH gear comes in. It’s not cheap—not by a long shot. You’re going to drop a few hundred bucks to get fully covered (the parka retails for $230, and the bib for around $150), but if you really want to stay dry and keep the elements out, this is the kit for you.
Whether you’re fishing for steelhead, scouting for ducks or deer, hunting for morel mushrooms, or riding your ATV, the Bass Pro Shops 100MPH gear will keep you dry and comfortable without impinging your movement. It’s held up to the rigors of a crazy outdoor writer who tried to make it fail and, in turn, failed himself. It’s durable and looks cool to boot. Sound good to you? It does to me!
Images by Brandie Sigler