Skwala Fishing, the Montana-based clothing company recently launched, staffed by a true multitude of industry veterans, is not just another new kid on the fishing block. And I doubt they will be a flash-in-the-pan company. Yes, they opened a store in Bozeman, Montana, the home of other giants of the fly fishing clothing industry. Yes, Skwala products are built to compete with the best in the industry. But Skwala has a lot of what some manufacturers lack and I think they will stay ahead of the pack for a long time: Innovation.
I have had the opportunity to use a handful of new products from Skwala, but what has impressed me the most so far is their Fusion 3/2 Puffy jacket. This is the best insulating layer I have ever worn. The attention to detail is fantastic and Skwala spent a lot of time and money trying to answer the questions that fishermen still have about outfits.
Can my jacket be elastic and breathable? Water resistant, but not so much that I sweat like a pig wearing it? Can I have immense heat?
The answer to those questions – at least for Puffy Fusion 3/2 – is yes.
As mentioned, Fusion 3/2 Puffy is the best insulating layer I have ever used for fly fishing (and I would put it on even with my favorite insulating outfits I wear while hunting). What makes it so great at storing heat is twofold.
First, Skwala chose not use Primaloft on this jacket, at a time when this is the du-jour choice for insulation. Instead, they created a completely new material called 3DeFX +. This material stretches, unlike Primaloft, so it moves with you while you are in the water. As you drive, toss or fishnet, the isolation in Fusion 3/2 moves straight with you.
I will talk more about layout within a moment because it plays a key role in Skwala’s overall design philosophy. But even in a harsh Wyoming wind and some snowstorms, I was never cold in Fusion 3/2. I was amazed at how well it awaits the wind, which is a blessing here in Wyoming.
The choice of insulation also allowed Skwala to build a jacket that is thinner and sleeker than anything else on the market. I can not believe how much warmth it preserves for size.
Extent and Movement
When I say stretch, I do not mean in the sense of elasticity. Skwala built all their equipment to move with the fisherman, so there must be a level of alignment. The Fusion 3/2 has enough stretch that you do not need to worry about accumulating or obstructing your movement. The Fusion 3/2 is designed and cut in a way that allows for easy and free movement; these designs are enhanced by the use of Skfala Primeflex yarn, which stretches without using any elastic. But why does this matter? It matters because the elastic has an Achilles heel, one of particular importance to fishermen: water absorption. By removing the elastic, Skwala was able to create an outfit that stretches while retaining its original shape and not absorbing water.
All of this means that you will not notice that Fusion 3/2 interferes with everything you need to do while fishing. Whether you spend all day in rowing, or high-climbing nymphs on every run, Fusion 3/2 moves along with you, performing all the way.
I can not overestimate how designed Fusion 3/2 is. It does not stick when I am glued to a drift. Does not accumulate while driving. The ease with which he moves while wearing it is amazing, because half the time it doesn’t even seem like I wore any kind of coat. This level of comfort and ease of use is difficult to achieve, but Skwala hit with Fusion 3/2.
One thing I really appreciate about all the fabric choices Skwala made is how airy everything is. It is common to remove a coat at the end of the day, just to see your sweat-soaked inner layers. I do not sweat as much when I wear my Skwala equipment as I do when I wear competing insulating layers.
Breathing helps keep you warmer while you are in the water, as you do not have as much sweat sitting near your skin, cooling down and lowering your basal temperature.
Attention to detail
Again, I just want to reiterate how much attention to detail was clearly given to Swkala’s Fusion 3/2 design. The pockets are located where they should be. The lid is cut to allow unobstructed viewing. That Fusion 3/2 moves straight with you while you are in the water is something you do not think you will notice – until you notice. I have to give my hat to the whole design team in Skwala because they clearly tried to resolve all the pain points present in most of the current fishing jackets.
What does not
Given my praise for Skwala’s Fusion 3/2 Puffy, you will certainly not be surprised to know that I do not have any obvious concerns. If there’s anything that Fusion 3/2 fails, I have not discovered. If anyone is likely to do so, it’s probably the team obsessed with details in Skwala.
The last word
Skwala’s Fusion 3/2 Puffy jacket is the best insulating layer I have ever used. It is emblematic of the attention to detail with which Skwala builds all its products. The thin profile means it fits well underwater, does not accumulate and moves along with you while you are fishing. The heat retention is amazing, as is the water resistance and integrated stretch. If every fishing jacket were to be as well designed as what Skwala built here, all of us fishermen would be better off.
BUY SKWALA FUSION 3/2 PUFFY