Skwala Fishing’s innovation and desire to push the fly fishing clothing market in new directions has been a welcome breath of fresh air in 2022. Their Fusion 3/2 Puffy Jacket is a game changer in fly fishing, such as the company’s commitment to designing the gear that moves with the fisherman while you are in the water.
This is where their RS jacket gets into the melee. This is a wadding jacket built to do more than cover you with sturdy, waterproof fabric, which is noisy, does not stretch and sticks up when you drive or climb up a nymph. The RS jacket is designed to integrate fully with Skwala’s RS Waders, is completely waterproof and is an exceptional outer layer in the worst wind, rain and snow. Add to the slim design and fantastic size of Skwala’s product, and I think the RS jacket is one of the best outer layers in all fly fishing at the moment.
Wait for the wind
Aside from being completely waterproof (Skwala CEO Kevin Sloan even boasted that I could take a shower wearing RS and get out dry) the RS jacket is a fantastic outer layer against the strong Wyoming wind where I fish . It waits well for the smell, while still breathing so as not to sweat like a pig.
As with all Skwala-made equipment, the RS jacket is designed with fish movement in mind. A cotton jacket is not great if you walk upstairs while climbing up or piling up while driving. So Skwala used very flexible fabric that moves with you while you are in the water.
Image credit: Skwala Fishing.
This goes directly to the large range of motion of the RS jacket, which is due to the flexible fabric and the way it is sewn together. Skwala purposely mounted the RS jacket in a way that allows maximum movement. You do not notice how important that aspect of the design is until you wear something intentionally built like an RS jacket.
It is also worth noting here that Skwala chose to go with a slightly different fabric than what you will find in other waterproof jackets. The goal was to create something that is waterproof but still breathable. The idea is that by building a breathable garment, your body is better able to regulate its temperature, keeping you warmer throughout the day.
Pockets, hood and handcuffs
The RS jacket has tons of pocket room, including a transient pocket built to integrate with their RS sliders. If you own both the RS jacket and the blazer, the large crossover pocket lets you reach from the jacket to your jackets. It is a brilliant design that eliminates the need to lay layers just to get into the pockets.
The RS jacket cap is thin, compact and cut in a way that does not obstruct your peripheral vision. The hood adjustment ropes are hidden in the front pockets so that they do not catch on your flight line, which is a great touch.
Finally, the wrist cuffs on the jacket are internal and completely closed, which means you can dip your arm in the water to release a fish and you do not have to worry about getting wet. And you do not have to worry if you bend your arms slightly, just so that the water flows from the sleeves and absorbs your inner layers. The inclusion of an inner wrist cuff is just another example of Skwala’s magnificent attention to detail.
What does not work
I wish RS was not a $ 500 jacket. This is a high price, but it is also one that is in line with the best jackets from Skwala competitors. What jackets offer in performance, features and build quality can ultimately make the price worthwhile. However, I know the price will put RS out of range for many budget-conscious fishermen.
The last word
Based solely on its motion-focused cut and stretch and flexion integrated into its fabric, the Skwala RS jacket would find itself among the best corrugated jackets currently on the market. But it also cuts the smell extremely well, while breathing enough, so that you do not sweat a lot during use. And I especially like the glued cuffs that keep my forearms completely dry when I release the fish back into the water. Yes, it is an expensive jacket. But if it can be shaken, such a price is much easier to swallow when paired with a built-in and feature-packed jacket like this.
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