I remember the first bib and jacket combination I ever bought specifically for ice-fishing nearly 15 years ago. That suit was great. It floated, and I had loads of pockets all over the place for gloves, tackle, and bait, along with some pretty decent insulation even. Then I drilled a hole and began to sweat like crazy, with the rest of the story emerging every day I hit the ice from that day forward.
To the general public, ice angling elicits images of someone sitting in overalls on a frozen bucket. While you and I don’t necessarily fish that way, we seem to continue to buy ice-suits with that in mind. Floating properties are good, and really a pre-requisite as far as I’m concerned given the obvious safety advantages. Still, there’s a host of options out there that will float and still serve you terribly. From overly heavy suits that provide far too much insulation (yes, I said “too much”), to lightweight models that might be fine at the southern end of the ice belt, but will be underweight for northern trips with your buddies. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one suit that did it all?
If you travel to a number of different conditions and fish in a variety of ways, the Striker Brands Climate Suit might have what you’re looking for. It’s a convertible two-piece bib and jacket set, with removable liner top and bottom. That means you can wear the liner by itself on cold-weather boat trips, or early and late ice fishing trips. You’ll be windproof, waterproof, and still float with just the outer shell – or you can keep everything intact and fish in extreme northern climates and frigid temps. As an angler, you’ll experience the full range of conditions, so it makes sense to choose versatile outerwear.
If you’re tip-up fishing, drilling lots of holes, or otherwise staying active, you may choose to only wear bibs, or bibs without the liner and a simple hoody. That combination will keep you dry, and not overly warm when being active out on the ice. If conditions or your techniques change, you can always quickly zip in the liners when needed.
Wheelhouses have gained a great deal of interest in recent years, and the Climate is perfectly suited to that crowd. Early and late in your wheelhouse session, you’re outside pulling pins, banking snow, and generally subject to snow, wind, and water. Use the bibs and perhaps the standalone G2 liner jacket in this scenario to be able to kneel in snow/slush, while not being overheated up top. After you’re set-up, keep that same G2 Liner jacket handy and on a hook near the door so you can check on the generator, re-bait a tip-up, or otherwise just venture outside for a few minutes.
Even when fully bundled up, the Climate does a great job of venting out excess heat and moisture, which is a requirement even at mother nature’s chilliest temps. Sweat is the enemy, yet you still need the weatherproof qualities in a floating suit, along with enough lofted insulation to keep the cold at bay. The ability to flex in multiple directions – added liner, no liner, or just the liner – makes it a true 3 in 1 suit that serves a multitude of seasons and situations.
I’ve learned the hard way over the years that my thermostat runs hotter than most, but I’m just as susceptible to extreme cold and especially wet and cold weather as the next person. That requires somewhat of a chameleon approach to outerwear depending on where I’m fishing and how. The Climate is a rare suit that serves multiple needs and shape-shifts into a garment that’s best for all conditions, early and late, out on the ice or on my way there in the truck.
Don’t underestimate the power of a bib and hoodie combination either. It’s easier to shed bibs and run a warm hoodie underneath for a cold to warm transition, especially going from outside a wheelhouse to inside. Give yourself options in liners and variably layering, and you’ll have a system that’ll serve you in the Canadian Shield, as it will a Southern Iowa farm pond.