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The Best Ice Fishing Jackets For Women With Float Assist

How my search for the perfect ice fishing jacket has grown my appreciation for the accelerating trend of apparel designed for Women by Women who are passionate about fishing.

*Please note that at this time this article is purely informative and does not contain any affiliate links or affiliate marketing. Should I change my mind on this in the future, the affiliate links will be clearly stated.

This story begins with the simple decision I had made to buy a new ice fishing jacket last Winter. I wanted to replace my older outerwear with ones that incorporate the latest technology. You know, the ones that have flotation assist built into their design. Not only would they keep me warm and dry but they would also help me stay afloat should I ever have the misfortune of falling through the ice. I also wanted them to be made for women, a bit more tailored and feminine than the usual bulky offerings for men. Personally, I am tired of having to settle on wearing ill-fitting men’s fishing clothes all of the time due to the lack of selection for lady anglers! This search launched my discovery of the best 5 ice fishing jackets with float assist for women!

While my comparative insights here are specifically focused on ice fishing outer-wear, it is also a runway for larger introspection on the clothing industry for women anglers in general.

I am hoping the knowledge that I gained will be of help to you, should you be looking for ice fishing clothing for yourself, as a woman, or for the star woman angler in your life. I hope that what I learned will make your shopping experience easier. But I am also hoping that you come away with your own set of questions and insights regarding ‘fishing fashion’, as well as an excitement for the changes that I see happening!

*Please note, I started writing this article in December of 2020. It took me much longer than planned to pull it together because of all the details I wanted to convey. Because of this, the article wasn’t ready until ice fishing here, in the North East, was almost over. I made the decision to wait to publish it once the next hard water season was in sight, as it is now in November of 2021!! This month, 8 months after initially starting this article, I reviewed the offerings by the companies I mention below. I found several changes in product offerings from last winter and I note any updates in the products with ** (note).

In the past month, I have also reached out to all five companies I mention below. Three of the five companies answered my inquiries and I was impressed with their enthusiasm on this topic as well as their willingness to answer the questions I posed to them.

Winter Fish

I didn’t set out to do a review on women’s ice fishing jackets initially. I just wanted a new jacket, new bibs….that is all, but it turned into a learning experience to share.

I spent many hours researching and comparing my options for the jacket and bibs, and what I found was very interesting to me. It sparked scientific questions and philosophical debates within my own head. I mean, I really ended up geeking out over all of this! I did research, I took copious notes, I created comparison spreadsheets…

I learned things that I hadn’t intended to learn but wasn’t sorry that I did.

I learned the pros and cons of nylon versus polyester, the meaning of the word denier, what DWR treatment is, and how to measure one’s own arm length. I also learned that I am near impossible to buy fishing clothes for and I find this unacceptable. I feel there needs to be a bigger market, but is there a bigger need? I venture to say “Yes”. Do most women anglers feel this way? As my research continued, I started thinking that they probably do.

There’s no doubt that I personally had a challenging time finding a jacket that fit me well, but, I believe that if you are a woman in the market for a good quality ice fishing jacket, no matter your physique, at least one or more of the companies I researched below will have an option for you. It may take some work to find the right one, and if you are tall with long arms, the task isn’t nearly as easy, nor the offerings as abundant. Though some jackets outperformed others with their versatility and options, I was definitely impressed by the quality of all of the jackets I tried on. I found that each company had something unique about their jackets which made them stand out from the others, and these differences could sway a buyer with a particular need.

Long Armed Love of Ice

Okay, so first, let’s begin with the fact that I am not the average case study. I know this and I don’t expect that all manufacturers would have options that cater to my body type. I am one of those tall women I mentioned above. I am almost 5’11” and of average build. I have kind of wide shoulders with strong arms, perhaps from lots of kayak fishing! I put that out there to start because it became the pivotal point from which the rest of my story here unfolds.

As a woman with long arms and long legs, it can be difficult to find clothing that fits sometimes! I know 5’11” isn’t exactly average, but I see women my height often enough to know we are out there. We aren’t that unusual. . Niche clothing, such as those geared towards lady anglers, can be very hard to find. It is definitely easier to find sizes up to 3XL for women or Tall sizes for men than it is to find Tall sizes for an averagely built woman! This fact, combined with the fact that apparel offerings for women anglers are not exactly an endless sea of choices, to begin with, certainly made my search for the ice fishing jacket a true challenge.

But, if you know me, you know I thrive on a challenge! I was determined.

As most people would, to start my search, I Googled…”Women’s ice fishing jacket with flotation assist.”

I found five companies that fit the query, so it was pretty clear right off the bat that I wouldn’t have a lot to choose from. Sounds like it should be simple with such minimal choices, right? But, actually, it got quite complicated.

Overwhelmed

$2000.00 later, I found myself sifting through a pile of receipts and shipping bags and boxes. UPS, FEDEX, Amazon…OMG! What have I done? My credit card was certainly happy that this was mostly a pile of items to be returned for refunds, but I was sad that this had been such a depressing endeavor with results I wished were different. I really wished I had had more options that worked for me.

I started my shopping with my first brand of choice, DSG Outerwear.

DSG Outerwear is a niche apparel business conceived in 2010 by Wendy Gavinski out in Wisconsin. Initially, she focused on clothing for snowmobilers. She had found the outdoor clothing market for women lacking, just like I do. Where were the functional stylish choices for women who snowmobile? Or fish? Or hunt? She did something about it and developed her company which seems to be doing fantastic. They are advocates for women in the outdoors, and in fact, they played a large role in making blaze pink legal for the hunting season out there in Wisconsin. Kudos! We need more of this!

I had first learned of DSG on Instagram while following some ice fishing tags.

I thought, “look at all of these women just rocking it out there on the ice, fishing! I WANT TO BE THERE!” They were there setting up shelters, drilling holes, setting tip-ups and electronics, jigging, and catching fish. Morning, day, and night. And not only were they bringing in amazing catches, but they also looked good doing it.

These women looked comfortable and warm and stylish. They obviously weren’t wearing their boyfriend’s coat. Their ice fishing jackets and bibs were beautiful! In my books, there’s something to be said for this. They were claiming a place in this sport as women. I became a fan of these Wisconsin ladies and started taking notes, and that included finding out what their outerwear was. Many had the DSG black bibs with the signature heavy gold-colored stitching paired with jackets that were black with tan, teal, or maroon. Classic, feminine, not overly done, very utilitarian, perfect.

You see, I have come to learn that most women like to maintain a sense of fashion in just about any circumstance, whether they are out on the town dancing, out on a lake fishing, or even home plunging a toilet. In general, we ladies want our clothes to look and feel good. And here, out on the ice in the state of Wisconsin, was a perfect example of this. You may think it silly of me, and ask, does fashion even matter when ice fishing? Or when fishing at all?

“Yes!!” I would say, “Fashion does matter!!” And here is why…

“For some women, fashion is resistance. For others, it is provocation. Fashion provides a spark that powers social and economic advancement— however incremental, incomplete, and belated it might be. It can serve as psychological armor and social pronouncement, clothing us in the courage to broadcast to the world who we are and how we would like to be seen.”

This is a quote I pulled from The Peabody Essex Museum’s web page that announced their exhibit “Made It- Section 5- Designing for a change”. I think it is such a powerful statement. It eludes to the fact that fashion is not only art but can also be used as a social force!

The quote goes on to say-

“Women designers have long harnessed fashion’s power for communication and connection. They use their position in the industry to create clothes that urge the acceptance of new ideas and necessary change. From Vivienne Westwood to Stella McCartney, these designers embody new values, practices, and methodologies that strive to move themselves, consumers, and our society forward.”

Yes! Whoooot! Read that statement twice! I just love this! It’s certainly a reason why fishing clothing for women is so important to me. Not only is the clothing a physical armor, keeping us ready for whatever the elements may present us with on any given day out on the water, it is also symbolism, a social statement, a form of communication, it is ART.

Our fashion style can often be seen as a pronouncement of love as we walk out the front door and enter into a world where there is something we are passionate about and ready to partake in.

I believe in this. But, I also have to say that it’s not unusual for me to feel excluded from “the fishing club” clothes rack. And I LOVE fishing. I am always ready and willing to partake in this sport! To say there isn’t much there to offer me as far as clothing that fits well and is utilitarian with some style is an understatement. After all, it is a male-dominated sport that has not yet fully embraced the impact of women on both its past and its future.

However, the growing movement of creating clothing specifically for women anglers is announcing a much-welcomed change.





I couldn’t resist buying a pair of these boots by Xtratuff with artwork by the Salmon Sisters. The plain brown boots we love so much certainly got a nudge up with the introduction of fun beautiful art!


And check out these beautiful and fun Totally Tarpon fishing leggings offered by FiShe® Wear. Their numerous fish patterned designs are gorgeous!

This is exciting! Just look at what women-owned companies such as DSG, FiShe, and Alaskan Salmon Sisters have been creating! Not only is tailoring to a women’s needs and senses a priority but, notable in many of their products is the inclusion of fine art illustrations from which the fabric patterns used in the clothing are created. As an artist who loves to fish, this just makes my heart sing! This feminine art has been swimming its way upriver and has ended up being represented on products offered by traditional fishing apparel companies. Collaborations with longtime, well-known, and trusted businesses such as Xtratuff and Orvis have been formed over the past 5 or so years and seem to be growing.

Yes! Please! Ladies, keep this going!! I just LOVE this and I have so much more to say here, and I will in another post, but for now, I need to navigate back to the Ice Fishing Jackets and how they rate…

#1- Avid Women’s Fishing Jacket by DSG Outerwear

As mentioned above, after all of my research on ladies ice fishing jackets with flotation assist, my first choice was the Avid Women’s Ice Fishing Jacket by DSG Outerwear, and here is why:

DSG Avid Women's Ice Fishing Jacket with Features

DSG Avid Women’s Ice Fishing Jacket with Features

The fabric felt strong and warm and the inner lining was beautiful, black with a gold-colored printed design. The jackets come in sizes XS – 5XL and in 3 color combinations. Not only does DSG offer the most size options over their competitors, but their jackets also have the most added features.

I ordered a size XL in the jacket and bibs, hoping they’d be long enough for my arms and legs. I waited for the shipment and was so excited for my DSG order to arrive! I can’t help it, I get excited about anything fishing-related that I order, it’s like Christmas every time! I was getting ready to welcome the ice with Love. Evenings were spent going through all of my gear, sorting it, organizing my lures, and putting new line on my tip-ups and reels. There wasn’t ice yet to ice fish on, but it was coming. After all, it was late December and I was going to be ready.

I also need to admit that as excited as I was to receive the fishing clothes, I was actually equally afraid to receive them. Sounds weird, right? But, what if it was a let-down? What would happen if they didn’t fit, then what? I don’t mean that in a sense of “whatever will I do without a new jacket?” with hands thrown up in the air. What I mean is “What would that actually mean if they don’t fit”? Would it mean that I will be forever relegated to wearing ill-fitting fishing clothing while doing something I love? Would it mean that my body is not the standard acceptable woman’s body?

I know, it seems dramatic, doesn’t it? But it was/is a big deal to me, and I can’t help but think that I am not alone in these uncomfortable musings. There must be plenty of women who experience these feelings when looking to buy clothing they love, clothing that is to be worn for a reason they are passionate about such as horseback riding, ballroom dancing, and yes, fishing. I look back to the quotes on fashion mentioned above and think of words such as Pronouncement, Advancement, Courage, and Connection. As well as being warm and dry, I also want to be a part of those standards.

The ice fishing jacket and bibs from DSG arrived and my first impression when I opened the box that held the clothing was quality. These garments were obviously well made, and they were beautiful! I kicked off my shoes and took out the bibs first, the gorgeous, beautiful, bibs. I put them on and…they fit!

DSG Avid Women's Ice Fishing Drop Seat Bibs
DSG Avid Women's Ice Fishing Drop Seat Bibs Adjustable Waist

Remarkably, they were long enough. They were basic black with gold-colored stitching. Like the jacket, they had a beautiful warm black and gold patterned lining. The legs have an adjustable inseam ranging from 28.5″ to 32.5”. Other features include several pockets, one of which has a removable fish rag, a few D-Rings for clipping on gear, and best of all…a drop seat bottom!

Yes, these bibs, ladies, are quite amazing! Instead of having to peel off layers to squat in an ice shelter, or behind a tree or a dumpster by the side of the lake when nature calls, the bibs have two convenient zips on the backside that allow the seat of the bibs to dropdown! EEEEASY! Can you even believe this convenience?? They felt very warm and well made. I certainly considered this a huge success! First try, and BAM! Look no further, these couldn’t be any more perfect.

Warm and Cheeky in Drop Seat Bottoms

Next, I took out the jacket and again noticed the quality. It was a gorgeous jacket. I put it on and the sleeves actually felt long enough. I zipped up the coat and felt its warmth. It was beautiful. Then I moved and lifted my arms. What? Wait? No…I can’t bend my elbows! I had a thick sweater on, but isn’t that typical when ice fishing? I could have cried. Across the shoulders and in the elbow area, especially on the sleeve with the zip pocket, was a bit too snug, I needed something roomier. Everything else about the jacket was amazing. I was impressed with the thought that had been put into every detail.

DSG Avid Womens Ice Fishing Jacket Storm Flap Closure
DSG Avid Womens Ice Fishing Jacket Inside Pocket
DSG Avid Womens Ice Fishing Jacket Sleeve Pocket
DSG Avid Womens Ice Fishing Jacket Side Ventilation

Ok, so, one for one, not a complete failure. Was I disappointed? Yes. Can I overcome it? Yes. I decided to take a chance and order the jacket in the next size up to see if I could gain the room I needed. I really wanted this to work, I was in love with this jacket. Unfortunately, the next size up didn’t fit me well either. While I had gained the needed room in the shoulders and arms, the midsection was too big and felt uncomfortable. Did I mention I wanted to cry? I even brought the jacket to a seamstress to see if I could get the midsection taken in. (Did I also mention that I am a determined person?) But, because of the asymmetrical design, the seamstress could not alter it and I needed to return the jacket.

DSG Avid Womens Ice Fishing Jacket in Size 2XL
DSG Avid jacket in Size 2XL

Despite not finding a proper fit, I still rate the DSG Avid jacket as the top jacket because of the quality and numerous features. They also offered the largest size range out of all the jackets I tried, but it just didn’t work for my personal build. I wished it had more room and ‘stretch’ in the shoulders and elbows!

** This season, DSG introduced their Artic Appeal 2.0 ice fishing jacket, an upgrade to their previous Arctic Appeal jacket. It looks like a beautiful jacket, and if the Avid jacket and bibs are any indication, this jacket will be well worth the purchase as well.

DSG Arctic Appeal Women's Ice Fishing Jacket With Features

DSG Arctic Appeal Women’s Ice Fishing Jacket With Features

**I recently reached out to DSG, and they were enthusiastic about my research leading to this blog post, and here is what I learned.

Q&A with DSG:

WWMA: “Was demand bigger or smaller than expected last season for ice fishing apparel?”

DSG: “Demand was bigger than expected last year.”

WWMA: “What prompted you to create the Arctic Appeal 2.0 jacket? Is this the first year it is being offered?”

DSG: “Our product cycle over all of our lines is to have a specific version of a style available for 2 years. We then re-design it (take into account feedback, new styling trends, new features, etc) to create the next version of that style. This is the first year for the Arctic Appeal 2.0 jacket.”

WWMA: “What made you determine your sizing offerings? (I discuss size and fit options in my post)”

DSG: “Our owner initially was very frustrated with the size and style offerings for ladies snowmobile gear. She wanted to design products that combined fit and function for ladies of all sizes – big/small – short/tall. Our snowmobile line was so successful, that we have branched out in other areas (including ice fishing) where ladies gear was usually just a men’s fit in feminine colors (which doesn’t work for most ladies).”

WWMA: “Are there any other insights you would like to share regarding DSG and ice fishing apparel for women?”

DSG: “Just that we take feedback every year from our customers and our pro staff, and try to design gear that marries fit, function, and style.”

WWMA: “Do you have plans in the future regarding expanding your selection of ice fishing apparel for women or have you found there isn’t an adequate market to justify expansion?”

DSG: “Oh yes! We have quite a few product plans that we are working on for future seasons

So good to hear! I just love the origin, foresight, spirit, and growth of this company. I can also attest to the quality of their products.

#2- Striker Brand Women’s Prism Jacket

The Striker Ice Prism Series was my next choice. And here is why:

Striker Women's Prism Ice Fishing Jacket Features

Striker Women’s Prism Ice Fishing Jacket Features

Striker brand (referring to a snake strike) was founded by Jim Poucher in 2005 in Minnesota. The company offered premium technical clothing to snowmobilers until 2010. In 2011 Striker Brands LLC was formed and focused on offering quality apparel to ice anglers.

The Striker Brand Women’s Prism Ice Fishing Jacket was the next coat to arrive and it was gorgeous- a jewel-toned purple. Again, another very well-made jacket, and I could really feel the warmth when I zipped it up. According to my research, Striker seems to be the only brand that has a nylon outer shell, which I learned is supposedly stronger than the polyester that the other manufacturers use. Again, I absolutely loved this jacket. But, even though the body of the jacket fit me like a normal size 12 would, it didn’t fit as roomy as an ‘Ice Fishing’ 12 should. This shouldn’t fit like a dress coat. This was not a jacket that I would be able to wear over thick clothes out on the ice, and…the sleeves were much too short for me.

I did love its unique features, such as the Line Cutterz® and back pocket storage, and I think it can truly be a great choice for women who aren’t tall or broad-shouldered. It also felt like it was cut shorter at the waist than the others which didn’t seem practical. I returned the size 12 and ordered the next size up, a 14. The fit was perfect on that, I could fit heavy clothes under it, but again, the sleeves were just way too short. Sleeve length is so important out on the ice and we are not all 5’6″!

Striker Brand Prism women's ice fishing jacket with float assist adjustable hood
Striker Brand Prism women's ice fishing jacket with float assist in Marsala
Striker Brand Prism women's ice fishing jacket with float assist back pocket

**This year Striker Brands has added the Women’s Stella Jacket (and bibs) to their women’s ice fishing clothing line. It lists more features than their still available Prism jacket shown above. This includes 133g PrimaLoft Siver insulation instead of 150g of Thermadex insulation. It also offers top-loading cargo style front pockets which I like. “Princess seams for modern slimming silhouette” are also noted. Unfortunately for me, according to their size chart, the sleeve length remains the same, too short for us tall girls, and they still don’t offer Tall sizes for women, only for the men.

Striker Brand's Women's Stella Ice Fishing Jacket with Features

Striker Brand’s Women’s Stella Ice Fishing Jacket with Features

At this point in my search, I decided to also research what was being offered to men by Striker Brand and what I found wasn’t that surprising to me. Not only are there six ice jacket styles available to men with the floatation assist, (compared to the two styles available to women) but two of those men’s styles also came in Tall sizes. They offer more than triple the amount of choices for men than for women. Why don’t they offer women’s sizes in Tall? This just seems so silly! Also, some of the men’s jacket styles were of better quality and included more features than the women’s jacket, such as removable liners. The higher price of their top-of-the-line men’s coat reflected this extra attention to detail. The women’s coats seem to be made like the more simplistic men’s styles.

I tried the Men’s Climate jacket on for size, it was so warm and sturdy it felt like a big old teddy bear. but it really was too roomy, especially in the shoulders. I was extremely impressed with how well made this jacket was…it was RUGGED!

Striker Brand Men's Brown Ice Climate Jacket
Striker Brand Men's Brown Ice Climate Jacket
Striker Brand Men's Brown Ice Climate Jacket
Hugging Striker Brand Men's Brown Ice Climate Jacket

I was getting frustrated.

It’s been shown that women are one of the fastest-growing demographics within the sport of angling.

Are companies falling behind? Are they not meeting our needs? Could there be an improvement? Most certainly yes. Yes on all of it. So many of the women’s ice fishing jackets that I was looking at online were selling out, they were out of stock. To me, this indicates not only an interest but a need.

Overall, Striker Brands appeared high quality. Their men’s Climate Ice coat seemed top of the line. I just wish they offered the same features and options to women.

**While Striker Brands did not respond to my email this month with questions regarding their products, they do state on their website that they are staying on top of the ever-changing landscape of technical fishing apparel and had conducted “multiple focus groups and countless hours of design refinements with top female anglers from across the country. ”

They also had excellent customer service and went above and beyond my expectations in my returns process last February. You can visit their website here.

I am going to find a jacket that fits. Period.

#3- CLAM, IceArmor, Women’s Glacier Float Parka

Next up, I ordered a woman’s Clam Ice Armor fishing jacket, and here is why:

Clam Ice Armor Glacier Float Women's Ice Fishing Parka with features

Clam Ice Armor Glacier Float Women’s Ice Fishing Parka with features

From my understanding, Clam Outdoors was founded in 1979, and started by making an ice fishing shelter. The shelter opened up like a clam, thus the name of the company! Over the years Clam continually built up the products they offered, initially focusing on ice fishing equipment and apparel, but gradually started to encompass outdoor products for all seasons. If you look on their website, you will notice six different brands representing ice fishing gear, screen shelters, utility trailers, and open water fishing gear.

Honestly, I wasn’t fully impressed with the description of this jacket on the Clam website and wasn’t even going to order it. As you can see from the coat diagram above, they seemed to take a lot of shortcuts in the marketing department with the description of their coat compared to the previous brands. It didn’t mention many of the features that the other jackets did. However, the size chart showed very long sleeves, and thinking this jacket may be my only option, into the shopping cart it went!

I also found Clam’s website hard to use for several reasons. It is lacking information (as noted in the coat description below), it listed some misinformation (as noted on the insulation rating described below), and it’s hard to navigate. It is very frustrating to use. This evening for instance, as I was wrapping up my research, I found several broken links, and it was now impossible to find the women’s size chart (there was a tiny thumbnail of it but it didn’t link to the correct picture). I had to do some real digging around on the web, away from their website, in order to find the chart to include with the other size charts at the bottom of this post.

My pile of jackets was growing!

Whimsical illustration of a dream of many women's ice fishing jackets

Fishing Coat Dreams

Despite the shortcomings in the online description, when I received the Clam Glacier Parka, I found another beautiful well-made coat. It was dusty purple and the size XL fit me exceptionally well. Actually, it was the best fit yet. The sleeves were perfect, and I had room for extra layers underneath. I had room to stretch and move freely though it wasn’t a bulky feeling at all.

But, it was a simplistic coat compared to the others. It felt warm, but it was lighter in weight than the previous jackets. Would it keep me warm out on the ice on a freezing windy day? Clam describes this jacket on their website as having100 grams of fixed insulation versus the 150 grams average that the DSG and Striker brands have. This fact alone had almost made me decide not to order the coat. However, after receiving it, I discovered that the 100 gm of insulation mentioned on their website is not true!

When the jacket arrived the tags on it said it was 150 grams. Big difference! I reached out to Clam to question this and they confirmed it is 150 gm, and the 100gm on the website is a typo.

The jacket didn’t have the added features of zip vents on the side for temperature regulation, or wrist gators, or even the sewn-in lycra wrist cuffs, all of which are very important to me. The online description didn’t say if it had a quick drainage system like all the other brands had mentioned. But, after receiving it, I found that it does have quick drainage. BTW, Clam mentions quick drainage in the men’s coat description, just not the women’s. So, again, I feel the marketing fell very short on this item, which makes me feel they just don’t place the same importance on attracting women consumers. What big oversights!

Overall, for the comparable price, the Clam jacket seemed to fall short- but not in the sleeve length, lol, that was just perfect! It also had stretch and mobility. And that’s the thing, the fit was perfect for me, it was very comfortable! Should I buy a coat that fits well yet falls short in comparative quality? The other thing that bothered me was the price of this coat. Clam’s comparable men’s coat was $30 less expensive! Why is that? They actually described their men’s Rise Float Parka (their equivalent to the women’s Glacier Float Parka) in greater detail than the women’s coat on their website. The main difference was that the men’s coat had bigger pockets on the lower front, yet the women’s coat cost me $30 more. This really really unsettled me. I hope I was overlooking something that would fairly explain this discrepancy.

At this point, I felt like I was going crazy!

Really, how had buying a jacket become the predominant stress factor in my life at the moment? I needed to de-stress.

So, I tucked the price tags into the breast pocket of the CLAM jacket and went for a walk in the woods. It was a very cold day yet I stayed exceptionally warm in the jacket. When I got home, I pulled off the tags, the jacket was now mine. Decision made!

Clam Ice Armor Women's Glacier Float Parka Adjustable Hem
Clam Women's Ice Jacket Long Sleeve Length
Clam Ice Armor Women's Glacier Float Parka Waterproof Phone Pouch

(** After recently looking at Clam’s website, this jacket is no longer available!! I decided to keep it in this blog post though because the experience of researching it still holds relevalence! Clam currently has one offering for women, and it is the Rise Flaot Parka and, once again, Clam describes this jacket very minimally. It seems to have all the same features as the Glacier jacket that I bought last year, though the Rise Parka has an improved cuff design (well that’s a plus!). On closer inspection, I see that it looks like they also incorporated front cargo pockets, though they don’t mention that. It still only lists the insulation as 100g weeks after I called them out on their typo. The Rise Float Parka is $30.00 less than the the Glacier was and only comes in sizes S-2XL, whereas the Glacier Float had come in sizes XS-3XL…they cut back on a size offering.

And the thing that I find most unsetteling? This women’s jacket is described on Clam’s website as being “a simplified version of our popular Ascent Float Suit.” But, wait! The Ascent suit is only offered in their Men’s department. Why exactly is it that the only offering for a women’s ice fishing jacket with floatation assist by Clam, is a SIMPLIFIED version of a man’s style?

And, here it is:

Clam Women's Rise Float Ice Fishing Parka With Features

Clam Women’s Rise Float Ice Fishing Parka With Features

**Clam was one of the companies that did return my email questions. They were very helpful and friendly in their responses and I truly appreciated that. Here is what product support management said when I pointed out the discrepancies in the marketing of the insulation ratings of their jackets,

“I did some checking and it does appear that a typo was made that called out the incorrect grams of insulation on the Glacier Suit. The New Women’s Rise Suit features 150grams of insulation. It should be noted that this suit will gain additional thermal properties from the Motion Float technology as well as the Thermal Snare High Nap Fleece Lining. This suit stands to be the warmest and most comfortable float suit on the market…the Glacier was the last suit where we made what we “believed” was wanted/needed in the category and the Women’s Rise suit is truly a reflection of the features we were asked for by a panel of female anglers. “

Okay, yeah…I called that one for them! They offered me a discount on the new Rise Jacket as thank you. We’ll see though. I am only one season into the last coat, and despite the shortcomings, I was happy enough with it so I’m not sure I am wanting to invest in another quite yet!!

Q&A with Clam

WWMA: Is the women’s Glacier Float Parka discontinued? And if so, why? How long has/was it on the market?

CLAM: Yes, we are constantly innovating and trying to make the best articles for our customers. The Glacier Float Suit was new in 2019.

WWMA: Did you sell out of the Glacier Float Parka last season?

CLAM: Yes, we basically sold out of the suit. They were purchased by both retailers as well as end consumers.

WWMA: What prompted you to create the Women’s Rise Float Parka? Is this the first year it is being offered?

CLAM: With the growing numbers of females getting into ice fishing and sponsoring/working with 2 different women’s fishing organizations we have realized the need. The Women’s Rise Suit was born out of a female angler round table discussion that included female anglers of all ages, and involvement levels, from Professional to the every once in a while angler. The Women’s Rise Suit features many of the attributes that were important to those in attendance that evening.

WWMA: When will it be available for purchase?

CLAM: The Women’s Rise Suit is available now. We are currently awaiting inventory, but it is set to be here any day now, and in retailers very soon.

WWMA: I had noted that the Glacier Float Parka came in sizes XS – 3XL, however the Rise Float Parka is only being offered in sizes S – 2XL. Is this true, and if so, what prompted the decision to cut down on sizes ( i.e. lack of sales in specific sizes from previous years, material costs or shortages)?

CLAM: These things are often determined by sales, and our retailers provide us with forecasts in early spring and we manufacture accordingly. Additionally, the Glacier Suit was a more “form fitting” suit which offered less “wiggle room” when it came to size and fitment. The Women’s Rise Suit is less form fitting and should allow for more in-between sizes options.

WWMA: Are there any other insights you would like to share regarding Clam and ice fishing apparel for women?

CLAM: Nothing too crazy, but just that we are very excited to see so many females of all ages getting into and becoming passionate about ice fishing and fishing in general. We are proud to be working with 2 amazing groups of female anglers. Women Anglers of MN (WAM) & Wisconsin Women Fish. Both of groups have done a tremendous job of introducing females to fishing and provide a platform for driving initiatives in the outdoors that are making a difference for everyone.

WWMA: Do you have plans in the future regarding expanding your selection of ice fishing apparel for women or have you found there isn’t an adequate market to justify expansion

CLAM: As you alluded to, it is still a smaller market, just as is the youth market. We will continue to strive to provide items for folks to get out and enjoy the outdoors and ice fishing and will further engage our customer base in order to be able to provide them with products that they are happy with.Nice! This is happening!!

From what I have seen this is very true. I have also noted the big uptick in recent youth marketing among fishing apparel brands!!!

Great job Clam, Thank you!

I really appreciated the time they took to answer the questions I had posed and offer their insights.

#4- Eskimo Women’s Keeper Jacket

And here’s why:

Eskimo Women's Keeper Ice Fishing Jacket With Features

Eskimo Women’s Keeper Ice Fishing Jacket With Features

Eskimo Brands is one of about twelve brands that fall under a company called Ardisam. Ardisam was founded in the 1960s by three men in the upper Midwest. Their initial products were earth and ice augers. Ardisam now offers innovative, seasonal, outdoor products for hunting, fishing, and growing and raising your own food. Eskimo Brands represents their ice fishing products and offers apparel, shelters, augers, and rods. Their blog post titled “2021-22 New Product Launch” posted in September of 2021, has lots of good information about the company and products. You can access the post here: https://geteskimo.com/blogs/stories/2021-22-new-product-launch .

To be honest, I never ordered this jacket to try on. While it offered more features than the CLAM jacket, the size chart reveals that the sleeves would be the shortest of all the other available jacket brands (other than the FXR which is equivalent.) It wouldn’t be worth it to me to try it out because of this. I saw that the outer polyester shell is thicker than some of the other brands, but it also has a smaller insulation rating (80 gm ) than that of the other brands. I had assumed perhaps that the outer thick shell makes up for the smaller insulation ratings, but I reached out to Eskimo to get to the truth of the matter.

Their informative response to the insulation factor is as follows:

“The short answer is 1+1 doesn’t always equal 2 when it comes to warmth/insulation. One of the largest factors is insulation type. There are hundreds of options when it comes to insulation. We use a very high quality/premium 3m Thinsulate insulation that has a very high warmth rating compared to weight/volume. We also have a very unique Floatation material that is breathable and provides additional insulation value. You have to factor not just grams of insulation, but also insulation type/quality, as well as insulation level that the float material provides when looking at the warmth that one of these suits will provide. To your point, the outer shell material also has a significant impact on this. We send our suits to an independent laboratory for extensive testing and are very happy with the applications/comfort levels that our suits provide. We tend to focus on the combination of breathability and warmth to design a suit that will provide ideal comfort in specific conditions. Insulation, materials, breathability, and moisture management all factor into the overall warmth and comfort of the suit.”

From the sounds of it, the jacket appears to be a good choice, though the selection is minimal with only one color option and only in sizes, S-2XL. Eskimo offers three floatation assist jackets for men and in a greater variety of sizes, but, as I researched further, I have come to believe their selection for women will be expanding in the future. (See the Q&A section further down.)

The fact that Eskimo is a brand represented by a larger company, Ardisam, was very interesting to me and I can’t help but wonder if there is a direct correlation between the greater options being offered by smaller more niche businesses, such as DSG, and the smaller options being offered by larger companies that cover a broader range of interests, outside of fishing, such as Ardisam does.

The Legend Jacket…

**This Fall, Eskimo has added another jacket option with floatation assist for women! This is great news! This model is touted as their warmest offering for women, and the price reflects this. See the description below!

Eskimo Women's Legend Ice Fishing Jacket with Features

Eskimo Women’s Legend Ice Fishing Jacket with Features

I really appreciate and respect Eskimo Brands for taking the time to respond to my email questions. Here is what I learned:

Q&A with Eskimo

WWMA: “Did you sell out of the Keeper Jacket last season? I see it is currently not available to buy. When do you expect it will be available?”

Eskimo: “Much of our apparel did sell through last season. Like most manufacturers, we are affected by many of the logistics challenges in the supply chain this year, but are getting products back in stock daily. We are restocking retailers first, then our website.”

WWMA: “What prompted you to create the Women’s Legend jacket? Is this the first year it is being offered?”

Eskimo: “The Legend was created to add another women’s suit into our lineup with additional features and temperature ranges. The Legend has many of the features that people enjoyed in the Keeper, but with added insulation and a unique dropseat design.”

WWMA: “I had noted that the Keeper Jacket last year came in sizes XS – 2XL, however now, it, as well as the Legend jacket is only being offered in sizes S – 2XL. Is this true, and if so, what prompted the decision to cut down on sizes ( i.e. lack of sales in specific sizes from previous years, material costs or shortages)?”

Eskimo: “Good Catch. Sizing is the same as last year. We did not offer an extra small, it was added to the website in error, but never produced. Unfortunately, it was a website setup glitch that wasn’t corrected until this year.”

WWMA: “Are there any other insights you would like to share regarding Eskimo and ice fishing apparel for women?”

Eskimo: “We have been really pleased with the feedback and consumer response to our women’s apparel. Our attention to detail and our Uplyft Breathable Floatation really help set us apart. We are fortunate to have an amazing design and sourcing team led by Sara, and a Pro Staff with some female anglers that are very in-tune with the market how these products need to be designed and built to be the best. The attention to detail that this team has put in, is 2nd to none.”

WWMA: “Do you have plans in the future regarding expanding your selection of ice fishing apparel for women or have you found there isn’t an adequate market to justify expansion?”

Eskimo: “We will always look for meaningful ways to expand the lineup. Any product suggestions are always appreciated!”

#5- FXR Women’s Excursion Ice Pro Jacket



Last Year's Women's FXR Excursion Ice Pro Fishing Jacket with Features

Last Year’s Women’s FXR Excursion Ice Pro Fishing Jacket with Features

FXR Women’s “Last Years’ Excursion Ice Pro Jacket $208.25

FXR was founded by Milt Reimer in Manitoba, Canada. His primary focus was high-performance snow rider wear. The company continued to expand into their snow categories as well as moto, a race division, and fish.

I had originally stumbled upon FXR by accident. It had come up under my searches for flotation assist but not necessarily geared towards fishing. When I looked at the jackets last winter, I didn’t see many of the features offered by the other brands such as D-Rings for gear or Line Cutterz®. But, what I did see, was a women’s coat that has warmth and floatation-assist, as well as some other features, as shown above. This makes it worthy of a mention. The sizing chart is similar to the Eskimo jacket and because of this, I knew the sleeves would be way too short for me. And, without the side ventilation I hoped for, I decided not to give it a try.

**This season, FXR added a Pro Fish category to their website. The Excursion jacket is listed in this category. They have also upgraded their Excursion Ice Pro Jacket. It has all of the features listed above but the insulation has increased to 10,000 mm/8,000g/m2. I noticed the reflective elements are larger and it also looks like there are some D rings for gear! I’m liking the looks of this. It’s pretty crazy how some D rings can suddenly make this jacket seem worthy of fishing! Little things that add up big- now if only some side ventilation!. I also like the basic color and graphic design. Simple with a splash of femininity. This jacket comes black with pink lettering, and grey with black lettering. I LOVE the looks of this. The new price is $264.99

I wanted to include this following choice as well by FXR even though it doesn’t look as utilitarian. It deserves mention for its floatation assist and warmth factors. It has a warmer rating (A 10) than their Excursion Ice Pro Jacket (A 8). Here are the details:


Women Svalbard Parka Size 6-16 in Black/Gray, Black/Charcoal, or Charcoal

HydrX™ – 5,000mm/5,000g/m² • Shell – durable polyester shell with HydrX™ laminate • Lining – FXR embossed nylon taffeta lining with Sherpa fleece back panel and hood lining • Insulation – 290g combined F.A.S.T.™ / FXR Thermal Flex™ insulation value

FXR has quite a bit to offer this year with the addition of their Ice Pro section and three flotation assist coat styles and multiple color combination for women. I like that the Excursion jacket has had some modifications that put it into an ice fishing category. As FXR builds and perfects their Ice Pro selections, I wouldn’t be surprised if next year they become a top choice!

FXR did not respond to the questions I posed through email. You can visit their website here: https://fxrracing.com/collections/womens-profish

Further insights…

And the word is Demographics! WHO are these companies speaking to?

This could be a whole other post, so I am only going to touch upon it briefly.

While trying to fall asleep last night, a thought that had been a ghosty thing at the back of my mind this whole time came to the surface. I realized I had been so focused on fit and sleeve length that I did not fully acknowledge the question of which brand/s of clothing do I identify with?

And this is HUGE. Millions of dollars are spent in marketing by companies every year, trying to hit upon the right demographics for their product. Because my size is not average, I was willing to sacrifice important things that I wanted in my coat and bibs in exchange for proper fit.

But let’s say my physique was different, and that I did fall into an “average” women’s size 8. This fact would open more options, making each of the five brands I have reviewed good a possibility to buy. Which brand would I align myself with?

The majority of the brands discussed in this post, market heavily towards men, with a smaller portion dedicated to women. The exception of this observation is DSG, which markets solely towards women with some youth offerings. This could be why their brand was most appealing to me. With their unique focus, they seem to understand what women want in their fishing apparel. DSG has applied a young face to their marketing platforms and most of their brand ambassadors are noticeably young women. It would be great to see some more mature women representing their brand as well!

Striker Brands and Clam, do a better job representing a more diverse age group. In fact, Striker’s website really gives the sport of ice fishing a family feel. Eskimo, though not as elaborately, does the same. FXR is pretty mid-range, their Instagram shows a fair amount of women anglers! As far as ethnic diversity? Well, that is almost nonexistent in all the brands.

I am aware that tons of resources go into studying marketing demographics and that companies need to target those that show the greatest possibility of converting to a customer. I really wish the companies spoke to a larger demographic though! I do believe that is coming. I see that the momentum for fishing, ice fishing, is accelerating, and these companies are cautiously trying to keep pace. I believe the five companies I have discussed in this post are on the leading edge of this growth and I am expecting even greater things to come!

What did I learn?

Well, other than a confirmation of just how persistent I am, I learned that there is some really nice, high-quality clothing out there for women who love to ice fish and want to stay warm and dry while doing so. However, the choices are still pretty slim, especially when compared to the offerings for men. There is definitely room for more.

I also learned that here, in New Hampshire, the sporting goods stores near me don’t sell women’s ice fishing clothes.

I live close to a Bass Pro and a Dick’s Sporting Goods store and it wasn’t that they were out of stock of women’s ice fishing clothes, it was that they only sell the women’s ice clothing online. How is this? How can this possibly make sense? This is New Hampshire, after all. Here in the Live Free or Die state we are known for our gorgeous Lakes Region and our beautiful winters. New Hampshire has almost 1000 public lakes and ponds according to the NH Department of Environmental Services. In fact, 1/16th of NH is covered by water. That’s a lot of water, and quite a bit of ice. I can’t possibly be the only female here looking for ice fishing clothes designed for women, can I? All of my purchases took so much time and effort to research and locate and find the right fit. All of this for one jacket and one set of bibs. I just had to share my information here, it would seem a waste not to do so.

I have to say that I was very happy with my DSG Avid Bibs and CLAM Ice Armor Glacier Float Parka last ice season. I stayed extremely warm, dry, and comfortable in both. While I had not fallen completely through the ice to remark on the floatation capabilities, I did have one leg go through the ice all the way up to my hip. My Kamik boot took on a tiny bit of water, but the DSG Bibs kept my leg dry and I felt kind of calm knowing that if I did go all the way through, I would stay buoyant. I love the bibs, not a complaint! However, I have to say, I feel like I had to settle a bit on the jacket, fit versus function. The Clam jacket does the job, very true, but it is a pretty basic jacket compared to some other options out there. I could have easily done without the inside plastic waterproof phone pouch, in exchange for some side ventilation zippers and wrist gators. These additions would make the jacket even more comfortable and functional. Overall, I definitely give Clam credit though because in the long run, when all the fishing had been had, the warmth, comfort, mobility, and sleeve length were priceless to me!




After this experience, I am even happier to see change accelerating. Emerging and/or growing women-run businesses are advocating for women who love to fish. They are advocating for us through many means, including fashion and social awareness. They are representing the voices of those like me who often feel they are invisible in a world that does not recognize the Artemis that lies within us. We are the Goddesses of fishing and the hunt. We deserve the recognition that we exist, and that we play an important role in both the recreational and commercial fishing industry. The fashion and apparel industry needs to keep pace, and someday I plan to be a part of that. This story was more than just about buying a jacket to me.



Best of luck to all of you on the upcoming hard water season! I can’t wait!









COMPARISON SIZE CHARTS



 

DSG



huntingandfishingsizechart-new-resize.jpg

DSG Jacket Size Chart




 

Striker



Striker Brand Size Chart




 

CLAM



Clam Size Chart




 

Eskimo



Women's Keeper Jacket

Eskimo Brand Size Chart




 

FXR



FXR Size Chart


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