Reed Chillcheater Storm Jacket & Trousers- A Review

When it comes to clothing, it would be fair to say I’m more Primark than Armani. But that’s day to day wear and the kit I take to the coast is a different matter altogether. Protecting yourself against the elements is essential for good angling and if you’re cold wet and miserable, your enthusiasm will rapidly spiral and your catch rate will go south. Fishing apparel really is a case of function over fashion, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be stylish. 

Having worn Reed base layers for the best part of two decades, I was more than aware of this Devon based brand that specialises in outdoor wet weather kit for the kayak angler and those generally using the open coast as their playground. And you did read that right- made right here in good old Blighty. The base layers are superb and form the foundation of my layer system to combat the cold. But when the rain sets in, waves are cascading over the rocks and salt spray is smacking you in the mouth on a dark January night, a solid waterproof out layer is an absolute must. 

When I first set eyes on the Reed Chillcheater Storm Jacket and Trousers, it had the appearance of no sea angling attire I’d seen before. Constructed from British made fully waterproof and windproof Aqua-Therm material that is stitched and taped, it really does look industrial. Think traditional oil skins, but not as heavy, yet seemingly super-tough and backed by a soft feel fleece fabric.

But it was trying on the gear that was a true revelation and it was clear that there was a big difference between this gear and that stuff manufactured in the far east that is often made to generic Chinese sizes. This Reed Chillcheater kit could have been tailored! The cut was exceptional and for me, that’s one of my first asks for when perusing the minefield of clothing available to the sea angler. Being able to walk, cast and climb without feeling you’re in a straight jacket is so important. Wet weather gear should never feel intrusive or restrictive and both the jacket and trousers felt extremely comfortable. I could fully extend my arms without the jacket riding up, there were no pinchy spots and that fleece backing didn’t catch on my other clothing. The taped seems, which initially stood out, actually show the level of workmanship that goes in to this kit and appeared to offer greater protection against the elements.

Happy with the fit on both the jacket and the trousers, it was time to head out in to the field and do my best to get wet. Thankfully, rain has not been in short supply and over the last few weeks I can’t recall a day’s fishing in anything other than heavy rain.

Both garments have done exactly what they say on the tin and as well as keeping me bone dry, there really are some superb extra touches that are oh-so welcome on the beach. First up, the quarter front zip on the smock can be pulled all the way up so as to expose just your nose and eyes, if need be, meaning that driving rain can’t get in around your neck. This an area where many waterproofs seem to fail.

The large front pocket is fully waterproof and has kept my phone bone dry. Snug hand warmer pockets on both the jacket and trousers are ultra comfy, thanks to the fleece lining and are positioned exactly where you’d want them. The jacket cuffs don’t get in the way when casting in the reel down position- something that many other garments suffer from. The jacket hood features a wire that can be manipulated to form the desired shape, especially useful if you’re wearing a head torch or a cap. The hood also features an adjustable strap so that the hood coverage can also be adjusted to suit.  The trousers would be better named ‘bib & brace’, as they sit high on the chest preventing a draft from getting up your back. Elasticated straps absorb movement and stretch when bending, again preventing the trousers from digging in where they shouldn’t.

The ankle fit is secured by Velcro fasteners ensuring that they can be all-but sealed against boots. And they are tight, but in a good way. This ensures no water can make its way in from bottom to top. Reflective strips compliment the smock and ensure that if you were to end up in the water, your rescuers would be able to spot you in the dark. The outer is not only waterproof and windproof, but it’s also wipe clean, This is especially useful to anyone fishing in the mud. In fact, my first outing in the reed kit was fishing in knee deep mud, but my next session fishing from the rocks in heavy rain saw the mud from that previous session rinsed away in no time.

I can only report as I find, but it’s a case of so far so good with both the Reed Chillcheater Storm jacket and Trousers. It’s tough, yet not overly heavy, resilient and functional but stylish with it. It’s clear to see that a lot of time and effort has been put in to getting this kit right. The cut is perfect for the mobile sea angler and the resilience that it offers really is second to none.

One thought on “Reed Chillcheater Storm Jacket & Trousers- A Review

  1. Ian says:

    I purchased a Chilleater Storm jacket just after they became available and have to completely agree it has a more rugged, ocean workwear look and feel to it than most fishing clothing . The soft flexible material allows for a comfortable fit on pretty much any shape or size and doesn’t hamper movement in the way many heavy PVC outer layers do.
    It’s a well thought out and quality jacket but I’ve one complaint…… the zip….

    Though it’s plainly well thought out and carries design intended to keep seagoing workers dry under a pounding of rain,sea or both sadly mine went very stiff and notchy within a few months. In the absence of any info on maintaining the zip I reverted to the internet and found several products available as well as the old tried and tested home remedies. Sadly mine was too far gone and despite application of one specifically purposed product the zipper had become so stiff it lost the ability to fasten several teeth from lower down and is no longer able to be zipped up.

    So it’s an open necked smock now…. I do still wear it but it’s as a top layer for warmth if I’m pretty sure it’s not going to heave down on me while fishing. Bit sad really, unfortunately it managed just over 12 months so there was nothing to be done but write it off & move on as the zip doesn’t appear replaceable with any domestic sewing facilities. If I’d got it in Autumn I’d maybe have seen the zip going sooner over winter but having got it in spring it was 6-8 months before it got any serious work in. I’ve since seen a red Chilleater Jacket and the owner’s zip is tip top at near 2 years of age so not entirely sure why mine went the way it did, maybe if I’d had some ‘product’ on hand from day 1 it’d have prolonged its life

    I’d probably consider another but I’d be very attentive to the zip, I’ve had many cheaper jackets and though the Reed beats them hands down on material quality and finish the zip for me was a disappointment, especially as it looked a professional thing, almost like a kayaking zip ….. it just went home too quickly for the amount of times it was used …

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