By: Chris Leonard
If you have spent any time looking at ice fishing clothing in your favorite sporting goods store, you know that there are a lot of choices! With so many options in price, appearance and performance, how do you narrow it down to the best ice fishing suit for your needs?
Let’s make it easy by looking at the top three things you should consider when choosing an ice fishing suit:
Ice Fishing Suit Safety
The worst-case ice fishing scenario is breaking through. If this happens, it’s critical that the clothing you’re wearing will give you the best possible chance of survival. Look for a suit that is actually certified by the U.S. Coast Guard – not just advertised as “floating” – to provide you with the extended buoyancy and additional time you may need to rescue yourself. The Frabill I-Float jacket is the only flotation-assisting ice fishing jacket on the market to be recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard as a USCG Certified Personal Flotation Device.
Learn more about floating suits in this blog, “Why You Need a Floating Ice Fishing Suit.”
Just as critical as wearing the right apparel is having a level head and knowing what to do after breaking through. Every Frabill I-Series jacket and bib has an internal label with the fundamental – and essential – steps to self-rescue.
The most important ice safety equipment is a good set of ice picks. Picks give you the traction to pull yourself back up on top of the ice. Frabill includes a free set of ice picks with every jacket and pick holsters in every jacket and bib to ensure that they are out of your way when fishing, but right where you need them in an emergency.
You know the steps of self-rescue, you have your picks, now you need the strength to pull yourself back on top of the ice. While submerged, jackets and bibs fill up with water. This requires the strength to pull yourself up, plus the additional weight of the water trapped in your suit. With this dangerous challenge in mind, Frabill I-Series includes drainage mesh at the bottom of jackets, bibs, and sleeve cuffs. This system allows the water to rapidly exit the suit as you are pulling yourself back up onto the ice, drastically reducing the additional water weight.
Ice Fishing Suit Ergonomics
Merriam-Webster defines ergonomics as “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.” As this applies to ice fishing suits, think about more comfort and less fatigue. Look for:
- Pre-curved sleeves and knees that match the shape of your body
- Bib straps that stretch as you move
- Thick knee padding
Ergonomic design has been a cornerstone of Frabill ice apparel since day one. Try on any apparel with the Frabill logo and you’ll feel the difference.
Ice Fishing Suit Quality
Benjamin Franklin famously said, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” He was right. Look for technology leaders and companies that you know and trust. Frabill has provided anglers with trusted gear since 1938, and they continue to provide the best in quality:
- 3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation and 3M™ Scotchlight™ Reflective Material for uncompromising warmth and nighttime visibility
- High performance nylon shell fabrics that withstand a minimum of 14 psi of water pressure (10,000mm). As a point of reference, a hard driving rain exerts about 2 psi of pressure (1400mm).
- Wear areas fortified with rugged 500 denier CORDURA® Brand fabric
Always try on some options and talk to others about the features that they like (or don’t like) in their ice fishing suits. But considering safety, ergonomics and quality should get you into the best suit for your ice fishing success!
Learn more about Frabill’s complete line of ice fishing gear at frabill.com.