LL Bean Pocket Water Jacket

  • By: Ted Leeson

By using a trio of fabrics to target specific functions, L.L. Bean has produced one of the more interesting, angling-specific jackets I’ve seen. Designed to be worn under chest waders, the Pocket Water is fashioned from fleece for warmth; the chest, shoulders and arms are faced in a wind- and water-resistant softshell fabric, offering weather protection to exactly those parts of the body not protected by waders. But the most unusual features are the sleeves.

A stretchy, waterproof cuff secures around the wrist with a strap to form a gasket-type seal, like you find on some wading jackets. And the sleeves of the Pocket Water, from the cuff to the elbow, are fully waterproof,
with waterproof taped seams. You can reach into the water and submerge your forearm to release a fish, or for some of us, unsnag a fly. The jacket sleeve stays dry and so does your clothing underneath.

I had a chance to field-test this jacket for a few days, and it functioned remarkably well, sealing out water during the brief immersions that are often part of a day’s fishing. The shell was comfortably warm on chilly days and admirably stretchy for good arm and upper body mobility. This is a smart use of materials and a highly practical design at a very reasonable price, $99; www.llbean.com