Fishing Season is upon us! Depending on where you’re located in the US, you are either getting geared up or already on the water. Many anglers focus on tying flies, swapping out old lines, waxing ferrules, and organizing fly boxes. However, your clothing is equally important and should receive a little attention too. Spring and early summer offer some of the best fishing of the year in both fresh and saltwater, and being comfortable makes a huge difference. With all the new fabrics and technologies out there right now, you have plenty to choose from.
As it warms up and we venture to our favorite spring fishing spots, we will undoubtedly encounter insects. Mosquitoes, gnats, and ticks are all up and moving this time of year and keeping them from biting is a priority of mine. But at the very top of the list are ticks. Having seen the severe effects of Lyme Disease firsthand, I cannot impress upon you enough how important insect protection is. And of course even if you are venturing to tropical climates, Zika and West Nile are no joke either. I highly recommend protecting yourself - and the Simms BugStopper Hoody is an easy and effective way of doing that.
Managing Insects: Repellents and Insecticides
The Simms BugStopper Hoody uses InsectShield technology. InsectShield is a company that specializes in applying Permethrin to clothing. Their patented process applies a synthetically manufactured solution derived from the Chrysanthemum flower (Permethrin) deep within the fabric. This ensures that the BugStopper Hoody will remain repellent for the life for the garment. Even after the hoody has been washed over and over, it will remain as effective as the first day it was first worn, meaning that you will never need to re-treat (a huge plus). What’s more, Permethrin has no odor and will not stain any other clothing that it comes in contact with. Lastly, Permethrin is also non-toxic to humans - our bodies can break it down and and it doesn’t cause any ill effects (in contrast, DEET, a popular insect repellant, has long been associated with negative effects on humans). Add it all up, and it’s a pretty compelling case to reach for Permethrin treated clothing - that’s what I choose to wear every season.
There is one important footnote here, however: Permethrin is not an insect repellant - it is an insecticide. This solution is designed to kill bugs moments after contact before they have the chance to bite you. This is certainly effective for flying insects and will keep you from being bitten as it takes a Mosquito or Gnat a little time to find and place to bite. But Permethrin is also very effective on ticks, which can spend hours on the body before finding a spot to attach themselves. This is why Permethrin is especially helpful for avoiding ticks and all of the dangers that come with them. And it’s also what makes the Simms BugStopper Hoody a useful piece of kit.
The Standard vs The Solarflex
The Simms BugStopper Hoody comes in two variations: the Standard and the SolarFlex. The main differences between the two are the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating and breathability. The standard BugStopper Hoody is rated at 30 UPF, plenty strong for the Northern Latitudes, and is also constructed of a slightly thicker fabric. Despite the increased thickness it is remarkably breathable and wicks moisture really well, plenty for a hot summer day. In short, the standard is good “all-arounder”, a hoody that will keep you comfortable in a wide variety of situations.
The Simms SolarFlex Hoody on the other hand is lighter, constructed of a thinner material, and clearly designed for tropical climates where maximum breathability is paramount. Ultra-fast wicking and drying fabric means that you will remain comfortable all day long under the hot tropical sun. The fabric here is identical to Simms other SolarFlex shirts so if you are familiar with that product line, it is the same material. The UPF rating of the SolarFlex is also higher. The SolarFlex is rated at Simms’ standard 50 UPF which will give you the maximum sun protection that Simms provides.
Fit, Comfort, and Features
Both the Simms BugStopper and SolarFlex BugStopper Hoodies are incredibly comfortable. No surprise here. There are no raised seams to chafe the body. There is a sewn tag on the back of the collar but I barely felt it on the back of my neck. It is small and should not cause any discomfort. Both hoodies hang nicely on the body and offer unrestricted motion. I did feel a little pull when I brought my arms together but because these hoodies have a lot of stretch it was by no means an issue. This was slightly more pronounced in the standard BugStopper due to the thicker fabric but again, not something that I found to be an issue. They both have plenty of give.
Sizing can be tough with Simms. If you have Simms gear, you know what I’m talking about. I have found over the years that I fluctuate between a medium and large depending on the item. The Simms SolarFlex Hoody is true to size - stick with your normal size for this one, and avoid the temptation to size things up. The length is perfect, slightly below the belt and the sleeves were perfect, falling right at the thumb knuckle. The hoodies are not too baggy or tight in any way. They fit just right.
I have always been skeptical of hoods in general. Whether it’s a jacket or a hoody I find that when you don’t need them they often get in the way or flop around. I’m either constantly pushing them out of the way or adjusting them. Then when I actually do need it it’s either too big, too small, or not easily adjusted. When I first tried on the Simms BugStopper Hoody I was expecting a similar experience. But I was pleasantly surprised! The hood is not cumbersome at all. It falls nicely behind your neck and is barely noticeable when not in use - it will easily allow you to wear a neck gator comfortably. The size of the hoody is also great. It is not too large or long in any way. It will fit nicely over your hat and not hang down obstructing your view. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised and, despite being a skeptic initially, I would say that the hoody is a very nice feature.
Conclusion: A Good All-Around Hoody and the Bug Protection is Worth It
So all in all, this a well-designed and practical product from Simms. Perfectly executed, the Simms BugStopper Hoody and Simms SolarFlex BugStopper Hoody are both great options as you gear up for spring. The InsectShield technology is an added benefit that should not be overlooked. Keeping yourself protected and healthy this season means more days on the water. And at $69.95, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. The BugStopper makes insect control as easy as it can possibly be. No sprays, no smelly chemicals, no “I left the bug juice in the car”. Just throw on the BugStopper and head out.