Cabela’s is very proud of its Guidewear line of fishing gear — and for good reason: The company seems to be reinvigorating its overall Cabela’s-branded products more than ever before, and the results are particularly impressive in its high-end Guidewear lineup.
The company sent us a set of its newly updated Guidewear Advance Parka and Bibs with GORE-TEX to test out, and wow. It is seriously great rainwear.
It’s designed to handle big water fishing from boats, basically anywhere there is a lot of horizontal spray and the chance for soaking drizzles or hammering rain and wind. I thought I was going to be able to take the Guidewear steelhead fishing in Idaho, but a series of unfortunate events stalled two trips and the third had beautiful blue skies.
Consequently, I don’t yet have a truly nasty day under my belt with this gear, but wearing it out and about in light rain has made a few things clear enough to share, namely this rainwear is super durable and outstandingly well thought out. If you’re thinking of investing in rain gear that will last hundreds of outings and be functional along the way, take a look at the Cabela’s Guidewear Advance series.
Of course, we’ll pack the gear for some bad-weather days in the future and update accordingly, but if you want a closer look right now, read on!
Cabela’s Guidewear Advance Parka & Bibs Review: First Impressions
Like I said, the new 2017 Cabela’s rain gear is awesome, but it comes with a bit of history — Cabela’s has been making its own branded rain gear for years. I barely mentioned the Cabela’s Guidewear Advance Parka and Bibs to a jet-boating buddy, and before I had a chance to say much else, he said, “Oh yeah, I bought some Guidewear a few years ago, and it’s bomber, man.”
Fast forward to today, and the overall construction is solid and seam-sealed. For waterproofing with breathability, it uses GORE-TEX, which in our experience, still tends to breathe a bit better than most other waterproof breathable materials. All this really means is that you’re a little less likely to get clammy from your own water vapor. To help you dump heat, Cabela’s worked in big pit zips with waterproof zippers. A lot of companies that make rain gear skip the pit zips, but we’re big fans — they just elevate the versatility of your rain gear to help you handle more situations. Sure, it’s another possible point of entry for water, but in our experience, pit zips are worth having.
Of course, tough rainwear is thicker than the best lightweight backpacking or hunting rain gear, so my first concern was whether the Guidewear Advance would feel too stiff, particularly in the arms because the sleeves have neoprene cuffs to block water from sliding down your arms. Surprisingly, the Guidewear Advance Parka feels more limber than it really is, and that’s due to the construction: Cabela’s built in articulated elbows that let your arms move around without sliding against the sleeves themselves. Very fishable. In addition, they’re long enough that you can raise your arms above your shoulders and not have the sleeves slide up your arms. You could probably do jumping jacks in this parka — the shoulder and arm fit is that good.
And what about those neoprene cuffs? Perfect for fishing. If you’re releasing big fish with care, at least when you’re wade fishing, water has a tendency to get into your cuffs and then slide down your sleeves. Never again with the Guidewear Advance Parka.
As for the overall fit, I wear an XL Tall, and I think the fit is spot on. It’s definitely roomy for layering, so if you’re going to be in a warmer environment, you could likely size down to good effect. For cold weather, stick with your usual size.
Cabela’s Guidewear Advance Parka & Bibs Review: The Details
Let’s start with the fantastic zippers. In other gear, we hate little lightweight zippers that are hard to use in the dark or with gloves. The Cabela’s Guidewear Advance zippers are burly and awesome. The chest pockets and hand pockets have zipper pulls that work well — but also look fantastic. Seriously, I’m gushing over zippers here. The point is, Cabela’s has paid attention to details, and we appreciate that. They even include a microfiber lens cloth that snaps into the chest pockets.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty of other pockets, including a reinforced pocket for your pliers.
The hood is big and adjustable and has vents to release heat. The parka has a somewhat separate and relatively high collar, which lets you button up for bad rain or horizontal splash.
Cabela’s has also worked in some reflective piping and details that shine in low-light situations for safety. There’s even a D-ring at the bottom that you can use to attach to your boat’s kill switch — that’s not the kind of weather we like to fish in, but hey, Cabela’s was clearly thinking through it for those who do.
As for the bibs, they were not an afterthought: The suspenders feature quick-release swivel buckles as well as a rubberized texture to help them stay put on your shoulders. The bibs also get a dedicated reinforced pliers pocket. The legs have articulated knees, which eases kneeling and sitting. They also use waterproof zippers that unzip to your thighs for easy on and off, and the main zipper is a two-way zipper so you don’t have to unzip from the top down when you need to pee in the rain. Details, like I said.
All-in-all, the Cabela’s Guidewear Advance Parka and Bibs combination is rainwear that was designed specifically for fishing. You get excellent coverage, durable materials, and well-thought through design elements. In addition, Cabela’s makes some Guidewear gloves that round out the system. It’s all very usable, and the initial quality is through the roof. Put it on and you won’t doubt that it will last through hundreds of outings. If you have never had really great rain gear, the Cabela’s Guidewear Advance line will open your eyes.
Oh, one more thing: The “shark” color, which is a design of dark grays and black, is truly fantastic — and it looks amazing with the red accents.