The Cabela’s Rain Suede Packable Parka and Pants are one of the best camouflage rain gear options for hunters available today. They’re not perfect for every situation, but the Cabela’s Rain Suede lineup has a lot of great features that combine to make them must-have gear.
Let’s take a closer look.
Cabela’s Rain Suede Review: Camo Patterns
One problem with typical rain gear for hunting is the availability of camo patterns. Sometimes you can find a great jacket but the camo pattern doesn’t play well with your hunting environment. If the camo pattern doesn’t work, all the other features are pretty much irrelevant.
The Cabela’s Rain Suede line is offered in several camo patterns depending on sizing and piece: Cabela’s Zonz Western, Zonz Woodlands, Mossy Oak Break-Up Country, Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity, and Realtree XTRA.
This means there is a good chance that one of these patterns will fit your needs.
Cabela’s Rain Suede Review: Breathability
Because hunting is often an active endeavor, you’re going to be generating body heat and releasing a lot of water vapor — if not outright sweating. If your rain jacket is, say, made of plastic or rubber, which is not breathable, you could shed 100% of the outside water but still end up wet. How? Your sweat and released water vapor will get trapped underneath your jacket. A lot of guys think their rain gear is leaking when this happens, but often it’s just a build up of sweat and water vapor that hasn’t made it through a breathable barrier.
These membranes release water vapor, which is fantastic, but hunters should understand that at any time they start working heavily, ramping up their body heat and sweating, they can overwhelm the ability of any waterproof breathable membrane to shed as much moisture as their own body is producing. You can wear wicking base layers, of course, but still — if you’re climbing up a mountain, you should understand that you’ll be fighting moisture from the outside and from the inside, too.
The Cabela’s 4MOST DRY-PLUS membrane seems to work pretty well. I try not to put myself in situations where I’m sweating heavily underneath my rain gear, but I’ve been able to be reasonably active without getting too humid underneath the parka and pants. One more note, the Rain Suede Parka and Pants are not completely windproof — so for cold season use, you’ll want a warm base layer.
Cabela’s Rain Suede Review: Noise
One of the most challenging problems with rain gear for hunting is noise. There are three kinds of noise hunters need to know about:
- the sound the fabric makes when rain falls upon it
- the sound the fabric makes against itself and you as you move
- the sound the fabric makes when brush or twigs scrape against it
When the rain is falling hard, it’s noisy on leaves and on the ground, so adding to that noise by wearing most any traditional nylon-type rain jacket isn’t that big of a deal in many situations.
If the rain jacket makes a lot of noise as you move, that’s a problem as you’re trying to sneak in. This is more of an issue for bow hunters than rifle hunters, but the fear of noise is sometimes overrated — once animals are close enough to hear such noise, a hunter’s biggest issue is usually any visible movement.
To me, the most annoying noise from rain gear comes from branches scraping against it — if it’s too loud, that’s a problem. If it’s too unnatural sounding, that’s a worse problem.
The Cabela’s Rain Suede is quiet — not silent — but it seems to do pretty well with scraping brush. Cabela’s uses a external soft layer of “Evolution” fabric. It’s not as silent I had hoped, but overall, it’s a lot quieter than my backpacking rain jackets and pants, which are made of nylon-type materials.
Cabela’s Rain Suede Review: Sizing and Weight
One of my pet peeves for rain gear is sizing. Tall guys often find the sleeves are too short, which forces them to size up, which in turn results in a lot of extra fabric around their midsections. Fortunately, Cabela’s Rain Suede comes in both Regular and Tall versions, which means you’re less likely to get shorted if you’re a tall guy. (Most brands fail to offer tall sizing options in rain gear, so Cabela’s earns bonus points here.)
As for cut, the Cabela’s Rain Suede Packable Parka and Pants are both generously sized so that you can layer underneath. I normally wear an XL upper, and the XL Tall is plenty big and long. In fact, even though I typically wear an XL pant, too, I can layer a size Large Tall pant over lightweight hunting pants and get around all right. If you plan to use these for early season hunting and have a thin or athletic build, you could likely size down from your usual size for a snugger fit. For maximum flexibility, stick with your usual size and they’ll be ready for any colder weather layering needs.
Of course, you should know that Cabela’s calls its Rain Suede a Parka and not a jacket — and for good reason. The Rain Suede Parka and Pants are not lightweight rain gear. Remember, instead of an ultralight type of nylon, Cabela’s uses its Evolution fabric, which provides a quiet and durable layer. If you hunt in the trees and brush, you’ll appreciate this extra layer of durability. So, what we have here is a jacket with the cut and durability of a parka . . . but which also has the breathability of a lightweight rain jacket. Consequently, it does not have the insulating properties of what most people think of when they hear “parka.”
In addition, the rain gear uses an interior moisture-wicking mesh layer, which keeps your skin or base layers off of the waterproof fabric itself. This also keeps your bare arms from feeling clammy if you’re wearing a short-sleeve shirt, for example, under the jacket.
Cabela’s Rain Suede Review: Overall Design
The Cabela’s Rain Suede Packable Parka is far more functional than I was expecting. First, let’s talk zippers. The front zipper is a large, easy-to-use zipper, which I appreciate greatly. Fussy and tight waterproof zippers are effective, but annoying. So this front zipper is not waterproof, but it does have a good waterproof storm flap that covers and buttons over it. This is a usability choice over a sheer waterproof choice, and I prefer the usability.
The one chest and two hand pockets have similar flaps to shed water. Again, not perfectly 100% waterproof, but they remain usable.
To keep out bottom drafts, there is a drawcord at the hem. The hood is plenty big, with room for a stocking cap or baseball cap. It also has an adjustable draw cord to help make sure you can pull it back so it doesn’t obscure too much of your vision — but still reap the rain-shedding benefits.
The pants have belt loops as well as suspender loops. They use the same slash-pocket style as the jacket, and the burly knee-length zippers let you pull these pants on and off easily. I can get them over a pair of hiking style hunting boots — but not over my winter boots. (I wear a size 14, so your experience may vary.)
Both the parka and pants fold into their own built-in pockets, making these easy to stash in a hunting pack.
Overall construction is excellent.
The stitching and materials are tough. With other, lighter rain gear, I avoid going through brush. With the Cabela’s Rain Suede system, it’s far less of a concern, but I still avoid thorns and blackberry brush as much as possible. And you’ll pick up some of the more aggressive burrs, which is a tradeoff for the quieter fabric layer.
Cabela’s Rain Suede Review: Recommendations
For warmer early-season use in September, the recommendation gets a little trickier: It depends on your elevation and terrain and distance. If you’re going to get socked in with all-day rain, you could layer and be fine — or even strip down to your underwear and just wear the pants with the jacket over a single base layer. Remember the mesh? It’s comfortable on bare skin. So, the Rain Suede is a flexible option, but I would be torn between taking it vs something lighter and thinner, like Cabela’s Space Rain Full-Zip Jacket. My rule of thumb is this: If you’re packing in on foot over multiple hard miles, error toward a lighter rain jacket and pants just to save the weight. For most everything else, it’s hard to go wrong with the Rain Suede Parka and Pants.
All-in-all, the Cabela’s Rain Suede Packable Parka and Pants offer multiple camo patterns, a relatively quiet waterproof experience, and a strong and useable overall design. Cabela’s has created an excellent system that packs down small, is totally wearable, and has the potential to keep you hunting longer — no matter the weather.
Get the Gear:
- Cabela’s Rain Suede Packable Parka
- Cabela’s Rain Suede Packable Pants
- Cabela’s Space Rain Full-Zip Jacket
- Cabela’s Space Rain Pants
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