AFTCO Hydronaut Rain Gear Review

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In my profession, I have had the luxury of testing out much of the best equipment bass fishing has to offer. It’s a privilege I’ve taken for granted at times, especially in years past. An attitude of gratitude is life changing, or perhaps it comes by way of having your life changed. Either way, I’m more grateful now in life than ever before, by the Grace of God. That spills over into an overwhelming sense of gratitude that my job is getting to test fishing gear for a living.

All that being said, what I do has afforded me the opportunity to test out some great foul weather gear in recent years. Prior to my career path, I already had a quarter century of trial and error with rain gear to build on from my experience growing up fishing. In all my 37 years, I’ve never found a rain suit that I like more than the AFTCO Hydronaut Heavy Duty Waterproof Jacket and Bibs.




AFTCO Hydronaut Rain Suit


I’ve had this suit now for maybe a year and a half. I received it (along with a lot of other AFTCO gear) from B.A.S.S. to wear while doing freelance work for them in the past, since AFTCO was and is their official clothing sponsor. I am grateful that the suit was gifted to me, as it runs around $500. I always like to be transparent when giving reviews on high-end products.

That said, I’ve been really pleased with this suit and believe, in comparison to what else is out there for the money, it’s a good deal. I’ve worn this suit throughout the year, with the ideal wear-time starting in the fall and going all the way through the spring.

Admittedly, I have not fished through a torrential downpour in it. However, I have worn it in wet conditions and it held up well. I’m cautiously optimistic as to how it would perform in an all-out flood; my dad recently wore another model of the AFTCO rain gear through a day-long soaker and he reported that it performed great.

I have, however, had a lot of experience wearing this suit in cold weather. Though it’s certainly light enough to wear in warmer conditions, the cold is where it has really stood out for me. The suit I have isn’t insulated, (AFTCO does offer this same suit in an insulated version) but I prefer the uninsulated rain suits because they can be worn in a wider range of conditions. Even without the insulation, this suit pairs perfectly with my favorite hoodie for the cold, so I can layer up in the winter for the brutal sub-freezing morning runs and then peel layers off as the day warms up.

AFTCO Hydronaut Rain Suit


Likely my favorite feature of the bibs is that they have more of a full back and chest, as compared to suspender type bibs that have overall straps. The back has a mesh section at the top for heat to escape as it rises, which helps prevent sweating. One of the most miserable things with a lot of rain suits is the gap that forms between the jacket and the pants when you sit down to drive the boat. Rain and wind can easily enter through this gap in other suits, making for long cold runs and long cold days of fishing.

The AFTCO Hydronaut Heavy Duty Waterproof Bibs come up over the chest and back, creating coverage that overlaps well with the jacket, even when seated. This is probably my favorite thing about this rain suit— it’s overall coverage to keep the cold out, while still having the vented, mesh upper back section to let heat out. This combination does a much better job of keeping my core warm and dry than any other suit I’ve worn.

AFTCO Hydronaut Rain Suit


I really like pockets, especially on rain and foul weather gear. I like having multiple pockets for storing things like my phone, fishing gloves, HotHands, neck gaiter and a pack or two of soft plastics. Throughout the bibs and jacket, there are 9 pockets: five zippered and two velcro on the jacket as well as one velcro and one zippered on the bibs.

Having two outer pockets on the chest of the jacket and one on the chest of the bibs is great for phone storage options, whether I have the jacket on or I have peeled it off to expose just the bibs over my hoodie. The big velcro pockets on the lower sides of the jacket are great for storing soft plastics, wacky tools, etc., as is the velcro pocket on the thigh of the bibs. There’s even an interior zippered pocket on the chest of the jacket if you want to keep something dry and secure like your keys or a wallet.

The main zippers on the jacket and bibs also have top and bottom adjusters, making it easier to … take care of business when the inevitable need arises. Both zippers are also covered with full-length velcro flaps to make absolutely sure no wind or rain makes it through the zipper and to ensure the zippers don’t catch on anything while fishing.

AFTCO Hydronaut Rain Suit


In addition to offering an insulated and uninsulated version of this suit, AFTCO has sizes from medium through 5X, with several sizes available in multiple colors. These are just the different model options. Once you pick out the perfect size/color/insulation combination for you, each individual suit has several adjustable settings.

There are twin strap adjustments around the waist of both the jacket and the bibs, to tighten or loosen the midsection depending on the layers you’re wearing on a given day. The bibs have super comfortable velcro shoulder flaps. I prefer these to the overall-type straps with buckles that tend to bind and rub more.

There are also bungie drawstrings at the sides and on top of the hood to cinch it down in the rain or wind, velcro cuffs at the bottom of each pant leg, as well as dual velcro cuffs on each wrist. Lastly, there’s a bungee drawstring around the bottom of the raincoat. Again, you can really dial this thing in to your personal preference.

AFTCO Hydronaut Rain Suit


The head area of the jacket was designed with a lot of thought. Anyone who has ever run down the lake with a hood on knows it acts like a wind sock and can put a lot of strain on your neck as you try to sit down and forward while a parachute pulls your head up and back. AFTCO incorporated dual wind vents in the rear bottom of the hood to help with this, and they work really well.

While I’m not really a big fan of tall collars on coats in hot weather, I do really like them in the cold. AFTCO’s design uses a tall, soft-lined collar, which is perfect for those cold days. It folds down and out of the way nicely when you loosen the top of the zipper a few inches. One other nice touch, if there’s no rain and you don’t want the hood flapping around in the wind, you can roll it up and store it in a velcro pouch along the collar.

AFTCO Hydronaut Rain suit


My only disclaimer is that I haven’t weathered a monsoon in this suit to know exactly what it’s capable of in heavy rain. However, I’m 100 percent pleased with what I do know about it. This is a great suit for the colder four or five months out of the year, and a good one for the majority of the rest of the year. It has intentional design features throughout that set it apart from others. The bibs and jacket are customizable, with more storage options than any other rain suit I’ve ever personally worn or tested.

The prices vary a bit depending on size and insulation, but for around $500, the AFTCO Hydronaut Heavy Duty Waterproof Jacket and Bibs is definitely a worthy investment. It’s one I’d be comfortable making if I needed to pick a nice rain and foul weather suit out of all the options available on the market.