New! Suit comparisons! Arctic Armor vs. Ice Armor X
Ice Armor X: I've put on the Clam Ice Armor X suit now and the Arctic Armor Plus suit and here's what I found. I wear a large suit in both brands. For reference, I'm 6'2" with a 34" waist and a 34" inseam and I weigh about 210 lbs.
The large suit in the Ice Armor Xis quilted inside with generous insulation underneath. Putting the bibs on with my Sorel boots (Size 12) means that I just unzip the sides of the bib legs and quickly slip my boots through and pull up the top part over my two layers (wool Ulfrotte' long underwear and then a polar fleece top). For pants, I'm wearing bluejeans over Ulfrotte' long underwear (200 gm weight for normal weather of 15 F above to -10 below), under the Ice Armor X bibs. With the insulation of the X suit, I am now ready for screaming winds on the ice. I'm all dressed up with somewhere to go in a relative snap. Everything slips on pretty easily, then I zip up, button (if raining or screaming winds) and go outside because it is suddenly WAY too warm iniside with my Ice Armor X. I have a zillion pockets and all my gear is in them. With all those jigs and splitshots, I now rattle when I walk and I weigh 255 pounds, up 45 lbs. from my original lead-free weight. Maybe I should consider using lead-free sinkers so I'd weigh less? Then I could walk on thinner ice! ;-P
Arctic Armor: They say it runs about a size big, however that may have been the case earlier on. I'd say it's running about accurately with most people's perception of what a normal large (or other size) actually is. Arctic Armor is an excellent product and is very nicely made. Absolutely no criticisms by me for the construction and quality. The HUGE appeal right now is in the fact that it floats. Extreme early (argueably crazy) season ice fisherman would find the "piece-of-mind" that one would get from having a floating suit. If we only sold one suit, we'd be hammering that point like there is nothing else to consider and Arctic Armor would cream all the other suits because people can be sold "perceived security" more easily than anything else. Just consider sellers of life insurance. Sure, you'd be a fool not to have it, but once all your debts are covered, how much more do you need? In reality, you have to ask yourself how many times you've gone through the ice in the past, how often this will occur in the future? Are you are a huge risk-taker by nature, and do you think that you can survive an ice water bather while wearing a floating suit? Realistically, I personally weigh-in the need-to-know-I'll-float vs. the features offered by the two different suits.
Arctic Armor's Insultex insulation is less bulky than other brands and it appears that it will actually be warm. However, the AA Plus (Green & black) suit has a microfleece-type liner throughout. While cuddly, it also doesn't slide really well over other clothing layers. It gets stuck on your jean pant legs and pulls those suckers up to your crotch in in a wrinkled, twisted wad. You have to zip up the leg and then bend over to pull your jeans down everytime you get geared up. It's kind of like pulling polar fleece top over a corduroy shirt - try it sometime. If you have bigger (OK, fatter) legs and bending over is no longer one of your prized, physical abilities, screwing with your pant legs is going to be irritating.
The zippers on the legs of the AA Plus bibs do not go as high up your thigh as in Ice Armor suits. I found that pulling on the AA Plus bibs is harder to do with your boots on and getting it over your jeans is an exercise in hopping around on one leg. That can be an inconvenient activity for older suit-wearers. AA Plus suits do have a neat feature in the bottom of each leg - a built-in gator. It'll really seal up your bib legs from wind and snow, but opening up these pant legs after all the buttons, then the zippers, then the velcro-lined gator (that sticks to everything) drives me a little nuts. Arctic Armor designed it so you can take a scissors to the gator and hack it out. Apparently, I'm not the only one who finds it a nice idea, but a bit of a pain. You'll find that the Arctic Armor Plus is snugger around your legs, too. Now, I don't like clothing that flaps in the wind but they could have put a tad more room in the legs and arms of the AA Plus.In Ice Armor X, you just jump in with your boots on, zip down, snap up, and go. They are more generously cut because the world of ice fishing has more giants than pixies running around on the ice. In all fairness, the Arctic Armor Red & Black suit and the Camo suit will go on MUCH better as well since they both have slippery, quilted, shiny nylon inside them. If you are a large guy and put on the large AA Plus suit, it'll fit comfortably but not as nicely as the Ice Armor X (Grey) suit especially over extra layers of clothing. I've put them both on and have drawn my conclusions. I find the Ice Armor X suit to be a bit more comfortable.
Another difference of the Arctic Armor Suit is that it has belt loops for a belt on the bibs, but no belt. If you like a belt to hold up the bibs in conjunction with the shoulder straps, it's only available in the Ice Armor suits (blue and grey). I, myself, like the belt. There are also far less pockets in the AA Plus suit and they don't have those handy-dandy chopper/big mitt inside pockets. Ice Armor X and the Ice Armor (blue) suits have pockets on pockets which I find immensely handy. There are also hand warmer pockets and little extra pockets on the bibs (for your license). There are so many pockets, sometimes it takes me half the day just to find the right tackle box somewhere on my person in my Ice Armor. Ice Armor also has great padding in the knees and butt. AA suits also come padded in the knees and butt as well.
All in all, these are the differences in the suits and my best attempts to explain them. Quality-wise regarding construction, they appear to be equal and both will last you a long time. Compare the features and benefits and pick the suit that most closely matches your needs and/or obsessions. Some guys want to float, some guys want a lot of pockets.
I really love my Ice Armor Suit and am probably not going to change it because as far as I'm concerned, its the best thing since sliced bread! BUT, this new suit from Clam Corp was enough for me to take real notice! For a brief moment, I doubted my blue Ice Armor suit (just briefly), but then I got over it. However, this Ice Armor X Fishing Suit from Clam is really da bomb!
Ordinarily, I'd give my little spiel about how any company's marketing info is a bit on the "blah, blah" side, but having used their original suit ALL last winter, I was amazed and impressed to the point of total trust! You could call it "blind trust" and being the natural-born skeptic that I am, that's a big leap of faith on my part. You can pretty much bank on what Clam Corp has to offer. It's good stuff!
It is said that wearing Ice Armor by Clam is like wearing a portable fish house. That is entirely true. I have the blue one and my buddy Mike has the X Suit. When Clam lists the capabilities of these outfits, they aren't kidding. Now seriously - maybe it's just me but I think this guy in the actual hallowed Ice Armor X Suit looks a little too "froo-froo" for ice fishing. He looks so manicured and pedigreed...kind of like dressing up Ben Affleck in ice fishing gear. Still is a great ice fishing suit, however!
Don't think for a moment that you couldn't wear this suit while snowmobiling or othewise frolicking outside in winter. It's an ICE FISHING SUIT for God's sake! I'd say that qualifies it for comfort and warmth in REALLY crappy conditions! Just look at our model to the left - he looks toasty! Plus he's wearing decent boots!
The Clam Ice Armor X Suit includes bib pants with full side zips for easy on/off. They too, are insulated like the parka.
Add 42,000 (OK- a bunch of these) zippered pockets, snap-shut pockets, flaps, whistles, bells, D-rings, padded knees and butt, and you have a REALLY great investment that stops gale force winds, blowing snow and repels water. You can ride the snowmobile all day long in this suit, just like the regular suit only this has built in insulation and inner mitt pockets. Go ahead and compare this suit to those more wussified suits that cost more and do less - you know, the ones that you get in those hoidy-toidy big box stores where the client's dress more for appearance and less for function. I've been around for a long time and the wussy outfits with Gortex don't really compare, but they sure do look purdy and those who wear them look like they know what they are doing, too.
Get 'em while you can and be ready for ice!
Order NEW Ice Armor X Gauntlet Style Gloves Here! Stay Warm, Dry and Waterproof! Wear them out on the ice or on the wild ride to that secret GPS waypoint where the lakers are waiting!
Order NEW Ice Armor X Gauntlet Style Mitts Here! Warm, Dry and Waterproof! Wear these to get where you are going. Stick 'em in the new inner pockets of the 2008 Ice Armor X Suit.
Here's the official features and benefits information on the Ice Armor Ice Fishing Suit from Clam Corp.
I love this stuff!
I can't WAIT for yet another hardwater season coming up!!! -JB-