Striker Ice suit review
We LOVED these suits. Warning - this is a long review of Striker Suits and how they compare to other brands.
First, it was appearance. They look sharp and well-made at first glance. Then it was fit. You put one on an average body like mine (6'2", 210 lbs. long arms) and it fits nicely with room in the sleeves for both width and length plus coverage of the butt. Unlike Arctic Armor and Ice Armor, the hood detaches so you an actually wear a snowmobile helmet or other head wear that tips forward with those suits without removeable hoods. The brim of the hood is wire formable. Not just a floppy thing that curls up in the wind when you are on the snowmobile. There is reflective piping all around the jacket for night visibility. From talking with designer of the clothes who was standing at our front counter in our store, Red Rock, it appears that they will actually offer customer service and warranty just by calling them up. Ice Armor is a bit on the bureaucratic side to get customer service when you need help and Arctic Armor is not always very friendly. And yet, both do have legitimate warranty issues from time to time but they both tend to stick it to their non-sewing, non-repairing, retailers like me to take care of problems. After retailing several hundred suits of both companies, I can't say I'm a thru fan of the way they handle problems with their products. I have higher hopes for Striker Ice. You never see the actual designer of the clothing show up in your store. Never happens for little guys like us,anyway; until now.
|Striker Climate Suit||Striker Hardwater Suit||Striker Predator Suit|
The Striker Ice Floating Jacket is the Ferrari of premium ice fishing jackets. The first 3-in-1 premium ice fishing jacket with flotation assist in the business! Makes a great 3-season suit- wear it with or without the liner. You won't find a jacket on the market that offers more features and benefits. Removable waterproof/breathable softshell jacket liner can be worn separately! It will take years for the competition to catch up to this number.
Relative Warmth Rating:
|Our most durable suit has been updated for 1013-14! The Striker Ice Floating HardWater Jacket combines safety with staying warm and dry to give you one of the best ice fishing jacket options in the industry. Constructed out of tough 600D Endura fabric with vented flotation lining feature. The Hydrapore 5000 Endura shell is "Carhartt tough" yet it is still highly waterproof/breathable. With a Relative Warmth Rating of 5, this is an extreme weather suit capable of handling very cold temperatures and extreme winds.
This suit was used by our sponsored Australian team for the 2013 Adventurist 1500km Siberian Ice Run on Ural motorcycles (www.tsardinesinacan.com). Check it out- they were the only dudes that kept warm despite some real extreme conditions.
|The new Striker Ice Predator jacket chooses to lead instead of following or getting out of the way! You won't find the combination of features and benefits offered on the Striker Ice Predator jacket anywhere else in the ice fishing market. The Predator offers the perfect combination of premium features and functionality which suits most ice fishermen. With the combined protection of a 320D Tussor waterproof/breathable shell, 100g Thermadex insulation and Sureflote flotation-assist liner, this suit has everything you need for long days on the ice. Relative Warmth Rating of 4
|Striker Ice Prism - Women's Cut||
Guardian Suit by Striker
|Premium ultra light and extra warm jacket with Sureflote™ flotation assist can be worn in the coldest conditions. The Prism suit from Striker Ice gives you peace of mind as well as superior protection from the elements. The waterproof/breathable shell is fully seam taped so it can serve as rain gear. The underarm vents help moderate inside temperatures. The Sureflote™ flotation assist system, when used as a jacket & bib combo, can keep the average person afloat for two hours or more. It is not a PFD but in most circumstances will give you enough time to get to safety.
The Prism Jacket features a 320D Tussor shell, poly-tricot body lining, 210T sleeve lining, lycra inside cuffs with adjustable closure and front zipper storm flap. For ventilation, the Prism Jacket has "through-to-skin" underarm zip vents. And of course there are plenty of pockets to haul what you need. The matching Prism Drop-Seat Bibs have extra flotation material in the seat and knees for additional protection. The bibs also have full length leg zippers, 600D Endura knees and an adjustable inseam/cuff. Easy to use velcro closures on storm flaps. Both the jacket and bib have 150g of Thermadex insulation to provide additional warmth and separation barriers for more comfort.
|Premium ultra light shell jacket with Sureflote™ flotation assist can be worn on the boat, at the marina, working the docks, manning the nets or even on the winter ice. The Guardian gives you peace of mind as well as superior protection from the elements. The waterproof/breathable shell is fully seam taped so it can serve as rain gear. The underarm vents help moderate inside temperatures. The Sureflote™ flotation assist system, when used as a jacket & bib combo, can keep the average person afloat for two hours or more. It is not a PFD but in most circumstances will give you enough time to get to safety. Use layers as appropriate to dress for colder winter weather.
The Guardian Jacket features a 320D Tussor shell, 210T inner lining, lycra inside cuffs with adjustable closure and front zipper storm flap. For ventilation, the Guardian Jacket has "through-to-skin" underarm zip vents. And of course there are plenty of pockets to haul what you need. The matching Guardian Bibs have extra flotation material in the seat and knees for additional protection. The bibs also have full length leg zippers, 600D Endura knees and an adjustable inseam/cuff. Easy to use velcro closures on storm flaps. Both the jacket and bib have 50g of Thermadex insulation to provide additional warmth and separation barriers for more comfort.
Wear this suit for three seasons and adjust it's warmth level by altering your own-provided fleece/wool layers underneath.
10 notable details in Striker Ice Clothing:
1. First, all Striker suits that we sell float. They are called "float-assist" and I've seen the videos of people walking off the edge of perfectly good ice to test these suits. They always have the full suit on and I recommend that if you are going into an area where you might be swimming, the full suit is better than relying on the parka or bibs alone. Now, I can say that it simply can't hurt that half of what you are wearing floats, but I don't know what you should expect with half of the system. So if you need to be safer - nothing is ever guarranteed -, wearing the parka and bibs together is how you want to do it. Remember that this is an extra layer of safety for you but not a true personal floatation device and it is not Coast Guard approved so when in boats, you are going to have to include your proper PFD's depending on your state's laws. Would I, personally, feel safer wearing this suit in areas that might have bad ice? Yes, definitely.
2. Unlike any other suits you can find out there, Striker Bibs have full side zippers and more importantly, adjustable leg lengths. Nobody else offers anything like this. That means if you are a 2XL guy with XL leg lengths (it happens ALL the time), you can simply adjust the length with their incredibly unique design. Just undo the hook & loop (Velcro-style) seam and fold up to where you need the legs to be.
3. Because Striker suits get used for all sorts of cold weather activities, you can unzip their hoods and leave them home. Try stuffing a big fat snomobile helmet down onto the bulk of a hood that just won't go away.
4. Striker Bibs are the ONLY bibs I have seen who put magnets in the storm flaps over the FULL-zip zippers. On other brand bibs that I've worn, I hate trying to get the regular buttons to snap shut along my legs and the ones with velcro gets all gummed up with snow, ice, feathers, string, and etc. At some point it looks like the makings of a little mouse nest and then it doesn't work. Striker magnets just require that you wipe them closed. That is REALLY cool!
5. Striker Bibs have flaps over the pass-through pockets that effectively keep the rain out. This is unlike our old brand float suit that would (and still does) let rain run into your pants underneath as you sit with the parka on in the boat. You'd be sitting there wondering if you are having bladder issues. Great....now you are wet under your waterproof, not-that-breathable, clothing. That company has never changed that flaw regardless of all the griping we did about it. You don't have that problem with Striker becuae they don't leave the design work up to somebody in China or Viet Nam.
6. Striker Parkas have long arms so unlike a very prominent maker of all sorts of ice pop-ups and ice fishing suits, with a Striker suit your wrists generally don't stick out when you are reaching for a large trout. Strikers are also generously cut so you can put layers underneath if you want. Now, are there some body shapes that still don't fit? Of course. The only way you can see if your suit fits is to order one based on "normal" sizing which means if you usually wear extra large coats, get a Striker XL parka/bibs. Leave the tags on and try it on in your living room. See how it fits before you go out and drop the transmission on your truck in it. If it doesn't fit, email us or call firstname.lastname@example.org or 218-365-4512.
7. Striker Parkas have two, zippered chest pockets with "D" rings sewn inside. These are for your ice picks. It's a float suit, remember? Instead of hanging the string around the back of your neck and then having your picks flail about as you go through or worse yet, remain laying on the kitchen table while you are out, cut the string in the middle. Tie a pick to each internal D ring in each pocket. Should you ever go through, float there, unzip each pocket, pull out each pick and army-crawl your way out of your conundrum. Now, to be honest, you still might have serious exposure issues while soaking wet in freezing weather, but it sure beats the heck out of drowning. If you have the good fortune to never need to use your picks, they always remained tucked away and tethered, out of the way, in your float suit.
8. Now, I don't know how many guys, when responding to the first call of Mother Nature, find that their fly zipper on their old bibs is very accommodating when the need to go presents itself. After essentially digging through several layers of clothing, gateways and passages beneath, you almost find yourself testing the waterproof nature of your waterproof bibs from the inside which is far less desirable especially if the day has just begun. Wearing Depends could be one choice or a better design in bibs, the other. Well, the current ice fishing suits on the market are all about looking good and accommodating less, but Striker puts a 2" longer zipper down the front. Whippin' it out can actually be accomplished more easily when it's appropriate to do so. That right there is worth a lot, especially to beer and coffee drinkers.
9. The Hardwater, Climate, and Predator bibs come with the button on hand-wipes. Instead of wiping your trout-smeared hands on the nylon which doesn't work very well, you use these handy, washable, re-usable clothes stuck on the outside of the cargo pockets. Nobody offers anything like this in other brand suits.
Back to Redrockstore.com
10. Another Striker design feature that NOBODY has anywhere out there addresses the breathability issue. NOBODY - Not Clam, not Frabill, not Snosuit, not Arctic Armor, not Northface has addressed breathability like this in ANY ice fishing suit out there. At least, I've never seen it. Everybody is always talking about how their suit is "breathable". Well, I have worn Clam (blue suit) a lot and it is fairly breathable even though breathabililty of suits tend to conk out at any temp less than 32 degrees F. Ice fishing clothing is made for more sitting but the fact is that ice fishing means that sometimes you have to walk a lot and then sit when you get to your destination. If you are all sweaty when you get there, that's going to work against you. That is why you need your suit to breathe, insulate, and stop wind - for real. The trick is in designing a suit that will do these things well in conjunction with each other and so far, I haven't seen anybody do this but Striker. Everybody else just says "breathable" which means it breathes if it is above 32 degrees F, and if you are not exerting yourself. What good is that? They always leave that detail about breathability out.
Striker's designer brought some elements from his knowledge of the motor world and did this to these suits: He put the insulated, breathable liner inside the waterproof, windproof outer shell and added the most unique ventilation system I've ever seen into the parka. Basically, because of the unique way it is sewn, there is an air circulation space that runs between the entire insulated layer that is up against your body and the floating shell that allows you to stand in the wind. You can't even see it unless you look for the screening at the bottom seams, at the cuffs, and pit zips. I've never seen anything this nicely designed before in outdoor clothing.
Instead of relying on warm perspiration to pass through tiny pores in a mylar (plastic) layer (think Gore-tex and all sorts of knock-offs) which only works when it's warm out, Striker went a different route to help you stay dry with their ventilation system. Then, just to make sure in variable temps, that you have enough opportunities to ventilate and not get your insulating liner sweaty and cold, they included "pit zips" that are integrated into the unique ventilation system as well. We've dealt with a lot of fancy-schmancy clothing in our former XC ski world lives and have never seen anything like this, ever. Everybody relies on Gore-tex-style layers and those pores always plug up. Once plugged, you have a cheap raincoat for which you paid a lot of money. Striker's system is like the roof on your house, then the airspace with vents, then the insulation that keeps the heat inside. And, instead of putting in stiff neoprene cuffs that never seem to fit me right so I leave them hanging open and I'm always fishing them with my gloves, the Striker Ice suits use thinner, more comfortable Lycra. Wrist slides right through, and the glove slides right over and it wicks moisture as well. The design of this suit just keeps going and going. We were blown away with Striker. We figured it was just going to be some ordinary, nice windproof, waterproof, breathable suit. Boy, were we off!
Back to Redrockstore.com catalog - Striker Ice Suits
But the longer fly zipper and magnetic wind flap are not the most exciting part of Striker Bibs. No, it gets even better. With Clam Ice Armor, you gotta buy the suit and the bibs. For the most part, this has worked well for most people but some folks are just plain hard to fit for a variety of reasons. It would be nice to be able to order separate parkas and bibs as needed in both the gray X suit and the Blue regular suit. But, no, after selling them for a zillion years, Clam is STILL not changing their ways very much - they STILL also make bibs that zip to slightly about the knees instead of full-side-zip like Striker. Same thing with Frabill's Ice suit regarding overall changes. Arctic Armor allows buying separates pieces. But none of these guys and not Vexilar or Strikemaster suits - none offer variable length bibs. This design feature, Striker has patented.
Striker Ice puts slippery fabric inside where you need it because they know that even though it's very nicely insulated, it still may need a layer underneath it that is if you go out and play in -35 F real temps or colder. You might want to put on a fleece layer if you'll be sitting around at -15 degrees F or colder real temps.
Back to Redrockstore.com catalog - Striker Ice Suits
The advantage to this suit is all the incredible features and benefits plus the part that they float. Go ahead and compare prices. Do the math. I think after many great years of service, I may have to retire my Ice Armor blue suit. I still think it's a great suit but I kinda want the whistles and bells plus the increased insulation of the Striker Ice suits. I don't care if they float because I know how to stay out of trouble, but that is an added, significant benefit.
One more thing: No more searching for your fishing license or cell phone or keys. Stiker Ice puts a handy, zippered, forearm pocket on the left sleeve. I keep losing my license somewhere in my Ice Armor bibs. It's always a self-pat-down when the conservation officer stop by the popup.
Summary: We love this stuff and believe it will do what it is supposed to do very nicely and at a very fair price! - JB-
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