What's the Loop Opti Lightweight Jacket designed for?
The Loop Opti Lightweight Jacket is designed for fly fishers, but there's no reason why you shouldn't wear one when you're out lure fishing, as I do.
As the name implies, it's a lightweight jacket designed to pack away tightly into your bag for when you need it. It's thin and light and will keep the wind off you when it's cool and protect you from a soaking if it starts to rain when you're on the bank.
As it's a lightweight jacket, it's really only suitable for warmer weather in the spring, summer and autumn. For the colder months you'd be better off with a heavier, more waterproof jacket and some extra layers beneath.
How waterproof it?
It's advertised as "water resistant", which is about right. In light rain showers I've stayed bone dry beneath the jacket, but when caught in persistent torrential rain the water has eventually soaked through the fabric a bit. It's rated as "10,000 WP with 4000 MWP" whatever that means...
The fabric has a soft, warm feel to it and it doesn't rustle like some other jackets do, so it's very nice to wear. It's also fairly breathable. I've worn it during some very hot, wet weather where it struggled a bit, but apart from that, the breathability has been more than adequate.
Does it have pockets?
Yes, the Loop Opti Lightweight Jacket has two chest pockets each with a concealed waterproof zip and a smart ergonomically designed zipper. The pockets are big enough to take an iPhone or small-to-medium sized fly box, which all that you need generally.
What colours does it come in?
The Loop Opti Lightweight Jacket comes in two colours: black and dark sand. I opted for the dark sand one, which I think looks rather nice. It doesn't really look like a stereotypical fishing jacket, so you also won't look a complete wally if you pop down the shop while wearing it.
How's the hood?
The hood's really good on the Loop Opti Lightweight Jacket. It's nice and big, has a bit of a peak to it to keep the rain off your eyes and shelter your face from the elements, and it has some elasticated pull cords to keep it in place when it's windy. The collar is lined with soft fleece and feels good against the skin.
Does it have any special features?
Not especially: it's just a nice jacket. The cuffs are handy, though. They're made from a soft rubbery material and have nice velcro fasteners on them to allow you to seal the sleeves shut and prevent water trickling towards your elbow every time you cast a fly. There's also an elasticated cord on the waist.
Would you buy the Loop Opti Lightweight Jacket again?
The Loop Opti Lightweight Jacket retails for £145, which I think is quite a lot. It's a very nice quality jacket, and Loop fly fishing gear tends not to be particularly cheap, however, £145 for a lightweight jacket's a fair amount.
However, I think this one's now been discontinued (it's no longer shown on the Loop Fly Fishing website) and you can pick them up for far less. I paid just £50 for mine, and for that money, it's a bargain!
I've certainly got fifty quid's worth of use out of mine over the last year, thanks to the shocking weather we've had at times...