What is the Loop Rautas jacket?
Loop describes the Rautas jacket as a lightweight hiking jacket, though most people are going to use it as a lightweight wading jacket instead, I suspect. It's lighter, less bulky and a bit longer than Loop's top of the range Lainio jacket, and is designed with weight, packability and breathability in mind. Like most modern jackets, it's designed with layering in mind so isn't insulated - instead you're supposed to wear a fleece, soft shell or insulated jacket instead.
What is the Loop Rautas jacket made from?
The Loop Rautas jacket is made from three layer fabric with two-way stretch polyamide, so it's comfortable to wear has a bit of give in the fabric allowing it to move as you cast. It's a very well made jacket. Construction is on par with my Patagonia hardshell walking jacket - the Loop is actually lighter, more packable and just as waterproof.
How waterproof is this rainjacket?
It's just as waterproof and breathable as the more expensive Loop Lainio wading jacket. Both of them offer a 20,000mm waterproofing rating, which is as good as it gets and is designed to withstand extremely heavy rain. Any water hitting the surface instantly beads up and trickles off, keeping you bone dry beneath.
How breathable is the Rautas jacket?
These jackets are highly breathable so you won't get sweaty or overheat wearing one. There's 15,000 g/m2 of breathability in 24 hours, which is as good as most decent mountaineering jackets. To further aid cooling you can unzip the ventilation zips placed near where the hand pockets would be (if the jacket had any). There are also a couple of press studs at the bottom and middle of the jacket which let you keep it open to the air, without letting it flap around in the wind or get tangled in your fly line.
Are the cuffs any good?
When it comes to cuffs, I don't think I've ever seen any as good as the ones that come on the Simms Guide Jacket. However, the Rautas jacket's cuffs are well thought out. They're very simple, consisting only of an elasticated hem, which means there's nothing to tighten up and nothing to cast on your fly line as you're casting (unlike the Simms Hyalite Jacket). They work well.
There's also a little thumbhole in the cuff, which is handy if you're wearing gloves when fishing as it ensures you don't expose your skin which keeps your wrists nice and warm when casting. The slightly stretchy fabric and the slightly longer-than-usual sleeves mean casting is comfortable too.
How long is the Rautas jacket?
I thought the jacket looked a bit longer in the pictures on Loop's website. It does actually appear as if the design has changed recently, as the chest pockets on mine are different. It's actually a couple of inches shorter than I thought it might be. It's long enough to be worn by the bank angler fishing without waders and looks like a normal rain jacket to non-fly-fishers.
It's not cropped like a wading jacket, but it's not as long as some conventional hardshell rain jackets either. I'm a lanky 6'4" and mine comes down to my waist, but not much below. A little longer would have suited my stature a bit better, though if you're of average size this probably won't be an issue.
How big are the chest pockets?
The two chest pockets are big enough to take a mobile phone or very small fly box, but they're not massive so you won't be able to store much in them. Bigger pockets would be handy, but it's not a major issue for anyone who wears a sling or waist pack. Both pockets now have flaps at the top to prevent rain from getting in the top of the zipper. Under the left chest pocket flap there's also a little strip of fabric to which you can attach haemostat forceps or maybe even a zinger for your nippers, which is handy.
What about the hand pockets?
There are no hand pockets, only two zippered openings - oddly with the zips upside down. Loop says they're present to provide extra ventilation when you're too hot, but they're also perfectly placed for access to any pockets you may have on a softshell or insulated jacket worn beneath. Initially, I thought I might prefer actual pockets to simply ventilation access slots, but on the plus side, it means I can put my hands inside my insulated jacket when they're cold, and that's a lot warmer than any waterproof jacket pocket would be.
And the hood?
The hood is nice and big and comfortably fits over the top of a peaked cap, even if you're wearing an insulated hoody beneath as I usually do. There's a peaked brim which extends a good distance to prevent rain from trickling into your eyes and there are pull cords on the back and the sides to help you pull the hood down tight to stop it blowing off in windy weather.
What colours are available?
There are two colours. Mine is called Carbon Grey and is a sort of slate grey colour with contrasting yellow zips. There's also a Swedish Blue version with red zips. Both of them look really good.
How much does it cost?
Loop is definitely at the premium end of the fly fishing market and all of its products are excellent quality and reassuringly expensive. The Loop Rautas is therefore not a cheap piece of clothing. It retails for around £370, which is a bit more than a comparable rainjacket from a top-end walking jacket brand like Patagonia. I picked up mine as a January sale bargain.