What is the Orvis Encounter Jacket?
The Orvis Encounter Jacket is a lightweight hardshell rain jacket designed for fly fishing and is available in sizes and styles for both men and women. The Encounter Jackets are made from 2.5 layer waterproof and breathable and come with waterproof YKK zips to make sure water stays out.
It's a simple, no frills design with a plain colour and subtle contrasting colour to the pocket edge and a subtle Orvis logo tucked away on the cuff.
How long is this jacket?
The cut is much the same as a normal rain jacket and comes down just below the waist. I personally prefer that to a shorter wading jacket style, as it means you can wear it without waders without looking silly. In fact, these look so much unlike stereotypical fishing jackets that you could easily wear them when you're not fishing and not look out of place.
What pockets does it have?
The Encounter Jacket is low on the pocket count. There's only a single pocket on the left breast of the jacket. While this means there are no pockets to fill with water if you wade deep, it also means there's nowhere to put gloves when you're not wearing them and nowhere to put your hands when it's cold. The equivalent Simms jacket is better in this respect.
The single pocket provided is disappointingly small. You'd only get a tiny fly box in here, and you'd think Orvis would have added a deeper pocket given that the jacket is being pitched at fly fishers...
What are the cuffs like?
The cuffs are fairly basic. There's just the usual Velcro fastening you find on most rain jackets. They're OK but not amazing - not a patch on the waterproof cuffs you'd find on a Simms Guide Jacket, but they work OK. If you're wading, you might find you get a bit of water trickling up your arm, but I have a feeling this jacket is really pitched at the general user, rather than the hardcore fly fisher.
How is the Women's Encounter Jacket cut?
I found it hard to tell if there was a slightly less straight cut than on the men's Encounter Jacket (to accommodate a lady's curves). Any women's shaping features present are not that pronounced and there's a cord to pull the base tight if it's too baggy. It's fairly unisex really.
Seeing as the men's jacket was too big for George's slim 10-year old stature and seeing as this didn't really have a particular womanly fit to it, we got him the women's jacket instead. You'd never know!
He's still got a bit of growing room in it, but it doesn't fit too bad and there's loads of room underneath to take an insulated jacket. It was also heavily reduced in the Orvis sale, which was the clincher!
What colours are available?
The Orvis Women's Encounter Jacket comes in two colours - black and burnt orange. I quite like the burnt orange one, but it might make you a bit visible to fish - George opted for the black one because he didn't want it to impact his catch rate. It's weird that the women's jacket is available in orange, rather than something slightly more subdued, especially as the Orvis Men's Encounter Jacket is available in a more subtle choice of black or sage.
What's it like to use?
George says the jacket keeps out the wind, keeps him warm and sheds water really well. Any rain landing upon the jacket instantly beads up and runs straight off, so it keeps him really dry. It's also nice and light and the sleeves are a good length, so they don't rise up his arms too much during vigorous casting.
The hood is nice and large and comfortably fits over his cap and there are a couple of drawstrings to pull it down if it's windy. The collar is nice and tall and comes up past your mouth when zipped up, so it keeps the wind off your face nicely. However, it lacks the comforting fleece lining you often find on the inside of other rain jackets like the Simms Hyalite Jacket.
How much does it cost?
The Orvis Encounter Jacket costs £119, which is about the going rate for a decent hardshell rain jacket of this quality. However, we picked George's jacket up in the Orvis sale for the bargain price of just £38, so it was really amazing value for money.
Like all Orvis stuff, it's great quality and should keep him warm and dry for ages - which is handy because, like his school blazer, it might take him a while to grow into it!