In this review, we’ll be going over Duck Camp’s Head Guide Fleece Hoodie, now available in new colors such as Lagoon and Spartina. We had the chance to get ahold of some of these hoodies and bring them with us on the water for a couple of days of fishing, hiking, and… snowshoeing? (more to come on that). Here, we put these hoodies to the test to determine how well they could handle a frigid few days on the water, and as you’ll come to see; we were not disappointed.
We’ve had the pleasure of working alongside the team at Duck Camp Co. for a few years now, so needless to say, we always get pretty excited to try out new gear whenever a new seasonal line comes along. However, in the spirit of fairness of critique, we approached this review with a non-biased perspective. This being said, immediately upon opening up the packaging for the new guide fleece, we were instantly reminded as to why we had become such big fans of the clothing brand.
The outer layer of the fleece was composed of a Nylon Cordura blend face Fabric, which in Layman’s terms, means it felt really smooth, yet very durable. On the inside of the hoodie was a fleece material, which was, on a softness scale, about the texture what one would imagine resting on a cloud would feel like (no exaggeration, this thing is soft).
besides the materials, the first thing that really caught my eye was the kangaroo pouch located above the hip pockets. I can recount on the many times where I have been on the water wearing a sweatshirt and leaned over, only to have whatever was in my hip pocket slide right out and into the river. Not only does the placement of this new kangaroo pouch (as I’ll be calling it) avoid this, but it zips tight to keep whatever you’re transporting safe and secure.
As we gathered our hardy crew together and set forth towards the river, we could see that while the sun was out, it didn’t look as if the temperature was going to cooperate. With fresh snowfall surrounding us, we figured this would probably be the best way to gauge whether or not these fleece’s performed as advertised.
It wasn’t long before we were wadered up and rigging tiny little midges onto 6x tippet in hopes of encountering at least one trout. While standing stationary by the tailgate, with a biting breeze blowing down through the canyon, staying warm wasn’t an issue. Now, it was time to sacrifice the luxury of the direct sunlight and head to the shade of our first fishing hole.
The fishing turned on pretty quickly, and because we were all sitting comfortably by the water, we could focus on the mission at hand. The stretchy fabric of the hoodie made moving up and downstream, and from spot to spot extremely easy. By never having to sacrifice the ease of movement, we were traveling to different holes unincumbered and excited to explore what the river had to offer.
As we made our way up the river, the sun finally decided to come out. While acting as a perfect outer layer and keeping us protected from the cold wind, the breathability of the hoodie also allowed us to stay dry from any perspiration brought on by the rising temps of the day. Another notable feature of the hoodie was the raised wader pockets.
Considering the importance of keeping your hands wet when handling fish, chilly fingers are often the nail in the coffin for many anglers. Luckily, with pockets that were designed to be easily accessible even when wearing waders, our hands stayed warm and functional.
After our excursion on our first river, we headed back to the cars to explore a new stretch which, while skinny, we knew was remote enough to hold some impressive fish. However, with a 2.5 foot tall snowpack surrounding the river, getting to the water was going to take some assistance.
It may seem silly to some to put snowshoes on over wading boots. But to those who would mock the effort, you clearly haven’t tried hiking in waders and 2 and a half feet of snow. So, we strapped on our shoes and made our way to the river to explore. While the fishing wasn’t as successful as we may have hoped for, we at least got to push the Fleece hoodies further, and test out their water resistance. While we definitely wouldn’t recommend taking them out in a rainstorm, they kept the snow off of us pretty damn well.
As the day concluded, and the sun began to set, we headed up a long winding mountain road to finally reach our friends at Diamond J Ranch for some drinks by the fire. There, we shed our waders and traded in our rods for rum as we enjoyed the last of a day well spent on the river. The folks at Duck Camp never cease to impress us with their focus on design, and attention to detail, and we are proud to be able to rock some of their gear. To any angler, hunter, or even outdoor enthusiast, we greatly recommend the Head Guide Fleece Hoodie as an essential piece of gear for almost any adventure.