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A Guide to PVC Rain Gear for Fishermen

fishermen wearing pvc rain gear

A Guide to PVC Rain Gear for Fishermen

The ultimate waterproof material…

It is commonly accepted in the industry that PVC makes the best fishing rain gear. It offers extreme waterproofing properties, along with a number of other beneficial characteristics.

But what exactly should you be looking for when choosing fishing rain gear? Read on for all the essentials you need to know, drawn from nearly 60 years of kitting out fishing crews here at Stormline.

What is PVC?

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a synthetic plastic polymer and is the primary waterproof material used in rain gear. It has an extremely low molecular weight compared to other materials and is one of the most commonly used plastics on earth. From drainpipes to credit cards to rain gear, it’s ubiquitous. It comes in two forms; rigid (drainpipes) and flexible (rain gear).

PVC is pretty much the go-to material for rain gear because it fulfils six essential criteria very well:

  1. Flexible
  2. Lightweight
  3. Waterproof
  4. Strong
  5. Easy to clean
  6. Tough

No material comes close to matching PVC’s suitability for use in wet weather fishing gear.

How strong is PVC?

The flexible form of PVC has a yield strength of between 1012 and 1015. Yield strength measures a material’s ability to stretch before breaking, rather than its ability to withstand compression.

To put that strength in perspective, here’s some comparative material yield strengths.

Material Yield strength
Kevlar 3620
Steel cable wire 1758
Spider silk 1652
PVC 1015
Nylon, molded, type 6/6 450
Polypropylene 43

Or to put it another way, PVC is strong and light enough to be used in the construction of boats. It’s also waterproof enough to be used for drainpipes and guttering. And it’s flexible enough to make water pipes.

Stormline PVC strength demo

PVC gear for fishing – key criteria

So having established the material’s credentials, what about your specific rain gear criteria? Whatever style you go for, consider the five following characteristics as they relate to your needs.


There’s a difference between waterproof and water-resistant. Same goes for windproof and wind-resistant. You may only need protection from the odd light shower. Or you may need full waterproofing.


This comes down to layers and the thickness and choice of materials. Remember, you can always add layers, but you can’t make heavy rain gear lighter.


The more protection your PVC rain gear offers against the cold, the heavier it’s likely to be. This criteria requires balance. We recommend going lighter if in doubt, as you can always add an underlayer.


It’s 100% essential to have comfortable rain gear that keeps you mobile, especially if you’re a fishing professional. Warmth and dryness are no good if you’re having to wear heavy, restrictive rain gear.


Again, crucially important for the professionals. Gear that isn’t durable requires regular replacement. We recommend spending near the top of your budget to get gear that’s as resilient and tough as possible.

PVC Rain Gear by Climate and Profession

The correct rain gear choice depends heavily on two things; the type of work you do and where you do it. A leisure fisherman in Australia will have extremely different needs to an Alaskan trawlerman. First, let’s look at climate.

flag of Canada

Rain gear for fishing in Canada

Winter temperature – −40 °F (−40 °C)

Summer temperature – 25 to 30 °C (77 to 86 °F)

Days of precipitation – 89 – 179 (Canada has an extremely variable climate, depending on location, but it’s safe to say it can be rainy out at sea).

What to wear – Canada is generally cold, with mild summers and dark winters. Conditions can be challenging for even the most seasoned fishing professionals. You’ll need heavy duty foul weather rain gear for most of the year, with lighter weight rain jackets for the summer months. Given the dark winters, high visibility is a must.

USA flag

Rain gear for fishing in the Northeastern USA (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York)

Winter temperature –  12.5 °F (−10 °C) – 30.9 °F (1°C)

Summer temperature – 58 °F (14 °C) – 78 °F (25°C)

Days of precipitation – 95-136

What to wear – Northeastern America is similar to Canada, albeit somewhat milder with warmer summers. Darkness isn’t as much of a factor. The seasons in Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are more variable, so you’ll need a larger collection of rain gear.

In winter, go for heavy duty PVC rain gear, with underlayers. In summer, go for medium to lightweight on top, and a waterproof bib and brace set to keep your bottom half dry and protected.

Rain gear for fishing in the Southeastern USA (Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi)

Winter temperature – 23 °F (-5 °C) – 75 °F (23 °C)

Summer temperature – 68 °F (20 °C) – 99 °F (37 °C)

Days of precipitation – 91-138

What to wear – The Southeastern USA presents a bit of a challenge. It can be very rainy and very warm. So you’ll need lighter layers that keep you cool and dry. Many fishing professionals opt for a lightweight PVC bib and brace, with a tshirt or wet weather vest.

Rain gear for fishing in the Caribbean USA

Winter temperature – 49 °F (9 °C) – 75 °F (23 °C)

Summer temperature – 71 °F (21 °C) – 89 °F (34 °C)

Days of precipitation – 100-116

What to wear – The Caribbean can be fresher than the Southeastern USA, but it can also be warmer. Lighter layers, sleeveless and half-sleeve wet weather vests will serve you well.

Rain gear for fishing in Alaska

Winter temperature – −47 °F (−43 °C) – 22 °F (1 °C)  

Summer temperature – 27 °F ( -2°C) – 74 °F (12 °C)

Days of precipitation – 231-240

What to wear – The crab and salmon may be among the best in the world, but the conditions fishing professionals face to catch it aren’t. For a large part of the year, Alaska’s seas are cold, rough and dark. Heavy layers to keep out the cold, full PVC waterproofing and resilient rain gear are in order here.

Flag of New Zealand

Rain gear for fishing in New Zealand

Winter temperature – 14 °F (-10 °C) – 60 °F (16 °C)

Summer temperature – 68 °F (20 °C) – 77 °F (25 °C)

Days of precipitation – 65-189

What to wear – New Zealand’s climate is highly variable, so you’ll need a decent collection of medium and heavyweight rain gear to keep you covered. The important thing is to ensure you’ve got the right gear for the right time of year. That especially means lighter weight PVC rain jackets that you can add layers under in cooler temperatures.

Flag of Australia

Rain gear for fishing in Australia

Winter temperature – 49 °F (9 °C) – 75 °F (23 °C)

Summer temperature – 46 °F (21 °C) – 113 °F (45 °C)

Days of precipitation – 69-119

What to wear – Australian waters are relatively mild from Autumn through to Spring. But in Summer the focus will be on keeping cool and dry. Sun protection is also key. Go for lightweight rain gear that’s durable and comfortable. Moving about and working in the Summer heat is tough enough without the extra burden of wearing restrictive gear.

Commercial fishing

Like leisure fishers, you’ll need all-day protection from spray, waves and rain showers. But commercial fishing is tougher and more demanding than leisure fishing. To that end, you’ll need gear that’s durable and keeps you mobile. This is what we specialise in here at Stormline, where our product range reflects the intensive demands placed on commercial fishing teams out at sea. 

PVC is great for this because it’s flexible and waterproof, protecting you from the elements without restricting your mobility. PVC is also pretty good at withstanding the abrasions and scuffs that commonly occur on commercial vessels. Even kneeling down on a non-slip deck can leave lesser materials snagged and tatty.

It’s also super useful for wearing on consecutive days, which is a key requirement for commercial crews. While you’ll be changing your under layers, you’ll need gear that’s tough enough to withstand the daily rigours of working at sea, day after day.

Key characteristics

  • Waterproofing – this is essential for professional fishing work
  • Functionality – technical detailing, convenient pockets, rugged fixtures
  • Mobility – go for gear that’s designed to distribute its own weight.

Leisure fishing

With leisure fishing, you can afford to go for a lighter, less durable option that promotes comfort. While you want to retain the protective characteristics of water and weather proofing, you won’t need your gear to be engineered for the same level of toughness.

Key characteristics

  • Weight – depending on where you’re going, you may not need absolute protection against the elements. Heavy PVC rain gear may be overkill when a lighter option will suffice.
  • Versatility – when it’s a hobby and not a job, you may not necessarily want to splash out on gear for all seasons. Lighter outerwear gives you the option to layer up for colder weather.

Aquaculture, farming and commercial

There’s plenty of non-marine environments where you’ll need high quality rain gear. For example, fisheries, farms, construction sites and even car washes. These environments may not call for protection against high winds, sea spray and waves, but you’ll have a pretty miserable day at work if you’re not well protected.

Key characteristics

  • Comfort and mobility – when you’re likely to be moving about and layering up, comfort is key. Our gear is engineered to distribute its own weight to make mobility easy and reduce wearer fatigue.
  • Weatherproofing – the key to a comfortable day at work is selecting the right level of weatherproofing for your environment. You don’t need heavy duty PVC in all cases, so pick the level that best reflects your work environment.