Simms has been making fishing and boating apparel since 1980 and is widely considered the gold standard when it comes to fishing clothing, including sea jackets. While most of their jackets are sold at a premium, Simms decided to venture into the budget segment and developed an affordable jacket called the Simms Challenger.
The Challenger is one of the most popular sea jackets you can buy on the market; that’s why in this Simms Challenger review, we’re going to take a closer look to see how well it truly stacks up. We’ll be covering the main features, pros, and cons, as well as alternatives to this jacket, to help you decide whether this is the right jacket for you.
Let’s start by taking a look at the key specifications and features of the Simms Challenger Jacket.
Key Specifications of the Challenger Jacket
- Shell Fabric Polyester
- Colors Orange, Black, Cobalt, and Hex camo boulder
- Notable Features Waterproof, Adjustable drawcord hem, adjustable hood, adjustable cuffs, zipper
- Weight 25.6 oz
- Hood type Fixed or Adjustable
- Exterior pockets 3
- Waterproof Yes
- Gender Men
- Jacket Lenght Waist
- Latest price Click here to check the latest price
Materials and Specifications
As mentioned above, the Simms Challenger Jacket is their entry in the budget segment. This was made possible with the use of Toray Fabric which is more cost-effective than the Gore-Tex shell fabric. The Gore-Tex shell fabric is known for its extra water-shedding abilities, but it’s not the only fabric with this capability. While not as effective in water-shedding, Toray is a great fabric at a much lower price.
The outer shell of the Simms Challenger Jacket features a two-layer Toray fabric outlined by 100% nylon with the addition of a DWR coating.
The inner lining of the Challenger jacket is constructed with 100% polyester having a density of 74 gsm and 50 D. The internal polyester is water repellent and has an added coat of DWR. In other words, this jacket will keep you dry on your fishing and boating trips.
The inside of the jacket and the bib is soft and cozy. Some anglers wear the jacket directly without any inner clothing, while some wear a thin t-shirt under the jacket when it’s colder in the water. The inner lining of the Challenger Jacket is made of nylon and is stitched seamlessly for a professional and rigid finish.
The jacket also has excellent insulation, as one would require on a cold night. The insulation in the jacket consists of Primaloft rise 120g for the body piece and 100g for the sleeves. The same insulation material works well when the angler wants to put his hands in his pockets for some warmth.
The Challenger is designed to work with an angler’s movement. There is enough space in the right areas for the angler to move in without the excess bulk. Whether it is rowing your boat, assembling your rods, or bending over to release a fish in the water, all can be done effortlessly wearing the Challenger Jacket. Some jackets give up in these tight movements and result in a seam burst.
The Challenger Jacket also has ample storage space. There are three pockets with warmers in the Challenger jacket and two pockets on either side in the bib. The Challenger rain suit and bib are available in 4 different colors and sizes to fit all. The colors the jacket and the bib are available in are Orange, Blacks, Cobalt, and Hex boulder.
Simms Challenger Jacket is all about performance at an affordable price. There are several notable features in the Simms Challenger jackets, such as:
- The shell of the jacket is 100% polyester with DWR coating
- Constructed with a two-layer Toray fabric
- It is 100% waterproof and breathable
- It has fully taped seams for water to stay out of the jacket
- It has fleece-lined pockets for escaping cold
- It has a 3 point adjustable hood with a collar stow
- It has a zip front with a storm flap
- YKK Vislon zipper is also featured in the jacket
- Dual drawcord hem for a customizable fit
The Simms Challenger Jacket has a 3 point adjustable hood for protection against extreme rain, which can be comfortably stowed away in the neck slit when not in use. The three pockets provided are fleece lined to give your hands protection from cold.
The outer of the jacket has a YKK VISLON center front zipper with an added storm flap to provide added protection.
It also features a dual drawcord which helps in customizing the jacket’s fit for a better experience. It also has featured dual kill-switch anchor points, especially for anglers, to ensure safety on the sea.
The Simms challenger jacket ensures 100% water resistance, thanks to the 100% nylon outside shell with a DWR coating. The DWR coating provides maximum water protection without compromising the breathability of the jacket.
The jacket is machine wash compatible and does not wrinkle after washing as most nylon-based jackets do.
Performance of the Challenger Jacket
Simms Challenger Jacket has adequate insulation and would keep you warm when the weather gets cold. It’s not top of the line, but for the price tag, it’s amongst the best-insulated jackets you can buy today.
The jacket has three pockets. There is a zippered chest pocket with sunglass cameos. It has an inner zippered pocket to store your necessary things and handwarmer pockets for a cozy place to rest your hands.
The Challenger jacket comes with articulated sleeves for a comfortable and adjustable fit. Also fitted are abrasion-resistant elbow panels. The sleeves are built to allow movement from underneath layers. The cuffs on the sleeves are also adjustable and can be tightened as per user preference.
Pros of Challenger Jacket by Simms
Water-resistant and Breathable
The shell of the Simms challenger jacket is constructed with Toray fabric, which is highly effective against water. The fabric has also been coated with DWR, which increases the water-resistance capability. The PrimaLoft insulation is added to the jacket. This feature helps in retaining body warmth and is good for cold temperatures too.
The Simms challenger jacket has a relaxed fit which allows you to wear it comfortably for long periods. It can accommodate a layer underneath if the weather is colder than expected at night. The space in the jacket also helps in the ease of movement of the anglers in almost all positions.
Simms is known for quality and has lived up to its standards with the Challenger Jacket. The Challenger jacket has seamless stitching, meaning ripping it off is difficult. With proper care, it will last you for a very long time. The jacket is machine washable too, which means maintaining the jacket for the angler should not be a problem.
Convenient Placement of Pockets
The Challenger jacket has three pockets. One pocket is placed on the chest with an attachment to hold onto sunglasses. The second pocket is under the jacket to store essential things, and there are also pockets on either side of the waist, which act as hand warmers in cold weather.
Adjustable Cuffs and Waist
The Simms Challenger Jacket features articulated sleeves with an adjustable hem. The sleeves provide ease in movement and the adjustable hem on the waist help in achieving a good fit for the angler.
Cons of Challenger Jacket by Simms
Might need to add an underneath layer on cold days
The Simms Challenger jacket has PrimaLoft Insulation which is not very thick. On cold nights at sea, you will need to have extra clothing on you.
Does not condense
The Simms Challenger jacket does not condense down to a smaller size because of the polyester and nylon materials used. If forced into a small place, the jacket can potentially puncture along its seams, resulting in a less water-resistant jacket.
Alternatives to the Simms Challenger Jacket
FROGG TOGGS Men’s Classic Rain Suit
FROGG TOGGS is one of the best-selling brands when it comes to rain and sea jackets. The FROGG TOGGS Men’s Classic Rain Suit comes with a waterproof jacket and pants. Available in 25 different styles, it’s also one of the cheapest rain suits you can buy on the market.
The waterproof jacket has a removable and adjustable hood. It features the company’s patented polypropylene fabric blend and a waterproof mid-layer. The jacket is highly breathable, which makes it ideal for all-day wear. It’s also windproof, which is an essential feature in sea jackets.
It runs the full length over pants to avoid any water transfer while boating or in the rain. The cuffs are elastic to ensure no elements get inside, and the sleeves are made of raglan for ease of movement.
The pants have a straight leg design with an elastic waist and adjustable openings for legs. The FROGG TOGGS Men’s Classic Rain Suit provides good performance and comfort at a great price. However, compared to other jackets, it’s not as good at repelling water, and it does make a lot of fabric noise when moving.
- Available in many styles and colors
- Comfortable fit for all-day use
- Not the best in terms of water repellency.
- Make a lot of sounds when moving.
Mossy Oak Men’s Fishing Rain Jacket
The Mossy Oak Men’s fishing Rain Jacket is the ultimate companion at sea. Thanks to the 100% polyester outer shell, it has excellent water repellent properties, which makes it ultra water-resistant.
It is built with PrimaLoft Insulation, keeping you warm on cold nights. One more added advantage of using the PrimaLoft in the jacket is that it makes it lightweight. This is a very crucial feature in jackets as they are worn for extended hours.
Thanks to the DWR coating on the outer shell, the jacket does not let water or snow accumulate in the jacket and forces it to slide down. This feature in the jacket helps it keep lighter when on the move in the snow. It also has a shock cord adjustable hem and hood for attaining a good fit.
One of the features that distinguish this jacket from the rest is the pattern it is available in. It ensures good camouflage in forests while hunting to stay clear of wild animals.
- Great water repelling properties
- Has camouflage patterns for hunting trips
- Adjustable hem for aiding in a better fit
- Removable hood for storing away when not in use
- PrimaLoft Insulation for keeping it lightweight and well insulated
- Value for the price
- Limited color options
- The quality of stitching is doubtful
Answer: No, the hood on the challenger jacket is not removable. It features a three-point adjustable feature for comfort.
Answer: The Simms challenger jacket has been primarily designed for use by anglers, especially people in the bass pro circle. Yes, the jacket can also be used for hiking, skiing, and also hunting in some cases.
Answer: As far as we have experienced, the DWR coating featured in the Simms Challenger has done a great job. But the jackets such as Helly Hansen Jackets, Ventus Alpha, and GEMYSE Jackets also do a pretty great job at water repellency.
Answer: No, the jacket does not have neoprene cuffs. But the adjustable cuffs feature helps in keeping the water out of the jacket.
The Simms Challenger jacket is a great entry-level jacket by the brand. It is an affordable jacket that doesn’t compromise at all on performance. That said, if you live in the colder parts of the country, then you’re going to need to have extra clothing on you to keep you warm. While the insulation is good, it’s not the best you can find in sea jackets.
For me, the water repellency, windproof features, adjustable hood, zippered front, and plenty of pockets have made this jacket a good buy for anglers who want performance on a budget.
When wearing the jacket, the nylon inner gives a very snug feel. Aided by PrimaLoft insulation, the jacket does well to keep you warm. Overall, it’s worth a try, especially if you are just getting into water activities.
David is a strong advocate of outdoor-related activities and has many years experience backpacking and hiking around the world, including the Italian and Austrian Alps in Europe as well as central and southern Asia. Locally, he has also led many groups cycling through Vermont, Nova Scotia and Wisconsin. David constantly uses and tests the latest gear for the outdoors, which in turn allows him to help others make more informed buying decisions.