As a guide and fishing writer, I expect a lot from my gear. I expect it to stand up to tons of use and abuse. I’ve come to expect even more from my Orvis gear, though, because they’ve consistently produced gear that’s head-and-shoulders above what else is on the market.
From their waders and boots, to rods and reels, I’m always impressed whenever I pick up something with the Orvis logo on it.
And, I want to head off the comments right here: no, I don’t get paid by Orvis. They’re not paying me for this post, nor has the company ever paid me for reviewing their gear. The Orvis gear I own is stuff I went ahead and bought myself. I’m not selling you something I’m getting paid to promote. I’m talking up Orvis because I think their stuff really is that good, and I hope other anglers can experience the same value from their Orvis gear that I do.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the newest Orvis gear to hit the market in 2021.
The Men’s PRO LT Softshell Hoodie is a really solid new jacket from Orvis. It’s really light, and packs down tight. I love that, because here in the Rockies, the temperature swings are pretty wild. It’ll be in the high 30s in the morning, and soar to the 60s in the afternoon. The PRO LT Softshell Hoodie packs down light and small enough that I can easily fit it in any day pack I’m carrying.
It’s water-repellent, has fairly decent wind resistance, and a hemmed hood to keep the rain out of your eyes without cutting into your field of vision.
Orvis also opted to incorporate stretchy fabric in strategic areas of the Hoodie, to theoretically help support free mobility.
It has plenty of pockets, is surprisingly abrasion-resistant, and looks good enough to wear to dinner after a day on the water.
The only improvement I’d like to see is a bit more heat retention. This Hoodie works best as a shell layer, not an insulating one.
The PRO Sun Hoodie is designed to be worn in tropical heat and sun. The Hoodie is supposed to keep you cool, while dispersing sweat over a wider fabric area to speed up how quickly the fabric dries.
While I have yet to try it out on the flats chasing bonefish, I’ve worn it over a merino wool shirt while rowing my drift boat down the Green River. I’ve noticed a decrease in how sweaty I feel after rowing, compared to when I wear thicker layers.
And, in the high-altitude sun on bluebird days, I haven’t been too hot in this Hoodie, either. I love the thumb holes that help protect the back of your hands, as well as the integrated pocket on the side. That comes with a sunglasses cleaning chamois pad, which is always handy.
Perhaps the only thing I’d tweak is the hood. It hangs down a bit low, obscuring my field of vision. Other than that, though, this is a hoodie that already has a permanent spot in my rotation.
Apparently, I’m hard on my fishing shirts. According to my wife and mother-in-law, I try wearing them when I shouldn’t (like to family get-togethers) and in my years of bachelorhood, never realized that there was a way to get rid of the slightly embarrassing sweat stains.
One of my favorite fishing shirts is an old Columbia one that’s not made anymore. I’ve gone to great lengths, sewing polyester patches into it, to keep it alive.
I don’t think I’ll need to do that with this PRO Stretch Long-Sleeved Shirt. It’s durable, lightweight, and moves with me on the water. I love the recessed zippers for the chest pockets – one less thing for fly line to catch on while casting.
Finally, I love that Orvis went with the snap buttons on this shirt. The whole thing is just very comfortable, and I know I’ll be picking up a few more in other colors to get me through guide season this year.
I don’t know why it took me so long to come around to the idea of wearing vests as part of my winter layering system, but it did. I got this Tech Softshell Vest right around Christmas in 2020, and it’s been a staple of my wardrobe ever since.
The fleece lining ensures that I stay warm, and the durable nylon outer shell does a fantastic job of cutting the wind. The pockets are roomy enough, even if the lone chest pocket is a bit small for anything other than a wallet.
In all, it’s a great layer to wear beneath a down coat when you need to stay warm, but keep your arms free from too much encumberment by clothing.
Rounding out this Orvis gear roundup is their new portable Wader Mud Room. It’s a combination of wader and boot storage, along with a soft mat for changing in and out of your gear.
I’d never really used changing mats before – that’s what the tailgate of my truck is for, after all. But the portability and ease-of-use of the Mud Room has me using it all the time. It’s a great way to pack my waders for longer trips, and I don’t have to hop barefoot to my truck’s tailgate to pull on wading boots, either.
The only complaint I have here is that Orvis went with a hook-and-loop closure system, when I think buckles would have been a better idea.
This isn’t a list of everything new Orvis has to offer. Their gear for 2021 is pretty great, and these products are just the ones I’ve personally spent a lot of time with. If you’re in the market for anything new for fly fishing, I highly recommend taking a look at what Orvis is offering.
Spencer Durrant is a fly fishing writer, guide, and bamboo rod builder from Utah. He’s the News Editor for MidCurrent, a columnist for Hatch Magazine, Lead Guide for the Utah Fly Fishing Company, and host of the podcast Spencer Durrant: Unhooked. Connect with him on Instagram/Twitter, @Spencer_Durrant.