Sunday, February 19

Gear Review: Drake Eqwader Plus ¼ Zip

Drake Waterfowl Eqwader Plus 1/4 Zip Pullover

  I have been watching Drake Waterfowl for a while, and their approach to waterfowl gear, and it seems that they come up with innovative products that are well-made and at a good price point.

  With a recent Cabela’s sale, came a great price on a Drake Eqwader Plus ¼ Zip top. I jumped at the offer and ordered it in Old School Camo (the familiar blotchy camo my Dad once wore). Ordered in a Large, it seemed tight when I put it on, but that is due to the windproof top’s lack of “give”. Once on, it is very comfortable and has more than enough room for mounting and mobility. It does not feel bulky.

 Note: I had tried on the L and XL before and found the XL to be too big in the shoulder and the body, even with two layers of polypro underneath (I wear a 46” jacket) If at all possible, I will find and try on the garment to know the size prior to ordering sight unseen. Also, I was unsure how Drake sized their gear (id est, what they considered a Large)

  This fleece pullover has the top half of it covered in a windproof, waterproof shell and the lower half is fleece. This allows you to wear with bibs or waders and not to be overheated in the lower half. A good concept, considering the second half of goose season can require an insulated bib for the bouts of sedentary blind comfort. Other design elements, include neoprene cuffs with Velcro closure; a magnetic closure breast pocket for calls and a zippered breast pocket for phone, license, etc. These are “Napoleon” vertical pockets and will not get in the way when mounting a shotgun. There is a drawstring at the waist, accessed through zippered handwarmer pockets, as well as a drawstring at the bottom of the pullover.

  It is an odd feeling to have a heavier upper than lower, but did not feel restrictive considering the day I wore them under my insulated bibs (thanks Santa). I have hunted with this top twice and on a cold and rainy day in the skeet field. It was warm and the tight weave of the shell fabric repelled high winds and rain. Even when the temperature dipped and I put on a parka over it, it woeked well as a layering garment and the shell upper did not prove restrictive under the Gore-Tex shell.

  I really like this pullover. The ¼ zip opens to about my solar plexus and allows heat management, when the sun warms thing up. When the wind kicked up on a hunt, the zipped high collar provides unrestrictive mobility. The magnetic pocket allows me to stow my calls out of the way when picking up dekes, etc. The handwarmer pockets are roomy and all the zippers are heavy duty.

  With its excellent construction and well thought out design elements, this Drake Eqwader Plus pullover will be my “go-to” essential clothing choice for field, shooting sports, and spring fishing for Rockfish.

Despite its many features, the Drake Eqwader Plus will not improve your calling.
UPDATE 1-28-13: I have worn this through nine hunts in the 2012-13 season and it has held up well to briars, rain and harsh weather. As a shell, it is a tight weave and keeps the wind at bay.  Lately, I have worn with insulated bibs and did not need a shell (worn over light and medium polypro top). It has held its shape and all zippers have not hung up. However, the fleece lower half does not seem to repel glazed donuts well.

[As with any gear reviews, I am happy to answer any questions posed in the Comments section...PRP]

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