Now of all the products I saw at the show...aisle after aisle after aisle...after all was said and done...there were only three items that I could honestly look in the mirror and say "Mike, the odds are pretty strong you're going to buy one of these over the next year."
|So much stuff to sort through...|
Sure, you can talk (or write) about all the cool stuff ad nauseam (sort of like I did this week)...but a real vote of confidence only comes with your wallet. One of those items is most likely going to be the L.L. Bean River Tread Pro wading boots highlighted in Monday's post, however the other two items resided in the same booth...so I'm just going to name the booth the winner...
So I don't even know if all of the items I looked at in the Kast Gear booth were "new for 2016" or not, I actually don't think they are, because they're all available now...but you know how things go...it's new to me, even though I've heard of the brand before.
See the story unfolds like this, you see this cool looking apparel brand online, never get to see or touch it in person at a retailer, so odds are you never buy anything...even though you like it. I mean who's going to buy a $200 jacket sight unseen, am I right?
Well, I finally got to see the Kast Gear line in person, and damn, I was impressed. Fabrics, construction, fit...the whole nine yards. Two items really stood out to me as being exceptional...and forgive me in this post as the pictures I took in person really didn't turn out so well, so I'm going to "liberate" photos of the items from the Kast website instead.
KAYMAN TECH TOP
As odd as it sounds, this technical top is sort of what piqued my interest and got me in the booth in the first place. For those in colder climates, it serves as a layering piece, but I'd probably use it in Florida as a UPF+ rated sun shirt. Now what's got me so excited? Two things in particular.
First the zip pocket. It's tight and flush to the body. I can't tell you how many performance shirts like this I've purchased since I've moved South that have pockets where either the zipper weighs down the front, or the seams around it pucker or bunch up. This pocket stays true, non-conspicuous, and form fitting. Bravo!
The second is the neckline. I hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE it when you buy a sun shirt like this, try it on and the neck opening is super-wide. I bought 2 tops from a prominent retailer (that will go unnamed) earlier this year, and once I got them home noticed how wide the neck was. I don't wear those shirts any more. What's the point of a sun shirt if it leaves you exposed almost down to your collarbone. The opening should hug the bottom of your neck. No, not like a turtleneck or anything, but enough to know it's there. I'll wear this shirt, it's done right. MSRP $49.95
Which leads into the...
Hands down, my favorite item of the show. I only wish I had this jacket when I lived in Pennsylvania. Heck, I'm probably going to buy this jacket for the one or two times a year I return I liked it so much, and donate all the other mid-weight jackets in my closet this Holiday season. Why?
You just have to feel it to understand, but I'll try to explain. It's a lightweight PrimaLoft Eco insulated body...basically, it's as if you almost as if you were wearing one of those nano-puff vests...which I did a ton in the Fall & early Winter when I went fishing up North. However the sleeves are made of a Polartech Powerstretch material that gives your arms a great range of motion, but still protect you from the elements. Oh, and those sleeves have thumb-holes, which you might think is a "chick" thing...well at least until you try them...
So take the benefits of a vest - a heated core and mobility, combine it with warm arms...without having to wear a bulky sweatshirt or hoody underneath...oh, and add pockets where they should be and a collar that isn't itchy or annoying and...
Job well done Colby & Kast Gear crew...you get the award for 2015 BesT! In Show!
This is the sixth and final product overview from last week's ICAST / IFTD event. If you'd like to see the other entries, please click HERE.