Strikemaster HardWater Ware Polar Parka
In my continuing quest for cool ice fishing stuff, I stumbled upon Strikemaster's HardWater Ware Polar Parka and Bibs. Nice suit. Everybody seems to be coming up with an ice fishing get-up these days and if you think about it, it's a little odd that an outstanding ice auger company now is in the clothing business. But if anybody knows what you need while standing on the ice in a screaming wind drilling a 10" hole, it would be somebody from this company. For myself, I've determined that who better to design good clothing than people who actually use it. Upon inspection of the Strikemaster HardWater Ware Polar Parka, I think that it's a good one to own.
There Are Differences
First off, I'm a big fan of Clam's Ice Armor. It's really great stuff and both the Ice Armor (blue) and the Ice Armor X (grey) suits are nothing short of excellent for a number of reasons. But, being different suits means they have different designs compared to Strikemaster HardWater Ware.
Right off the bat, the Strikemaster suits (when compared to Ice Armor X suits) are lighter in weight. The Ice Armor X suit is a heavy outfit with Thermal Trap insulation. Strikemaster's HardWater Ware polar parka is lined with a polar tec layer. It's a little lighter in weight and if you are hot blooded or already own many layers of insulation tops already, it might fit a little better in the confines of your ice shack. HardWater Ware will stop the wind with ease and has a unique internal turtle neck-like option that is built into the suit. If you want to zip up your neck but keep the main parka out of your way, you can do it with this unique design. It also has 14 pockets so like Ice Armor X you can rattle like a larg tackle box when you walk with those pockets fully loaded. The seams are taped and Strikemaster bills it as a heavily water resistant suit. Mainly they do this becasue there is some embroidery on the HardWater Ware and in a sideways rain, you could have some water get in. Because there are whiners out there who get upset if every last detail down to the smallest minutia aren't exactly as was advertised or what they thought they read, they advertise this suit as highly water repellant. For the rest of us who are non-wussies, this suit is pretty waterproof. At least WAY good enough for a sloppy, wet, snowy day. As I do recall, this suit does not breathe really well, so you will need to unzip it a little when working hard. You can fix all that cold sweat by wearing Ullfrotte' merino wool long underwear next to your skin.
Another difference is that the Strikemaster HardWater Ware bibs have no padding in the butt. Ice Armor and Ice Armor X do so that a consideration. There is padding in the knees and again they are highly water resistant. If you are kneeling in slush all day for pulling out crappies, then you may get wet. Ice Armor is definitely waterproof. I've not had the opportunity to tri the Strikemaster bibs. For the most part and most inclement condtions, they should do a nice job for the majority of users.
Prices are Different
Strikemaster HardWater Ware costs less than Ice Armor X and a little more than regular Ice Armor (blue suit, non-insulated) and unlike Ice Armor X (grey suit, lots of insulation), you buy the parka and bibs separately.
If you are on a slightly tighter budget or could use a little less insulation to put over the top of layers you already own, this is a good suit and you'll be quite happy with it. It's stop the wind and wet snow, has a ton of pockets, cool looking logo embroidery and you can by a large parka and medium bibs or any other size combination. I'd go fishing with this get-up in a flash!