Don’t get me wrong – I love my Gore-Tex outerwear. It is light, packable, extremely water-resistant and stylish as well and so that’s what I use those items for. Then there are times when work must get done. Times that the activity I’m undertaking or the task I’m performing demand something more suited to those conditions. Things like chainsaws and gasoline and grease and fish guts and blood and scales don’t belong anywhere near my nice outerwear. More often than not when I need to dress in something waterproof, tough and that I don’t mind getting dirty or smelly things on I reach for my Grundens Jacket and bib pants.
I was first introduced to Grundens on the sheep ranch. They were great when out working in less-than-sublime weather and I don’t care if they get splashed by feces and urine-laden muck. They hose right off and don’t hold odors or stains. I used them on more than one occasion when outside in a downpour chainsawing a downed tree to clear a road or path or working on a tractor or other dirty, grimy farm equipment. Salt water also has no effect on them. Sure, my gore-tex stuff works great on a sailboat where there’s nothing really nasty or dirty around but then they get coated in salt spray which dries into a crust (which can damage the fibers of the coat) and you really have to wash them. The Grundens are made with a heavy cotton twill coated with PVC so there are no seams or stitching or actual cloth that gets contacted by anything I’d rather not have touch my nice outerwear.
When I go fishing out of Eureka, CA everyone on the boat who is actively fishing wears Grundens. We’ve caught fish big enough that one person has to kneel on it while another thanks it for its sacrifice, clubs it in the head, cuts its gills and then wrestles the bleeding thing into the ice box. My Briggs Jacket has neoprene inner cuffs near my hands which keep splashed water (and it is never warm water) from getting in and running down your arms which is a nice touch. If it is too hot and sunny out you can take the jacket off and still have your legs and torso protected with the Herkules Bib Pants.
We’ve caught Squid almost the size of Willow who were really pissed off about the situation and tried squirting us with sea water and blinding us with ink.
It can take two or more guys to hold down a struggling 70 lb halibut. Thresher Sharks have lots of really sharp teeth. Ling Cod…big, sharp, transparent, xenomorph-from-the-Alien-movies teeth. No time for indecision so you really have to focus and not worry about getting your $500 Helly-Hanson jacket dirty, bloody, slimy or fish scaly.
What do you wear when you need to bathe a dog (or other animal) who doesn’t want a bath? Grundens. Let them shake off on you, flinging dirty soap suds and water and fur all over you…who cares. Just hose yourself off after the ordeal.
Gore-tex and other high-tech materials like that are great and certainly have their place in our gear but when dirty work needs to get done, nothing beats a set of Grundens.