I got to handle a Frabill I5 Parka up close and personal and I even put on the XL they had on display. Here’s what I found:
- It’s very nicely made with articulated elbows for a really comfortable fit
- The zip-out lining could be used as stand alone jacket for all the other seasons that are not winter
- It has lots of pockets, The outside ones are sealed zippers so the rain can’t get inside
- It has a rugged, chest-mount pliers pocket.
- It comes with ice picks and ice pick holders in place.
- The elbows on the parka are kevlar-reinforced material for abrasion resistance
- The hood is detachable so you can wear it with a helmet on a Skidoo, et al
- It is firehose-blast waterproof. Well, that might depend on the hose, but it is designed to perform very well in miserable conditions
- It was heavy in weight. This is not a lightweight parka, which I like. It didn’t feel like a pink leotard and a tu-tu. It felt like it could stop bullets – it can’t – unless you are using Nerf bullets
- The bibs were full side-zip with kevlar reinforced knees.
- There are drain vents all along the bottom edges of the clothing to aid in the breathability of the suits and allow water to drain in the event that you go through the ice
- The zippers in the parka and the zipout lining were high quality zippers. Don’t recall the brand, but could feel how smoothly and securely they meshed together. like fine machinery.
As far as parkas go, The Frabill I5 not cheap, but you get what you pay for in anything. I’m 6’2″ and 210 lbs with a 34″ waist. The XL parka fit beautifully and still left me with enough room to put a few layers underneath which would effectively increase the warmth factor should I need to adjust for variable conditions. I liked the parka and the feel of its premium fit. The articulated elbows make it very comfortable to wear and my guess is that the articulation would keep your arms warmer since there is minimal stretching of outer fabric and the ensuing insulation compression that comes with non-articulated joints. (Flatten out the insulation on anything and see how well it works.) Like a fine suit, this Frabill I5 drapes nicely where it needs to drape. The average ice fisherman may or may not have a clue as to what I just said, but to sum it up, I expect this particular design to keep you a bit warmer due to a tailored fit. Tailoring also makes it less tiring to wear. You don’t have to fight the suit to do what you are doing. I’ve always been happy with Frabill’s fit in their suits. This one is really nice in particular.
I would expect this Frabill I5 to last a very long time and serve it’s owner quite nicely and reliably.
Then, when you’re on open-water for early and late season, you own are truly excellent rain-suit. The ability of this suit to run three and a half seasons is what makes it important that it be made with great materials. This Frabill I5 suit will be seeing more use than just a winter ice fishing suit. You need better materials and design for it to last. I believe this one will do that.