New for ICAST 2020, AFTCO is proud to introduce the latest innovation in the Reaper family of technical outerwear — Meet, the AFTCO Windproof Reaper in an all new Strech 3-Layer Ripstop Soft Shell Fabric.
The Windproof Softshell Reaper is the result of imaginative design, bringing together some of AFTCO’s best fabrics to improve upon our most popular fleece garment. After two years of R&D, the California-based company landed on the right fabric for our customers by fusing their very own Hexatron® honey-comb fleece liner with an AFTCO designed stretch ripstop softshell material. The result is the perfect solution to those extra chilly mornings where windchill is a major factor. Not only is the Windproof Softshell Reaper warmer than the original, but it also delivers a wind barrier that prevents from bone jarring wind chill from negatively effecting comfort and performance on the water.
The zippers all feature a polyurethane coating for moderate water resistance. AFTCO added a convenient side zip that allows you to dump heat as the day warms up, also making it easier to put the jacket on and take it off. Most importantly, they have kept all the classic Reaper features anglers have to come to love: the integrated fleece face mask, underarm performance venting and convenient Block Tapey™ pocket closures.
How We Got Here: The Creation of the Original Reaper
In early 2018, the AFTCO team was in a strategic planning meeting after a successful freshman year launching into the freshwater segment. The year prior, they set their focus on collecting feedback. The point person for that feedback collection was Mike Valster of the Outdoor Brands Team. AFTCO says Valster and his team steered them in the right direction with a marketing launch, and they had trust in their ability to collect input on the apparel needs of freshwater fishermen. By Fall of 2018, Valster’s team delivered several ideas, samples and angler-driven feedback that ultimately manifested into the production of six key freshwater items. That early meeting resulted in some clear standouts like the AFTCO Hydronaut® Waterproof Fishing Jacket that ended up winning the 2018 ICAST New Product Showcase – Technical Apparel category.
However, the most notable product innovation to stem from this meeting was the AFTCO Reaper Tech Fishing Hoodie— now a staple in any serious fisherman’s closet. Like most AFTCO products, Reaper was a culmination by joining the viewpoints from a broad field of expertise. They tapped into the extensive knowledge of our product team, leveraging their experience in the action sports and outdoor industries. Combined with the real-world fishing experience and AFTCO’s ability to hone in on the critical details that differentiate a poorly built garment from a longer lasting piece of equipment, Reaper was born.
A common complaint with the basic sweatshirt was how the hood pulls flap around while running at high speeds. Every freshwater angler knows the frustration of sweatshirt strings hitting you in the face while traveling at 70 mph. AFTCO’s secure double tightening mechanism fixes that problem. Most notably, the Reaper features an integrated fleece face mask and neck warmer. In 2012, AFTCO introduced the Fish Ninja®, which was one of the first commercially available fishing shirts with a built-in sun protection face mask. It was only fitting to evolve and improve on this design to meet the needs for the cold weather market. Finally, by replacing old Velcro pocket closures with innovative Block Tapey™ closure, we have created a silent and longer lasting closure which many hunters have come to appreciate. All these killer features were built into an extremely warm and ultra-comfortable fleece fabric that was popularized by the Vista quarter zip fleece.
The Reaper Family of Technical Outerwear & Fleece
AFTCO’s new Reaper Windproof Jacket joins the current and upcoming Reaper technical fishing outerwear range. Anchored by their original Reaper Fleece Sweatshirt, the family also includes a custom AFTCO Camo Reaper Sweatshirt as well as a new ICAST 2020 release of the Reaper Mossy Oak Sweatshirt. We also made sure to offer the Women’s Reaper Sweatshirt for female anglers that features a women’s fit and specific functionality such as a custom ponytail hood to meet their specific needs on the water.