If you like to fish when it’s cold outside, fish in colder water most of the year, or just don’t like being wet when kayak fishing, you’ve probably considered waders, bibs, or some kind of clothing to keep you dry. Lots of companies offer solutions for these issues but when it comes to kayak specific solutions, NRS gets a lot of talk. The Sidewinder Bibs have been the favorite among kayak anglers since they debuted in 2016 but the price point was too steep for some. NRS heard that commentary and developed the Raptor Bibs. Having experience with the Sidewinder Bibs, the Raptor was a natural selection to try out and see if these would be a good option with a lower price point. I’ll walk you through what I liked, what I’d like to see change but first, here’s a quick overview video and some product details.
The NRS Raptor Bibs deliver the same unique comfort and utility as the popular Sidewinders in a streamlined design that’s both lightweight and affordable. Purpose-built for the recreational angler, the Raptor Bibs nail the basics and offer dependable protection.
- Waterproof, breathable 2.5-layer HyproTex™ fabric make the Raptor Bibs lightweight and easy to pack.
- Streamlined design for maximum comfort under a PFD and the kayak fishing cut offers ample room for sitting in a kayak.
- Fully-detachable wishbone suspender system uses nylon buckles to guarantee you won’t lose your bibs.
- Combine the Raptor Bibs with a double-skirted dry top or paddling jacket to create a versatile dry system comparable to a drysuit.
- Two side adjustments create a snug fit and the inner tunnel combined with the 4″ wide double pull waist limits water entry.
- Features Eclipse fabric socks and Cordura® reinforced seat and legs for maximum durability.
The NRS Raptor Bibs have a lot of the functionality as the industry leader NRS Sidewinder Bibs but at a much lower price point. The Sidewinders list at $450 and the Raptors come in at $280. With that $170 difference, more people will be able to appreciate exactly what NRS bibs are all about.
The Cordura reinforced seat and leg panels add durability to normal high wear and tear areas which translates to longevity. While rugged enough for the elements, the Hyprotex material is really lightweight. That’s a big change from other options I’ve tried where rain jackets and bibs are thick and heavy. The thin material also allows better movement which is needed when kayak fishing. You don’t want to have mobility limited by your clothes and outerwear.
The legs of the bibs overlap the interior sock which provides another barrier for moisture trying to get in. Cold, wet feet can make for a miserable day on the water and this layer protects you from that. If it’s going to be really cold, you can always disconnect the suspenders and layer with a dry top.
A cool thing I found useful is that the four-inch adjustable waistband is sewn on the bottom and not on the top. If you need to warm your hands or stow a phone for quick retrieval, this marsupial-style pouch, whether intentional or not has worked well for me to hold keys, a phone, or a wallet for quick retrieval. You will have to be careful because the items could work there way out over time with lots of movement.
I want to go back to the weight one more time. The NRS Raptor Bibs are probably the lightest bibs I’ve ever worn. Lightweight, still protective from the elements, and nonintrusive for paddling or pedaling a kayak are huge when trying to select the outerwear you need. The Raptors meet those requirements with flying colors.
Room For Improvement
I’m sure a lot of folks will think since I have experience with the Sidewinder Bibs I am going to suggest a relief zipper on the Raptors but I’m not. I didn’t miss it. Adding in too many features will price the Raptors out of the market and I want people to have a couple of different options in the price spectrum.
So what would I like to see changed?
The interior stocking foot lacks a little bit of structure and can slide forward in your wading shoes over the course of a day. I’d really like to see some heel stitching to formalize a heel cup to keep the sock or stocking foot where it needs to be.
I’d also like to see the overlap of the bib in the leg portion to be a little taller. Right now the high top NRS Backwater shoes or the NRS Crush do fine. If I need a little thicker boot that’s a bit warmer I’d like to be able to wear my NRS Boundary Boots with them and not have to tuck the Raptor Bib legs into the boots but rather have the leg overlap the boot.
Not necessarily an improvement piece but just a caveat, the four-inch waistband is snug because it is designed to be to keep overflow water out and for the bibs to hug your body. That being said, if you are closer to a Buddha’s belly than six pack abs, you might want to try some on before purchase to make sure you can fit.
Final Thoughts on the NRS Raptor Bibs
The NRS Raptor Bibs are the more price conscious little brother of the Sidewinders. They might make a run as the top seller over the next year. You give up a few zippers and a quick relief option but before 2016 we never really had that anyway. If you are looking for bibs that you can use almost every month of the year, bibs that won’t bind and obstruct movement while fishing, and fits into the sub $300 range, the NRS Raptor Bibs are an excellent option.