One of the key similarities of previously discussed heavy-duty rainwear brands is their historical link to the fishing industry of the region the brand started. For the AJ Group from Poland this is a bit different as the fishing industry is of limited importance to Poland. That does not make the rainwear of this brand better or worse, it just means you should expect less fishing-industry specific products, colors, and features. The AJ Group specializes in waterproof workwear with speciality products and materials for certain target groups. The best example of this is their waterproof overall for beemasters shown below. I cannot think of any other brand producing something this specific.
In their range of workwear are camouflage printed fishing gear, waders that are quite popular in online communities due to their overall look and thickness, signal clothing, acid-lyeproof clothing, and antistatic clothing. Naturally I will limit myself to their range of rainwear which is part of their “waterproof standard” and “glosbe” range on their website. https://ajgroup.pl/en/products/
Starting with their “waterproof standard” range my first impression is that the name is accurately chosen as the raingear seems quite standard. Of course this is a workwear brand so there is no reason to expect a range of highly fashionable rainwear which is completely unsuitable for work. But as long as you don’t wear it too oversized it does not have to be completely unfashionable either.
You can find normal raincoats, smocks, 3/4 coats, and long coats made out of their polyester with PVC coated material, called Plavite, with a material weight of 350 gram per square meter. These specifications seem pretty standard for regular PVC rainwear, offering general comfort while wearing with ample flexibility but less suited for real heavy-duty work. The material has a matt finish and basic cut meaning it will not really stand out and is perfect for practical use. What does stand out is the wide range of colors available; while most brands limit themselves to 1, 2 or 3 different colors many of the gear in this range is available in many more colors.
The Glosbe range of rainwear is almost the polar opposite of the standard range. Where the standard range has a matt and unassuming finish, the Glosbe range will attract a lot more attention with a shiny finish only matched by the Opal range from Stutterheim. The finish is so shiny that it might be a bit too much for me, especially combined with some of the brightest colors you can imagine like fluorescent yellow, blue, or orange. While many other brands have bright colors in their range, none will stand out like these colors and color combinations. Add to that a high material weight of 550-700 gram per square meter and you quickly have a range of rainwear that appeals less to regular rainwear-wearing consumers.
That is not to say the AJ Pro brand should be completely written off for casual consumers, as there are some nice items available from this brand. The first jacket that got my attention is from the waterproof standard range where they have a 3/4 waterproof jacket in the color combination burgundy and light olive as shown below. The coat looks rather simplistic but the color combination makes it an interesting item. And while there are no rainpants listed in either burgundy or olive, I am under the impression that you might be able to custom order a pair to turn this into a rainsuit if you want. I will explain more about that later.
The Glosbe range enjoys quite some popularity online under rainwear enthusiast as they offer a unique set of extremely shiny and visible raingear, but one could always stick to the more neutral colors to reach a more fashionable but still eye-catching outfit. This is best illustrated with the pictures below of the Opalo rainwear in dark green. Pictures from “naturalrubber” on Flickr.
The attractiveness is that while the model and color of the jacket are very basic, it is the shine of the material that sets it apart from many other brands. The similarities with the Opal range from Stutterheim are obvious, but do keep in mind that Stutterheim has a much more fashionable cut for their rainwear meaning the overall look might differ.
To my surprise most feedback indicates that the Opalo range is actually quite comfortable to wear as the material is relatively flexible. So don’t be too afraid of ordering some 700gr/m rainwear as some describe it as more comfortable than the Helly Hansen Nusfjord range at 550gr/m. Needless to say the experience of wearing raingear of this thickness will be different from regular fashionable raingear made out of PU or simple water resistant materials, so it might take some time to get used to and fall in love with it.
Availability of AJ Group rainwear is mostly limited to online stores which is unfortunately quite normal for workwear. It would be great to have a physical store to try on different sizes and compare materials and colors, but that is not feasible anymore nowadays for products like this. Another reason for it only being available online is that the company mostly works on an order base for less common sizes and colors meaning they will only start producing the gear you want after you order it. The obvious downside is the delivery time of around a month before you get your order. But the positive part is that it opens the door for custom orders, like when you fancy a pair of rain pants matching the burgundy/olive raincoat mentioned previously. If they have the materials and you want it produced similarly to an existing product they have, they can probably help you further with a quote.
There are two high-profile online shops selling the AJ Group raingear: farmerrain and rainwear.store. Both stores will be able to deliver basic gear immediately, with the only difference that farmerrain “rebrands” the gear by adding their brand-name printed on it. In case you fancy something special that might need to be custom ordered, or look for specific information regarding the raingear I would recommend you contact the owner of rainwear.store as he comes across as extremely knowledgable and helpful.
Two final points I want to make are that while I compared the Opalo range to the Stutterheim brand the obvious difference between the two is the price. An AJ Group Opalo raincoat costs around a quarter of what Stutterheim charges which makes is much more affordable.
Another important point of attention is the sizing of the raingear. While most workwear brands have their products fairly oversized, the AJ Group has a much smaller sizing. So while you might prefer a size smaller than normal for most brands of heavy-duty raingear, you might want to order your regular size or even a size larger for AJ Group raingear.
Hopefully this review helps put the brand in a bit of a spotlight and gives a new option for people looking for some unique rainwear products. If you already own some AJ Group rainwear feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly for feedback, a review of your gear, or a different view on what I just wrote.