Dress for Success
Fall and winter are just around the corner, that means a few things. First of all cooler temps are starting to be the norm and as the season progresses it's going to get cooler and cooler. It also means that the wind and rain and storms that come along with the cooler seasons will be here soon as well. This is a fantastic time of year to take advantage of some great outdoor opportunities around our area and that means being out in the elements. Dressing properly can make a world of difference in the success that you enjoy (or not). Being warm and dry will help conserve energy and improve your morale, which will help you stay out longer and more importantly, help you to enjoy the entire experience. No one wants to get set up on the perfect run and have a freak rainstorm come through soaking them to the bone. Its no fun to stand there for the rest of the day shivering and cold. This time of year having the right clothing is paramount, you'll be safer, more comfortable, and more successful.
Lauren Stanley shows us that layering up and getting out there can pay off!
Here in the shop we get a lot of people from a lot of different areas of the country, everyone's comfort levels are going to be different so there isn't one jacket or wader that will do it all. If I had to sum up the point of this article it could be done in two words, "Versatility" and "Layering." No matter who you are you'll be comfortable all day long if you keep those two words in your head. The reason that it's so important to have a versatile, layered system is because we rarely have the same conditions all day long. It might rain, snow, and hit 75° all in one day. As angler's we are constantly moving around; walking, wading, hiking, casting, it all takes energy and changes our body's temperature. This mix of exertion and external factors require a lot of adaptation. Luckily there are a lot of options out there to choose from in order to get the most efficient system for your specific needs. There are three basic categories that need to be addressed when you set out to get your fall and winter clothing system in order; base-layers, insulation layers, and outer layers.
Base-layers need to be light and very absorbent. The purpose of a base layer isn't to keep you warm, it's sole purpose is to keep you dry. Not from external factors like rain or snow but to wick away the moisture or sweat that you create under exertion. Without a high quality moisture wicking base-layer our sweat rests on our skin and simply does what it's meant to do, cool us off. If we keep our bodies dry we are able to stay much warmer. Just having a base-layer that absorbs the sweat will not be enough. For instance a cotton base-layer will absorb the sweat but it will not wick it away form the body and eventually promote evaporation. Layers made out of materials like cotton, which simply absorb sweat, still keep the moisture we produce close enough to our bodies to cool us off. Not good! I really like Patagonia's Capilene 1 material for base-layers. It's light breathable and does a great job of taking sweat, wicking it away from our bodies, and evaporating it efficiently. If Patagonia doesn't float your boat Simms makes some great synthetic base-layers like their Wader Wick line which is just as good as the Patagonia, and there is always the plethora of merino wool offerings out there to choose from.
This is the category that, in my eyes, has the most versatility. A good insulation layer might consist of a single down jacket, a fleece, another heavier capilene layer, or a combination of any of them just to name a few. This is the layer that is going to give us the warmth that we require throughout the day. Remember, the whole point of this system is versatility. I like to use two garments, one light and one heavier, to get the most out of my clothing system. The light layer will go closer to the skin and the heavier layer on the outside. By using two layers for our insulation we can adjust how much warmth we want. If you are hiking around all day you'll not need as much insulation as when you are chest deep in an icy runoff laden stream. Having two pieces of clothing gives us the option to shed or put on layers as our needs change. I like to use Patagonia's Capilene for my first insulation layer as well. I usually go with the medium or heavy weight offerings which give plenty of warmth and still help our base-layer do its job as well. For the second insulation layer I like to go with a nice fleece or a down jacket. Something like the Guide Mid Top by Simms or a Patagonia Puff do a fantastic job of keeping you nice and warm while still being light and breathable.
Guide Mid Top by Simms
This is the Layer that is going to do all of the heavy lifting for our clothing system. The outer layer protects you from wind, rain, snow, sleet, thrown feces; you name it the outer layer has to protect you from it. Going with a quality outer layer will save you a lot of trouble and money in the long run. Despite a high initial investment it is really worth going with the best piece that you can afford, it will pay off by lasting for seasons instead of a season and will do its job every time you depend on it instead of every now and then. A lot of the same principals that we've been using to build this system apply to the outer layer as well. You want to have something that is going to be versatile and allow you to get rid of the excess water vapor that we create when we are working. I always recommend Gore-tex when it's available. It really is the best in the industry and it wont let you down when you need it. Gore-tex is also the industry standard for breathability and durability so again, despite the initial investment it's worth it to get something nice. I'll explain why Gore-tex is so nice at the end of the article. To help out with the versatility of our system we are going to want to look for a couple different features. Pit zips are a really nice feature that give us a quick and easy way air out a little bit if we need to without taking the jacket all the way off. You should also look at the pockets, how many and the size and configuration make a huge difference. Think about what you'll be doing and look for something that will make your life easier. Simms has some great offering with their G3 and G4 jackets which have a plethora of pockets and tons of handy little add ons like zingers and fleece lined hand warmer pockets.
Simms G3 Simms G4
Why invest in Gore-Tex
Gore-Tex is a great laminated fabric that is breathable and waterproof. What laminated means is, that it consists of several different layers of materials that are bonded together to create a single sheet. The corner stone of the Gore-Tex fabric is the membrane. The G.T. membrane has millions of tiny pores that perforate it. These poores are 700 times larger that a single water vapor molecule, which lets the garment breathe. They are also 20,000 smaller that a water droplet so water cant soak in. It's pretty simple but a great idea and what basically all waterproof clothing is based off of today. That membrane is sandwiched between a varying number of layers of supporting fabric that give the garment the desired thickness and durability.