Staying warm and dry on a cold, wet day can mean the difference between a great fishing trip and a miserable one. Being cold is not only uncomfortable but dangerous. In this article we will cover methods of keeping warm and dry as well as some great products you can take advantage of to make this an easy task.
Dress in layers
We have all been told to dress in layers all of our lives by our parents and grandparents. This is actually one of the best ways to help you stay warm and dry in cold weather. Start out with a thin base layer that is designed to wick moisture away from the body. Moisture, whether its from weather or perspiration, will make you much colder very quickly. Good old fashioned long johns are ok but, the cheaper ones are typically made of cotton or a cotton blend, which is not good at wicking away moisture. Polyester based fabrics are the best for keeping you dry. Good base layers are usually made in three weight levels so, you can select the proper ones based on the temperature outside. Below are a few of the top selling base layers available today. Several brands even offer base layers specifically for women.
Under Armour ColdGear UA Base Crew Shirt – Provides maximum warmth in extreme cold or lower-exertion activities. lightweight ColdGear grid fabric is engineered to trap heat by maintaining core temperature and quick-drying moisture transport. Under Armour will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable without hindering mobility.
Under Armour ColdGear Leggings – Provides warmth and comfort in very cold weather. ColdGear fabric is superior at retaining heat as well as wicking moisture away from the body. These legging are light and thin making it easy and comfortable to wear multiple layers of clothing. This type of material is very durable and the best for a base layer.
Under Armour Women’s EVO ColdGear Bottoms – Cold-weather fitted gear designed to fit very close to the body without the constriction of compression. Brushed double-sided fabric allows a maximum range of motion while locking in body heat and accelerating moisture transport.
Under Armour Women’s EVO ColdGear Mock Top – Form fitting but non-restrictive fit. Made from the same material as the bottoms to provide superior moisture wicking abilities and heat retention.
Outer layers are best described by being made of material that will block water or wind. If it is not a base layer or outer layer it is considered to be “mid layer”. Your second layer should be loose but not baggy and should make contact with the base layer without restricting movement. Cotton t-shirts or sweatshirts and jeans or sweat pants are a an option. These are good choices because of cost, durability, and you will be able to shed some of your mid or top layers if the temperature changes and you are too hot. Then you will not have to fish in your underwear just to be comfortable. Many of the best mid-layers are made from polyester, wool or down and are available as “mid-layers” from many manufacturers. Some great features offered by mid layers are zippered collars to keep your neck warm and vent zippers to help you regulate body temperature.
Carhartt Canvas Work Dungaree – These 100% cotton pants are comfortable and very durable. They offer several pockets and are wide legged to fit over boots.
Columbia Steens Mountain Full Zip Fleece Sweater – 100% polyester fleece jacket that is great over a short or long sleeved t-shirt. It features a zip up collar, elastic wrists, and a drawstring bottom to lock in heat.
If one mid layer is not enough to keep you warm in extreme cold, you can do multiple mid layers. Just be sure not to over do it and restrict your movements. It is very difficult to catch fish if you cant move your arms. This also can be very dangerous when walking and climbing.
Ideally the top layer of clothing should be 100% water and wind proof. Wind and rain can easily penetrate most base and mid layers so it is very important not to give them a chance. There are many types of pants, jackets, and coats that will fit the bill here. Some are heavily insulated for extreme cold conditions and others are lighter for more moderate weather. Cover-alls are also a great choice for cold weather. They provide a seamless top and bottom that will help to keep in your body heat. We will discuss light weight rain and wind proof gear for warm seasons in an upcoming article.
Bass Pro Shops 100mph Gore-Tex Rain Parka – These rain parkas feature a roomy zip-off visor hood that keeps rain and snow off your face. The body and sleeves are nylon lined for breathability and easy on/off. Sealed front zipper with internal storm flap forms an impenetrable barrier to spray and wet weather. This jacket has a great fit that does not limit mobility and will definitely keep you warm and dry when layering clothing.
Bass Pro Shops 100mph Gore-Tex Rain Bibs -Made from the same Gore-tex material as the above parka, these bibs are lightweight and comfortable. They feature nylon satin lining for breathability and to make them easy to put on and remove. The legs have gusseted zippers that will keep you legs dry even in a blowing rain or snow.
For Your Feet
Cold feet can be the worst part of a cold fishing trip. Even if the rest of your body is warm, if your feet are cold and wet, you are miserable. Good socks are a must for keeping you feet dry and warm. You can also layer your socks, just be sure not to restrict movement of your toes. If you can’t move your toes, chances are good that you are hindering circulation which will make your feet cold. As with other base layers, you should look for materials that will wick moisture away from the skin. Wool is a good option and there are several synthetic options as well.
Under Armour ColdGear Hitch Heavy Cushion Socks for Men -Made from wool, spandex and nylon, these socks feature excellent moisture control as well as thick cushioning for comfort.
A good quality waterproof and insulated boot is also a winter fishing necessity. Even the best socks are no good if they are wet from leaky boots. Look for a boot that is comfortable with a thick sole to insulate the bottom of your feet from the cold ground. Most good winter boots will be leather, nylon, and/or GoreTex with a layer of Thinsulate insulation or a removable Thinsulate liner.
Rocky 10” Arctic BearClaw 3D GORE-TEX Insulated Waterproof Hunting Boots – Built tough, comfortable, waterproof, and breathable, this high performance hunting boot will keep your feet warm in the most bitter cold out in the woods with 14oo gram Thinsulate insulation.
I rarely wear gloves when cold weather fishing but, there are times when its extremely cold, that putting your hands in your pockets just doesnt help much. There are a number of great fishing gloves on the market that offer slotted fingers so that you can slip out your fingertips to tie on hooks or re-bait. Some are fingerless with a mitt cover that can be pulled over the fingertips when you are not doing activities that require your dexterity.
Glacier Glove Fleece-Lined Neoprene Gloves – This waterproof fishing glove is made of 2mm premium fleece-lined neoprene and features slotted fingers for increased dexterity.
There are thousands of great products for keeping you warm while cold weather fishing. Remember to layer loosely and to bring an extra set of clothing to leave in your vehicle just in case. Following a few simple tips will make your winter trip more pleasurable.
Let us know! What is some of your favorite gear for cold or wet weather fishing? Please leave us a comment below.