You’ve probably noticed that we have got quite a bit of fishing clothing in the TF-Gear range. What with the primal range, second skin and the latest ranges it’s quite a comprehensive collection. Designing and selling fishing clothing for the British market is sometimes frustrating though, primarily because a lot of British anglers simply don’t understand layers.
The common misconception is that if you want to stay warm the answer is to wear something big, bulky and with plenty of padding – the old fashioned one-piece suit being a classic example. They are awful things! When you walk to your swim you sweat like crazy and then, when you arrive the sauna lasts for about five minutes before you start to feel cold.
Why? Well, the answer is body moisture or, to put it more bluntly, sweat. When we move we sweat. Our skin is breathable and can exchange moisture with the atmosphere. If we want to stay warm our clothing should do the same – hence the term ‘breathable.’ The beauty of layered fishing clothing is that it can be made breathable and because the layers trap air between themselves, the result is a warm, comfortable wearer. The other advantage of layers is that you can take them on and off to cope with changing weather.
The art of making breathable clothing is to ensure that sweat can pass through the layers but water molecules can’t. In many respects Gore-tex is the ultimate material but it does not sell well here in the UK because whilst Brits are happy to spend a fortune on fishing rods the same principle does not extend to clothing. We have worked very hard to source waterproof, breathable fabrics at a price that won’t break the bank and we have enjoyed great success with it. Seams are very important too – most clothing is let down by leaking seams. Ours isn’t.
Let’s look now at the layers and what they are designed to do.
Base or skin (second skin): this is a thin, breathable layer worn next to the skin. It forms the base layer and can be worn on its own on warm days or form the first layer on cooler days.
Mid- Layer : this is the layer that builds up warmth, usually in the form of a heavier fleece. Sometimes, if it is very cold, two layers of second skin and then the mid-layer are needed. Primal fleeces are perfect for this layer.
Top (shell): whilst most people love to wear padding, it is rarely necessary. Shell type jackets allow moisture (sweat to escape) but keep rain out. If you want to build up more heat, add more mid-layers. Some people prefer a lined or padded jacket and pants for the top layer and for less active styles of fishing this is OK.
At the end of the day, in addition to keeping you warmer and drier, there are other advantages to properly layered fishing clothing – notably that it is more comfortable to wear and makes you look less of a plonker.