Here comes another cold, wintry blast, just as the fish are kicking it up a notch. You could stay home this weekend I guess, or you could switch to your winter kit and #forgettheforecast safety and in comfort. Your waders are only as good as your layering system beneath, and even Simms G4Z’s (win a pair here) won’t keep you dry if you’re wading with Levis. So here’s what I’ll personally be rocking through winter 2020 to keep warm, and fish better for longer.
GORE-TEX, GORE-TEX, GORE-TEX
People assume they will stay warm with some thick, bulky wader material but you know that staying dry and allowing moisture to move through your layers, and away from the skin really is the key right? With billions of microscopic pores per square inch, too small for water particles to enter but perfect for moisture vapour to pass, your next set of waders, or your jacket for the NZ outdoors really should be of Goretex construction. Google it. Goretex technology really is that cool.
It all starts with your base layer, or next to skin layer. Now this doesn’t have to be warm, but must quickly and effectively move any moisture away from the skin and keep you dry. The Simms Waderwick Core pants and top are my go to whether in February or August.
Simms Fleece Mid Layer pant and top will replace my Solarflex top for the cooler months and provide the warmth, without the bulk that an insulating mid layer should do. Fleece will also dry quickly if you take an unfortunate dip before the sun comes up.
Talking about unfortunate dips, regardless of the weather, I keep a Simms Midstream Insulated Jacket packed inside a storage sized ziplock bag along with gloves and a beanie in my pack as emergency clothing on all guide trips (that’s a great safety tip for you guides). Day to day however the Midstream is a great mid or outer layer worn either beneath, or on top of, my barrier layer Rogue Fleece Hoody, or on its own. Primaloft Gold retains its loft / warmth when wet and is extremely packable, and so is the layer I usually remove when things warm up.
STRAIGHT TO THE TOP OF YOUR DOME
Ultra Wool, Visor Beanie, Trout Logo Beanie. Choose what works best for you, but it’s no use being toastie warm and then losing warmth through your head. An Ultra Wool Beanie worn beneath your cap or a trout logo pulled down over top will keep you comfortable for longer. Keep an eye out for some new beanies landing very soon too, these are gamechangers but more about those later…
Ultra Core Wool Liners replace my solar flex gloves from as early as April onwards as the mercury plummets, and for early AM sessions in the depths of winter, the Simms Kispiox gloves provide both manoeuvrability and ultimate warmth in a 100% waterproof package. The Headwaters Fleece No Finger Glove is a comfortable, all day option and the Guide Windbloc Foldover Mitt made life a lot easier as a guide this, ahem, summer on the many brutally cold, wet days.
And last but definitely the most overlooked is your sock. The Simms Guide Midweight Sock is a 75% merino, over the calf fit sock offering fast wicking moisture management and warmth where you need it. With just enough nylon to provide durability over multiple days beating the feet, and 2% lycra to maintain their shape these have become a firm favourite to my everyday coldwater kit. Let’s face it, cotton socks just don’t cut it. Wool provides warmth, controls moisture and is naturally anti bacterial. The obvious choice for keeping warm from the ground up.