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When temperatures plummet and snow starts to fly there's no reason to shiver and
shake. Whether you're blazing along a river trail or drifting in a river dorie, you can
keep dry and warm by dressing properly and adjusting to changing conditions.
Comfort in the cold requires attention to details, and more than anything that
means layering your clothing from the inside out.

The answer to staying warm lies in the dynamics of heat and moisture against your
skin. The traditional outdoor clothing for combating cold was a bulky parka and lots
of wool undergarments. While this combination might work for someone standing
still, they are impractical for the fisherman. Parkas are heavy, wool is itchy, and,
most importantly, both garments can trap moisture, which leads to uncomfortable
cold. when someone wearing them works up a sweat and then cools down.
Layering, on the other hand, allows for a variety of conditions using light-weight
and comfortable fabrics.

The trick to layering is to combine the right clothing in the proper order, trapping
the air warmed by your body heat while letting moisture vapor from your body's
perspiration be wicked away from your skin. The choice of garments must be
versatile enough to adapt to your activity level and variations in weather
conditions—maintaining the delicate balance of staying cool when active and warm
when at rest.

Cold Weather Layering Made Simple

1st Layer --Wicking
The first layer for cold-weather should keep you warm and dry on the inside. Since
it's against your skin, it also makes sense to wear something soft, lightweight and
pliable. This layer, the first layer, will work with your outer layers to keep you dry.
The best material for long underwear are those that "wick" wetness away from your
skin quickly and effectively.

If you're thinking about cotton underwear for cold weather, think again. This fabric
dries slowly, and actually holds moisture against your skin. We've all worn cotton
socks on a cold day to find your feet end up being both damp and cold.

Today's synthetic fibers, polypropylene and the like, work much better. Not only
does it feel comfortable against the skin, it dries quickly and actually pulls
perspiration away from the skin towards the next layer of clothing, the insulating
layer, where it can evaporate.

2nd Layer Insulation
The secret to staying warm and dry when temperatures drop—or when you're
activity level is reduced—is to make sure you're well insulated against the cold.
The moisture that's moving away from your skin has to keep moving. The best
insulators will trap warm air, but and move moisture through to the next layer. Your
best bet for the insulation layer should be comfortable and light weight, durable,
wind proof and breathable. We have all heard of GORE-TEX, they make all kinds of
products from gloves to jackets with that they call WindStopper®. This product can
be worn as an insulating layer as well as an outer shell on cold days.

A quick tip on insulating: use as many layers as necessary to stay ahead of the cold,
and control your body temperature by adding or removing layers as needed.


3rd Layer The Outer Shell
The outer shell is your last line of defense, so outerwear should be appropriate for
your activity. Jackets must allow perspiration to wick while blocking wind and rain.
The material should also reduce heat loss and help the rest of your layers keep you
dry and comfortable.

Previous technology would not allow an outer layer, or shell, that was capable of
protecting you from wind, rain and snow while allowing perspiration to escape
simply wasn't available. Most people wore rubber or neoprene waders & jackets,
but these materials trapped sweat, made the insulation layer wet, and kept us cold
instead of warm. Because they weren't breathable, your options were to get wet
from the outside in or get wet from inside out.

The invention of GORE-TEX® fabric revolutionized cold-weather outerwear. Able to
withstand the most severe rain and snow while allowing perspiration vapor to
escape, GORE-TEX® fabric has proven to be durable and wind proof for a wide
range wading situations.

Today there are several effective performance fabrics available. In the process of
making your choice, consider your activity and the level of protection you expect.
Make sure the shell is large enough to fit easily over the other layers and that it is
easy to care for so that you can maintain its performance over a long period of
time. Use it in conjunction with the other layers and you may never have another
uncomfortable day on the river.
Simms MId-Weight thermal underwear
Simms Heavy Weight Thermal Underwear
Simms One-Piece Heavy Weight Thermal Underwear
A great example  
of a 1st layer.
Simms Midweight
A great example  
of a 2nd layer.
The Simms
Heavyweight
The best possible
solution to staying
warm in cold
Temperatures. The
Simms 1 piece
heavyweight layer.
Layering To Stay Warm - No Matter What the Conditions
By: John Vincent