Layering Leads to Warmer Fishing
The idea of layering items of clothing for added warmth is of course nothing new but it never hurts to revisit strong basic concepts like this from time to time. Patagonia are the originators and remain one of the acknowledged leaders in this field and continue to develop the concept. They sent us some pretty cool clothing items to try out.
Over 20 years ago, Patagonia introduced layering for the outdoors. Born originally out of a need for mountaineers to keep warm and dry it has evolved uses for anyone who ventures into the great outdoors including of course fly fishing in temperate climates.
We looked at the principles of the Patagonia base layer system, the one that goes next to your skin in a previous article back in 2009. You can read it by clicking here.
Of course there is not a strict formula to adhere to in terms of how many layers you should wear - it varies based on the conditions. The range of Patagonia clothing covers various weights, insulation and other factors that allow you to choose a wardrobe of items that suit your fishing conditions.
We have been trialling an R1 midlayer, a Guide jacket and a Torrentshell jacket.
Regulator® Insulation provides phenomenal compressibility, light weight warmth and moisture transport, whether used alone or as part of a layering system.
The lofted hollow-core fibers of Regulator Insulation conserve body heat while allowing body moisture to wick uninhibited during sweat-inducing activity. They’re also lightweight and highly compressible for packing – a boon when every inch of pack space counts.
Regulator Insulation comes in four weights: R4, R3, R2, and R1:
Stretchy, lightweight fleece for wind protection
Fur-like fibers create heat-retaining loft
Fur-like fibers offer superior warmth and lightweight breathability
High/low grid fabric insulates and moves moisture off skin
Details - R1 Jacket - £110 from Sportfish and www.patagonia.com
• Exceptional breathability keeps you dry on the inside
• Same amount of warmth is provided by much lighter materials
• Comfort is maintained over a wide temperature range
• Fewer layering changes are required
• Lighter weight improves mobility and comfort
• Greater compressibility conserves space in a backpack
We Say: I like this R1 jacket very much. It is super comfy and warm thanks to the microfiber fleece lining and as well as a great midlayer it is also makes a really nice summer jacket. I also wear it to the office as a smart alternative to a sweater!
To add the next level of wind and water resistance to the layering system, it is time to add one of the very popular soft shells on top of the mid layer.
Highly breathable water-resistant soft shells keep you comfortable and protected from the environment without a barrier. Many of Patagonia's soft shell fabrics have mechanical stretch and offer great breathability and durability. They offer exceptional weather protection in all but sustained downpours.
The highly breathable and wind-resistant double-weave blend of 91% recycled polyester/9% spandex, with a Deluge® DWR (durable water repellent) finish, moves with you, moves moisture, and stays as durable as you are.
Details - Simple Guide Jacket - £130 from Sportfish and www.patagonia.com
• Highly breathable and wind-resistant stretch-woven soft-shell fabric with a Deluge DWR finish
• Microfleece-lined neck and wind flap for next-to-skin comfort
• Zippered handwarmer pockets
• Hook-and-loop cuff closures for a secure fit
• Drawcord hem
• 6.2-oz 91% all-recycled polyester/9% spandex double weave, with a Deluge® DWR (durable water repellent) finish
• 493 g (17.4 oz)
Material: Recycled Polyester
We recycle used soda bottles, unusable second quality fabrics and worn out garments into polyester fibers to produce many of our clothes.
Patagonia’s proprietary durable water repellent fabric finish, Deluge DWR, lasts substantially longer than standard DWRs. Garments with the Deluge DWR finish have like-new repellency after years of extensive use.
We Say: The Simple Guide Soft Shell jacket fits snugly over the R1 jacket without being tight. On a cool windy day and/or with some light rain it adds just the right amount of extra warmth. Again the jacket is styled very nicely for smart casual wear also so you will fit in just as well at the bar as you will on the riverbank. The stretch in the material means it really does move with you as you cast and light rain and mist balled up and shed well on the material.
For complete protection from the rain and spray you need a guaranteed waterproof layer to keep the moisture from penetrating yet it must remain breathable to allow perspiration to pass through.
H2No® is Patagonia's standard for 100% waterproof and breathable protection in our shell garments. H2No is created by adding a waterproof and breathable laminate or coating to a high performance protective fabric. This fabric package blocks wind and water on the outside while allowing water vapor generated by your body to escape – keeping you warm, dry and comfortable.
Testing and Performance Standards
All products bearing the H2No mark have been vigorously tested for durability in our 24 Killer Wash, a process used to simulate years of use and abuse in a short period of time. This process consists of exposing the fabric to severe thrashing in a modified washing machine for a continuous 24 hours. After the killer wash we test for water permeability, adhering to a standard almost twice that of the U.S. Military.
Details - Torrentshell Jacket - £105 from Sportfish and www.patagonia.com
• 2.5-layer nylon ripstop shell with a waterproof/breathable H2No barrier and Deluge DWR finish
• 2-way-adjustable hood with a laminated visor rolls down and stows
• Microfleece-lined neck provides comfort and protects waterproof/breathable barrier
• Center-front zipper has exterior and interior storm flaps to keep water out; pit zips have storm flaps and Deluge DWR-treated zippers
• Self-fabric hook-and-loop cuff closures
• Pockets: two handwarmers, one internal mesh drop-in
• Drawcord hem; packs into zippered self-storage pocket
• 2.5-layer, 2.6-oz 50-denier 100% nylon ripstop with a waterproof/breathable H2No® barrier and a Deluge® DWR (durable water repellent) finish
• 371 g (13.1 oz)
2.5-layer H2No® shell fabrics are waterproof, windproof, breathable and highly packable. They combine a water-repellent shell fabric with our H2No waterproof barrier and a raised pattern on the inside, instead of the full-coverage interior scrim used in 3-layer fabrics. The raised pattern makes 2.5-layer fabric packages lighter and more compressible while still protecting the waterproof barrier.
We Say: I am on my second Torrentshell - well that's not exactly true. I should say I have two Torrentshell jackets now - one in "Channel Blue" that I use to pack away for tropical flats trips and now a second in "Alpha Green" which is a muted olive grey and which fits in better with my UK fishing. What I particularly like is that the finish of the jackets makes them very quiet - none of the noisy rustling of cheaper offerings and creases fall out easily after they have been stuffed away in a bag. I have fished through torrential rain using these jackets on top of flats shirts in Mexico and Belize and here in the UK over the R1 and Guide jackets above and have yet to see a single drop of water penetrate - Patagonia claim they are 100% waterproof and I believe them based on my experiences. The hood has been built with plenty of room so you can still wear a cap underneath and if the weather is really bad can be cinched down tight if you like and adjusted in two directions. It then folds up and rolls away in the collar when not needed.
To sum up what we have learned above let us memorise The Layering Equation below;-
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