By Jerry Richards
Bad weather should not keep you from going on the water but a bad clothing choice might. A rough weather day is not always the most enjoyable but it is certainly the most memorable. What you wear on the water should be viewed as equipment as important as your rod or real. It can give you a performance advantage!
Poor quality clothing and out of date fabrics contributes to lackluster performance. Clothing using the latest fabric technology is, without doubt, less restricting and lighter and if you are not up with the latest gear then other competitors may have an advantage as they will be using less energy throughout the competition, making for quicker recovery the next day.
Freezing cold or overheating is not good for your best performance and will result in longer recovery period so you might not be at your best the next day. (Drinking water during the day is also very important.)
What Is Layering: The Base layer
Often considered as a piece to keep you warm, its true function, as a layering system is to be sure the skin’s surface is dry. Base layering is essential for not only staying warm in cold conditions, but is as important for staying cool on a hot day, especially while wearing mid layer and waterproof breathable outer garments. Often overlooked, the base layer can be a night and day changing experience if you have been wearing a cotton tee shirt or jeans.
With moderate exertion our bodies give off about half a liter of moisture vapor in one hour. This is the body’s natural cooling system. To prevent discomfort this moisture should not build up inside the clothing system, but be able to evaporate or wick to the next layer. Cotton clothing absorbs moisture up to 25% of its own weight. Damp air then transfers heat away from the body twenty times quicker than dry air. If you are wearing cotton clothing next to the skin it will absorb the moisture and suck the heat out of your body leaving you feeling cold, clammy, and early fatigue may set in. When your skin is dry you will be warmer than if damp cotton clothing is against the skin. On a hot day you will be cooler. Base layer leggings are not to be overlooked. Do not wash polyester base layer in fabric softener.
Have an old base layer? Good chance it’s not doing its job.
Suggested product choice: 1266 i2 Long Sleeve T. 1267 i2 Leggings.
The Mid Layer: Worn over the base layer.
There’s no magic to staying warm. Trap dry air close to the body. Body temperature 98.6F, skin temp around 87 degrees, which heats the air next to skin. Warm air can be trapped in fleece or lofted garments like sleeping bag materials. The trapped dry air, like double-glazing in a house, keeps you warm. The garment must be highly breathable and to stop the warmed air escaping a fleece windproof shell can be worn.
Suggested product choice: Fleece, Windproof Fleece, Softshell, Lofted garments.
Waterproof, Breathable Outer Layer.
The outer layer is where the real protection against the elements takes place and it must be completely water and windproof with good breathability. It is often looked to for keeping warm, which can be a practical side effect, but the principle purpose for the outer layer jacket and chest high trousers is to stop water getting in and also contain the warm air within the mid layer from escaping while letting the buildup of moisture out. To be effective this layer must be very breathable and capable of keeping you dry all day in the pouring rain.
The Jacket should include a hood and collar system, protective flaps over the front zip, and adjustable inner cuffs. In order to work most efficiently, the fabric should be breathable, thus allowing the moist air that’s built up inside the garment to escape. The latest fabrics are lighter and more flexible, but are also more durable than ever before. You cannot gauge these fabrics by touching as the technology has advanced and the water proof garments have become more breathable, more durable (hard wearing), but also softer and lighter, allowing greater freedom of movement and are less tiring when worn for extended periods.
Suggested product choice: Gill IN21 or OS21 Jacket. IN11 or OS21 Chest High Trousers.