Right now the sun is shining in the west of Ireland and it looks like autumn is the new summer, but winter is well on the way. It’s mild enough to fish in the bib and brace combo of my Ion bib pants, I did notice that water temperatures are starting to drop and coarse fish are responding by shoaling up for the winter. What this can mean is that if you find the fodder fish then pike will not be far away. What it also means is soon I will need to wrap up well when going afloat. A flask of tea is great as a warm up but it won’t heat you all day on the water.
Last winter and spring I started using Palm’s layering system to keep warm on the water. From years of working outdoors and enjoying the outdoors I knew that multiple thin layers are far more efficient at trapping heat than a couple of heavy layers. With this approach in mind Palm have created a range of layers that can be worn individually or as a team, dependent on the outside temperature and level of ‘toastiness’ sought.
First up is the ‘Arun’ longsleeve baselayer, which will wick moisture away from your body leaving the inside layer dry to the touch. The Arun is great to wear on a summer’s day on its own when paddling. If the temperatures start to dip in the evening I throw on a jacket. Lightweight and comfortable, it makes a great first layer in mild conditions and is comfortable enough to wear anywhere (I’m wearing mine as I type this in my office).
The ‘Seti’ is a thicker layer with a polyester fleece construction arranged in a grid-like fashion. It is very breathable and makes an ideal layer to sit under your paddling jacket or drysuit as the cooler days of autumn start to bite. As autumn turns to winter this is the ideal layer for lower temperatures experienced on those perfect piking mornings – the ones where you drag your kayak to the river barely able to see where you are going through the cool autumn morning mist. The Seti thermals are made as both pants and a top to keep you warm at the turn of the season.
Finally the thickest layer completes my set. Featuring the ‘Indus’ top and ‘Bhoting’ pants the last layer is for the hardier anglers and paddlers amongst you that laugh in the face of winter. This is the kit for the guys who stay out as ice forms on the bow of the boat. Fleece lined, supple and with a bit of stretch, this ensemble works with you to keep you warm on even the coldest of days. All three layers are available in male and female cuts and the range is enough to keep anybody warm at any stage of the year. (I can’t wait to try out the new Tsangpo thermals, with the new Pontetorto fleece fabric, which will be on offer from Palm in the New Year).
Being an angler means being static for sometimes hours on end. One can imagine that with air temperatures just below freezing and water temperatures just above, the cold can set in relatively quickly. Keeping the feet warm can be a particular problem and I was very impressed with how the ‘Nova’ boots went a long way to keeping my feet warm. With ‘thermofibre lined neoprene’ the boot retains heat while not compromising on size to deliver a 3 mm boot that really does keep your feet warmer for longer. No more kicking rocks to get the feeling back into my toes!
If you like your winter fishing and paddling but have issues with heat retention when afloat, check out some of the range to keep you warm when on the water. They have transformed my short two-to-three hour winter sessions to day long affairs.
A full range of Palm Equipment thermal wear can be found in Ireland at the Canoe Centre.