Cold-Weather Gear: “Noble Fibers”
Cold weather kicks in with more suddenness in the northern portions of the country. It seems that every year in the fall I’m left scrambling to find and organize coats, pants, underlayers, gloves and hats just moments before a fishing trip. Fishing from shore, or wading in a river requires typical protection, but if you add an open boat to that equation, and throw in a little boat spray, you’ll be needing far more than typical cold-weather gear.
Overdressing will make you miserable (been there, often), and under-dressing can easily and drastically cut your time on the water. Fortunately, clothing manufacturers are creating specialized items that take a host of factors into consideration: moisture dissipation (breathability), heat retention/dissipation, stretch, durability, reduced weight/storage volume (to easily fit in vests and packs), reduced drying time, weatherproofing, even soil-proofing,… The list is almost endless, and they all address one, common goal: comfort. The following items delivered as promised.
Interior boat space normally comes at a premium, so you can’t—or at least shouldn’t—“take it all with you,” meaning that one of the best features that boating gear can offer is compactness. Other requirements? I want boating garments to be light, windproof, close-fitting and warm.
I searched for some items that included all of the parameters listed above and came up with two Patagonia items that were standouts.
DAS Pants ($249) are arguably the finest and most boat-friendly (see photo) garment I’ve reviewed in years. They are regular-fitting pants that can be worn over heavier midlayers. Patagonia designers adorned them with every conceivable bell and whistle, including ankle snaps with rubberized cuffs that prevent leg creep, and full-leg zips for easy on/off.
The pants feature PrimaLoft insulation throughout (PrimaLoft is a microfiber that helps your body retain its warmth) and a lightweight PU-coated nylon ripstop shell that is durable, highly water-resistant and windproof. According to Patagonia, their proprietary durable water repellent fabric finish, Deluge DWR, lasts substantially longer than standard DWRs; they claim that garments with the Deluge DWR finish have like-new repellency even after years of extensive use (note that the garments I used were not long-term tested).
The pants have a highly tailored fit that maximizes warmth, but have enough give to still be worn as an over-pant. Also, these full-length pants come with their own stowage bag: they can literally be stuffed into a glove compartment.
1.2-oz 20-denier 100% nylon PU-coated ripstop with a Deluge® DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Insulation: 100-g PrimaLoft® ONE
434 g (15.3 oz)
Patagonia’s Nano Puff Jacket ($199) is also filled with lightweight, highly compressible 60-g PrimaLoft ONE insulation. This regular fit jacket can serve double duty, as an insulating layer or outerwear in cold climates.
Standard features are two zippered handwarmer pockets, elasticized cuffs and a dual-adjust drawcord hem to seal out wind and seal in warmth.