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  • Winter is coming questions

    With winter coming to the Northwest (rain and more rain), I am thinking that it is time to get a raincoat. As one who still wades a bit, I find that my current ones end up with pockets full of water, sleeves that become pipes that lead to my armpits, and (in one case) a collar that drains down my neck. So, I have a few questions.
    What raincoat do you use for wading?
    Do you layer, or is the raincoat an all in one (keep you warm and dry on its own)?
    How long have you had it?
    Which ones have you tried that did not work? I currently have a Columbia rain jacket that is very good outside of the wading, but the sleeves and lower pockets are a detriment in the stream.
    Do you use hand warmers? I find that one in the wader pocket is a good thing.....
    Let me know if you have one that has issues, as I would like to buy one that will last a long time- so spending a bit is O.K to get one that really works.. (after all, I did buy that nice reel, and fly tying vise with expectations of longevity).
    Last edited by dragginfly; 11-10-2017, 11:33 PM.

  • #2
    I've had a Patagonia wading jacket -- more or less equivalent to today's SST jacket -- for years and years. I don't fish for winter steelhead anymore, but when I did the jacket was great. Works perfectly to keep you dry as a bone. In cold weather, wear a fleece vest or sweater under it. Patagucci, so of course not cheap, but bucks well spent.

    - JR
    Last edited by J.R.; 11-11-2017, 02:58 PM.

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    • #3
      I've had a Patagonia River Salt jacket for five years and its still bone dry. I layer underneath depending on conditions.

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      • #4
        For years I suffered with a cheap off-brand wading jacket. I now have a Simms jacket that I bought for a screaming deal but I deal with the pocket thing too since it's a little long. Not sure why I end up so deep all the time but I do. I can pull it up and cinch the waist draw string super tight and it helps. The velcro cuffs can be cinched really tight too. I went in up to my neck on the D a month ago and was fully cinched up and got wet but not soaked. I'll definitely get a shorter wading jacket next time but having the tight cuffs and waist drawstring is key. I think some of the higher end jackets have neoprene cuffs and waist bands a bit like a dry-top for paddling. It can make a difference between a good day and a cold wet day especially if you are on a float. If you don't rip it on blackberries a good jacket is a piece of gear that'll go years and years. Layering is best so you can shed layers or take off just the outer wet layer after you fall in and synthetic fleeces won't soak up the water as much after you fall in. The D is slippery these days. Dang mixing tower.

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        • #5
          I agree with the others. What we are saying is that functionality is roughly, not entirely, correlated with price. Fit is important. I have gorilla arms, and someone with T. rex arms would be better off with something other than what works for me. Go somewhere that allows you to try on a couple of brands.
          I am skeptical about hand warmers. When your body core gets cold, your system reflexively shuts down blood flow to the extremities to conserve the heart and brain flows. A hand warmer feels good but does not change that. Getting out for a few moments works better for me.

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          • #6
            Snowboarding for over 20 years, I usually wear the gear when I fish... these last couple years I've bought last years Burton AK gear and its been great. All are GorTex with 10K / 10K material, and as an added bonus, most jackets come with a "powder skirt" that keep water out when I take a slip.

            I always buy last years gear for sweet discounts:
            http://www.the-house.com/2017-sntp-s...proof=Gore-Tex

            S.C.I.

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            • #7
              Simms or Patagonia (or other) wading jackets are designed to fix all the issues you mention. I put heavy fleece or down under my waders and the jacket over the top with the drawstring around the bottom tight. The pockets might get wet if I end up really deep but that is not normally how deep I want to wade in the winter. Mine has a good hood and with the hood in place over a stocking cap or baseball hat I can stay pretty dry and warm even in downpours. FWIW the only gloves I wear anymore are waterproof lightly padded neoprene I found at Cabela's. I've found fleece and wool gloves are colder than bare hands if the gloves are are continually soaked from stripping shooting line. This is a cliche but I've found it to be pretty true: if my head and core are warm my hands tend to stay pretty warm too. I've found that I need the neoprene gloves if it gets down to freezing or below. I've never found a way to keep my feet really warm. Feet/lower legs getting numb seems to be part of the winter drill....
              Last edited by DonT; 11-13-2017, 11:33 AM.

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              • #8
                As far as hand warmers or toe warmers go the disposable ones need oxygen so they stop working when you they are stuffed into the boots. I've tried. There are battery operated socks that I haven't tried yet but have considered. I sort of like it when it's gnarly cold. If you hook up when everyone else is at home it feels even better.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DonT View Post
                  ..... I've never found a way to keep my feet really warm. Feet/lower legs getting numb seems to be part of the winter drill....
                  Boots should be loose, or at least not tight. Really thick wool socks (maybe two pairs) over a light sock that wicks moisture into the wool. Because really thick socks may make your regular boots too tight, you might want to have a separate larger pair of boots for winter.
                  If I was still winter steelheading, I'd try to find boot-foot waders, which are not as common as they used to be.

                  - JR


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                  • #10
                    Thanks JR,

                    That's been the plan of attack for the last few years (looser boots and layered socks, a pair of thin wool socks under a "heavy" wool hiking sock) It definitely helps but I'm not sure anything sort of electric socks will really do the trick! However I have not yet tried Atomic Balm on my feet.....

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                    • #11
                      I've never shelled out the cash for a premier wading jacket. I like to fish on foot, hike as much as I can. That requires layers, and on the coast, it's often not cold enough to wear a jacket all day long. I like a good waterproof waterproof shell that's light and can be packed easily enough. One with a good hood, bungies at the waist, underarm zips and cuffs that can be velcroed shut. That's been my recipe and I don't plan on changing it. If I were in a boat all day or out East in the cold-cold for hours at a time, I might feel differently. I like to be able to adjust my layers and throw the breathable shell on when the need arises. I can customize a bit better that way.

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                      • #12
                        So, on a trip east this week I stopped in at the Gorge fly shop in Hood River. They had the coat I needed, so I bought it. Figured that they lost enough business through the fire, and the purchase could help us both. Bought a Simms guide coat.

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                        • #13
                          Congrats on the new coat! My advice is totally superfluous now, but here it is anyway: my winter preference is a jacket with enough pockets to carry two tippet spools, a fly wallet, and a wallet of sink tips; also, zingers for nippers and a whistle. Then everything is outside and I don't need a vest or bag. I like a shell so I can layer or unlayer as much as I want underneath it, depending on conditions. I always wear the jacket; I leave the gear in it all winter. I'm with jmwfish224 about hood, bungies, pit zips, and cuffs. Unlike him, I never take off my jacket; there was a time when I'd get too warm in the winter, but not any more.

                          Head gear is important in winter. I like a wool hat with ear flaps, and I wear it over a baseball hat if it's raining (to keep the rain off the glasses). The hood goes over the hats if it's raining or when the wind is blowing.

                          One problem: if you wear fleece under your jacket, and then also wear gloves, the gloves can transfer water to the fleece, and the fleece will wick it all the way up your arm. So one little point source of moisture can soak your entire arm no matter how waterproof your jacket is. The wicking properties of fleece are great most of the time, but not always!

                          BTW, I wear a Simms jacket and love it.
                          aka Scott Richmond

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Fuzzy View Post
                            Head gear is important in winter. I like a wool hat with ear flaps, and I wear it over a baseball hat if it's raining (to keep the rain off the glasses). The hood goes over the hats if it's raining or when the wind is blowing.
                            Couldn't agree more. A wool watch cap, though, worn over a baseball cap and pulled low over the ears, doesn't need flaps. ;-)

                            - JR


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by J.R. View Post

                              Couldn't agree more. A wool watch cap, though, worn over a baseball cap and pulled low over the ears, doesn't need flaps. ;-)

                              Yes, but some of us have big ears
                              aka Scott Richmond

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