If you’re looking for a cost effective way to stay warm when outdoors this winter, then why not get yourself a set of thermal underwear; it’s cheap, comfy, and will keep you warm as toast! Find a set that’s right for you with this handy Anglers' Net guide to thermal underwear.
As I sit to write this piece, the weather forecasters are tonight predicting temperatures down to minus ten degrees Celsius, even as low as minus twenty in the Scottish Highlands… Brrrr!
Essential, then, that when you are brave enough to pop out for a bit of river or sea fishing (as all the still waters are frozen solid!) you are fully tackled up for the job. Winter fishing can be so rewarding when you do bank one, but it’s meant to be an enjoyable experience, not a lesson in endurance, so you really need to be prepared. The first and most essential part of that preparation should be the purchase of a decent set of thermal underwear.
The idea of thermal T-Shirts, long sleeved shirts, trousers or long johns (or base layers as they are often referred to) is that they sit right next to the skin, trapping the warm air, and thus retaining valuable heat. When used as part of a layering system, it’s like having your own little central heating system. What’s more, a good quality thermal base layer will move perspiration away from the skin, so when combined with thermal middle and top layers, will keep you warm, dry and comfy throughout – no matter how long you wear them for.
I’ve used thermal clothing for years, and not just on the bank either. Come the cold weather, I put my thermal bottoms on most days, as I’m always in and out of the house and they really do make such a difference. It’s not as if they are expensive either, yet so many anglers still don’t use them; ‘go figure’ as our friends like to say across the (near frozen) pond.
The simple fact is that if you spend a small amount on thermals, you don’t then need to spend as much on the outer shell garments, as you retain far more heat for your money with a cheap set of thermals than you will with a flash outer jacket – an important point missed by many.
There are obviously different types available with the more expensive garments giving better fitting and insulation, but this is one area where you really don’t have to spend a fortune to make a real difference. Most of the thermals I’ve purchased over the years have been between £10.00 - £20.00 and they have given excellent service throughout.
When looking at sizes and types, you want the thermal to be close fitting but not too tight that it restricts movement when worn as part of a layering system. I personally prefer thermal trousers that come right down over the ankle, as this way you can tuck them right into your socks to effectively seal in the heat. And the same goes for shirts; in the depths of winter, I like to use a full long sleeve thermal tops which offer maximum heat retention, and lighter weight short sleeve thermal tops in late autumn and early spring.
It’s also a good idea to seal all the ends, by which I mean you need a good pair of thermal socks to put on your feet, thermal gloves for your hands and a decent hat. It helps if these are waterproof as well, especially in fishing situations, as the worst time to try and get yourself warm in the winter whilst out fishing is if you’ve got wet feet or hands. Mind you, I’m starting to feel the chill inside the house tonight, never mind outside! I’ll be wearing all my full on thermal gear to bed at this rate!
Before I go to nudge the dial on the thermostat, here are a few choice selections to help you stay warm out on the banks this winter.
As outlined above, thermal insulation does not need to cost the earth, these Thermal Long Johns are made from 50% polyester and 50% cotton with a fully brushed finish for extra warmth. A fantastic low cost option that your body will thank you for when out treading the banks in cold weather. Priced at just £4.95 you can’t go wrong. Full details HERE.
The Base Layer Long Johns from Horizon boast a proactive technical wicking base layer that works in harmony with the anti bacterial coating, together offering optimum comfort, performance and fit. Fast drying for convenience, the flat locked seams provides extra comfort. Made from 100% polyester. Priced at £8.40; full details HERE.
The Contour Compression Long Johns, from Trekmates, are a compression base layer that supports the muscles. Lightweight, comfortable and breathable, the Contour Compression Long Johns is ideal for adventures sports or to provide extra protection in extreme conditions. 100% polyester, open weave panels for ultimate breathability, flat lock seams, tight weave panels to give added comfort in abrasion areas, compression base layer for muscle support, ultra lightweight body hugging material for added comfort and breathability. Priced at £12.67; full details HERE.
Helly Hansen Lifa Long Johns are the perfect base layer for winter. Their fast moisture-transport layer is ideal for active outdoor use and they feature; Lightweight 125 g/m2 fabric, 100% polypropylene, flatlock seam construction, HH logo for the fashion-conscious among you, pique knit, outer-facing structure, fabric construction generates 'explosive' moisture transportation, durable, non-piling characteristics, soft hand feel for comfort. Priced at £22.00; full details HERE.
For the ultimate close to body experience, grab yourself a pair of TF Gear 2nd Skin Bottoms. TFG New 2nd Skin Bottoms keep you very warm and dry whilst transporting moisture away from the skin. They feature; stylish two-tone Green/Grey finish, technically advanced fabric, contours the body for unrestricted movement, lightweight breathable skin, effectively wicks moisture away from skin, Pprfect base layer day or night, essential for winter angling. Priced at £24.99; full details HERE.
Moving onto thermal tops, this Thermal Long Sleeve Vest is made from 50% polyester and 50% cotton with a fully brushed finish for extra warmth and feel. A great low cost solution to heat loss in the colder months, and priced at just £5.95, it’s not going to break the bank. Full details HERE.
The Oswald Bailey Thermal Long Sleeve Vest is made from brushed fabric for extra warmth and comfort. It has a crew neck design, which makes it perfect for use on its own or as part of a layering system. The technical fibres provide exceptional insulation and wick moisture away from the body to help keep you dry. Key features; perfect choice to use as part of a layering system, 65% polyester, 35% viscose, soft and comfortable, high thermal properties, wicks moisture away from the skin, round neck, easy care - machine washable at 40°c. Priced at just £8.99; full details HERE.
The Snugpak 2nd Skinz short sleeve top offers thermal protection from extreme temperatures, whilst static or on the move. The high wicking polyester material moves perspiration away from the skin keeping you dry. Fantastic lightweight option for use on its own in the warmer months, or as part of a layering system in the winter. Priced at £19.99; full details HERE.
The Vapour Tech Tee-Shirt from Trekmates is more than just a tee-shirt. The fabric has an advanced treatment (Vapour Tech) that works hard to regulate your body temperature and help you perform in a wide range of climates and temperatures. The 100% polyester top will keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. It's quick drying and has very fast wicking qualities. It can be worn alone or as part of a layer system. The antibacterial treatment makes it perfect for active use and it’s easy to maintain. It even offers high UV protection so it's an ideal choice for the adventure traveller, or outdoor worker. Priced at £12.80; full details HERE.
The TFG New 2nd Skin Top will keep you very warm and dry whilst transporting moisture away from the skin. Its technically advanced fabric will keep you warm and comfortable whilst the special cut contours the body for unrestricted movement during use. The lightweight breathable skin effectively wicks moisture away from skin providing the perfect base layer for day or night - essential for winter angling. Priced at £24.99; full details HERE.
We hope this guide has given you a few pointers with regard to thermal underwear. If you’d like to view more thermal clothing options, then don’t forget to take a look at the Anglers' Net Tackle & Bait Finder.