Winter is here again, and warm clothing becomes a priority and necessity to the hardy angler. Warm hands, something to keep the cold winds out, and waterproofing are all things which need to be considered before parting with what can be a hefty amount of hard earned cash. Time spent in local tackle shops reveals a wealth of offers and deals, but is there really a pair of trousers that will do what the manufacturer says? I already have a substantial jacket which, as long as I have it will always keep the cold out, but I needed something to keep my backside warm when sitting in the bivvy waiting for another chance to land a winter carp. I also spend hours wandering up and down the river bank hunting chub and pike, so I was after something tough enough to withstand long hours scrambling though bankside cover and walking over rough ground.
I’m not bothered about branding, if it does the job, it does the job, but I had a look at some of the more expensive items by companies such as ESP, Trakker and various others before I found the Sundridge IQ Arctic bib ‘n’ brace. First thing that attracted me was the price; £34.99 which, if I’m honest, is usually my first consideration. Inspecting the label, breathable and fully waterproof ticked a couple of boxes for me before I’d even looked at the quality or sizing. Constructed of a brushed polyester outer shell with a polyester lining and quilting, they felt thick, flexible and warm. The manufacturer claims a breathable rating of MVP5000 and a waterproof rating of WP5000. I’ve got no idea what either of these figures mean, but as long as Sundridge promised to protect me from the elements, then I was going to try them on. Available in six sizes (S,M,L,XL,XXL and G), I was more interested in leg length as I’m on the short side! Choosing the XL pair, (my backside is sadly out of proportion to my leg length!) I found that there was plenty of room to wear a thick jumper underneath and still be comfortable; velcro waist adjusters either side were simple to operate and stayed in place, with loads of range. At the ankle, further adjustments could be made to stop the bottom of the legs from dragging on the floor and prevent the wind getting in, so although the legs were a touch long, I could tweak the fasteners to allow me to bend, walk, squat and fish without allowing water or drafts in.
The extra long chest and back material meant that with a jacket over the top, the Sundridge IQ Arctic system was going to keep me snug and warm throughout the longest sessions. The ‘H’ style brace arrangement is fully adjustable to suit the tallest or shortest of anglers and the reinforced seat, ankles and knees mean that the bits that take the strain stay protected. Pocket provision is adequate, consisting of two polar fleece lined hand warmers and two big external pockets for all the bits you need immediately to hand. With an excellent jacket available (same size scale) made to the same specifications, I’m confident that this does the job in all weathers. The only failing I’ve found is that a little bit longer velcro around the ankle would allow more range of adjustment to keep things tight; apart from that they have not let me down at all during some extremely cold fishing.
With the two piece retailing at £99.99, (deals may be available at your local stockist) and the bib ‘n’ brace costing just £34.99, it is certainly the best money you will spend to keep warm this winter. Check out www.sundridge.co.uk or visit your local tackle dealer.
Clint Walker. December 2009
Sundridge IQ Arctic Breathable Bib ’n’ Brace
Does exactly what it says on the tin!