Stay Warm with the Right Ice Fishing Clothes
Dress in Layers
Being properly equipped starts with the best ice fishing clothes you can find.
Before we get into specifics, it's important to remember to dress in layers while avoiding cotton garments.
Proper layering is one of the most fundamental, widely accepted concepts in outdoor recreation. Proper layering includes use of materials that work together to wick moisture away from your skin, insulate your body and block out wind and rain, all while allowing your skin to breathe.
Outdoor garment manufacturers are continually getting more sophisticated in their fabric designs, and in designing complimentary fabrics that work together. Remember, you can add or remove layers until you're comfortable.
° Avoid Cotton: Never wear Cotton next to your skin, especially on your feet. It can get fairly strenuous getting out to where you're going to fish, drilling enough holes to locate fish, moving snow, etc. It's easy to break a sweat.
You need to dress in ice fishing clothes that wick perspiration away from your skin. Cotton absorbs moisture, holding it next to your skin. Your feet sweat easily and cotton socks and sweaty feet in sub-zero temperatures are a dangerous combination. Wet skin leads to frostbite and/or hypothermia!
Your base, or inner layer should be of a material like a double sided fabric that wicks moisture from the skin, while reflecting body heat back into the body. Most base layers are polyester, polypropylene, silk, or a mix, like polyester and wool.
Your base layer should fit snugly so that the material can wick moisture away from your skin. Outdoor apparel companies have made tremendous strides over the past several years in developing proprietary fabrics that accomplish this using blends of Rayon, Nylon, Lycra, Spandex, etc.
Investment in a good set of Under Armours is money well spent!
The mid layer should fit more loosely, but not baggy. The mid layer is designed to carry moisture away from the inner layer, to the outer layer. These materials are designed to trap and hold your body heat in small air pockets in the material.
Mid layer materials include wool, down, fleece, polyester, flannel or a blend of synthetic and natural materials, with proprietary names like Polar-Tec, SmartWool and many others.
Clam Ice Armor suit
Anything that blocks both wind and rain can be worn as an outer layer, as long as it is breathable. Some garments are also insulated, for warmth. Thinsulate and Gore-Tex are two names synonymous with ice fishing clothes. Gore-Tex water and windproof outer shells are hard to beat.
Ice fishing suits, like Clam's Ice Armor Suit (below), bib coveralls, coats and pants insulated with Thinsulate will keep you warm. Again, outdoor apparel companies continue to come up with better and better products to protect you against the elements.
° Socks: You can dress your torso up in the best ice fishing clothes money can buy, but if your feet are cold, you'll still be miserable!
Proper footwear includes good socks as well as boots. Some folks wear two pair of socks. A thicker wool sock over a thinner sock. I'll wear something like SmartWool socks, or a sock liner, like SealSkinz polypropylene sock liners under a wool type sock.
No matter what you prefer, remember No Cotton It's also a good idea to take along a dry pair of socks, just in case, and maybe some Toe Warmers.
Click image for a Boot Buyer's Guide
° Boots: You've got to have good boots, period. Your feet are on the ice all day long, and having cold feet takes your mind off of having fun. Do yourself a favor and invest in the best boots you can afford. Here are a couple popular choices of Ice Fishing Boots
Gloves or Mittens...
° Mittens (or gloves): Naturally, you need warm hands. Mittens are warmer than gloves, and sportsmen's mittens often have a slit or a flap where you can get your fingers out quickly when needed.
I wear SealSkinz waterproof gloves so that I can reach down in the water to release fish. Or, just SealSkinz PolyPropylene glove liners. I have dry mittens, and hand warmers, in a daypack on the sled, in case I need to warm up my hands. Here is the info for SealSkinz...
° Headwear: You can gear up with the best ice fishing clothes money can buy, but if you don't cover your head, you'll still lose a tremendous amount of body heat. Up to 50% of all heat loss occurs through the head. Proper head protection, including ears and neck will drastically reduce body heat loss.
The BEST time to get some great deals on ice fishing clothes is either just before winter, or just as winter is ending. However, there are always good deals to be had, if you keep your eyes open! You never know when you may see something that you can stash for next winter and be much more comfortable that you were this past ice season.
Additional Important Ice Fishing Central Pages...
Ice Fishing Central's Blog keeps you up to date on new revised pages at Ice Fishing Central. Subscribe here, it's free.
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Gearing Up Find the ice fishing equipment you want, via these select retailers.
Thanks for reading and good luck ice fishing!!!
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