I can't add much to what's been said, except to emphasize the fact that layers of fleece and gore-tex are the way to go. I'm a skinny guy--like, really tall and skinny--and for years I wore neoprene waders thinking they'd keep me warmer than gore-tex. This year I got my first pair of gore-tex waders--last years' Simms G4s on close-out--and can't believe how much warmer and drier they are than my old neoprenes. You just don't end up with that sweaty clammy feeling at the end of the day.
Also agree that Helly Hansen makes good stuff. I wear HH expedition-weight polypro underwear, fleece pants and an HH fleece sweater (worth its weight in gold), plus a fleece vest over that. If it's windy/rainy I'll throw on a gore-tex jacket over top. For hands I wear Simms fingerless merino wool gloves. You wouldn't think so, but they are incredibly warm, even in the rain and wind. Finally, if it's really cold, I wear an HH polypro toque on my noggin.
patagonia capilene 1 or 2 bottoms
Simms cold weather pant (adjustable cuffs are awesome in waders, and these pants do a lot with me, dog walking, outdoor chores, etc. When not fishing)
Thin base layer sock
Smart wool hiker or Simms thick wading sock
Patagonia cap 1 base top
Patagonia cap 4 base top
Simms wind stopper soft shell
When it's pretty darn cold, change the top to a cap 2 and throw on my nano puff hoody, if no sun out then maybe a flannel in between. If it's windy, the Simms wind stopper is clutch
Any old lid will do, but my mountain hard wear Dome Perignon wind proof can't be beaten when it's frigid in my mind
When I have the means, gonna upgrade all of my capilene to wool... Like capilene, but it can reek
If you're looking for a great do-it-all system with gore-text the north face 3-in-1 jackets are good. Also, a lot of their insulating layers will zip into their hard shells, nice for skiing, fishing, etc.
I love gear, have been unprepared a time or two back when, and being prepared and focusing on fishing instead of comfort/safety is sooooooooo worth it
I'm a fan of layers over the idea of a winter jacket... If I'm out and it's say -17°F... I'm usually wearing a pair of liner socks, followed by a pair of synthetic bottoms, followed by a pair of wool socks (this locks in my bottoms by having to pull my wool socks over the cuffs) followed by a synthetic thermal upper then a waffle bottom and top layer followed by a pair of sweatpants and a shirt. From there I got my waders and a shell. Wool fingerless gloves and a felted wool hat. Facial hair keeps my face protected. I'm left rather warm, comfortable and mobile for wearing 4 layers. I also have a zippo hand warmer which helps a ton. When it's a bit warmer... Anything above 25F... I skip the waffles.
cochise.....I will be in the Breckenridge area. Depends on what is available. Wrong time of year to make the move. I was hoping to due it in Aug. Looks like some good snow tonight. I cant wait.
Niiice, Thanks for all the responses. I have some shopping to do. Going to have to keep watching steep and cheap....hopefully i can get lucky.
Wow, now that really is a radical move. I know Breck well. Great fly fishing in every direction. Yes, snow is here, winter is here...I am looking at the Fort Myers Beach Cam....Wow. Breck is kind of in the winter capital of Colorado.
All of the new base layers are good, but I don't think you need to go nuts with high-tech underwear for fishing. If you want to, go for it, I like gear and technical clothing too. But for fishing in the cold you don't need the best breathability, you need warmth.
Now for hunting in the mountains it's a different story, you hike and climb and sweat, then stop and assume a statue pose in cold conditions. It took me a few years of putting together the best "system" of clothing for this and it is great cold weather fishing system as well. For hunting you also want the lightest stuff you can afford.
Anyway, I have found that merino wool is the very best against the skin layer you can wear, beats all the techie synthetics hands down. It is the natural material that all synthetics have tried to duplicate: it wicks sweat away from the skin, breaths and most importantly (and something the synthetics do not do) it keep you warm when wet. Actually wool insulates better when wet due to the nature of the fibers. Why buy synthetics that are trying to be wool when you can buy wool!
On my upper body I like a medium weight smartwool zip-neck first, then a heavy weight thermal top (wool or synthetic) also zip neck, on top of that a light weight insulating layer: fleece is great but bulky if you have to pack it away, down or synthetic fill is better. I have a Primaloft jacket, it is really warm, weighs nothing and stuffs into it's pocket. Then a good shell over all that. I like soft shells, they have gotten really good over the years to be highly water resistant, enough to shed snow for a day but not rain, they breath and stretch a little to move with you, good for fly casting. But it has to block wind and not all do that. Wind will suck all the warmth out no matter how many layers you have on.
Bottoms are easier, long johns on top of long johns under something else, fleece or whatever you like.
Here is the gear brand that I have bought over a couple years - because it ain't cheap - and it is excellent stuff. It was designed for mountain hunting, but is just as good for fishing and backpacking, because it is not all Camo! Check the outlet, there might me some layers in there for a good price. https://store.kuiu.com/categories
One piece of advise from a search and rescue member (me) is to always carry 3 different types of firestarter, water/wind proof matches (can be made), flint and a wind proof lighter. I would also suggest 2 solar blankets. One for under you and one to wrap around yourself just incase. Also key will be the socks, first layer should be moisture wicking fabric like the dry fit socks and then a good wool sock to keep your feet warm. Of course I always look at the worst case scenario when it comes to outdoor activities.
I enjoy my winter fishing here in Montana and I don't like to be cold. I get cold easy so I'm into my cold weather gear.
First of all, let me say that I don't try to wade fish in 32.5 degree water in breathable waders. I have some old Simms Exstream Boot feet neoprenes in which the soft rubber boots have wool felt liners like Sorels. These are highly important on winter days when the fishing is slow. My feet used to get cold wearing stockingfoots and wading shoes (except when the fish were on, then I didn't notice it).
I wear expedition weight capilene with Simms polarfleece bibs over that. If it's real cold, I'll put some fleece pants over that. On the top I've got ExOfficial Tangiddy shirt, Wool Blend sweater, all capped off with a Simms Windstopper Jacket. (I like the ExOfficial stuff because it provides another layer without too much added bulk or weight.) I use Simms or smartwool socks, usually a warm fluffy sock over a breathable liner. I've got both a wool cap and a windstopper cap depending on conditions.
Simms hasn't made any neoprene waders for years, it seems. Some others still do. But if I was going to wear breathables in the winter, I'd still want boot foot.
Honestly, there are days when I need all these layers. If the air temp is 30, I'm going fishing -- and I have taken water temp in the winter that was as close to 32 degrees as you can imagine. And yet, with this set up, I was still warm.
I wear a thin pair of moisture wicking socks under a pair of heavy wool socks. A fresh pair of insoles in your boots will help keep your feet warm. Dry them completely between trips.
Under Armor is my baselayer of choice. Polarfleece next, Goretex over the top. IMHO one piece base layers are something to avoid. Too much work when " ya gotta go "
Everything should be synthetic. Old scoutmaster saying is still valid : cotton kills. If you can stay dry, you can stay warm. One of my friends wears a light synthetic down vest, to keep his core temperature up.
A chemical handwarmer or two in the pack is a nice addition, too.
Neoprene fishing gloves can be a great comfort, as well as a fleece lined hat. A headband that covers your ears is also a good idea.
Waterfordcreek,i live in Buena vista,work at keystone ski resort,lived in Breckenridge for about 10 years before.Go to mountain angler in breck and see Jackson streit a very good friend of mine and my wife,he owns mountain angler everything you need in flyfishing gear and outdoor apparel.One of the greatest persons you will ever meet.Tell him I sent you,robert taylor.Welcome to Colorado,been here 46 years.