Contributed by Laura Cromwell, Cabela’s
For those ready to fish in the cold, consider merino wool base layers and socks as a go-to choice for staying warm. Many believe several layers of cotton do just as well to retain heat, but when cotton gets wet, it latches onto skin—robbing your body of crucial warmth and bringing the danger of hypothermia. As excited as you are about getting on the water, swap cotton for merino wool before heading out.
Merino wool provides optimal defense against the chill and wicks moisture—absorbing as much as 30% of its own weight before your skin begins to feel damp. Merino wool is also a flexible material that won’t restrict natural range of motion. With wool’s reputation of being both itchy and susceptible to shrinkage, merino wool is gentle on your body, resists shrinking in the wash and has anti-static properties. What’s more, merino wool is naturally antimicrobial to resist the growth of odor-causing bacteria and is flame-retardant for added safety around campfires.
When choosing base layers, consider both the weather patterns of where you’re headed and your intended activity level. Midweight merino wool base layers possess the versatility to be worn during a variety of cold-weather temperatures at different levels of activity. Heavyweight base layers offer intense insulation, ideal for long periods of minimal activity in cold weather.
Socks have a reputation for being one of the most anticlimactic gifts you can get under the tree, but taking care of your feet is vital to the cold-weather fisherman. When feet get wet, painful blisters and uncomfortable skin pruning are not far behind—which is when that moisture-wicking performance comes in handy. Like base layers, merino wool socks are available in different weights for both different seasons and levels of activity.
While not as thrilling as the prospect of a new kayak, adding merino wool base layers and socks to your Christmas list not only keeps you warm, but increases safety when fishing in the cold.