Second skin warmth with Geoff Anderson Wizz Wool 150 long johns

Geoff Anderson Wizz Wool 150 long johns.

Seven degrees, a brisk westerlie, and heavy cloud as I looked out of my window. The river was high, but falling – a perfect day to test out the Geoff Anderson Wizz Wool 150 long-johns. Breathable waders are great, but for the Tay, in February (or even May, for that matter), you need a warm layer underneath. That sounds obvious to the experienced fly fisher, but a couple of seasons ago, I met a woman who was a beginner, and had just been fishing for the morning in the Tay on a numbingly cold May day. She was chilled to the core and shivering uncontrollably. I later learned she just wore her jeans underneath her breathables. Needless to say, her day was ruined, and she spent the afternoon shopping for thermals.

These Wizz Wool 150 long-johns are cut to a body-mapping sporty fit, rather like modern yoga pants, or the close-fitting gear footballers wear in cold weather. The material comprises three components: Polatrtec Powergrid fabric (for breathability); and a blend Polatrtec Power Wool fabric and merino wool, aimed at producing softness with durability, plus warmth and wicking.

Altogether, a very comfortable and warm experience. I wouldn’t say these were heavy duty lagging for extreme cold conditions, but for the all-rounder who wants day in, day out warmth and comfort, then these would be the first thing to turn to. I like the shape, they are close-fitting, so there’s no wrinkles of folds, particularly down at the ankles – always a problem area. It means that breathable waders can be slid on and off with ease, without too much tugging at the ankles, and the freedom of movement that this garment allows means that wearing waders is unrestricted and less tiring. Free movement in waders is under-estimated, only appreciated when you wade without padded or heavy fleece under-layers.

I also found these had good wicking properties; with some of the man-made layer systems you can get condensation – even with breathable waders – which makes things cooler and uncomfortable. You don’t seem to get this with Wizz Wool. It was 4.5 degs Centigrade when I finished fishing, and constant sleet. I was actually feeling a little cold through my jacket and three layers (fleece, cashmere, and shirt), so it was pretty raw out there. Yes, I could feel the coolness of the Tay around my legs, but it wasn’t bone-numbing, and I wasn’t shivering.

These long-johns have flattened seams and they do appear to be extremely smooth and chafe-free. Everything about these leggings is about comfort without irritation, both next-to-the-skin comfort, and inside the waders. As mentioned, they are elasticised and shaped around the ankles – they are ankle-hugging, tight enough to stay in place, but not to restrict circulation. It means you can pull socks over the top of them (the material is thin) – a welcome attribute. Similarly, the wide elasticised waistband doesn’t slip down with wear (a gap at the midriff is always unpleasant). Again, it seems obvious, but hitching up under-garments whilst wearing waders is impossible, but a very common bug-bear.

The composition and wicking nature of the fabric means that in cold conditions these are warm, but they remain cool in hot conditions. I’d wear these for everyday use, all season, only switching to quilted or thick fleece for extremely cold rivers. Geoff Anderson also make thermal trousers and thermal suits, which can also be worn under waders in layers. They are so comfortable and easy to pull on that they will soon become a ‘second skin’.