Hitting autumn sees many things changing out on the carp coalface. A new colour palette hits the scenery, the big fish start looking to put on some weight and the weather takes on a new mood – the latter meaning dropping temperatures and usually lashings of rain. There’s only one sensible way to tackle this, and that’s to be prepared. After all, it’s no good wishing you’d packed the appropriate clothing once you’re soaked to the skin and shivering like a defecating canine. With this in mind then, we’re taking a closer look at waterproofs, the top layer of your autumn carping outer armour that will see you stay dry and warm, even when the heavens open. There’s plenty on offer that claims it will do the job, so we picked four of the best in specific areas to see how they shape up.
How else would you test the abilities of a set of waterproofs other than giving them a good soaking? Although we wanted to be a little be more scientific than bundling a would-be model into a shower and soaking them…
The test then was to see how each of the waterproofs coped with water sat on them. Taking the jackets from the sets, we placed 100ml of water on to them over a seamed area. The seams are often the weak points on waterproof clothing. Over a 12-hour period we checked for any water ingress into the material every hour, recording the results of when, if at all, any leaking occurred.
The Waterproof Measure Proper waterproof clothing carries a rating based on the measurement of water that one inch of its material (stretched across the bottom of a tube) can hold before water passes through it. This is known as the material’s hydrostatic head and is expressed as millimetres of water. As a British Standard, a garment is deemed waterproof if its material can hold 1,500 millimetres of water. However, the higher the figure, the more waterproof the clothing is going to be.
DAIWA Igloo Two-Piece Suit
Slip the Igloo suit on and straightaway you feel protected. Made by Sundridge under the Daiwa umbrella, the suit is high quality with a raft of nice touches to help you keep dry. Both the jacket and bib ‘n’ brace are created from 5,000mm waterproof Tough Tussor outer shell material that feels robust – but it’s the details in the suit that really impress. From the usual touches like the elasticated, neoprene and Velcro adjustable cuffs and high collar and Velcro, fixed-position hood to keep everything out from around your neck, to the properly reinforced knees on the bib ‘n’ brace, along with the quality of the construction, this is a very nice item for the money. As well as a good waterproof rating the suit is a proper winter job, offering loads of insulation throughout to keep you toasty and dry. We like this suit for the fact it doesn’t just feel like another Chinese-made item for the fishing market that will last one season and then die – although like a number of the other clothing items here, it is in fact made in China. It feels very robust and thought has gone into the needs of the angler. Things like the cut of the arms that feel like they won’t be too restrictive when casting. The fact that the knees have long and deep reinforcement so you don’t hurt your knees kneeling on hard, stony or frozen ground. And the fleece inners on the main jacket pockets to help keep your hands warm.
Price: £139.99 for the set
Pros Well thought out and finished suit for autumn and winter fishing at a reasonable price. Cons A little bulky and the test results weren’t the best. Final Word A great suit to keep you dry and warm through the colder months.
The WATERPROOF Results Waterproof Rating – 5,000mm The Seam Test – To our surprise, after 12 hours all of the 100ml had seeped through the seam on the jacket.
ESP Supergrade Jacket and Waterproof Salopettes
The first thing you notice when looking over the stats for the Supergrade items are the waterproof rating. These practically repel water with a whopping 25,000mm hydrostatic head – five times that of the Daiwa and Wychwood clothing and eight times that of the Chub suit. Based on the offical measurement of waterproofing, a square inch of the material that makes up these items will support a 75ft (25,000mm) column of water without letting any through, putting them on a par with some military clothing. Obviously then these are very waterproof, but that comes at a slightly higher price for a combined hit on your wallet of nearly £230. You get what you pay for, though, and the ESP kit is a very high standard indeed, especially based on how breathable they are too. With a waterproof rating like this you might expect things to be clammy inside when you’re sweating, but these also have a high breathablility rating, so there’s minimal build up of moisture.Elsewhere, they also tick boxes. The material features RipStop, so they’re tough, and it’s surprisingly soft, meaning it’s not overly noisy, while features such as the neoprene cuffs and adjustable waistband keep you comfortable. Our opinion? Very impressive on the waterproof stakes and a good effort as carp clothing – full stop.
Pros Waterproof as heck and good quality items. Cons Expensive, but worth the money. Final Word If you want to stay really dry, these are the ones.
The WATERPROOF Results Waterproof Rating – 25,000mm The Seam Test – As you’d expect, after 12 hours on the seam, not a drop of the 100ml had gone through.
Price: Jacket £109.99, Salopettes £118.99
Chub Vantage All-Weather Suit
A full-on winter suit, the Vantage is just as applicable in the autumn months when it’s lashing it down and the temperatures are dropping. With three pieces – the jacket, bib ‘n’ brace and a zip-out fleece top – it’s mighty warm, but most importantly for this, it’s also waterproof. The jacket and bib ‘n’ brace are designed with a laminated fabric (Climatex 3000), which provides protection from water ingress and allows the material to breathe. It also means the fabric is quieter than other waterproofs when you’re moving, thanks to a softer finish – a touch that could come in very handy when a bit of stealth is in order. Chub also claims this material to be tougher than usual, which is good for bashing up against nature that us carpers do in the pursuit of fish. Other things to note are the usual Velcro wrists to stop the wind getting in, loads of handy pockets and a zip fly on the trousers – always a lot handier when nature calls. When on, the high collar, wrists, and over-zip flaps make for what feels like a fully enclosed, waterproof clothing cocoon that should keep you nice and dry. Overall then, and on paper, the Vantage suit ticks all the boxes and you get a lot for less than £150. We’d like to see how it stands up to a proper winter on the bank, especially the laminated waterproofing.
Pros Snug and very waterproof, you feel well protected from the elements. Cons Looks a bit old man, doesn’t feel as robust as we’d like. Final Word On paper, good for the money.
The WATERPROOF Results Waterproof Rating – 3,000mm The Seam Test – After 12 hours the seam on the Vantage suit was starting to get a little damp, but was still holding the vast majority of the 100mls.
Price: Jacket £59.99, Trousers £39.99
Wychwood Lightweight Waterproof Jacket and Trousers
A proper lightweight waterproof combo, these items are more akin to the kit used by hikers than the usual angling clobber. But that’s no bad thing, with the Lightweight top and trousers offering a proper ‘stashable’ outer layer that won’t take up much room and still offer you a very waterproof final outer layer. The jacket feels good quality, with a fit that offers plenty of movement but still actually looks pretty good too – we like the fact it’s in black and not another drab shade of olive green. Made from nylon, the clothing is also fairly breathable so you won’t be sweating like a pig while trying to keep dry. Adjustable Velcro cuffs, waterproof zips, high collar and a frame peaked hood give good protection in the places where you could get leaks, while fully taped seams make sure you don’t get leaks where you shouldn’t as well. With a 5,000mm hydrostatic head rating, these things are well up for the challenge of even the worst of downpours we’re going to get in this country. The trousers are basic pull-overs with an elasticated waist but do have flared and Velcro adjustable ankles for a good boot fit. We like these items for their flexibility. If it rains you can get them out and on in second, plus you don’t feel like the Michelin man when wearing them. They’re pricey, but still less than you’d pay for similar items from brands in the climbing and hiking markets.
Pros Lightweight and take up no room, look fresh and modern and are very waterproof. Cons Bit pricey for just waterproofs. Final Word A good investment that will keep you very dry.
The WATERPROOF Results Waterproof Rating – 5,000mm The Seam Test – With the 12 hours up there wasn’t a hint of water passing through the seam.
Price: Jacket £59.99, Trousers £39.99