Wind tunnel tested by Vagabond Fly
Editors’ note: Over the last couple of years we’ve had great success & have superb confidence when fishing Exterus Outdoor Development Apparel. From sun shirts in the Seychelles to comfortable flannel while chasing Tigerfish or Yellowfish on our adventures we have never been disappointed. So it was a no brainer for us to approach the crew at Exterus Outdoor Development when we needed a means to protect our African summer dispositions for a trip to Argentina’s Rio Grande River with Nervous Waters.
Layers, layers, layers
There are two schools of thought with regards to how best to insulate your body. The first is to use natural downs at maximum insulation while wearing minimum layers leaning on the generation of body heat to maintain core temperatures – this is a very successful, uber comfortable but very expensive option to take. The second is to incorporate multiple, thinner layers & create pockets of warm air between clothes and ultimately keep you warm – this is more affordable but far more bulky & can reduce movement.
Toss a coin for what works best for you…
Due to simple economics the majority of us opt for the latter category, but costs aside we also believe the multiple layer selection provides options in all conditions for nearly all anglers, instead of where use is only for the most extreme conditions. Practically the question should be “in how many applications can I use this?” and in most cases layering just makes more sense.
Editors note: We are self-confessed gear sluts & would happily dig into our wallets to get our hands on even the most ludacris of protective gear, but our varying conditions make options a priority, with specialty gear dropping to second place.
How did Exterus kit us up for the Rio Grande?
After a quick exchange about our tour to Villa Maria, Argentina the crew at Exterus Outdoor Development had a parcel on the way. They knew the conditions & knew what we would be facing, even if we didn’t, so they packed for us. We were locked & loaded sporting six key items of apparel.
- Venture Midweight Crew Shirt – we wore this shirt as a base layer. It would pass as a comfortable crew neck in any fishing lodge on the planet so it served its purpose well both beneath the layers & around the lunch table. It was comfortable & light but most impressively both Vagabond Fly Editors wore this shirt everyday. Yep, that means six full days of angling as a base layer & hand on hearts we can tell you that whatever antimicrobial fabric Exterus use in this crew neck should be made available for public use, as not only did our base layers escape in tact, they came away without odor.
Six days, no smell. Yes, you read that right!
- Fireside flannel Shirt – easily the most exciting shirt to arrive in our parcel, the Fireside flannel shirt is fleece lined & double thick. Can you say crossover flannel shirt meets fleece jacket? Yes you can, and you should!This became our go-to evening session shirt. The Fireside Flannel Shirt over the Venture Midweight Crew Shirt & we were set for anything that the Rio Grande could throw at us. At times we added an additional outer layer but the Fireside Flannel Shirt is where most of our insulation came from.
The only trick now is to find conditions in South Africa where we can wear the Fireside Flannel Shirt over & over again … and we will!
- Fireside pants – like the Fireside Shirt these trousers offer fleece lined full-length warmth & we certainly put them to good use. We quickly learned that once the sun dips & you are still wading to your waist in freezing water these pants not only insulate but offer comfort too.
They offer DWR water repellant fabric that beneath our waders we didn’t sufficiently test DWR to comment, but the ankle cuffs allowed us to tighten down to ensure the trouser legs fitted perfectly into our waders, which when you consider is a nine hours per day marathon it makes all the difference.
- Meridian LS Shirt – We love these shirts. We love the styling (but maybe our fashion sense should not be up for approval here) & as a standard fit we love how the Meridian Long Sleeve Shirt has space for a baselayer to comfortably fit beneath.
The Meridian LS Shirts are our go-to shirts for spring & autumn on any river and have made an impression everywhere we’ve worn them.. plus they in photos, which for us is a big plus! Alternating between colours we kept our Meridian LS Shirts & images fresh, especially during the warmest part of our days on the Rio Grande & we can guarantee you will see them a lot more.
- Spectrum Jacket – We cannot compliment Exterus Outdoor Development more on their Spectrum Jacket. Our jackets were never more than an arm length away – from check-in in Johannesburg, through Sao Paulo, to Buenos Aires & Rio Grande & back again these Spectrum Jackets went through it all.
Airplane pillows to wind deflectors on the river when things got gnarly, and everything in-between we relied on our Spectrum Jackets. Puffy jackets are all the rage right now but the PrimaLoft® Gold insulation, Rip Stop & DWR fabric meant sun, rain, wind-tunnel-test like wind or being pulled from the bottom of the carry-on at 3am, our Spectrum Jackets continued to give & give & give.
- Spectrum vest – The sleeveless version of the Spectrum Jacket & although due to the cold, it only came out on the odd occasion we cannot fault the fabric, fit or style. The joy of both the Spectrum Vest & Spectrum Jacket is that we literally packed them into their inner pockets & kept them on us without adding weight or taking up any space, plus the fabric is so adept at maintaining warmth that only in the heaviest rain did we bother to pull out the rain shells. How’s that for confidence in some of the harshest conditions on planet earth!
Villa Maria on the Rio Grande is not your average testing ground for apparel. It blows harder there than anywhere else we have ever fished. Like jet engine hard. Then the cold bites at you with each gust & the absolute dryness of the desert like biome punishes anything left out to the elements. This perhaps makes it sound like a fishing spot to avoid, but on the contrary, Nervous Waters takes such superb care of you that we would rank it as a top three destination we have ever visited – but what we are saying is that when you go, and you should, make sure to pack well, prepare to battle the wind & hope you take gear as competent & functional as the gear we had from Exterus Outdoor Development.