Baselayers are a big deal in fly fishing. Interestingly, despite the fact that baselayers are an essential gear item almost every time we hit the water, baselayers rarely get the attention of nearly ever other gear item. Comfort (and discomfort) on the water can make or break a day. Good baselayers are critical, and that’s why we are now going to spend more time testing out and reviewing technical apparel for fly fishing.
I recently got to spend time with the Patagonia Capilene Air Hoody, and I’ve got to say I love this hoody. A baselayer at its best feels like a second skin, and that’s exactly how the Patagonia Capilene Air Hoody felt. But before getting into why I like this hoody so much, I have to say that first impressions weren’t the best. Liking putting on wool socks for the first time in a while, it did have that same foreign and uncomfortable feeling initially. Additionally, there is a bit of material that covers the neck in the front — something that feels unusual at first. But that first thought of “uh oh,” soon vanished, and within no time, I was beyond comfortable in this hoody and now see it as a go-to for a variety of needs.
The “second skin” term gets thrown around a lot these days, but I really can’t think of a better description. This hoody feels so light and breathable (while snug) that you feel the benefits of the layer but at the same time it sort of doesn’t feel like you are wearing anything at all.
Day one of wearing this hoody was on a cold rainy morning that warmed up a bit later in the day. In the damp cold, I was surprised at how such a seemingly thin layer kept me so warm, and later in the day, I had no interest in shedding the hoody. In fact, I wear it all the time now.
As Patagonia puts it, this baselayer, “offers amazing warmth and comfort range [and an] airy blend of 51% RWS-certified merino wool and 49% recycled polyester wicks moisture, resists odor and dries in a flash.” As incredibly light and cool as this feels in the summer, I can’t wait to wear it throughout the year, including as a first layer in the winter.
The Patagonia Capilene Air Hoody comes in sizes XS through XXL and costs $149.
– Tim Harden
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