Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lay it on, peel it off

It was a December sunrise several years ago on the Apalachicola River, and the air temperature hovered in mid 20s. When my friends and I had started paddling the previous afternoon, the air temperature was a balmy 72 degrees. When I crawled into my tent the night before, I left my wet clothes to dry on top of my kayak. But when I awoke in the morning, I was in for a rude surprise. My shorts and booties were frozen. Adventuring in Florida, particularly during the winter months, can be a challenge. It's possible, especially in the northern part of the state, to have temperature swings of near 50 degrees in a short period of time. It can be warm and sunny in the afternoon, but after sundown, the temperature can still drop near freezing. As a result, you must plan for the worst and pray for the best. And that usually means carrying lots of extra clothing.

Layer by layer

Carrying extra clothing adds bulk and weight to any load. If you are into adventure sports, you have to keep it light. The trick is to wear several layers of multipurpose clothing that can be peeled off or put on as the temperature changes.

Start with a thin, synthetic material on the body that helps transmit water away from the skin. Don't be afraid to pile on the layers of this high-tech long underwear. Light, easy to store, it works to keeps you warm even when wet.

Most of your warmth will come from your second (or third) layer. Many choose fleece.

Then finish with a layer of wind-and-water-resistant material as an outer shell.

Some advice on clothing materials: You can't beat wool when it comes to warmth. But wool is heavy and bulky, and it's often impractical for most high-activity outdoor sports.

Cotton, perhaps the most popular and widespread material in use today, should be avoided. Outdoor industry insiders call it "death cloth" because it drains heat from the body when wet.


Neil Irwin grew up in St. Petersburg, but his parents were Canadian.

"When you go back and forth, you are never prepared for the weather," said the clothing designer who now lives in Malibu, Calif. "If you are a Floridian, you are cold wherever you go."

Irwin, an avid sailor, snowboarder and surfer, wanted one jacket that would serve him just as well on the waters of Tampa Bay as it did on the slopes of British Columbia.

"What I really needed was three jackets in one," he said.

Irwin's answer is his Adventure Gear jacket, a three-in-one, all-weather system that offers high performance for the active lifestyle, yet stylish good looks for a foray into the city.

The jacket consists of a heavyweight soft shell (for 30-55 degrees), a lightweight soft shell (40-65 degrees) and a base layer top (40-65 degrees). When all three are worn together, you can feel comfortable in a temperature range of 5 to 65 degrees.

"There is no logo," Irwin said. "These jackets are built for performance."

Pull it together

The layering system, which is available at the Bill Jackson Shop for Adventure and Watersports West in Pinellas County, and Tampa Bay Outfitters in Hillsborough County, has sold briskly since it arrived a few months ago.

"The jacket was designed so the three components work together," said Clearwater resident Michael Lokey, the director of sales for Adventure Gear. "It removes a lot of the guesswork. You don't have to figure out which base layer works with which jacket. This is one jacket that will literally take you around the world."

The combo is pricey — $370 — but comparable to a top-of-the-line ski jacket. If you were to put together your own system of base layer, microfleece or fleece, then jacket, you would probably spend at least $300. The Adventure Gear components can be purchased individually (base layer, $32; lightweight soft shell, $159; heavyweight shell, $179).

Lay it on, peel it off 01/07/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 7, 2010 11:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  2. Rays journal: Blake Snell continues roll in win over Cubs (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was still a game in the fifth inning when LHP Blake Snell walked the leadoff batter, then allowed a single. One swing by the Cubs' Ian Happ (22 home runs) could put a dent in the Rays' three-run lead.

    Blake Snell allows just two hits in pitching seven scoreless innings.
  3. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    One success story of this lost season is the emergence of LHP Blake Snell as the frontline starter the Rays projected. After a rough start and two demotions, he has been rolling, Wednesday's solid seven innings making him 4-0, 2.57 in his past eight starts.

  5. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Orioles

    7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    This is a 2017 photo of Matt Andriese of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)