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 Post subject: cold water protection
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 1:20 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:01 pm
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Location: newark ca
I will be peddeling/paddeling in water that is 50 to 65 and air about 45 to 80 degress F. Is a wet suit or is a dry suit a better choice?
The dry suit looks like it is more flexable, but shouldn't be opened in the summer, if you fall in it will do you no good open.
If the wet suit is the way to go, how thick should the material be?

Thanks

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:09 pm 
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Location: Out There
Being a longtime surfer, I have a vast collection of wetsuits from 5/4mm fullsuits to 2mm vests. On very cold days(water in low sixties, air in the forties), I've used a 3/2 full suit with booties, but at times it was too warm and, how should I say this, the call of nature was not the same experience as when you are surfing. Dry suits I think would be way too warm. Surfers in the Pac NW don't even use them so I don't think they'd be workable for kayaking except in the very coldest conditions. Not a happy time if you get a leak or tear in a drysuit and you go over the side.
What I've settled on are "farmer john" type wetsuits, 2mm shorty for spring and fall, 3mm long john for winter. I got them both on sale at REI for about $110. Without sleeves, paddling is easy and you can unzip them and roll the top down if weather permits. The zipper is a front loading model that zips low, making those nature calls no problemo. You could probably find a farmer john setup at the garage sale or a dive shop sale. For colder conditions, I wear a jacket and/or polarfleece over the wetsuit. Kind of going with the tried and true layering principle here, wet on bottom, dry on top. This setup eliminates any underarm chafing issues as well. I've been eyeballing a semi-dry kayaking jacket or a GoreTex shell if I can find one on sale, but I'm still looking.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 8:30 am 
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It depends on the weather forecast. First of all, I always try to dress for immersion, which for me in the temperatures you mention means a full wetsuit, complete with booties, neoprene gloves and a fleece hat. A neoprene hood would be better than the hat if I entered the water. An under layer of fast-drying synthetic material will give added protection, and as the previous post stated, resistance to chafing.

If the air temps are too warm, you can skip wearing the gloves and hat, but keep them attached to your PFD at all times as you might need them for immersion.

If no rain is forecaseted, the wetsuit suits me fine (no pun intented). Expecting rain, I'll wear a gortex top layer - pants and jacket, with hood. This keeps my wetsuit dry while kayaking, yet still breathes well. Cabellas has the gortex suits as well as cheaper (but very effective) competing brands -- sometimes they are on sale too. You'll want waterproof breathability in a top layer.

On a long, open crossing I take an extra precaution -- kayaking closee to shore. It might be the longest way between two points, but if I were to become separated from my yak, it suddenly beomces the shortest distance to shore.

Plan for the unexpected!

Jon


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 10:41 am 
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Traditional dry suits are indeed too warm for many instances, but the breathable type can be used in a wide range of temperatures (even in the Pacific NW where I live). There are many brands (Kokatat, Gill, etc.) that make breathable drysuits, and this makes a world of difference with the traditional kind.

I have a Kokatat and I love it. The material cuts the chill of the autumn winds, and ensures I won't freeze if I fall in. The fact that the material breathes means that I stay dry after hours on the water despite perspiration even when the outside temp warms up.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 10:38 pm 
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Location: newark ca
[quote="xavier"]Traditional dry suits are indeed too warm for many instances, but the breathable type can be used in a wide range of temperatures (even in the Pacific NW where I live). There are many brands (Kokatat, Gill, etc.) that make breathable drysuits, and this makes a world of difference with the traditional kind.

I have a Kokatat and I love it. The material cuts the chill of the autumn winds, and ensures I won't freeze if I fall in. The fact that the material breathes means that I stay dry after hours on the water despite perspiration even when the outside temp warms up.[/quote]

Thanks Guys, good inputs. Any thoughts on what is better, neopreen boots or seal skin socks

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