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Old 06-07-2015   #1
Flying_Spaghetti_Monster's Avatar
Farmington, Utah
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 707
Kayaking without nose plugs.

I hit a point that I can not stand nose plugs. Yesterday after kayaking on a river with less than quality water I have a sinus issue. Could that be from lack of nose plugs or another issue. Stupid question I know, but I am just wondering.

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Old 06-07-2015   #2
Sacramento, California
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 232
I know that when I started kayaking, and did not have nose plugs, I'd smell the river for 3-4 days after I got out. My sinuses would also get stuffed up for nearly the whole time.

Now that I go underwater a lot less, I normally don't smell the water for very long, but I will still have stuffed up sinuses the night I kayak if I roll a few times without nose plugs.

Sense I do not roll often anymore, I typically do not wear them except when trying flat water tricks, practice roll or surf where I'm highly likely to roll.

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Old 06-07-2015   #3
Flying_Spaghetti_Monster's Avatar
Farmington, Utah
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 707
I paddle big water, and rivers like the north fork. Even with out flipping my nose is filled. Nose plugs just choke me out. I got in the habit of not wearing them while hand paddling because I got tired of messing with them with hand paddles on. Now I go into rapid with them on, and it just messes my breathing up. We will see if it is causing sinus problems over the coarse of a few trips out.
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Old 06-08-2015   #4
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 17
Every time I've had a day on a river without plugs I've ended up with a nose/sinus issue. I suppose it probably depends on a) water quality and b) how sensitive you are to the bacteria in any river. Me, I hate the plugs, but hate sinus infections more.
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Old 06-08-2015   #5
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The Fort, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 498
Been kayaking for about 14 years, used noseplugs twice. I hate them. Its just like swimming anywhere else, when you're under water if you're used to keeping air pressure in your nose water wont go in. Was a competitive swimmer growing up so I guess its just second nature, but I've never had a problem without them. Can't stand how they feel either.
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Old 06-08-2015   #6
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Bazzaro, World
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Oct 2008
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I don't use nose plugs. And, I do get sinus issues from time to time. I grew up on a dusty farm and I learned to suck water vapor through my nose and out my mouth in the shower. I keeps things clean and helps a ton with keeping my sinus clear. Good luck.
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Old 06-08-2015   #7
MT4Runner's Avatar
Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Try a Neti pot, saline water is a bit gentler on your sinuses.

I dislike nose plugs and usually put them on the bridge of my nose...closes my nostrils about 50%. I can still breathe somewhat, but blow out gently if I have a flip.
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Old 06-08-2015   #8
Abron Cabron
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 594
It seems like I get recurring sinus infections every summer. and thats even with rigorous usage of both ear and nose plugs.i keep them attached to my helmet and ready to go. I always wear the earplugs no matter what, and only put the nose plugs on to playboat or at the top of a drop that has good probability of carnage. I really do dislike the effect on my respiratory rate as well, feel like i am more likely to start hyperventilating without being able to breathe through my nose. I pull em off asap, after any crux section, and it seems to work out alright that way.
I am religious about earplugs because of lifelong sensitivity to ear infections as a kid, from lots of swimming. and also trying to avoid Exotosis, which is no joke.
There are lots of old schoolers with serious chronic ear problems from years of cold water exposure. (EJ, and one of the CRC authors come to mind...)
I dont want to be on that list...

A big part of the sinus infection issue is the water quality here in NM, which is grnerally not great, with all the sediment and pesticides and chemicals being south of the San Luis Valley, and the Red River moly mines etc... after 16years in and around Rio Grande year round almost, all it takes is one good nasal douche and i am stuffed up for days, and then it just does not go away if i am paddling a lot. kinda sucks, and make me want to move to the PNW. or anywhere with cold and clear water..... I have paddled for multiple days in a row on the Ark, and MFSalmon for instance, and not had more then a bit of congestion.
fricking dirty desert water.

I would say continue to wear nose plugs when at those critical moments, even though they are annoying.... and strongly consider earplugs. that is my advice for any paddlers.... new or way more radical then me

full face or full ear coverage helmets definitely complicate all that, but are kind of their own solution....

I use the $5 mack's earplugs from NRS, as I cant get Doc's to fit right. use superglue to keep them attached to their shoestring.
I leave them halfway unplugged to hear in between rapids, and then plug in when its time to drop in...easy peasy....except for gopro operation. that's a pain.
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Old 06-08-2015   #9
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 111
I only put them on for really big rapids and dynamic playboating holes
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Old 06-08-2015   #10
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Copper Mountain, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 288
I've never worn nose plugs, I generally just deal with the sinus issues. The worst is when you wake up in the middle of the night with only one side of your face plugged up.

My recommendation would be to check out a netty pot(sp?).

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