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Old 03-29-2005   #1
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 44
Wet-suit recommendations

I am considering purchasing a shorty wet-suit for kayaking this season. It seems Sierra Trading Post is always selling these for seventy bucks.

This idea for the wet-suit has dual purpose: 1) as an older, still new to the sport type paddler, a swim is never out of the question. Us older folks are at higher risk for hypothermia and even heart attack [yikes] from immersion in cold water. So, this is a safety thing. 2) When I got out from paddling Lower Mish last year late in the day [no swimming, but a couple of rolls], I got super cold and started shaking badly waiting for the ride to show up. I am thinking some neoprene on the core might be a remedy here.

Question: is a shorty wet-suit a good idea? They come in many thicknesses. I am thinking 2mm will be enough and won't restrict movement too much. Are there alternative products that might fit the safety and warmth bill? Thanks.

I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I'm not a spoon.
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Old 03-29-2005   #2
rivermanryan's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 580
Why not layer with some fleece, such as IR thickskin. Seal yourself off from the water with a drytop or a drysuit. Probably much warmer than neoprene. Neoprene is designed to be wet. wet = cold, dry = warm.
my 2 cents.

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Old 03-29-2005   #3
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 305
my 2 cents

As a Scuba Instructor, here is how a wet suit works.
For a w/s to keep you warm if must be holding water for your body to heat and the thickness of the suit keeps the cold away like a fat layer does, once you are out of the water the suit drains and your body now has to give off heat to warm the suit up it starts to feel like the heat is being sucked out of you.
A neo-bennie will help keep you warmer both in and out of the water by trappin the heat you lose up to 70+% goes out your head.
A windstopper top will help keep you warmer than just that shortie after you are out of the water.
As an ice diver the coldest part of the dive is the 15 min after you get out and can change in to dry clothes. Unless you are wearing a full drysuit.

As a new kayaker myself I went with a drytop and fleece and even after a few swims it seems to keep me warmer than a wetsuit does. Just realize that during a swim a drytop doesn't keep the water out from around the waist and is going to leak around the neck a little as you twist around and roll.
Help this helps.
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Old 03-29-2005   #4
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 490
Someone is going to disagree with me, but I'm going to say it anyway, wetsuits are obsolete. Buy a good drytop if you don't have one already and use what you already own to layer underneath it.

I'm also going to give away my $1MM idea to some entrepreneur. I use my primaloft jacket on those extra cold days under my drytop and since it insulates even when wet and it's like wearing a down jacket. I'm wondering why no one makes a paddling specific version yet without a zipper and all the bulk. I have bottoms that are the same material and I've even worn those under my splash pants and that works great, too. Maybe it's cost-prohibitive to produce, but it works like a synthetic sleeping bag. Lighter, even when wet than fleece, too. There's a lot of winter clearance sales going on right now, maybe you could pick one up cheap. You'll use it for everything once you own it.


Too stupid to come out of the cold
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