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Old 03-08-2012   #1
Sterling, Colorado
Paddling Since: 5011
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 3
What level of cold water clothing do I need?

I'm a new paddler, and I'll be spending most of my time on the Poudre. I'm just curious as to what the 'basic kit' for clothing is. Links to articles/favorite products would be great.

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Old 03-08-2012   #2
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 350
How much is essential, depends on the weather and time of the year, but a drysuit can be worn year 'round. You just may have to do more practice rolls than usual if it gets hot.

For what it's worth, every time I hit up the Poudre, it's been in my Stohlquist Bpod.

Always wear socks if the drysuit has those built-in sock/booties (or your feet will get gooey). I'll wear an IR union suit underneath if it's cold, or just a thin nylon/polyester shirt and leggings if it's normal summer kayaking temps.

Bombergear creek mitts (pogies), because they have a wide-opening and slip on easily, and still offer pleny of protection. You'll appreciate pogies with how cold the water gets.

Any drysuit brand is fine in my book, because I'm willing to buy a bottle of Grangers XT and maintain them. Kokatat lasts the longest off the rack without needing maintenance, though.

I found my Stohlquist on clearance and it's a size too big, but it's been working out great.

Another trick for saving some money on a dry suit, buy a scuba dry suit. You have a lot more affordable options and you can always cut and patch any scuba-specific parts you don't want.

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Old 03-08-2012   #3
Nessy's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 255
What you know is an important part of what you take to the river. Read a book about river safety.
So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
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Old 03-08-2012   #4
FatmanZ's Avatar
NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582
A few more things to consider that will play into the answer to your question:

1. How many times/days do you expect to spend kayaking this year?
2. When do you expect to start paddling on the Poudre? (big difference between May/June and July/Aug).
3. What type of runs do you expect to paddle this year? Will you be sticking with newbish runs, or do you expect to step it up to class III/IV?
4. How much money do you have to spend?
5. Are you willing to start small/minimal and step up the gear investment as your skills improve in the coming years?

A drysuit is the ultimate, but it's a big investment and not necessary. Depending on your answers to the above, you may be fine starting with a splash jacket and wetsuit and then upgrading over the year(s).

Note: The Poudre is always cold for my kids so even late summer they prefer to wear a farmer wetsuit (good knee/shin protection), a light neoprene shirt, and neoprene booties. With that set up they'll spend hours playing and floating in the river. For me I like to wear a shorty splash top and a pair of shorts late summer when kayaking.
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Old 03-08-2012   #5
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 255
off topic?

Originally Posted by Nessy View Post
What you know is an important part of what you take to the river. Read a book about river safety.
Got distracted there and missed the point of your post, sorry. I've been impressed with stuff I have from Kokatat. I have their dry bibs which have worked out great. Not too fashionable, but I didn't have to buy a dry suit in addition to a dry top (the bibs roll together with the dry top).
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Old 03-08-2012   #6
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Basic gear for getting started would be a drytop, splash pants, polypro layers under the top, and some hand warmth like pogies or gloves. You could go with less like a splash jacket, but you would freeze your butt off. You are looking for two functions dryness and insulation.

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