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Old 12-27-2012   #1
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 24
Dry Suit on the Grand?

I am going to be in the Grand Canyon for 21 days launching on March 17th. Do I need a dry suit? I can get one easy enough, but don't want to bring it if I donít need to. What do you all recommend?

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Old 12-27-2012   #2
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
Yes. You might get lucky and have really nice weather the whole time, but I doubt it. In late March you are likely to get some moisture, and the water will be cold.

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Old 12-27-2012   #3
columbus, Ohio
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 48
Dress to swim. GC or not. This applies across the board.
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Old 12-27-2012   #4
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,407
I see this question asked time after time on the Buzz.

To me a dry suit is just another part of your safety gear. If there is even a slight chance you will swim, wear the dry suit.

Chances are most will stay in the raft, kayak - whatever but if you fall in the river and stay there for more than a few minutes without proper insulation, you are taking a big time chance on living to make another GC trip.

I was rowing a big cat on GC a few years ago on a late September launch. Cloud less day and nice and warm. Ran Hance and hit my line, celebrated by taking off my "swim" gear to shorts and cotton tee shirt. Hit a hole and got tossed off the boat into the water. Long long swim before my buds got to me. I was unconscious hanging on my front cross bar. I got to the raft and my plan was to climb in over the rocket boxes in the front compartment, normally easy to do but I could not do it. I got lucky and my buds got to me in time. Had I had on my dry top and other swim gear, I bet it would have been a swim and self rescue.

My advice is take and wear the dry suit. The water in the GC is deathly cold even on warm sunny days, without the proper protection swims can result in death.
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Old 12-27-2012   #5
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at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,345
Absolutely. Launched on the same day this past year and wore it for 4-5 days then one or two later on when I got tired of damp splash gear. There will still plenty of places downstream where the sun didn't get over the rim most of the day. We wire them not to swim, but because of the wind, rain, and even snow.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 12-27-2012   #6
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Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 577
If you have one bring it. It will make life a lot simpler on the cold days, plus it is nice for some of the hikes, Havasu, Elves, where you might be hiking through streams and whatnot.
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Old 12-27-2012   #7
Eagle Mapper's Avatar
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 85
I launched at about the same time a couple of years ago and I was very glad to have a drysuit. Did not wear it alot but on days with some bigger rapids it made feel better about them. That is some cold water that time of year. If you can get one take it. Have a great time down in the ditch!!
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Old 01-04-2013   #8
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NorCal, California
Paddling Since: 91
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 330
I would leave it at home, bring splash gear if you have it. Easier to get in and out of. Been on 2 trips that time of year and didn't feel like I needed a drysuit. As far as I know the water temp is close to the same year round because it comes from the bottom of a lake.
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Old 01-04-2013   #9
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Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 329

If you own or have access to a drysuit it would be foolish not to bring it. I have seen snow in the canyon in March. I thought splash gear was great until a got a drysuit. I have never met a Paddler/Rafter out west with a legit Drytop/Drysuit that preferred splash gear in the spring. You can always swim to cool off if overheating is your concern.
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Old 01-04-2013   #10
Idaho Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 189
I launched March 22nd last year...I took my drysuit but never wore it. Only wore my dry top when I was in my kayak. On the raft I rarely needed a shirt. With that said, we had uncommonly nice weather the entire trip. Only one day of rain...

So I'd say if you already own a drysuit, toss it in your bag just in case. If you don't own one, it isn't worth the money just for one GC trip. It's true the water is cold but most of the rapids are short so even if you swim you should be out of the drink pretty quick

just my $0.02

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