Hey guys, I've been boating for a few years now (slalom in Golden mostly, some river running (III-IV) and playboating), but have always borrowed gear from other people. I figure with this season coming to a close, its time to hit up the clearance sales. I'm looking for a helmet, PFD, and rashguard.
For the helmets, the Pro-Tec Ace Wake and B2 Wake seem pretty sweet (I like the foam ear coverage), but I hear ABS plastic with EVA foam isn't as safe as composite. Shred Ready is the only company in the States that I've found that make composite helmets, and they're damn expensive. But if they're safer, I don't mind spending the money. Can anyone give me some pointers here? I know there's WRSI too, but it seems like they use ABS plastic too. Here's
the article I read indicating composite is better than ABS.
For PFDs, Astral and Patagonia (Lotus) are the two names that come up over and over again. I like the fact that the Astral ones have the internal hand warmers. They seem to have more pocket space than the Lotus ones too. A pocket is a must, which is why I'd rather not get a Peak UK.
As for rash guards, I know NRS hydroskin is the standard, but there's the Kokatat Outercore and the IR thermoskin and polarskin out there too. I get cold VERY easily (I wore my long sleve NRS dry top just about every day this summer and I was comfortable), so the warmer, the better. I figure I can always flip over for a bit if I get too warm. I guess neoprene is the way to go, but it seems like the OuterCore and Polarskin aren't made out of neoprene? What's the deal here?
Also, I should mention that I'm miles from the nearest kayak store. I'm in the middle of nowhere NY for school until December, so I don't have the option of going down to Alpenglow or something to try stuff on.