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Old 05-15-2015   #1
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 427

Does anyone have any recommendations for whitewater body armor? I have some basic TLD(troy lee designs) motocross stuff that works fine, but I am looking for full coverage of knees/shins down to the ankle and maybe even slightly above the knee, and elbow/forearm down to the wrist. Needs to have hard outer shell but also light in weight, breathable, quick drying perforated foam, strap retention systems that stay in place and do not hinder...FULL COVERAGE is a must. Interested to see what different cyclists kayakers and cat-boaters would have to say.

Thanks all

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Old 05-15-2015   #2
Whistler, BC
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 25
Have a look at dainese gear. I've used the downhill shin / knee combo for river boarding and it works well and doesn't really hold water. I just use hockey tape to keep it secure at the top. I also have the upper body including arms that has been great for skiing and downhill biking.

I think that they still do a full suit or at least pants with suspenders plus the full upper body.

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Old 05-15-2015   #3
SteamboatBORN's Avatar
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 538
Someone recommended crotch rocket gear. Not sure about how well they drain or how well they do with water in general.

Check this stuff out:
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Old 05-15-2015   #4
shredder-scott's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 257

I am a big believer in body armour. ...In addition to running rivers, I ride both street and dirt bikes.

I have been wearing body armour on the river for a few seasons

IMHO most dirt bike specfic armour only works ok on the river...the problem with type of armour is that primary impact protection comes from hard plastic, if ypu were to wear this gear under your splash-dry would destroy your expensive gor tex gear, from internal abrassion, so it most be worn as an outer layer....the problem with this is two fold the velcro that holds in place could be riped open by current, and you lose the gear...or it could catch the current and make the swim would be hard to swim with the gear half on and half off, the other problem is keeping it in place when paddling...the forarm elbow is tough to keep in place...the balance between to tight or to lose on velcro adjustment is very tight and your hand and arm goes lose and it slides down onto your wrist..

Hard plastic armour has it place...,but there are newer high tech soft armour system on the market, that works as well if not better than the hard stuff, and because it is soft can be worn under your dry - splash gear, were the current can not get to it.

The European have developed impact standards for body armour. ...most motoport armour meets ce level 1 certification....level 2 cert a higher standard is currently only available for spinal protection.

I have found that the 3 companies make soft armour that works very on the river.

The lower armour from crash pads...they are out of utah I think...There gear has NO ce cert...,but works well for river use. They make tights with shin, knee, thigh, hip, and tailbone protection I personally use this gear under my dry suits. Cost is about $90 for a pair of tights...they also make upper body jackets that have spinal, chest, shoulder, elbow forarm protection. .. season I ordered 4 pairs of their mesh tights for myself and some buddies they added shin pads for us..we all like our gear.

My second choice would be the bohn armour...I have not used there gear, but I have heard good is ce rated (I believe ) and cost only a little more than crash pad gear... thing here is you can order the top and bottoms with only the armour you want and save some $ example no need for spinal or chest protection the pfd has order a shirt with only elbow forarm, and maybe shoulder armour.

My 3rd choice would be forcefield. ...very cool tech multi layer energy absorption gear....I use their tights when riding....but this is expensive tights are like $300...on advantage of this gear is that pads can be removed or inserted as needed.

Stay away from the d30 armour products...this stuff is negatively affected by cold temps...if you run in cold water rivers, this stuff gets very hard and uncomfortable...

I hope that this info is helpful to you.

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Old 05-15-2015   #5
SteamboatBORN's Avatar
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 538
Crash-Pad stuff looks sweet. They custom made ones with shin pads for you? I need those. Do they use the foam that get stiffer on impact?
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Old 05-15-2015   #6
shredder-scott's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 257
Originally Posted by SteamboatBORN View Post
Crash-Pad stuff looks sweet. They custom made ones with shin pads for you? I need those. Do they use the foam that get stiffer on impact?

Yes crash pads made 4 pairs of tights with shin pads for me...they were stock tights the custom part was adding shin protection

The stuff that gets hard on impact is called molecular armour....d30 is the main manufacturer. The stuff is thin and light molds to your moto bike jacket use this is fine on the spine but on elbow forarm in cooler riding gets hard and uncomfortable. basically turns into hard plastic at colder temps . ..I would avoid d30 products for river use. It is to sensitive to cooler temps...

If I was to order today...I would probably order the bohn stuff....did not know about it last year...the forcefield lower body armour I use is not affected by works well..but the tight material they use is not so great...tights tend to sag and get pulled down due weight of pads...this more of an issue riding dirt bikes where you sit stand sit a lot...may not be a issue for rafting or kayaking as we tend to stay seated.

Hope that helps
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Old 05-15-2015   #7
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 428
just out of curiosity, what are you rafting that you want so much protection? More importantly, is there video?
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Old 05-15-2015   #8
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,347
Good info, thanks. My armor is about 5 years old and the forearm/elbow pads suck. Maybe time for some new stuff. Paulk I use it on the NF Payette, where swimming hurts. I like the idea of tailbone padding, fear of breaking that has prevented me from choosing to reflip once.

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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 05-15-2015   #9
Gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 33
Check out G-Form, not hard shell but conforms to the body very well, doesn't move around much at all, and its lightweight and wont cause any damage to your gear. Its all closed cell too so it wont hold water.
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Old 05-15-2015   #10
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 75
If you're in Colorado (blast rock country) only buy hard plastic protection. Anything with a nylon shell will shred. After 10 years as a dick drager hard shell rules all. If you're looking for protection that will not move during a swim, you need aquaseal. Straps move during chunder. I've had 686 leg, elbow, and spine protection on my suit for years. I still can't find anything legit for the thigh/crotch area besides hockey gear. As a caution, if you aquaseal pads to a wetsuit, taking it off becomes a chore. Huck that meat!

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