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Old 03-20-2006   #11
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 163
Kokatet makes a relatively cheap bid that rolls up into your drytop if you go that route. May need to cinch it down good because its designed to sandwich a skirt tunnel but should work fine without it. Its as dry as a dry suit, and lets you use the drytop alone.

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Old 03-25-2006   #12
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 9
you pretty much answered your own question.

A wetsuit is the most important and most versatile piece of gear a new paddler or rafter should incorporate as part of the mix and match set of gear.
Wetsuits are not just protective when in the water but essential for protection and safety in cold water unless you go with a drysuit.
The insulation of a wetsuit will keep you warm above water as well, but neoprene wetsuits can be uncomfortable due to the requirement for a snug fit to be effective and neopren tends to be stiff and less elastic than is ideal for comfort. They also don't breath so you can be wet/damp even if you don't end up in the water. A famer john (long legs and vest style on top) is ideal, and simple pile or other synthetic sweaters (some use the surfing term rashguard) will serve to add more insulation and again provides versatility.
Fuzzy Rubber Pile with a urethane rubber outer skin or Aquashell trilaminate of pile inside lycra outside and water resistent film sandwiched between are much more comfortable options for wetsuit protection.
Simple pile, poly pro, wool or other synthetics will keep you warm even when wet but will do you no good while in the water if they do not have a water resistent barrier.
a drytop or paddle jacket on top will keep spray off and reduce evaporative cooling. A drytop will keep you drier than a paddle jacket but unless you mate them to bib drypants (with latex ankle gaskets and an outer waist that can be rolled in to the inner waist of a drytop) you will still get wet if you swim. Even the most efficient drytop wasits seals will let some water in if you swim.

Paddling pants or drybibs will keep you drier and further reduce evaporative cooling.
Wetsuit booties will keep your feet and ultimately your whole body warmer and you happier. Just like a hat cutting heat loss that cools the whole body, booties do the same thing when your feet are sitting in cold water.

The drier you stay the more comfortable you'll be and you'll enjoy the experience more.

John mason
Mountain Surf

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Old 03-25-2006   #13
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 178
It is all about Wool Long underwear, Wool keeps you warm even when fully wet. And it never stinks like poly-pro/capilene. Try Smartwool, you will never go back.

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Old 03-25-2006   #14
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 9
Smartwool is nice stuff but won't do you any good when in...

the water unless you're in a drysuit.
Nice alternative to Pile though.
The Kiwis swear by a Merino wool Possum fur blend, and they know their wool.

John Mason
Mountain Surf
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Old 03-27-2006   #15
I'm wrong 50% of the time
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RFV, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 857
I did MF of S last year as well. Put on first Sunday in June. Had just done the Dolores and it was hot. So We did not gear up. I survived in PVC rain pants and a mountain surf splash top and my buddy survived in a borrowerd farmer john and a plastic rain poncho. We danced on the deck, took turns rowing and drank wiskey. Fell in a few times and flipped in Tappen falls. Great trip. are da man. Scott...thanks for the time. Mike...take a swiftwater course.

I also like to body board on standing waves and have been looking for the right outfit. Dry suit is $$$ and Wetsuit can be a pain to put on, take off...repeat.

As a rafter I love my Mountain Surf Paddle jacket. The kids we were with were all sporting Imersion Research gear.

If I had the $$ I would go with a IR Session Top or MS Surge Top and
with IR Splash Pants or MS Flood Stage Bibs .

also some NRS gloves or Mitts and some good shoes.

For in the water fun I would get a Henderson 7 millimeter wetsuit.

Hope these ideas help and happy floating.
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Old 03-27-2006   #16
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 305
Get a Drysuit and keep the seals treated and it will last you along time and you will be much happier and warmer in the long run.

Its not the drysuit that keeps you warm in the water it the layers you wear under it.

Remember its not cold till you need a chainsaw to get in, Try Ice Diving if you want COLD.
Don't do anything, just stand there.
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Old 04-09-2006   #17
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128
Rafting Clothes

Maximum flexibility is a gore-tex drytop and pants that interface well. Some water will leak into this set-up in a long swim, but it provides most of the protection of a full drysuit with the option of using either piece by itself. Choose wool, fleece, or synthetic layers beneath this based on water and air temps and the likelyhood and distance of a possible swim. Remember water temp is more important than air temp on a long swim. Use either or both dry pieces as needed.

There is no set-up that is ideal for all conditions - you have to choose based on water temp (#1 concern for white water), air temp, and wind/sun exposure.

When I guided in Alaska a Gore-Tex Drysuit was basically required gear. Don't waste you money with a non-breathable drysuit unless you enjoy soaking (literally) in your own sweat. I have rowed and paddled about 3000 miles in a Kokat Gore-Tex Drysuit and I recommend it for glacier fed and very cold (below 42 degree) rivers. As a previous poster mentioned, take care of the latex gaskets on any dry piece and it will last a long time.

In Colorado I go anywhere from neoprene shorts, splash pants, a fuzzy rubber shirt (rubber with a fleece lining) and a splash jacket along with booties and gloves to a just a swimsuit, sandals, lifejacket and helmet. Late season on the Arkansas is mostly swimsuits and the occasional splash jacket for afternoon monsoons. Gore Canyon in August requires a fair bit of gear to stay warm and to be somewhat protected in case of class V swims. On a cold day a drysuit can be great even if you get a few odd looks. Most of the odd looks will turn to jealousy on a cold day.

The big disadvantage to dry clothes is that they seperate you from the elements of your trip - on a warm day there is nothing better than a cool splash, the sun on your skin and swimming in beautiful places. Of course on a cold day all you want is to be warm and dry. Look for a range of clothes to allow balance and protection. This is what I own and use:

Kokatat Gore-Tex Dry Suit (with relief zipper and gore-tex socks)
Kokatat Splashtop
Mountain Surf Splash Pants
Mountain Surf Fuzzy Rubber Shirt
NRS Neoprene Shorts (great below a pair of boardshorts)
NRS Neoprene Gloves
NRS Work Boots (tough and a bit heavy, not recomended unless you work on a river)
Chaco Sandals
Board Shorts
Various Fleece and Synthetic Long Underwear - I like x-static for smell resistance, fleece is fleece, go for style, price, features or whatever is importnt to you.
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Old 04-09-2006   #18
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Thought-criminal, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 989
Naw, got it all wrong. What you need to do is get buck nekked and rub icy-hot all over your body -- extra for the cacknballs -- them shits be warm as a mafukka, swimmin or not. You see, it's greezy and won't wash off. Whisky helps, too. Lots of whisky.

Course the best thing is to hop in a nice, warm kayak.
I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy
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Old 04-15-2006   #19
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 33
Neoprene G string, helmet and PFD. nuff said
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Old 04-19-2006   #20
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 45
As a guide in training this time of year I wore, farmer john wetsuit, with a fleece under it and a splashtop over it ( 2 fleeces if you get cold easily ). Booties were a must. dont forget the sunglasses pfd, and helmet. It gets cold and a thin layer under the helmet helps. You lose alot of heat through the noggin.

As it warms up you will know what to do. Eventually i was down to shorts and a life jacket with sandals in late summer.

We always had our dry bags with us for stripping layers and adding them.a

3 weeks strait wearing this through rain and snowy days a few years back... Its just a cold thing to do this early on. dont waste cash on a drysuit and fleece is still very warm when soaked through.

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