Are Wetsuits a Waste of Money? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-15-2010   #1
 
Groveland, California
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Are Wetsuits a Waste of Money?

.....If you plan on buying a drysuit in the future?

After buying a couple new toys, my drysuit budget has turned into something closer to a wetsuit budget. A wetsuit/splash setup comes close to half of a drysuit cost, but when I finally get a drysuit, will all that other gear just sit on the shelf? Or does it fill a gap between winter drysuit and summer shorts season?

BTW, I am rafting and paddling a ducky on II & III water, and a couple of guided spring IV raft trips.

Thanks!

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Old 01-15-2010   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HPMG View Post
.....If you plan on buying a drysuit in the future?

After buying a couple new toys, my drysuit budget has turned into something closer to a wetsuit budget. A wetsuit/splash setup comes close to half of a drysuit cost, but when I finally get a drysuit, will all that other gear just sit on the shelf? Or does it fill a gap between winter drysuit and summer shorts season?

BTW, I am rafting and paddling a ducky on II & III water, and a couple of guided spring IV raft trips.

Thanks!
I have multiple wetsuits from windsurfing, and never use them boating. I did once, but that was before I got hydroskin. Now my step down from the drysuit is hydroskin and splash gear.
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Old 01-15-2010   #3
 
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I have a spring suit, full suit, and drysuit. Throughout the year, even here in Florida, they all come in handy kayaking. They are so much easier to get on and off and if it's a 3/2 mill, to move around in. But, then again, the coldest the water down here gets is (like now) 58 degrees. You know, for those rainy days that stay around 60 degrees. Not sure how cold your water gets. They create quite a nice seal with the spray deck. FWIW.
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Old 01-15-2010   #4
 
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Aurora, Colorado
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Go with two piece

I had a wetsuit for a season and it made me miserable. I now go with either neoprene shorts or pants with a neo or fleece top depending on the weather and water temp. I have found that I have many more options that way and I'm not trapped in a one-piece suit.
I love my drysuit, but only wear it a few times a year to boat (raft and kayak) in Colorado. It is usually way overkill, but if you are sitting in a ducky, I would go with a drysuit or at least dry pants. Oh, and make sure whichever way you go there is a relief zipper in any one piece suit. Very important.

Kim
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Old 01-15-2010   #5
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Drytop and Drypants. (I use NRS Black Rock)

Don't give much creed to those who say they'll fill with water and you'll drown. Nonsense in my opinion and no stats bear it out. I've swam the hell out of half of Colorado in them with zero issues.
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Old 01-15-2010   #6
 
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Drytop and Drypants.
I agree. For anything but the the most extreme conditions a drytop and even splash pants will work nicely.
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Old 01-15-2010   #7
 
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I love my drysuit (half season now) and it is my go to garment along with my IR union suit now. I have been paddling some cold Co and Washington stuff though.

A dry suit becomes more of a safety (positive) issue if your thinking you may be in the water for extended swims or perhaps rescue scenarios.

On class II/III stuff with the occasional IV in California (?) in a ducky I think I would just go with drytop/splash gear for the price point unless you can find a screaming deal on a full drysuit unless you anticipate running into scenarios above.
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Old 01-15-2010   #8
 
Groveland, California
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

This will be my second year paddling, so I haven't been exposed to that much gear. I did rent a drysuit for a SWR class last year, and it was really cozy (February and cold.) So I know how a drysuit keeps you dry/warm, I guess what I don't understand is how a dry top and pants/bib will keep out the water in a swim. I read the recent thread on the Kokotat bibs, which look like a great setup, but wouldn't you get soaked after the first swim? I must not understand how the joint works, because it seems a lot of people really like them.

I am in California (mild winters) and it doesn't get Colorado/Montana/Idaho cold, but some of the spring runs are direct snow melt and I would like to be rowing my raft next winter on some easy runs, I just want to be protected from the cold water when I do.
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Old 01-16-2010   #9
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HPMG, I'm going to disagree with the people above and say buy a wetsuit and splash gear. Here's why:

1. You're going to be in an inflatable kayak. As you progress you will swim more and more. They will often be the kind of swims where your legs dangle deep for a moment as you flip your boat back over and climb in. Your legs are going to slam some rocks, especially if you're running small mountain rivers. A wetsuit will pad and protect you, helping keep your swims less traumatic and letting you progress with less fear.

2. You are involved in paddle rafting. You will be bringing friends along for years to come. When you can afford that dry suit you will be glad that you have a wetsuit for friends and lovers for years to come. Also the layering of wetsuits and splash gear will give you multiple options for the changing climate. A dry suit is not appropriate for much of California during the summer.

I am an inflatable kayaker and plan to wear a Bomber Gear wetsuit under splash pants and a semi-dry top this spring. They are selling the full suits for $90 right now, not bad for a reputable small company.

Many of the people referring you to the dry suit or dry gear on here are top shelf hard boaters. They love their dry gear, but they are out in steep creeks battling class V rapids at Spring runoff in places where keeping your body really warm and comfortable can mean life or death. You're ducking class III and taking a couple of guided trips. Don't drop the thousand bucks or you'll be looking at the dry suit on your shelf wondering why you didn't get a new paddle or fix your car with that money.
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Old 01-16-2010   #10
 
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Boulder, Colorado
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I have a drysuit and love it - but I bought it for guiding in Alaska. Bib drypants work great. My non-drysuit setup is neoprene shorts, splash pants, a fuzzy rubber shirt (like NRS's Mystery Shirt) and a splash top. If I didn't have the drysut I would probably have a drytop and neoprene pants in addition to the shorts. Randaddy makes a great point about the impact protection of the neoprene pants. I would stay away from the Farmer John type suits simply because they aren't that versatile and make taking a leak a big affair.
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