wet suit with a splash top vs dry suit - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 12-11-2012   #1
 
Ball Ground, Georgia
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 26
wet suit with a splash top vs dry suit

New this year ww kayaker. Things have really been dry here in GA, so we have not gotten to do much this year.

We are finally getting rain, and we have an itch to get out.

Can someone suggest a set up that would allow class 3 comfortably without breaking the bank? We were thinking a wet suit with a splash top over it or one of the oneil dry suits designed for wake boarding.

$350-$400 each for the set up is our budget. Girlfriend and I if the suggestions are different for women and men.

We are looking at rivers like the Etowah, Nantahala, chatahoochee and Cartecay to give you an idea what we are currently running.

Thanks!

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Old 12-11-2012   #2
 
lmyers's Avatar
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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I say no to the wetsuit.

My suggestion would be a Kokotat Helix drytop:

Men's Helix Drytop - Kokatat

with the Kokotat Swift drypants:

Swift Dry Pants - Kokatat

with this setup the cost would come in around $370 before shipping. Kokotat makes the best dry gear on the market for kayakers and you could get away with wearing regular "long johns" under them (although fleece/polyester base layers are best).
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Old 12-11-2012   #3
 
Ball Ground, Georgia
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmyers View Post
I say no to the wetsuit.

My suggestion would be a Kokotat Helix drytop:

Men's Helix Drytop - Kokatat

with the Kokotat Swift drypants:

Swift Dry Pants - Kokatat

with this setup the cost would come in around $370 before shipping. Kokotat makes the best dry gear on the market for kayakers and you could get away with wearing regular "long johns" under them (although fleece/polyester base layers are best).

Thanks. We have polypro for camping in the winter. They are pretty heavy and should cover us for the base layer. I did not think I could get that brand in my price range.

Thanks again
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Old 12-11-2012   #4
 
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Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
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I'll agree with the dry system. I use a dry top and dry pants here in Colorado, and it works great. Imagine with the wetsuit, if you went kayaking more than one day at a time you'd be putting on that cold icky rubber every morning... No fun.
But do remember to wear only fleece or some kind of synthetic poly. Cotton is no bueno. Even with the best dry suite, there is always a chance water can trickle a bit in gasket or perspiration can build up inside.
The right gear makes all the difference in how much fun you have out there. Enjoy!
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Old 12-11-2012   #5
 
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Northern Utah, Utah
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wetsuit pros/cons

For day trips my kids wear farmer john wetsuits with a long sleeve NRS hydroskin top covered by a semi-dry or drytop.

I like the wetsuits mainly because of the knee/shin/leg protection they offer over drypants. My kids spend time in the IKs, the hardshells, the raft, and plenty of time swimming and goofing in the water - so the protection is nice, especially out here on the cold and often shallow local river.

Once they start spending more time in their hardshells and/or doing multi-day rivers in the early/late season they'll be upgraded to dry bibs, pants, or drysuits.

Watch ebay and with patience you can find great deals on NRS wetsuits and various splash/semi/drytops.
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Old 12-11-2012   #6
 
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
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semi-dry tops

That Helix top posted above or something similar made by Immersion Research is the way to go. If you see semi-dry tops around (that is, ones that have neck gaskets that are anything but latex), don't waste your money. One you take a swim, it goes from keeping water out to keeping water in.

Also, not sure how cold the water/air temps are there, but for milder days that are warmer than freezing but cooler than 90 degrees, check out a union suit. You might could get by with that for a while until you find you are boating in more extreme cold.
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Old 12-11-2012   #7
 
Denver, Colorado
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Drysuit is the best overall, but relatively expensive. Don't get a wakeboarding drysuit. There are kayaking specific drysuits that would be better, but they are probably out of your price range.

At a minimum you want a dry top. That will keep you dry when paddling. You can insulate under the dry top with polypro you have etc.

If you swim fairly regularly as a beginner, you want enough protection on the legs to keep you warm. For the bottoms... the best would be dry pants, the next best would be splash pants with a thin wet suit for your legs (like hydroskin), and the last option would be splash pants with polypro layers.

If you plan to paddle in the winter, you probably should also think about hand protection from the cold. Pogies are common, but some folks like gloves too.

You also might want to think about a skull cap to keep your head warm.

Before you embark on winter paddling trips, take some time to plan things out. Its wise to have a good drybag to put extra layers in, in case you swim and get really cold. Its also a good idea to bring fire starter materials with you, some food, and some water. If someone gets hurt on the river, and you have to hike for help, hypothermia is a real concern.

On a limited budget, you should be looking at some used stuff. I would recommend getting a decent drytop new, and looking for the rest of the stuff used to save a few bucks if cash is tight.

On drytops, its best if you invest in the right top, right off the get go, because if you get a crappy top now, and need to get a new one in a year, it ends up being smarter to just get the good one now. With that said, you could also get by with a less expensive top than the kokatat if money is really an issue. I have kokatat dry gear, because its great, but I have owned NRS dry tops in the past. They were not as good as kokatat, but they got the job done for a short time.

Good luck!
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Old 12-11-2012   #8
 
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Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redman2006 View Post
We are looking at rivers like the Etowah, Nantahala, chatahoochee and Cartecay to give you an idea what we are currently running.
Anyone run these rivers? I see a lot of photos of people running them wearing board shorts and a short sleeve drytop (which I don't even own).

Better question for boatertalk.com? (more of a SE regional forum)

I can't give you any great advice--I wear my drysuit for paddling rivers in the Rockies 10 months out of the year.
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Old 12-11-2012   #9
 
Glen Vegas, Florida
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I second Ian buying quality products. Nothing worse than replacing a drytop every year. I think I bought my Used Kokatat GMER for $400 on boatertalk.
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Old 12-11-2012   #10
 
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portland, Oregon
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Hes got the itch to go now while there is rain. In wintertime your GA rain fed rivers are probably 50 degrees. Unless temps are above 70 you probably want at least a drytop and splash pants. Something more if you are not actively paddling

Wetsuits are hypothermia machines unless there is a shell to break the wind and prevent evaporative heat loss
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