What type of river clothing will I need for the summer on CO rivers? - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 11-08-2013   #1
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Sep 2013
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What type of river clothing will I need for the summer on CO rivers?

I am a newb and I'm starting to think about what kind of river clothing I will need for my first season kayaking in Colorado. I'm planning on taking lessons with Colorado Whitewater and doing their float weekend thing in early May and then continuing to float throughout the summer. It's likely that I wouldn't continue to float past late August / early September. I'd like to run easier rapids on rivers like the South Platte, Poudre, Animas, Colorado, and Arkansas. The kayak I bought came with a an NRS dry top. What else will I need for summer floating? I plan to likely get some high-topped booties and was thinking about a short sleeve or sleeveless wetsuit. What thoughts and recommendations do people have? Obviously, if I like the sport and become dedicated, I'll want to buy a Kokatat drysuit, but I'm thinking more in the sort term for my first season and only during the summer months.

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Old 11-08-2013   #2
GoBro
 
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BZN, Montana
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The colorado runoff season is short and happens may-june generally. This is when everything is running. It's also when the water is very cold. Dress for a swim. With a Decent drytop with good base layers (poly-pro, fleece, wool) and a wetsuit bottom you should be able to do alright in easier water picking your days.
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Old 11-08-2013   #3
 
student
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dry tops on sale right now

Sale on NRS base layers and dry tops here NRS - Steep & Cheap. I would jump on this. There is better gear out there but as a starter dry top this is a great deal and will be solid enough for a few years. If you fall in love with kayaking, and hopefully you do, you can always upgrade.
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Old 11-08-2013   #4
 
Fort Collins
Join Date: Oct 2004
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I like what I have, you might like the same...
go with the sleeveless/farmer john wetsuit, I think they offer better movement and cost less.
don't forget some neoprene gloves, our colorado, especially front range water doesn't warm up a whole lot, and you will like them for spring and fall floating.
Eventually, you would probably like the nrs hydroskin/hydrosilk shorts and rashguard, they make nice base layers.

But who are we kidding, if you are self mootivated to try the sport, you will love the sport, so may as well go for the dry suit now
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Old 11-08-2013   #5
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
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My concern with the drysuit is the fact that it looks super heavy duty. When I'm floating in late June, wouldn't I get super hot in it? I bet I could swing a Kokatat dry suit, although my worry would be that it wouldn't be versatile enough to go with me all summer (due to heat) and I'd have to get a lot of other gear as well.
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Old 11-08-2013   #6
 
student
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If you have the cash, get a drysuit and a good helmet. There are rarely times when it is too hot here to use a drysuit. If you don't have the cash, at minimum you need a dry top with some fleece/poly pro that will solely be used for boating because it will stink worse than most anything else you own. It is very hard to be too warm when you are learning to kayak.
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Old 11-08-2013   #7
KSC
 
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Boulder, Colorado
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Water is pretty cold year round and kind of agree that you could do a drysuit exclusively with a few exceptions. However, I think you're on the right track with a drytop. You'll want a drytop anyway and as you start getting more into it, spend the money on the drysuit. I'd skip the neoprene under layers and just use polypro & fleece or whatever you'd use for any other cold weather activity like skiing. Probably worth getting some splash pants for colder days and/or some neoprene pants.
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Old 11-09-2013   #8
Abron Cabron
 
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
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Always dress for a swimfest... and if you get hot practice your roll often ;]
the theory is to dress for an extended time in the water even if the day is hot. it is almost inevitable.....
I 'd say i am a lifetime member of the swim team. ......

IMO a drysuit with a fleece union suit/synthetic boxers/wool socks underneath is THE ticket. a drysuit keeps you dry but is not a water temp barrier. you will (feel) cold & still be dry without adequate layers under. a nrs skully and maverick gloves are good to keep in a drybag with your kit.(first aid/pin/food/duct tape etc....a whole nother dicussion) I wear a skully most all the time cause its nice to have a warm head when you have short hair and a vented helmet.

Gear is a kind of endless thing... most of us have duffel bags and tupperwares full of weather optional & old shtuff im sure. full face helmets, shorty drytops, mystery shirts and pogies and all kind of ridiculousness.

agree w/ KSC and the others on drytop/ splash pants with or without neoprene under (hydroskin shirt/shorts etc)
think of wet and still warm, with minimal bulk... farmer john/wetsuit & drytop/slash top was the standard for a long time and still does the trick for sure,esp for rafters... neoprene can chafe tho.

drypants can fill with water if you swim, so splash pants are better. youre gonna be wet anyhow. ..with any setup but a drysuit...
(that being said it took me 13 years to get a drysuit.)

for sure, good booties are crucial too.

Keen gorge booties (Cold weather)
5.10 watertennies, & astral brewers (warm weather)
are some of the best. they all have soles with good traction.
(get your cold weather booties a size up to fit wool sox and the goretex booties of that awesome kokatat GMER suit youre gonna want... )

actual warm water paddling with one hydroskin shirt and boardshorts is such a treat....you feel all unencumbered and frreeee....lol. you will look forward to the end of summer for that reason. i sure do, as long as there was some flows before that....
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Old 11-09-2013   #9
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Hmm, okay. It looks like my experiences in 2001 on the Green through Labyrinth Canyon left me sort of naive about the sport. It sounds to me like the water is going to be WAY colder than I thought and that I'm going to spend a lot more money on gear.
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Old 11-09-2013   #10
 
prescott, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1982
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanHostetler View Post
Hmm, okay. It looks like my experiences in 2001 on the Green through Labyrinth Canyon left me sort of naive about the sport. It sounds to me like the water is going to be WAY colder than I thought and that I'm going to spend a lot more money on gear.

yep!
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