Toddler River Gear - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-22-2017   #1
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Toddler River Gear

I'm having a hard time finding wetsuits, base layers, booties, etc. to fit a 30lb 2 year old. We have a Stholquist PFD that works nicely, but I'd still like to dress to swim. Anyone have any luck with this? I'm not trying to go broke, and I'm open to suggestions from other sports, etc.

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Old 05-22-2017   #2
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
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That's because they really don't make them, not in an affordable mass production version anyway. Rafters are cheap by nature and don't spend top dollar on items that only fit for a few months. Fleece jammies and a rain suit or ski jacket works fine, cuz we're not really taking our 2 yo kids into swimming situations, right? My experience is that a wetsuit never really increased their recreational swim time anyway. Just keep them warm and dry, you probably already have plenty of that gear so bring plenty. PFD is mandatory, and consider the crotch strap for kids that age.
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Old 05-23-2017   #3
plainfield, New Jersey
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2016
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There is a company neosport that makes little tiny shorty wetsuits, They are decently made, and hold up pretty well, and are cheap. I pretty much ended up with all of the small sizes and went from my oldest to the younger, and now the youngest... Sometimes they will pop up on craigslist/boater talk/ebay etc.

Children's 2mm Back Zip Shorty

Oldnavy is a great place for fleece on the cheap, I usually use pajama pants, and then long sleeve rash guards are warm(er) and offer some sun protection too.

a warm, fed happy kid is a ton of fun on the water, cold and hungry? Not good.
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Old 05-23-2017   #4
Carbondale, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2009
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I don't think you're going to find a "dress to swim" capability for toddlers - that requires gaskets, and ain't no way is a toddler going to put up with that. The closest we got, and a great solution was toddler neoprene waders from Oakiwear.
Fleece under neoprene and rain jacket, cozy as can be. And the real benefit is being able to "play" in the water at the boat ramps and frequent river side breaks and not have to worry about cold, wet feet. In the event of a swim (hey, shit happens), the neoprene waders float like mad, keeping the feet up, while their PFD should right them in the water and keep the wader top from over filling...but you're never going to keep them dry in a swim. Hypothermia happens quick with tiny bodies - to that end we always kept a sleeping bag in a dry bag along with a full sized trash bag for a vapor barrier...cold wet kid stripped down goes into the sleeping bag, trash bag over the sleeping bag, and row like hell to get off the river.
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Old 05-23-2017   #5
plainfield, New Jersey
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2016
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Yep, my kids refuse to get out of the water, and have zero body fat, my 6 year old will swim (in a wetsuit) until he is turning blue, even in 76 degree water of the mighty Delaware. We (even in the summer) bring some hot chocolate, and a bit of candy/gummie fruity snacks, and the sugar tends to get them back to normal. The only issue is my kids tend to get a little whacky on sugar, so then there are new other problems.
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Old 05-23-2017   #6
Sacramento, California
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2016
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I agree with the oakiwear neoprene toddler waders: great on the river and great for playing in the mud at home!
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Old 05-30-2017   #7
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Salem, Oregon
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Good Thread! I also have a couple young 'uns that are needing to get layered up for the possible chilly day boating. I've been focusing on the fleece under waterproof outer layer approach. Basically fleece pajamas under rainsuit. Obviously crotch strap PFD is a must for the little ones.

Though of course, I am paranoid about never getting those kids into a unintended swimming situation.
"...and beyond; a far green country under a swift sunrise."
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Old 05-31-2017   #8
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Eagle County, Colorado
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The Stholquist PFD has been really good. We haven't done much swimming with it at this age, but it is well designed. Fleece PJ's, great idea, thanks for that. That wetsuit looks great!
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