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I have another newbie question...what is the best way to stay warm in the spring. Should I look at neoprene jacket/farmer jones type of outfit, or the Kokokat type of paddling jacket? I realize that a dry suit would probably be best but they seem to be very expensive. Thank you.
 

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I'm a big, big fan of my wetsuit from NRS. They don't use neoprene anymore... it's called "Terraprene." Made from limestone. Anyway... super comfy and warm. I've been doing a combo of my wetsuit and a thermal shirt under a splash top from bomber gear... their neoprene cuffs keep the water out of my sleeves.
And yeah, I guess spam and whiskey if you're into that kinda thing...:rolleyes:
 

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My old set up is waist waders and a kokatat dry top. Bought the top used on the buzz. Waders were 100$. You get a little dribble down your ass on long swims but stay dry enough to stay warm with fleece. There is a top on the buzz for 100$.
 

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Not to ask a stupid question but what type of boating will you be doing? Big diff between splash and submersion. Ive been on trups where aqua socks were colder than bare feet in keens as they stayed wet whereas the feet in the shoes dryed off. My opinion is unless the air temp is hot wear a drytop and good splash pants
 

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Drysuit is king. My friends who have them are dry and warm and never fail to flaunt their superior clothing and point out how warm and dry they are.
 

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Another vote for Drysuit. Standing on a board in 50+ degree sun gets HOT, but when water temp is 38-42, and I take a swim with minimal layers under (thermal shirt/board shorts/smart wool ultra light tall ski socks) its nice having that protection.
 

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A Bimini top and chemical hand warmers for on and off river
 

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Kokotat GMER with thin DWR treated down on top of fleece will get you on the water below freezing. Nose, fingers and toes then become the challenge...
 

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I wear a kokatat GFER suit with goretex socks. I used to wear merino wool underwear but I have switched to fleece as it doesn't seem to hold sweat as much. I wear layers of grid fleece under the suit because they breathe but still provide loft. I wear three heavy pairs of merino wool socks under the suit and nrs work boots over the suit because they are pretty protective and very thick neoprene which gives extra warmth. Glacier gloves for cold hands are nice or any neoprene gloves with closed cell surface rubber to keep water out and fleece lining for loft. I think I only paid about 600 or so for my kokatat suit. cascade outfitters has spring and fall 25% off clothing sales which helps a ton. Or if you're comfortable finding a used suit go that route. My ex gf bought a used kokaat tropos suit with built-in socks on ebay for 400 and it was in brand new condition and worked great. If you want to be super warm and super dry kokatat goretex is the only suit in my opinion. If you're serious about whitewater fun, comfort and safety, get a kokatat goretex suit with relief zipper and socks. You will not be disappointed...
 

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I agree that Dry Suit is the way to go as far as indisputable warmth, but regardless I use a farmer john 3mm wet suit, chaco's, and a rain coat or splash top, depending on weather/run.

My sister who has poor circulation (Raynauds) is always cold. She's super warm and cozy in a 6mm long sleeve wet suit, neoprene booties, and a splash top. She'll usually wear neoprene gloves as well if we're going to get very wet. (Westwater)

I like the versatility of the farmer john's, easy to add more, but light enough to shed layers on warmer days in cold water. My two cents FWIW.
 

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I have all the above mentioned alternatives and honestly don't think their worth discussing much. All will work but none are great. Everyone that has a drysuit agrees it was one of, if not the best boating investment they have made. They are expensive, but there are ways to find them used or otherwise discounted....and honestly in a swift water rescue scenario they can mean the difference between life and death.
 
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