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Hi Y'all!

I am doing a trip to the middle fork in early July as well as primarily boat on colder Colorado Rivers. I am not looking to invest in a dry suit (maybe in a few years) but for now am looking for a better solution for this season. I just got the cheap NRS Rio jacket (as a backup to always have on hand). I have a phat cat and inflatable kayak (both pretty splashy!)

Do rain pants work just as well? I've read that you don't want to tighten splash gear anyway if you plan for a potential swim.

Should I just send it on the W's NRS Endurance pants? I've also looked at the Kokatat Semi Dry pants... but haven't found anything comparable for 5'3 ladies. Bibs look kinda cool & multi purpose? Or should I just wear the lightweight ski shell pants I already own?

Thanks in advance!
 

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I use NRS Endurance splash pants, and I like them quite a bit. I'm sure they would be similar in performance to Level 6 or others. I do think they are an upgrade over regular rain pants. Thicker material and smaller ankle openings to keep more water out from splashes. I prefer them over rain pants when I am in my IK, running a paddle crew in the raft, or rowing solid class III +. Skiing shell pants would probably serve the same function though, I would maybe use what you have for a bit and then see if you want something more water specific.
I usually row a raft from a captain's seat, so I tend to just use my rain pants for all class II and lighter class III. They are lighter, more comfortable, and easier to get on an off.
 

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You wouldn't want to take a swim in rain pants, which will quickly fill with water and drag you down. Rain pants are also not thick enough to withstand a long, wet day from splash or a serious rain, and would leave you miserable and cold even if worn over fleece or merino leggings; you need the thickness of real splash pants. I've floated with people using rain pants, and more often than not the pants rip apart in the seat after a day or two - they're just not made for heavy use and strenuous activity. I wear a pair of Kokotat women's splash pants that are apparently no longer available, but the NRS Endurance is very similar and should do the job - you can snugly secure them around the waist and ankles - and you definitely want them tightened if you find yourself in the river! I was very comfortable in them on the Grand Canyon when others in the group were miserably cold. As for the Middle Fork, I've been on in early July many times, and nobody in my group ever needed a full dry suit - most days are fine enough for shorts, but in bad weather a thick pair of splash pants will suffice, especially with the aforementioned merino or fleece leggings, and will last years even with heavy use. Have a great time on the Middle Fork - you're in for a treat!
 
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