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I am new to kayaking and was wondering if anyone can give me some advice on what kind of gear is REALLY essential. Such as wet suits, dry jackets, what kind of under layers are best, etc.

Thanks,
M
 

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Must have: synthetic base layer, top & bottom, both light and heavy ones; throw bag and knife; neoprene booties with a good sole for scouting on rocky slopes; buddy with throw bag to help pull you out of the drink. Add to this:

Cheaper setup: drytop with heavy neoprene shorts or shorty farmer john wetsuit

Better setup: drysuit

Wise to have if you boat much in CO: pogies, Doc's ProPlugs (to prevent exotosis)

Optional: noseclips

If you start to creek a lot, consider a facemask or mouthguard as well. Though most of us eschew both, you ought to consider the pros and cons before going without on a shallow run.

The better you get, the less you swim, the more you can go without as much warm gear on easier runs. I still wear a drysuit on any creek because if you have to do a rescue or recover a pinned boat, you never know how long you may have to be wading in really cold water.

FWIW
 
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