Cold Weather Gear

Aloha Gang,
Is there anyone out there with any experience with drysuits? Paddling with a surfing wetsuit sounds too restrictive.I saw a hybrid model from O'neil with a dry top/wetsuit legs combination-has anyone tried this one? How 'bout gloves/boots? Some brand specific info would be super! There's some decent coldashell downwind runs here in Seattle occasionally, but I really need to gear up to enjoy it.Mahalo, Jim.

Submitted by Jim on Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:45am

Kanu The Rock
Aloha Jim,
Out here in Newfoundland I use a drysuit yearround. Have used the Kokatat whirpool bibs mated to a drytop. Just got a front enrty Tropos Supernova suit, very reasonably priced and has relief zip, tropos socks integrated and a punch through neoprene neck seal instead of latex. I'd recommend getting the suit fitted smaller than bigger. Like I usually take a large top but the Tropos suit in medium is still plenty roomy and won't bag out and catch wind. Neoprene gloves with curved fingers to prevent fatigue and 5 ten nemos on the feet, these fit in the footwells if you use a razor to slice off the little gripper nubbies on the sides of the soles. I will sometimes wear a light insulated jacket under the drysuit.
There is an extensive earlier post on this subject.
Happy cold water paddling,

#1 Sat, 12/09/2006 - 8:22am

Mahalo Bob, I just checked out the Kayak Academy website-the tropos based drysuits by Kokatat are indeed affordable, and the Kayak Academy is just up the road in Issaquah. We hope to make it up to Newfoundland sometime this summer. Do you surf?Jim

#2 Sat, 12/09/2006 - 5:24pm

Aloha Jim,
I don't surf (if you mean board surfing) but there is a dedicated gang here thats part of the local kayak club KNL that makes trips down to the Avalon's Southern Shore, Biscay and Chance Cove area (see the forum posts and the trip reports in nf paddling newsgroup in the link). A couple of those guys use longboards, most of them are on playboats. I have yet to get out with them on the OC-1. They are a dedicated bunch, they surf until winter. If you're headed up here give a shout on either forum. Water down in the Southwest St Mary's Bay area is actually warm in the summer and offers some nice downwind runs. The rest, especially the northeast exposed coast is frigid all year round.

#3 Sun, 12/10/2006 - 3:00am

Hey Jim,

I just purchased Kokatat Dry Pants and a separate Kokatat Dry Top. I was out for an ocean paddle today here in Nova Scotia. The pants work great, dry and keep me just the right temperature, I am not convinced I need the dry jacket yet, it seem like over killed today, of course it might have been different if I did Huli. I'll need to try dunking and see how the gear works.

Earlier I tried using my surfing wetsuit, but like you were saying it was too restrictive, it was too warm so I would sweat then eventually become too cold. So my latest thinking is that dry suit pants and some heavy duty wicking top under a breathable/waterproof jacket is the answer. Neoprene gloves and booties seem to do the trick.

#4 Sun, 12/10/2006 - 5:29pm

Thanks for the suggestions, fellas. Watersledder, I like your idea about the dry pants and jacket-it's not that cold here(48-52 water, air rarely below mid-thirties). Mahalo, Jim.

#5 Mon, 12/11/2006 - 6:50pm

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