Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

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Henry Schmidt
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Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Henry Schmidt » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:56 pm

So I am looking to by a dry Cag and Trouser combo for white water paddling, but when visiting a shop a was recommended a dry Cag (latex seals) and palm zenith Trousers, with neoprene angle seals.

This supprised me as I thought waterproof sock type designs were the best option, but after questioning this, I was told there are a better option as I can easily drain out water in the event of a swim.

I am still sceptical of buying these over the other sock type design, what does everyone think?

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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Chris Bolton » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:06 am

With a full drysuit, I would definitely go for socks over seals; I had seals on my first drysuit and my feet froze. But with a combo, I would be concerned about water getting through the waist and being unable to get it out - but having never worn a combo, I could be wrong.

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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Mrstratos61 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:34 pm

I've had both from Palm. Neon with neoprene ankle and atom with feet.of the 2 the feet are better if you swim. Wear socks inside and check you can get your feet into any shoes you wear paddling. With a good 2 layer spraydeck seal the my combo doesn't let water through and trousers have never filled up.

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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Mrstratos61 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:44 pm

The neon neoprene seals(same as on zenith) work fairly well . I used Palm neoprene shoes that overlap the ankle cuffs. Didn't get soaked but feet much colder. Whatever trousers you get ensure they are twin waisted for a good seal. I upgraded because of this . If neon had twin waist I wouldn't have bothered. Don't know what top you are looking at but look at cost of separates over a drysuit. For you it may be better to go drysuit route. Personally I prefer versatility of seperates

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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Mrstratos61 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:36 pm

Just checked and you can get fabric socks added by Palm for £53.50 a pair

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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Yew » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:54 pm

Are we talking for a few hours at a slalom course, or full days in scottish winter?

Henry Schmidt
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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Henry Schmidt » Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:42 pm

We're talking a mix between a couple of hours at Lee Valley and multi-day trips in Wales.

As for getting the feet, I would get palm atoms instead of getting them added.

Thanks for the replies

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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Chalky723 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:33 pm

I've also heard that it's best to get ankle seals rather than feet on dry trousers because a days worth of seepage after a couple of swims is quite hard to get out......

Drysuit would always be built in feet though.

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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Mrstratos61 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:47 pm

I've deliberately swum in atom trousers to try and provoke leakage and can assure you it just doesn't happen. Only thing you need is a good wicking base layer otherwise sweating is an issue.

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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Gordon Tracy » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:25 pm

I can't comment on the trousers in question, but my Nookie ones have a fantastically good seal on the latex ankles........which keep in all the water that enters at the waist after a big swim :-)
If I was buying separates again I'd get neoprene seals, as you'll always get water entering the waist during a long or rough swim. Floating gently in flat water doesn't test how watertight your kit is when wet exiting in moving water.

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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Jim » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:30 pm

Forget the pros and cons of which may or may not be easier to empty after a swim, try both and choose whichever you are most comfortable with.

Personally I'd prefer not to have neck, wrist or ankle seals because they have to be fairly tight around a comple joint which I like to have good movement in, neck and wrist are pretty unaviodable, but at least I can choose full socks instead of ankle seals.
Latex socks though can feel cold and clammy even with a thick pair of socks inside and for some people that is more uncomfortable than a seal. Personally I look for suits/trousers with the socks make out of the same waterproof fabric as the rest of the garment, I need to be careful not to get any creases under my sole when putting noeprene socks or shoes over them (because that would drive me insane), but it is the solution that I have found I prefer. Kokatat do a pair of dry trousers in Tropos fabric with fabric socks, come to think oif it I could do with another pair...

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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Gordon Tracy » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:18 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with Jim that comfort is a very important consideration with any paddling gear, with the caveat that it's comfort in the boat & during/after a swim that matters to me & not what's most comfy in the shop (I spent a miserable hour paddling to the get out after a recent cold swim when my trousers filled with water. Removing socks & boots & prising open latex seals with numb fingers on a freezing day was painfully cold/irritating & I really wouldn't have fancied stripping from the waist down to remove water from trousers with built in socks).
In my relatively limited experience, socks are the most comfortable, then neoprene seals & lastly latex. That said, I wear my latex seals above the joint & you really don't notice them after a while, & my neoprene socks & river boots constrict my ankle movement more than any seal ever would even if it were on the joint.
I would much prefer separates even in winter, & ideally I would have trousers with fabric socks......IF!! I could guarantee not to swim, which won't happen until I'm highly skilled or paddling flat water (neither is likely any time soon :-) ) or, I could be certain that the waist would only let in water during an unusually bad swim.
As the latter is more likely, what separates do people recommend for staying dry when swimming in whitewater, as I haven't the funds/time to try different combos & was under the apparently mistaken impression that water getting in during these swims was normal? I'd gladly keep my suit for days when I'm certain to be trashed if I can find the right combo. Mrstratos61, what cag were you wearing with the atoms & how long & in what water did you swim? Apologies for hijacking the thread, just keen to learn from others experience & all advice will be gratefully received.

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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Mrstratos61 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:26 pm

Palm zenith cag.itwas only the Thames for around 30 mins.i was practicing rolls that I've yet to perfect. so leaning boat on top of me and snapping back up. Before packing up I swam for around 10 mins .had Roanoke deck from Palm too which helps the seal. Zenith has glideskin neck and latex wrists. For me the ability to vent neck overpowered latex neck. I've just picked up a typhoon suit via Facebook group for really bad times but will keep cag for favourable weather. I used to lifeguard and swim at county level . I thought I'd get cold and wet but was frankly gobsmacked I didn't. I do however look after kit almost obsessively cleaning and reproofing as needed when outer not beading.

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Gordon Tracy
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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Gordon Tracy » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:08 pm

Thanks for that Mrstratos61. I'll see if any of my club have Palm separates I could try out, tbh though it looks like I'm expecting too much from separates when wanting to stay dry during a whitewater swim. I've yet to find anyone who doesn't choose a 1 piece if swimming in cold conditions is likely/possible, which begs the question 'why bother with separates at all?'. Are they only for open boating or gentle/flat water? If I wear my suit when it's cold and/or likely to be swimming, & a cag & farmer John or leggings when less cold or unlikely to be swimming, where do separates fit in?? They're less comfortable than neoprene in the boat, & less dry than a 1 piece out of it......
My gear is old but very well looked after & watertight....apart from the waist join when swimming obviously :-)

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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Jim » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:04 pm

Brace your self Gordon - many people reach a point in their paddling career where swimming becomes unlikely, rare even. For some of those people separates make a lot of sense, the top can be worn year round, and the bottoms when required - you might want the bottoms to keep your legs warm when hiking into a burn, or on a run with a lot of portages for example, or you expect you might be wading but not swimming. Another factor is that spraydecks are rarely completely watertight so dry trousers keep you lower half dry in the boat, where it might not normally remain completely dry even though you don't swim, or even capsize.

Personally I have dry trousers which I use sometimes for sea kayaking or canoeing - they are not part of a system and can be used with a dry cag or semi-dry cag, or even a shorty, depending on why I am trying to keep my legs dry. Having to wade into knee deep water before getting into a sea kayak for several hours at a time is quite a good reason to try and keep your legs dry - I have never capsized either or my sea kayaks, it is over 20 years since I capsized a sea kayak in training so I won't be putting them for swim protection, if conditions are wild enough that I think there is a chance of that I will wear my drysuit.

However for the vast majority of my paddling these days (which is often not far from dry clothes if I need them) I tend to wear neoprene shorts year round, or sometimes trackies, with an appropriate cag on top, or for flat water sessions unless it is raining or windy no cag at all (although I think I might need 2 thermals when it is as cold as last week). My legs are usually damp from various leaks but they are warm enough in the boat. And whilst I almost never swim from kayaks, I do swim quite often from C1 wearing just that gear. I won't suggest I remain warm, and I certainly wouldn't be happy swimming on a river trip so lightly dressed, but for short intense training sessions I can just keep moving and keep warm.

Basically you can never have too many options, however if you are a relative beginner intending to paddle WW right through the winter and take a lot of swims, I would suggest you use your drysuit until about March or April and then start thinking about other options as the weather warms up again.

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Re: Foot seals: neoprene Vs built in feet

Post by Gordon Tracy » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:15 am

Thanks Jim. I was struggling with the logic there, but for long walk ins/outs, portages & wading in cold weather where you're unlikely to swim, I understand. Also maybe if you're paddling alone & have nobody to zip up your suit. I'm very seldom in any of these situations personally, so grudge the money I paid for dry pants. I wasn't claiming that dry pants had no use btw, just that given my circumstances they were relatively costly given their very minor advantages over a 1 piece suit or neoprene in the few situations where I'd wear them. If it's the height of summer I'll wear shorts, slightly colder 2mm neoprene leggings, then 5mm neoprene, & finally in winter a drysuit. I quite happily wild swim wearing a 6/5 wetsuit in winter (which is reasonably windproof/warm for short walks), so don't feel the need for anything more for short swims from a boat with a deck, cag & BA on top, but wear a suit when paddling so it's quicker & less cold/wet when getting changed back at the car. I'd never consider wearing anything other than neoprene if training somewhere like Pinkston or Loch Ore where there's changing rooms & warm showers a short paddle/swim/walk away.
It's my personal opinion that dry pants are the worst of both worlds, too warm, baggy & uncomfortable in the kayak compared to neoprene, & too wet & cold if taking a swim compared to a suit (or even 5mm neoprene). Obviously that's just me, others may see the best of both worlds....

The OP was asking about buying his 1st set of dry pants, so I suppose part of my question was partly what use they'd be to a relative novice on whitewater. I bought mine in 2011 & have worn them fewer times than the years I've owned them, despite paying more for them new than I've bought a good used drysuit for. I bought cheap Lomo & Decathlon neoprene gear at a similar time that I've worn for far more of my time paddling. I'm not new to paddling, but trying to learn whitewater is a relatively recent thing hence the increased amount of swims.

I'll just put it down to preference then, & the fact that I'm normally doing something where I end up in the water :-)

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