What to wear?^

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beardiebloke
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What to wear?^

Post by beardiebloke » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:01 pm

Hi! I'm a beginner who's booked a 4 day sea kayak course on the south coast in late November. Now it dawns on me that it might be just a little bit cold.

I'll be able to get back to a warm bed every night but the thought of wearing a wetsuit all day for four days doesn't really appeal (although I think that's what I'll probably end up doing). Aside from drysuits are there any good alternatives? Do two piece suits work well? I've seen comments about leaks which makes sense but how bad is it? If I were to go for a quick swim would I get soaked?

I'll ask the company for advice but thought I'ld try this forum too. Thanks!

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Jim
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Re: What to wear?

Post by Jim » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:10 pm

If you have neither, a full drysuit is cheaper than separates. And yes there will be some seepage around the waist joint of separates even though it overlaps, how much depends on how tight it is (too tight makes it difficult to breathe and relax in the boat) and how long you are immersed for.

Are you booked with a centre and do they have any kit you could hire?

Don't forget the over-suit is not the full story, you need base and mid layers underneath it, I'm always surprised how expensive that stuff seems to be (which is why most of mine comes from sales).

beardiebloke
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Re: What to wear?

Post by beardiebloke » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:26 pm

Jim wrote:If you have neither, a full drysuit is cheaper than separates. And yes there will be some seepage around the waist joint of separates even though it overlaps, how much depends on how tight it is (too tight makes it difficult to breathe and relax in the boat) and how long you are immersed for.

Are you booked with a centre and do they have any kit you could hire?
I'll ask them about what they can provide. I'm tempted to get a drysuit because I do dinghy sailing too so I'm sure I could find a use for it.
Don't forget the over-suit is not the full story, you need base and mid layers underneath it, I'm always surprised how expensive that stuff seems to be (which is why most of mine comes from sales).
I figure I've got enough thermals/fleecy layers to sort that out. But you're right about that stuff adding up quickly!

Thanks!

Carbon
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Re: What to wear?

Post by Carbon » Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:53 pm

If you are going to Kayak in the winter months, for me a dry suit is very desirable, it just makes everything more comfortable.

Another thing to remember is that you will probably get more from your course if your body is dry and warm.

Good luck with your course

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Ceegee
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Re: What to wear?

Post by Ceegee » Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:04 pm

Jim wrote:you need base and mid layers underneath it, I'm always surprised how expensive that stuff seems to be
Really? I know some of this hi-tech titanium stuff or cashmere is pricey enough, but I get by fine with a two-piece light fleece from Lidl (about £30 for top & bottom) as a base layer, and if really cold, a Lomo one-piece undersuit over that (£25). Toasty.

Steve
Cheers,
Steve C. G.

tg
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Re: What to wear?

Post by tg » Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:45 am

I'd go drysuit +. I wore my wetsuit last weekend for the first time since Summer and noticed the difference for sure. Mind, I only seem to feel it during lunch breaks etc.

Tim
"I sink therfore I am".

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Jim
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Re: What to wear?

Post by Jim » Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:42 am

Ceegee wrote:
Jim wrote:you need base and mid layers underneath it, I'm always surprised how expensive that stuff seems to be
Really? I know some of this hi-tech titanium stuff or cashmere is pricey enough, but I get by fine with a two-piece light fleece from Lidl (about £30 for top & bottom) as a base layer, and if really cold, a Lomo one-piece undersuit over that (£25). Toasty.

Steve
You are obviously even better at hunting bargains than me (OK, I had a full undersuit and didn't get on well with it in the end so haven't looked at a Lomo replacement - my old one was fibrepile which seems to work without a base layer, if you can find it). Like I say most of my stuff came from sales, few items would have been paid more than about a tenner for. But if I go and look at the same sort of stuff when it is at full price just a thin plastic thermal top can be 30, 40 even 50 quid before you get onto merino wool. I end up waiting for something I like to appear in a sale.

paddlenut3
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Re: What to wear?

Post by paddlenut3 » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:27 am

Lomo Tornado + stincky polyester base layer + pure wool mens' jumper(s) from Oxfam, M&S wool socks inside and outside latex sox. cost about £220. (Oh, and polyester leggings £10). Pure wool does take a long time to dry though, its only drawback. And pogies!
Enjoy
P'nut

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active4seasons
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Re: What to wear?

Post by active4seasons » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:51 am

Just to add a few points, I have quite a few clients each year and the main decision as to wearing a drysuit seems to be wether or not they like having a tight neck seal!

As a relative beginner it is likely you might spend a bit of time in the water but not loads hopefully. I recommend my guys wear a wetsuit for wet exit training and leave this till the end of the day. If this is your first real go at sea kayaking I would wait till you know you are wanting to continue with it before forking out loads on equipment. As always there are pros and cons with all of the options.

If you are considering a dry cag or drysuit make sure you get one that fits correctly (seals come in diffe3rent sizes) and you are comfortable with the seal type - various options available. Unfortunately many people only find out after the have worn them for a couple of days on the trot on an exped when the garment has not been washed.

Dont forget the three stages of canoeing:
1 = Always getting wet
2 = Sometimes getting wet
3 = Never getting wet

Incidently I dont know anyone in catagory three!!

Good baselayers that absorb moisture and do not cause any chaffing must be the key to comfort. If you have a system that prevents water ingress you are likely to sweat a bit if you work hard!

Have fun on the course and hope you find the right solution.

Ollie
Developing Desire for Adventure!

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maryinoxford
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Re: What to wear?

Post by maryinoxford » Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:06 am

Nobody seems to have mentioned head and hands yet...? I don't paddle much in cold weather, but if I do, I take along (even if I don't use them) a fleece balaclava and some gloves. I use palmless mitts, that give good paddle grip and can be quickly flicked off the fingers if dexterity is needed. Other people like full gloves, or pogies. For the sea in late November, don't you need to give some thought to the extremities?
Not in Oxford any more...

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steddyjames
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Re: What to wear?

Post by steddyjames » Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:44 pm

If I think there is a significant chance of taking an unplanned dip I wear separate dry cag and dry trousers. The seals drive me cracked on longer sea trips though so don't tend to take this option very often.

Other than that I tend to wear sallopettes and a cag I can open the neck on. I load up on base layers which keeps me cosy. BUT, if I was to swim it wouldn't be great, I'd have to be back in my boat quick sharpish in the winter as the seals aren't dry.

If I was certain I was getting in the water, for example to practice resuces, I'd be in a decent wetsuit rather than drysuit.

In your case as a beginner I'd go for a wetsuit with a cag over the top to keep the wind off. Not the most comfortable set-up but probably the warmest if you are in and out of the boat. Just make sure you have a decent rashie under the suit so it doesn't chaff your neck.

SJ

ps. if you end up buying a suit don't go for Billabong or quiksilver or any of that jazz, you really are only paying for the name when there are equally good cheaper options.

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MikeB
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Re: What to wear?

Post by MikeB » Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:08 pm

My advice would be to think past the course and consider your longer term needs as your paddling develops.

A decent "semi dry" combo set (Palm is one example) will allow you flexibility while still maintaining a good degree of dryness if you've ended up in the water. That said, you'll not necessarily want a full dry cag with a latex neck seal as I suspect you'll find (as others have mentioned) that it's nice to be able to open the neck for ventilation. Closed, the neck of these cags is essentially watertight. The waist join is too. Think "damp" potential not "soaking wet". Inevitably, some water will find its way in even with the neck done up, but I think the balance between overall comfort and a bit of water ingress is worthwhile.

When you know you're going to be taking a swim, there's nothing to stop you doing the neck up as tightly as you can.

A full drysuit is certainly great. You'll maybe not want to use it in the summer though. As a possible downside, it's a bulky bit of kit and that might impede your learning.

Head and hand (and foot) protection is important too, as mentioned. That's a whole other set of discussions!

Give some consideration to your base layer(s) too - and a neck tube (or "buff") can make a massive difference to overall warmth. Pogies are great hand protection and I find them much better than the numerous gloves I've tried over the years. Some form of headwear would be a good idea too.

I started paddling in a wetsuit and a poor quality cag. I did most of my courses in similar gear, and often in cold conditions. Most of the (planned) wet work took place at the end of the day / session anyway and I'm still alive.

That said, having done a white-water safety and rescue course one January wearing a wetsuit and river cag, I can comment that it was bloody cold and I envied the rest of the folk who were all snug in drysuits.

You'll be fine in whatever you choose I expect.

Enjoy - Mike.

Ian_Montrose
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Re: What to wear?

Post by Ian_Montrose » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:43 pm

Probably as well sticking this here rather than starting a seperate thread.

What would people recommend for extra winter insulation under a semi-dry two-piece combo? Must be comfortable on the water but provide adequate thermal protection in the water if required (i.e. warm when wet). I currently wear a mix of Chillcheater and Fourth element Thermocline but reckon I need to supplement that for winter conditions. Cost is a factor too!

beardiebloke
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Re: What to wear?^

Post by beardiebloke » Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:09 pm

Thanks for all the replies - I just received my Lomo Renegade drysuit. First impressions are that it looks well made and surprisingly comfortable. I can see why people use one piece fleeces - I tried my sailing fleece sals & jacket and the overlap is a bit bulky. I'll take a selection along and figure it out.

When I was writing my original post I was worried about a drysuit being overkill but now that it's getting really cold so quite pleased I went for it. I've still got the wetsuit for the summer so not too bothered about it being for the Winter/Spring only. 12 days to go now - can't wait.

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Ceegee
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Re: What to wear?^

Post by Ceegee » Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:27 pm

It is worth splashing out on a tube of their silicone zip lube. and getting the zips to open/close freely before use in anger.

The T-Zips don't like being folded!!! so take care when packing your drysuit. Usual latex seal care applies (if you are not familiar already - sunlight, oil, insect repellents, ozone all BAD, talc good.) . We tuck the booties up inside the leg cuffs for protection when hanging, and wear socks inside to protect. Gusseted neoprene boots are good to avoid zips snagging the outside of the booties.

Enjoy the cold weather, Steve
Cheers,
Steve C. G.

beardiebloke
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Re: What to wear?^

Post by beardiebloke » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:21 am

Ceegee wrote:It is worth splashing out on a tube of their silicone zip lube. and getting the zips to open/close freely before use in anger.
Lomo included a tube of lube. I actually called them after struggling to open them the first time. I didn't want to break anything but the chap reassured me that as long as you're holding the zip. Once I got it open it was a lot easier, lube helped too.
Ceegee wrote: The T-Zips don't like being folded!!!
After reading the lengthy instructions I get the feeling drysuits don't like a lot of things!
Ceegee wrote: Enjoy the cold weather, Steve
Thanks!

beardiebloke
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Re: What to wear?^

Post by beardiebloke » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:08 pm

Well, it turns out the dry suit was the way to go! Ended up with thermals plus fleece salopettes being enough insulation. Aside from that I just needed a hat and neck warmer. I also got a pair of neoprene pogies for £10 that didn't come out until the last day when it was really windy.

I only fell in twice and each time I stayed completely dry. I shouldn't be so surprised but it still seems like magic. The others on the course managed with their wetsuits and 2-piece outfits but some got a little cold after a capsize on the last day. I was also impressed by the breathability of the material; I didn't get too sweaty.

Thanks for all your advice!

Now I just need to find a club and do some more paddling!

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