Dry suit/wet suit?^

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PippaHarris
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Dry suit/wet suit?^

Post by PippaHarris » Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:58 pm

I normally whitewater paddle in a dry top/wetsuit bottom combo,however I feel I need more protection for winter sea kayaking.
Do I go for a drysuit or wetsuit?

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Tue Feb 07, 2006 8:39 pm

Wetsuits are great when they are immersed, which they aren't most of the time when kayaking, so my advice would always be a drysuit with multiple base layers and a good thick fleece midlayer for insulation.

Wetsuits do work well in the surf, where to be frank the power of the water defeats the spraydeck so you can get and stay wet throughout the session.

Search down for Douglas Wilcox's report of a winter trip that nearly went badly wrong after a capsize - it's well worth being prepared for the worst all the time during the winter, rather than leaving until the last moment as we all tend to in summer conditions!

JIM

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Douglas Wilcox
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Post by Douglas Wilcox » Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:07 pm

Hi Pippa, no doubt about it, dry suit with plenty insulation is the way to go. See a Chilling Winter Warning but remember its not just winter you should be worried about. In December the water off the West coast of Scotland is 11 degrees C,now, at the beginning of February it's still 10 degrees C but on a sunny May day it is only 7 degrees C.
Douglas

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:09 pm

Alamanac/Safety - also, Almanac/Equipment - numerous links to relevant discussions.

"Dress for immersion" is the mantra - that said, I had experience of someone recently who was dressed for immersion and when immersed mentioned that "the cold was like a knife", and that was just on his hands and head.

After his second immersion that day, he was so cold that once he was back in the boat that he had real trouble getting his hands to work to get the deck back on. I wonder how he'd have been feeling had he been wet in a wet suit, rather than mildly damp in a two-piece dry suit.

Mike.

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Douglas Wilcox
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Post by Douglas Wilcox » Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:22 pm

Mike B>
rather than mildly damp in a two-piece dry suit.
That's a contradiction in terms Mike, proper one piece is only way to go.

It is also important to have proper insulation under the dry suit.



I have done a great deal of wet work this winter and not got cold at all. I have worn Buffalo gear under a dry suit:

Image
The air temp never got above zero this day. The water was warm in comparison.

the cold was like a knife", and that was just on his hands and head
I wear a neoprene balaclava round my neck and it's always ready to pull forward over my head. I do not often have to wear gloves but I keep a pair of 2.5mm O'Neils in my BA pocket for when it's real cold.

Douglas

PippaHarris
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Dry suit/wet suit?

Post by PippaHarris » Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:16 pm

Thanks for that guys. There is a kayak store close to Lancaster so I will have a look in there for a good drysuit.
There is also a store in Keswick called Noydart,is it ok?

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Helen M
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Post by Helen M » Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:27 pm

Knoydart is good - ask for Rob (good paddling buddy Dry suit is good too) - with loads of layers underneath!

See you on the water one day Pippa.

Am sure you will luv the UK

H -x

Hi and welcome

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Helen M
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Post by Helen M » Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:28 pm

ps - Pm me

CaileanMac
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Post by CaileanMac » Tue Feb 07, 2006 11:46 pm

Pippa,

Would echo folks suggestions about a drysuit and Jim's point about it being a whole heap more comfy than a wetsuit is really relevant along it the increased time it gives you to react after a dunking and your ability to recover / paddle away afterwards (MikeB's point).

Knoydart have some cracking Kokatat drysuits which are the Rolls Royce of paddling drysuits but come at price to match all though they do have a semi drysuit(any one used one?). Palm do the Element suit for ladies which is a cracking value suit and possibly cheaper than Kokatat?

Drysuit (paddle specific design/cut) for winter sea paddling has the edge over a wetsuit in terms of both comfort and giving you extra time / margin to deal with the 'what if' scenario.

CaileanMac

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Tue Feb 07, 2006 11:52 pm

I own a top-spec dry suit (and will wearing it next week), a 'Palm Stikine'.

It wa designed for heavy duty WW expeditioning though, and thus has a distinct limitation for sea paddling; the lack of a hood. The hood on my Palm sea cag is great, if only I could transplant it across temporarily...
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CaileanMac
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Post by CaileanMac » Tue Feb 07, 2006 11:59 pm

Mark

Perhaps Mr Palm designer (believe he watches this site) will take your point of feedback along with my humble suggestions and produce a sea kayaking specific drysuit. Or perhaps that's simply me dreaming and living in my idealistic world???

- Retroflective tape (piping or thin strips) around wrists, shoulders & on hood
- Decent 'mountain' style hood.
- Arm pockets

Perhaps this could be an option for the Sidewinder Torrent or Stikine??? A British made suit to rival the Kokatat sea kayaking specific ones?

CaileanMac

Canuck
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Post by Canuck » Wed Feb 08, 2006 4:26 am

I've been suffering through a wet suit dry top combo for several years now. I came out of my boat in a tide race last month to practice a re-entry and roll. Although the wetsuit / worn out dry top provided plenty of motivation I decide at that moment enough is enough.

I ordered a 2006 kokatat Gore meridian suit with an optional pocket on either sleeve. I considered the hood option, but have heard they can scoop water and make rolling difficult. Has anyone else heard this? For foul weather I have a coverall cag with a close fitting hood.

The new design suit uses a neoprene tube as a neck overgasket. Sort of a belt and suspenders approach. If I rip my latex neck gasket I still have the "semi dry" secondary neoprene collar. Until now kokatat has used an open neoprene collar with a velcro closure

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Douglas Wilcox
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Post by Douglas Wilcox » Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:15 am

At the moment I use a Dam non breathable dry suit without a hood. When I am not doing wet work, I use a Lowe Alpine mountain cap made of pile/pertex. This keeps rain and cold at bay. If I am mucking about getting wet I use a Sola neoprene balaclava.

I also have a top of the range Kokatat 2 piece bib and cag for the summer and my friend Mike has the top range Kokatat dry suit with the hood. We both find the hood awkward when rolling. it does fill with water and if you dont keep your head well back and low when coming up, it can even inhibit rolling.

Personally I do not like the Kokatat hood as much as my previous Yak Cyclone hood. If I have it back but not rolled away, the two front pieces of the collar rub against my chin and when up it does not stay in place as well in strong wind.

I would like to see a sea kayaking dry suit without a spray deck skirt. I never use it and despite a lot of rolling this year, I have not noticed a problem with water entry, and if you have a dry suit on, does it matter if a few dribbles get down to your legs?

Image

I would love to own a Palm Stikine suit but find them too restrictive round the middle. If you look at the pictures, it looks like the ideal shape for a robot without a waist. I have a waist! The American Kokatat has been designed to suit those of a larger build so sadly I may need to buy American. My daughter has just ordered the female Palm Element.

Douglas.

tenboats1
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Post by tenboats1 » Wed Feb 08, 2006 9:41 am

MarkR wrote:I own a top-spec dry suit (and will wearing it next week), a 'Palm Stikine'.

It wa designed for heavy duty WW expeditioning though, and thus has a distinct limitation for sea paddling; the lack of a hood. The hood on my Palm sea cag is great, if only I could transplant it across temporarily...
Mark, I got a detachable Paramo hood (but ant detachable would do) and sewed it to my PFD.
I now have a dry suit 'with a hood'.

andreadawn
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Post by andreadawn » Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pm

Douglas Wilcox wrote:Mike B>
rather than mildly damp in a two-piece dry suit.
That's a contradiction in terms Mike, proper one piece is only way to go.
I'd agree with that. I have the two piece Kokatat suit. It's fine for an occasional swim and quick rescue but after 3 or 4 wet exits and re-entries during pratice sessions, the seal between the two halves starts to let in a fair bit of water. A pity, as the two piece is otherwise very versatile.

This time of year I'd definitely stick to a full drysuit.

The Palm ones look great, but how do you do the zip up by yourself?

Andrea.

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Erling
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Post by Erling » Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:44 pm

andreadawn wrote:The Palm ones look great, but how do you do the zip up by yourself?
It was hard when the suit was new, but got considerably easier after just a few times. Greasing the zipper a few times helped too. My stiff body is the same, but the zipper is broken in and my technique has improved. The suit is a Palm Sidewinder Torrent - love it.
The older I get, the better I used to be.

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meatballs
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Post by meatballs » Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:57 pm

Douglas Wilcox wrote:Image

I would love to own a Palm Stikine suit but find them too restrictive round the middle. If you look at the pictures, it looks like the ideal shape for a robot without a waist. I have a waist!

Douglas.
Dont worry douglas its not just you, I find palm cags and drysuits all restrictive around the waist, and I can fit into my housemates 28" trousers. I guess it gives you a decent seal though...

Has anyone seen drysuits with the back zip lower down on the back ? I've been put off with the feeling of the zip across my shoulders when moving about in the shop. May forget all about it on the water, but I dont mind squeezing into something if I forget about it afterwards.
Ben

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:10 pm

meatballs wrote: Dont worry douglas its not just you, I find palm cags and drysuits all restrictive around the waist,
That'll be 3 of us then ;-(

Kokatat accept that people are getting bigger (that was "bigger", not "fatter") and design accordingly. Palm don't yet seem to have the message.

Palm kit is nice. That it doesn't fit me (and I'm only 6'2" / 48" chest / 40" waist, so not all that "big" in reality) means I can't use it.

Most of the other British manufacturers are the same, or worse.

Mike.

Rob G
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Hood on Drysuit Inhibiting Rolling

Post by Rob G » Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:11 pm

Canuck wrote:I ordered a 2006 kokatat Gore meridian suit with an optional pocket on either sleeve. I considered the hood option, but have heard they can scoop water and make rolling difficult. Has anyone else heard this? For foul weather I have a coverall cag with a close fitting hood.
During a 5* training in Frisco I watched a fellow paddler execute a roll with the hood fully out on his back. It caught sail in the current and he was pinned underwater. He swam. A subsequent reenter and roll on the same side produced the same result. A switch of sides enabled his next reenter and roll to be successful.

At the Skooks last year a gal in my group had her hood rolled tightly and the 2 rolls she completed in 10 knot currents were not problematic. Living vicariously as I often do, the takeaway for me is the care in securing the hood tightly.

Up the thread aways someone cast a bit of suspicion on 2 piece drysuits. The Kokatat bibs I have, has a secondary tunnel that mates with the inner tunnel of a drytop. If they are rolled carefully together and squashed under a neoprene spraydeck tunnel I will remain dry. If I am careless about rolling it correctly, such as I was a few weeks ago before a 10 minute swim in the river, I will get several ounces of water in. Otherwise I remain very dry and enjoy the benefit of having multiple tops to choose from.

Hope this is useful to you,

Rob

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:14 pm

MikeB wrote:Kokatat accept that people are getting bigger (that was "bigger", not "fatter")
Come now, Mike - people are not getting bigger. They are getting fatter. All fitness/ health indices agree on this.

Admitting that this is the case doesn't make Palm kit fit overweight people any better, but there's no reason to massage people's respective egos with semantics.

Kokatat is from the USA. Figure it out.
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Helen M
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Post by Helen M » Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:45 pm

The Palm ones look great, but how do you do the zip up by yourself?
Andrea.
Andrea that's the beauty of it - you have to get others to dress and undress you! Helpless female and all that! Play on it! Ummm .. on occassion .. if we do it too often the guys will cotton on!

Guys ... I struggle with technical stuff .. zips especially ... please help me if you see me struggling - HELP!

Works every time!

H - x

ps - that's a wind up guys! No! Honestly - it is! I know you are .. umm ... good with stuff like that! That's why I ask you! Us woman have our own strengths! ...

pps - Mark - that was particularly unnecessary on the American front .. Mike is even now, as we speak/write, unindulging! Life now has no meaning! .. Hang on .. an email has just arrived! Count him in .. provisionally .. for Mull trip .. Meaning of life now re-instated! Paddling! That's the answer!

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Wed Feb 08, 2006 9:02 pm

MarkR wrote: Come now, Mike - people are not getting bigger. .
Not so. They ARE getting bigger - ask any car manufacturer, and see here
They are getting fatter. All fitness/ health indices agree on this..
Yes.
MarkR wrote:Kokatat is from the USA. Figure it out
Indeed. So Palm need to take account of that then!

Mike.

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AndyC#2
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Re: Hood on Drysuit Inhibiting Rolling

Post by AndyC#2 » Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:27 pm

Rob G wrote:Up the thread aways someone cast a bit of suspicion on 2 piece drysuits. The Kokatat bibs I have, has a secondary tunnel that mates with the inner tunnel of a drytop. If they are rolled carefully together and squashed under a neoprene spraydeck tunnel I will remain dry. If I am careless about rolling it correctly, such as I was a few weeks ago before a 10 minute swim in the river, I will get several ounces of water in. Otherwise I remain very dry and enjoy the benefit of having multiple tops to choose from.
I'll second that - I've the Kokatat Whirlpool bibs, in Goretex with booties, and a matching Wave dry-top. So long as you take care with the join between the two, they've remained watertight through everything I've thrown at them, including a few jumps from Holne Bridge on the Dart.

Of course buying the two separates isn't too far off the price of a one-piece...

Cheers,

AndyC.

Chris Bolton
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Two-piece

Post by Chris Bolton » Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:56 pm

My Trident two-piece (and the Musto two-piece I had for 15 years before that) was also watertight. A benefit of a two-piece is that you don't need any help to put it on, and I would certainly want to use it on a solo trip.

Chris

Rob G
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Re: Two-piece

Post by Rob G » Mon Feb 13, 2006 8:46 pm

Chris Bolton wrote:My Trident two-piece (and the Musto two-piece I had for 15 years before that) was also watertight. A benefit of a two-piece is that you don't need any help to put it on, and I would certainly want to use it on a solo trip.

Chris
Not only that, but if you pop a gasket before a trip, assessment, training, whatever, just reach in the backseat for a spare drytop and your day will go on sans duck tape. On longer trips I once used a Chillcheater top as it gave me a gasket-less trip. My buddy popped his neck gasket on Day 10 and spent the next 2 fussing with the duct tape every morning and evening. There is no long zipper maintenance or replacement. I also like switching to short sleeves once in a while, too.

The down sides are having to roll the tunnels correctly every time. I also like a one pieces ease at venting while on lunch. The 2 piece system requires you take the dry top off.

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Sun Feb 19, 2006 1:45 pm

andreadawn wrote:The Palm ones look great, but how do you do the zip up by yourself?
Last week I was paddling alone, so this was a bugbear. I tied a six inch cord loop to the leash, but it was still pretty physically hard to undo at the end of the day...one evening, it took me 25 minutes, ending with me walking to a fence post and hooking the loop over to give leverage.

For the rest of the trip, I hit upon the idea of hooking the loop around the bow of my kayak...a quick bit of squirming around on the ground, and the job was done.
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Dave Thomas
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Post by Dave Thomas » Sun Feb 19, 2006 5:26 pm

MarkR wrote:For the rest of the trip, I hit upon the idea of hooking the loop around the bow of my kayak...a quick bit of squirming around on the ground, and the job was done.
Photos, please ....!

(oh, I suppose you were on your own, so that would have required synchronisation with the delay timer!)

Dave Thomas

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meatballs
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Post by meatballs » Sun Feb 19, 2006 5:46 pm

I guess its times like those when you are writhing around on the floor with your own equipment that you are glad you are in the middle of nowhere with no scallies to throw rocks at you in your disabled state.
Ben

CaileanMac
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Post by CaileanMac » Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:57 pm

Have in the past seen people clipping a short length (2 metres) of their towline on the tag of the rear entry drysuit zip and then ensuring the other end of length of towline is tied off to something solid (preferrably at shoulder height) and then simply walking slash turning movement until zip opens fully. Getting the rigth tension is critical point. Haven't tried it personally as I have a front entry diagonal drysuit zip. Anyone up for trying it?

CaileanMac

andreadawn
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Post by andreadawn » Mon Feb 20, 2006 8:50 am

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Last edited by andreadawn on Mon Jun 08, 2009 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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