Dry suit: with or without feet?^

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Gordon Simpson
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Dry suit: with or without feet?^

Post by Gordon Simpson » Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:25 pm

I'd be grateful for advice on dry-suits. It is possible to buy dry suits that either have sown-in Gore-tex socks or have latex anke gaskets instead. Which is best and why?

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meatballs
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Post by meatballs » Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:31 pm

The palm sidewinder has breathable socks (same material as the suit).

I'd go with the socks:

+ probably need replacing less than latex
+ latex seals can be painful on hairy legs
+ socks are completely closed off so more waterproofness than seals (if yours are getting loose) and don't need adjusting to your legs
+ prevents cold feet - can wear nice wooly socks underneath!

- maybe more expensive if you break them
- more bulk, you might need to change shoe sizes to fit them with socks underneath
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runswick2000
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Post by runswick2000 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:37 pm

I can't see any reason to choose wet feet over nice dry ones!
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Harvey.Anderson
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Post by Harvey.Anderson » Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:38 pm

The Palm Stikline is highly recommended.

It is comfortable and breathable.

I would recommend that you PM Richard Cree if you
intend on purchasing a suit.

Regards

Harvey

Bunty Hargreaves
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Post by Bunty Hargreaves » Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:47 pm

Only get the feet if you also get the relief zip. Think about it.
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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:48 pm

The feet are lurvely...you can wear woolly socks underneath.
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Post by RichardCree » Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:10 pm

Sorry to be a wee bity picky meatballs, but the cloth for the feet is heavier than the sidewinder fabric, it's more like the fabric used on the Stikine suit.

Feet are great, i cant imagine why anybody would want a suit with ankle gaskits other than to save money.

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meatballs
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Post by meatballs » Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:14 pm

Probably heavier durty to prevent wear :)

You can get latex socks added to dry trousers/suit instead of material ones, which keep your feet nice and dry also...
Last edited by meatballs on Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Erling
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Post by Erling » Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:14 pm

I had split feelings about the integrated socks on my Sidewinder suit when I got it, as I feared they might be exposed to tear and wear even if I wear sandals. But after having used the suit through the winter I am very pleased with the socks, actually. With thick wool socks underneath the icy cold water does not bother me at all. And with a bit of care, I think I shall be able to keep them intact.

And I support the advice of PM'ing Mr. Cree!
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runswick2000
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Post by runswick2000 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:27 pm

Bunty Hargreaves wrote:Only get the feet if you also get the relief zip. Think about it.
Surely you are taking the piss?!
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Chris Bolton
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Feet - definately (having tried both)

Post by Chris Bolton » Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:32 pm

I bought my first drysuit with ankle seals, using the logic that if I ended up with air in the wrong places and floating upside down, I could let the air out of the ankle seals. Similarly, if I punctured the suit and filled it with water, I could let the water out - otherwise, I thought, I'd be unable to climb out of the water.

These theoretical considerations might or might not be valid. However, after spending an hour in the water one winter's day (surveying the river at a club site, not on EVA!) my feet were frozen solid. The seals help cut off the blood to your feet. I bought a pair of latex feet and changed them - feet are definately better - no cold feet since then. (in a survival case as originally envisaged I'd rip or cut the latex)

Chris

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Mike Marshall
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Drysuit feet?

Post by Mike Marshall » Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:49 pm

Get the boots every time, nice warm toes in any conditions...mmmmm!

Had cankle killers and they always leaked and my feet were always freezing.
Neoprene boots are not really the other answer for all day wearing.

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Jon Wood
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Post by Jon Wood » Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:54 pm

Definately with feet.
I did sping a leak in one foot of my Stikine suit (thorn through shoe & sock) Fixed the pinhole fine with a small blob of stormsure.
Get a pair of Reed transpire socks-toasty!

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Post by CaileanMac » Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:50 am

Feet - worth every single last penny extra you pay. You will never go back to having cold,damp, soggy feet again.....simple things...bliss!

As to goretex socks - I have a kokatat goretex suit with goretex boots/socks attached. Really doesn't make in difference as you wear some sort of wet shoe/boot which inhibits the breathable properties of goretex....Non breathable or lower spec breathable material is cheaper and has the same performance really.

However do remember to 'vent' your suit properly before going afloat, otherwise if you come out your boat, the air trapped inside the suit could all head 'south' for your feet/socks, as you wet exit leaving you in an interesting predicament.

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Post by andreadawn » Tue Mar 21, 2006 7:21 am

CaileanMac wrote:However do remember to 'vent' your suit properly before going afloat, otherwise if you come out your boat, the air trapped inside the suit could all head 'south' for your feet/socks, as you wet exit leaving you in an interesting predicament.
I do find the thought of that scenario rather scary. It's surprising just how much air gets trapped in a drysuit. If practical, I usually wander into waist deep water before crouching down and gently easing the front of the neck seal open. I then lie on my back and repeat. Even after that I usually find there's still enough air in the suit to remain afloat.

Would never go back to ankle seals now I've experienced the joys of warm, dry feet.

Andrea.

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runswick2000
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Post by runswick2000 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:31 am

CaileanMac wrote:However do remember to 'vent' your suit properly before going afloat, otherwise if you come out your boat, the air trapped inside the suit could all head 'south' for your feet/socks, as you wet exit leaving you in an interesting predicament.

CaileanMac
The emphasis should be on the word 'properly' here.....don't try to vent all the air out of your suit. In reality it is some of the best bouyancy you have got as once you are in the water it is all up near the top, warms up and keeps your core warm and can keep your head high up out of the water lessening the chances of secondary drowning.

I feel that the whole upside down thing is bit of a myth, in reality if you have any sort of personal bouyancy on this will never happen. But don't take my word for it, go and play in your suit and get a feel for how much air you can leave in.

In RNLI kit we are trained not to vent our suits at all until we find ourselves in the water and know how much you want to leave in. In practice I always let a little out by crouching just to give me a bit more mobility.

John
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ChrisS
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Post by ChrisS » Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:42 am

Surely buoyant legs are an positive advantage in most rescue and re-entry situations? Obviously not a stirrup assisted re-entry. I can't see how you could end up in an upside down vertical position if wearing a PFD.

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ChrisS
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Post by ChrisS » Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:44 am

Surely buoyant legs are a positive advantage in most rescue and re-entry situations? Obviously not a stirrup assisted re-entry. I can't see how you could end up in an upside down vertical position if wearing a PFD.

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Post by andreadawn » Fri Mar 24, 2006 8:51 am

Tried messing about yesterday with varying amounts of air in my suit. I think I would agree that it would be pretty much impossible to end up upside down if you are wearing a buoyancy aid. My usual way of venting the suit left me floating comfortably on the surface in a sort of relaxed armchair position with my feet on the surface.

When I came to doing a few re-entries though, I had a bit of a problem. I could not flip the boat upright from a position in the water. Because my legs were stuck on the surface, I couldn't kick with them to gain any lift, so had to rely on my arms alone. All I could do was to roll the boat upright filling the cockpit as I did so.

When I vented the suit further so my legs sank, it was certainly much easier to flip the boat upright without filling it.

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Re: Dry suit: with or without feet?^

Post by Drifter » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:30 am

It is possible to become inverted while diving with a drysuit and it is recommended to always descend feet first to avoid this problem. In diving however, if inverted at the surface, you still have an air supply but in a kayak scenario you are in a difficult situation especially if there is a lot of air in your suit. If you are in this situation it can be fixed by a forward roll or jackknife to redistribute the air.
It is important when new to drysuits to get in the water and test them in very conditions. Make sure you tighten your buoyancy aid up properly as the air in the suit will tend to push the buoyancy aid up. Swimming with a drysuit is not so easy it is therefor important not to let your boat get blown too far away from you.

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Re: Dry suit: with or without feet?^

Post by orkfay » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:04 pm

To buck the general trend here, I deliberately chose ankle seals over socks.

My reasoning is that the socks are the most likely part to get damaged and allow water in
plus I prefer to wear decent footwear for negotiating seaweed covered boulders without breaking an ankle.

Pair of 4mm neoprene socks and Keen watershoes - don't have a problem with cold feet even during rescue practice and that's in Orkney!

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Re: Dry suit: with or without feet?^

Post by TechnoEngineer » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:47 pm

Use "socks". They are quite fragile, so wear socks on the inside (prevent toenails digging) and neoprene socks on the outside (prevent stones digging). This also prevents a pocket of air forming in the socks.

Deffo have a relief zip, I've no idea why it's usually an "option". You can also use it to let air out from the lower body if need be.

I notice that air gets into the drysuit when walking, so make sure you vent it when you're next to the water. Swimming with a load of air in a drysuit feels really weird and not particularly well controlled.
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Re: Dry suit: with or without feet?^

Post by tenboats1 » Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:53 pm

Feet every time, but LATEX not material (lasts longer, easy to repair IF needed,) Use light socks over the top, this makes putting boots/shoes on very easy. Look after them and they will out last the rest of the suit. (I've had 3 suits wear out, but never a latex sock. Material socks last days or weeks, not years)

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Re: Dry suit: with or without feet?^

Post by AndyC#2 » Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:49 pm

Definitely with feet and even more so with a relief zip, with the two caveats that

a. you make sure 'everything' is tucked-in before yanking the zipper across, it makes my blood run cold to think what getting caught in that thing would be like

and

b. when you've parked the car and are walking back to the water through a tourist-filled Lulworth Cove on Easter weekend thinking people are admiring your burly sea-kayaker manliness, make sure the relief zipper is closed, so people aren't in-fact getting an eye-full of your fetching off-white thermals....

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