kayak clothing^

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
Post Reply
User avatar
catman
Posts: 147
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Near Loch Lomond

kayak clothing^

Post by catman » Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:46 am

Now that Spring is on us I was wondering what individuals wear while sea kayaking out of the winter season.

Are dry suits too warm? I dont own one but can see their obvious benefits, but they are expensive. I wondered about the various paddling suits on the market, in particular the two piece versions from the likes of Palm and Koyatat (spelling?) that are available that might be a better option, i.e. more versatile.

At the moment I wear a wetsuit and paddling top, which can have unforeseen drawbacks in summer, for example, the wetsuit is a tick magnet when camping, and is unpleasant to get into when wet.
Phil

User avatar
ChrisS
Posts: 1013
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2004 6:53 pm
Location: Warwickshire

Post by ChrisS » Thu Apr 06, 2006 1:23 pm

I think I'll be sticking to my drysuit for some time yet. Average sea temperature in April is only one degree C higher than in Jan, Feb and March. The sea is actually warmer in December than it is in April. And November temperatures equal those of June.

It is difficult to dress comfortably for a combination off warm weather and cold water. I just swelter.

Owen
Posts: 2106
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:42 pm
Location: Nr Stirling
Contact:

Post by Owen » Thu Apr 06, 2006 1:28 pm

Hi Phil,
There is a time lag between the air temperature rising and the water temperature rising; at the moment the sea is about at its coldest. The sea doesn't warm up till around the end of June.
When paddling along a drysuit over a layer of insulation can be very hot but if you go in you'll need that insulation. A pair of dry trousers and a semi-dry top is a compromise many go for; just get that top done up before you capsize.
A new approach is a fabric called Aqua-shell or Thermocline, which uses a fleece/lycra inner layer bonded to a waterproof outer layer. I've had very good reports of this fabric but its quite hard to get in this country.

www.fourthelement.com

These do it but their designs aren't that good for paddling in. I've been looking into getting hold of some of this fabric and getting something better made up. So far the supplier will only do in bulk amounts and I don't have the capital; oh well back to the drawing board.

User avatar
CaptainSensible
Posts: 666
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2005 3:17 pm
Location: somewhere hot

Post by CaptainSensible » Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:09 pm

I hope this isn't off-topic (I don't want to cook in the summer either), but how cold is too cold?

Peffer Sands, near Edinburgh:

Image

Corbiere Reef, Jersey:

Image

User avatar
catman
Posts: 147
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Near Loch Lomond

Post by catman » Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:11 pm

Owen,

What's the difference between semi-dry top and dry top? And do you know anything about the Koykatat paddling suit which they claim is more comfotable to wear and more versatile than a dry suit?
Phil

User avatar
catman
Posts: 147
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Near Loch Lomond

Post by catman » Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:17 pm

Hi Guys,
I can appreciate the water in th uk at anytime of year is going to be cold. What I really wanted to find out was what is comfortable to paddle in given that the air temperature will be rising significantly (hopefully).

I've spent many years climbing and know what is best to wear for each season but dont have the experience on the water yet to know what to choose.
Phil

Owen
Posts: 2106
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:42 pm
Location: Nr Stirling
Contact:

Post by Owen » Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:33 pm

Dry tops are sealed at the neck, waist and wrists. Semi-dry tops can be opened just a little at the neck; to let the steam out. Even when done up the seal isn't 100%.
as far as I can see the difference between Kokatat dry suits and their paddling suits is that their paddling suits are made of cheeper material. They are I think still ridiculously over priced.
Reed paddling suits are £100 cheeper. Palm dry suits are only £80 more and much better.

User avatar
tpage
Posts: 481
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:44 pm
Location: Glasgow

Post by tpage » Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:33 pm

[quote="catman"]Owen,

What's the difference between semi-dry top and dry top?

The difference between semi-dry and dry will be down to the wrist/neck seals. Dry will most likely be latex and hence keep you erm.. dry. Semi dry will have wrist and neck fastening and will probably be neoprene, and will keep you semi-dry (or semi wet). There will also be a big price difference.

On a similar thread. Can anyone recommend a decent set of dry bottoms for sea kayaking- with sealed feet, and not too expensive. Kogg used to do a good set with latex booties- but no longer.
Come on Lomo get busy...Tony

User avatar
ChrisS
Posts: 1013
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2004 6:53 pm
Location: Warwickshire

Post by ChrisS » Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:06 pm

How cold is cold?

I think 10 C (50F) and below is generally considered to be very cold - enough to cause cold shock, gasp reflex etc. and leaving you very little time before becoming unable to function. IIRC without thermal protection expected survival time is 50 minutes for a 50 year old in 50 (F) water. If swimming is attempted deduct a minute for every metre swum.

Bruce
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2005 12:22 pm
Location: Glasgow
Contact:

Post by Bruce » Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:42 pm

Tony, just to let you know we will probably have a pair of dry trousers out in time for the beginning of next year.

Next on the drawing board and out getting tested is a paddling drysuit.
If all goes well this should be ready for the start of winter.

Cheers

Owen
Posts: 2106
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:42 pm
Location: Nr Stirling
Contact:

Post by Owen » Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:10 pm

catman wrote:Hi Guys,
I can appreciate the water in th uk at anytime of year is going to be cold. What I really wanted to find out was what is comfortable to paddle in given that the air temperature will be rising significantly (hopefully).

I've spent many years climbing and know what is best to wear for each season but dont have the experience on the water yet to know what to choose.

Just some clothing set ups for paddling.

1. A set of long thermal underwear beneath a one piece fibre pile or fleece “huggy bear” suit and thick woolly socks. Over this goes a fully waterproof breathable dry suit with built in socks, welly boots or trainers and neoprene gloves or pogies. A neoprene “balaclava” style hood, your spray deck and BA complete the outfit.

2. As above but with less insulation; such as a set of thermals and a light fleece top and trousers. Replace the hood with something like a fleece hat.

3. Trousers and top in one of the fast drying warm when wet fleece fabrics e.g. Reed’s Transpire fleece, Nookie’s Thermal core or even better Aqua-shell. Beneath dry or semi-dry trousers and top or you could use Reed Chill Cheater Aquatherm trousers and touring cag (semi-dry).

4. Aqua-shell top and trousers and a paddle cag.

5. Aqua-shell shorts and short sleeved top with a light weight paddle cag kept handy just in case; sun hat and sandals.

6. Cotton shorts and T-shirt, wide brimmed hat shades and lots of sun screen.

These are just a few combinations that you could use; not all are useful in Scotland.

User avatar
soundoftheseagull
Posts: 1561
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 5:11 pm
Location: Lives in a Pineapple but NOT under the sea, Prestatyn, North Wales
Contact:

Post by soundoftheseagull » Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:04 pm

As a relative novice I invested within a Palm Torrent Sidewinder dry suit and although it appears to be an expensive item through haggling I managed to purchase it for £360.

I can only say that it has been worth every penny and it has given me the ability to paddle throughout the winter and spring months in extreme comfort.

Like wise there are ample opportunities at the end of a paddle to practise numerous skills, rescues etc with the confidence and ability to stay out there without the use of any brass monkeys!

We have had some relatively warm sessions but once again with the wind chill and the knowledge that if for any reason I end up in the water I am more than happy to continue with the suit until those blistering warm summer arrives, ha!

I’m 5.9, medium build and I am mindful for those with a fuller shape the suit is not for all, and hey there is nothing wrong with a good meat pie!
Dave

Rockpool GT

User avatar
Robert Craig
Posts: 665
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:55 pm
Location: Glasgow

Post by Robert Craig » Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:20 pm

I'm going to stick my neck out with an alternative opinion. I've been sea paddling for about 20 years. In that time I've swum in anger once (on my first trip), and I've seen people in in anger only on their first or second times out. I've rarely seen anyone with a drysuit, and never one with a wetsuit.

Doing training or assessments is different, of course. You get wet in sorrow, not in anger

I do wear a dryish top (so I could roll and stay dry enough not to freeze). If it's warm (rarely) I wear less.

So there's a choice - paddle within one's limits, being careful of the weather and accepting the risk, or paddle (to quote Derek Hutchison) like an out-of-work frogman.

But it's a"big boy" decision - "you're a big boy now, make your own decisions!"

andreadawn
Posts: 614
Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 8:34 pm

Post by andreadawn » Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:08 pm

I remember my very first paddling weekend when I was a volunteer casualty for some sort of coaching assessment. I had very little kit at the time and was wearing a thermal base layer, Buffalo Mountain Shirt and Goretex climbing jacket, with fleece leggings and overtrousers. I spent about ten minutes in the water before someone got me back in my boat. I was shivering uncontrollably by this time and was well on the way to being mildy hypothermic. This was in September!

Next I tried a wetsuit with the thermal top underneath and a paddling jacket on top. This was fine for day trips, but pulling on a damp wetsuit on an overnight trip is no fun. It chills you very effectively whilst you stop for lunch as well.

Next came a two piece Kokatat suit. This was a huge improvement. Being Goretex, the top was fine for all but the hottest of days. I find it remains dry for a brief swim, but eventually water finds it's way through the waist seal. If you're wearing something suitable underneath, this isn't really a problem in the summer. It remains my choice for summer paddling.

At this time of year though, I'll stick to my drysuit. A few days ago, I had a wet practise session in Coniston Water. Definitely colder than the sea at this time of year. I spent about half an hour in total in the water and still felt comfortable. I had a Fourth Element top and lightweight fleece underneath. With neoprene gloves I retained full hand control throughout. The same clothing was fine for a paddle up the lake afterwards without overheating.

I've never yet capsized and exited from my boat except when surfing or practising, but I'm happy to be Mr Hutchinson's out-of-work frogman just in case!

Andrea.

User avatar
NickB
Posts: 838
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 10:11 am
Location: Plymouth
Contact:

Post by NickB » Fri Apr 07, 2006 12:32 pm

Chris S wrote:
How cold is cold?

I think 10 C (50F) and below is generally considered to be very cold - enough to cause cold shock, gasp reflex etc. and leaving you very little time before becoming unable to function. IIRC without thermal protection expected survival time is 50 minutes for a 50 year old in 50 (F) water. If swimming is attempted deduct a minute for every metre swum.
Are you sure? this means that if you swim 50 metres you'll be dead inside a minute!
Cheers
Nick Benny

Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everybody in good society holds exactly the same opinions!

User avatar
ChrisS
Posts: 1013
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2004 6:53 pm
Location: Warwickshire

Post by ChrisS » Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:03 pm

No, I'm not sure! I said IIRC - if I remember correctly. But I don't think what I said is far out.

DRE
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2006 2:56 pm

Post by DRE » Fri Apr 07, 2006 6:05 pm

Hi, River Kayaker here, this maybe a bit thick but is the sea much colder than the average river?
Also i am planning on a bit of surfing around the Pool area of the south coast next weekend, anyone recomend a safe / good spot? (a bit off topic i know sorry)

User avatar
Robert Craig
Posts: 665
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:55 pm
Location: Glasgow

Post by Robert Craig » Fri Apr 07, 2006 6:21 pm

Warmer in winter, colder in summer .... but much much bigger.

There's few UK rivers where, even paddling solo, you're likely to be swimming for more than a minute or so. Swim in the sea, and you could be there for a looooong time.

Other point is that folk paddling rivers are usually paddling for 2 -3 hours, folk paddling the sea are there all day, or for several days. There's stuff I'm happy weating for 3 hours that I'm not happy with for 3 day.

CaileanMac
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2004 12:49 pm

Post by CaileanMac » Fri Apr 07, 2006 9:09 pm

There's been many threads on the UKSKGB about this 'holy grail' of sea kayak clothing - being comfortable and safe in all temperatures. Do you dress for the sea or the air temperature...?!?! There a stack of links to written views, thoughts and opinions from previous threads in the almanac.

Bottom line is the sea around the UK isn't warm and the temperature of water does kill. However being a slow steam baked paddler ain't good either. You need to weigh several factors like; experience, skill level, friends/companions, fitness, health, forecast, tidal picture and so on. If doubt don't push your luck with the sea.

A good quality sea kayaking cag in the summer is good comprise - dry arms (latex or neoprene seals at wrists) and a open neck with an adjustable neoprene seal and some kind of waist seal. Maximum options whether your in the sea, on the sea or around the sea.

As Douglas made the point in a thread a few months ago and as been pointed out here again the sea doesn't warm up until mid summer and is warmer (just a few degrees) until late Autumn. An important consideration!

Anyway there's my tuppence.

CaileanMac

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 7958
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland

Post by MikeB » Sat Apr 08, 2006 7:04 pm

I was in Knoydart today and notice they have a few Kokatat drysuits on "special" - the type with latex wrist and neck seal - iirc the price is in the region of £350, reduced from c.£500.

Mike.

User avatar
catman
Posts: 147
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Near Loch Lomond

Post by catman » Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:26 pm

Thanks to everyone who replied. Looks like I'll have to bite the bullet at some point and buy the dam dry suit. Meanwhile I'll just have to make sure that I dont go for any lengthy swims!
Phil

Bertie..
Posts: 1118
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 12:51 pm
Location: Mighty Weymuff
Contact:

Post by Bertie.. » Thu Apr 13, 2006 1:46 pm

Phil..

This is worthy of a read

Image

One of the key things I remember from it is that due to the properties of water, you have to knock off about 11 degrees from water temp, to get it's comparative air temp. Therefore 10 degrees water temp, equates to -1 degree air temp!

The other thing to remember, is that when sea kayaking you can always cool yourself off, e.g. a quick roll ;-)

SeaDoug
Posts: 150
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 3:44 pm
Location: S.Lincs

Dam Drysuits

Post by SeaDoug » Thu Apr 13, 2006 1:47 pm

It was a spelling error I presume? But in fact my Drysuit and Dry Top/Trousers are made to measure from Dam Watersports (near Bedford) and are very good and relatively cheap!

damwatersports@damw.freeserve.co.uk  



I am a customer not a salesman!



Doug

User avatar
JulesT
Posts: 217
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 4:11 pm
Location: Cheshire

Post by JulesT » Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:44 pm

I recently bought a Yak Skua sea cag. Its a new model, I think a replacement for the Kalyx. It has latex wrist seals and a very comfortable and good neck seal, double waist seal etc. Its good value for money. It was a toss up against the the Palm Aleutian. I chose this one mainly because of the better neck seal, colour (Aleutian is bound to get grubby) and price ~ £130. I reasoned that the next step up from this would be a drysuit.

User avatar
muzz
Posts: 150
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 8:09 pm
Location: Ross-Shire
Contact:

Post by muzz » Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:16 pm

I have been using the Yak Kalyx dry top, it has wrist and waist seals and an 'undoable' neck seal. I wear a shorty wetsuit and a fleece or two underneath, waterproof trousers help to keep the chill of when on the beach.
The hassle I have is having to get practically nekid to relieve ones self.
I would like to get a pair of dry trousers but I may now suffer the wetsuit through the summer and invest in a dry suit for chrimbo.
Thoughts ?

Post Reply