breathable vs non breathable drysuits^

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
Post Reply
danielz
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 12:32 pm
Location: kendal

breathable vs non breathable drysuits^

Post by danielz » Mon May 15, 2006 8:58 pm

Just trying to finalise detais for a 3 week wilderness trip in East Greenland fjords later this summer.

As there is only going to be two of us, a long way from where anyone could hear us scream, in the event of an out of boat experience we could spend more time than is healthy swimming with the icebergs so I've decided to invest in a dry suit.

I'm thinking about a Dam X suit but was wondering what peoples thoughts where on breathable vs non breathable.

And no I can't afford a Koykatart suit or Palm Stikine, but I do allready have Palm Kombi XT dry trousers/bibs, am I right in thinking a trouser cag combo woud be a bit leaky in the event of prolonged immersion.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Daniel

Gavin74
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2004 9:47 am

Post by Gavin74 » Mon May 15, 2006 9:12 pm

I'd love a Kokatat or Palm Stikine suit......but the price is a bit off putting (especially when you have an eye on the Menai 18)

In the end I went for the Chill Cheater suit, and apart from looks I don’t feel its comes out second best to anything. Great value for money, made to measure, and it’s so very light and flexible you barely know you're wearing it.

It is meant to the breathable, but the inside of the suit did get a little gross after a long warm day over Easter. But, if you pick the right under layer(s) you do remain dry (I opted for the fourth element kit).

Good luck in Greenland.

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

Post by Owen » Mon May 15, 2006 9:13 pm

Daniel,

You could get a Reed Paddle suit with built in socks and a fly zip for £220. I've been using one of their cag for a while and it wasn't until I went out last week in my old non-breathable cag that I realized just how breathable chill cheater stuff is.

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 13497
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton

Post by Jim » Mon May 15, 2006 9:20 pm

Having not tried both, I am quite taken by the logical explanation given for the construction of my drysuit (which is admittedly a sailing one). Basically the lower half is heavy duty non breathable, and the upper half is breathable.

If you sit on breathable fabrics, the water seeps in, so no point having them around the seat. Also your legs probably sweat less than your torso, although I often end up with pools in the feet at the end of a long day - more when buggying than when kayaking. Also the lower half is subject to more abuse, being sat on as it is, so being non breathable means heavier duty fabrics can be used - kayak use is not as rough as dinghy sailing, but it's still true to an extent.

The top half on the other hand can be breathable, which makes it softer and easier to move around in (particularly desirable for paddling). I actually find it does breathe Ok when I'm paddling, but I also use mine buggy racing, as protection against the wet and mud (often found on beaches) where conditions can often be warmer much of the time, and I spend a fair amount of time out of the buggy in the pits setting kites up or attending briefings etc which does tend to make the sweat run to the feet rather than breath. Of course being covered in sand and mud probably inhibits the breathability during an event!

As to whether or not a breathable suit lets water in if you are immersed for any length of time I couldn't say for sure, the only time I'm actually fully immersed in mine is when I'm kitesurfing, and my wipeouts are hard enough to get water past all the seals.... I have also bought a couple of wetsuits to use for kitesurfing now because it's really tough on my dry suit

JIM

danielz
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 12:32 pm
Location: kendal

breathability

Post by danielz » Mon May 15, 2006 9:54 pm

Thanks all.

Was more wondering along the lines of will I get too sticky and damp on long days in a non breathable suit rather than getting water in through a breathable one.

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

Re: breathability

Post by Owen » Mon May 15, 2006 11:03 pm

danielz wrote:Thanks all.

Was more wondering along the lines of will I get too sticky and damp on long days in a non breathable suit
Yes.

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

Post by CaileanMac » Mon May 15, 2006 11:57 pm

ohhh yes!

Reed suit might be a very good option if your budget doesn't extend to a Kokatat suit. Reed stuff is very breathable. DamX suits are great - very hard wearing and excellent value for cash but far too heavy weight in warm air conditions when you don't actually intend in spending any time in the water through choice!

CaileanMac

User avatar
Zoe Newsam
Posts: 1427
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 11:06 am

Re: breathable vs non breathable drysuits

Post by Zoe Newsam » Tue May 16, 2006 7:38 am

danielz wrote:
I do allready have Palm Kombi XT dry trousers/bibs, am I right in thinking a trouser cag combo woud be a bit leaky in the event of prolonged immersion.
Oh yes. You also end up with trouser legs each containing about a pint or so of water- the dry seals don't let it out! None too comfortable for sitting in a boat, with it swilling about beneath you!


Have a great trip- and tell us about it when you get back?!

Zoe

Tim Maud
Posts: 171
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2004 3:11 pm
Location: Nuremberg

Post by Tim Maud » Tue May 16, 2006 11:46 am

OK so I'm about to do something I may regret! I'm going to disagree with Jim!
If you sit on breathable fabrics, the water seeps in, so no point having them around the seat.
This isn't true (in most cases).
Depending on which fabric you use, the water proofness will range from 5000mm of water hydrostatic head to over 20,000mm of water hydrostatic head. So you need to exert about 11psi to over 28psi through your bum to get the fabric to seep water.
What I expect you have experienced is the moisture that is being transferred through your layering system being halted at the point of contact with the outer layer and as the layering system is under pressure you will feel the dampness on your skin.
I would always recommend breathable gear, always. When I used non breathable pants in the past I would end up with a pool of sweat at my feet, not too nice.
A one piece suit is always better than a two piece. The Sidewinder Combi bib is better at keeping water out than the older XT Combi as it has a twin waist.
Who's systems you buy is down to fit, performance, cost and in the end, colour!
Thanks.
Tim Maud

User avatar
Simon Willis
Posts: 679
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 1:27 am
Location: Ardnamurchan
Contact:

Post by Simon Willis » Tue May 16, 2006 12:17 pm

Hi Daniel I've had a Dam-X for a year and it's superb for cold winter paddling and practicing wet-work.

However, I'm now investing in a Palm drysuit after seeing how well my wife's Palm drysuit works in warmer conditions.

If you think you'll be cold and not sweating much then Dam-X is a good value alternative. If you decide to go down this route and might want to buy mine cheap drop me a line swillisATbtopenworldDOTcom
S

Rob G
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:10 pm
Location: Washington, USA

Always?

Post by Rob G » Tue May 16, 2006 6:34 pm

quote]A one piece suit is always better than a two piece. .[/quote]

The Kokatat 2 piece has a rollup interior tunnel that mates with the secondary tunnel of a dry top. As long as it is rolled correctly it is quite dry. While I agree that one piece drysuits offer greater security, afterall, what if the 2 piece combo comes undone? The 2 piece system offers some unique benefits:

1. When the neck or wrist gasket splits you switch to another top.
2. When the weather warms up you switch to a short sleeve.
3. On long trips there is no long chest zipper to foul up. When used with a Reed cag, one benefits from the venting of a gaping neck and less vulnerable wrist gaskets.
4. Gore Tex booties on the bib with a short relief zipper are really nice.

The disadvantages are as follows:

1. The mated tunnels can seep in water after a long swim if not rolled correctly.
2. Venting at lunch by taking off the top is more of a pain in the neck.
3. Slightly more material around the midriff.

I have no connections with any manufacturer of apparel, we have pieces of Palm, Kokatat, NRS and Reed in our kit and they all are considerably well made. Keep up the good work.

Cheers,

Rob G

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

Post by CaileanMac » Tue May 16, 2006 6:49 pm

Jim,

Would have to agree with Tim M as well. However breathable fabrics can't work when the fabric is in direct contact with a solid object e.g. kayak seat or the material covered snuggly by a body tube of a neoprene spraydeck.

Breathable fabrics do work when sea kayaking - there ain't no urban myth but let us all not expect miracles from them!

RobG
3. On long trips there is no long chest zipper to foul up. When used with a Reed cag, one benefits from the venting of a gaping neck and less vulnerable wrist gaskets.
4. Gore Tex booties on the bib with a short relief zipper are really nice
You make some very good points about 2 piece suits but given the remoteness and seriously of the area/trip the original poster is intending to do a drysuit is a very wise thought. I have myself used a two piece set up a number of years ago and highly rate it but drysuits (only with relief zips;-) are the mutts nuts for protection and ease of use in my opinion.

CaileanMac

Post Reply