NRS says that their Hydroskins are comparable to thicker neoprene because of a heat-reflective coating. Do you find this to be true?
If they have a titanium layer inside then yes, will be warmer than neoprene without it, I have a wetsuit with a titanium layer very warm.
No, I have not bought any hydroskin items for a few years so the designs and performance may have changed… I use a Hydroskin top and a hydroskin farmer john for surfing when water temps are around 60 -64 degrees. I also use them in summer for whitewater, when I am not really sure what the water temps are. Definitely not as warm as a 2 mm oneil top I have.
They used to say there’s titanium in them to reflect heat. Doubt it’s much better at all. If it was 5% better you’d never feel it anyway. Probably a claim derived from a lab test. Fit is probably way more important.
I use the Hydroskin 1.5 jacket and pants for early and late season paddling (water temps 55F to 70F) and I’m not sure I could say they were warmer than a 2mm wet suit. I can say they aren’t as warm as a 3mm wet suit based on my experience.
I like the Hydroskins because the jacket and bottoms can be easily put on and taken off (I didn’t like my farmer john suits for that reason) and most importantly, I can urinate without having to remove my jacket and drop my farmer John’s.
Edited: I use the Hydroskin jacket and pants while flatwater/quickwater canoeing where the risk of immersion is low and I paddle fairly close to shore to avoid long swims. It’s just a bit of insurance in case I do end up in the water.
No. I have various hydroskin stuff. I used it for kayakfishing in the summer, mostly for sun, spray and wind protection. I use hydroskin pants for wetwading when flyfishing in the summer. If I expect to get wet and or immersed for a bit in the summer, as in waveskiing, with water in 60-65 temp range, I am in a full 2 mm (or 3/2) wetsuit which I can say unequivocally is warmer than hydroskin.
Just want to say that hydroskin or surfskin are NOT appropriate for immersion protection for winter paddling!!! On top of this, they are more expensive than the thicker neo products that offer more immersion protection.
If you have money for additional gear, fine. If you are on budget, opt for the thicker stuff.
I’m eying the hydroskin and other NRS wetsuits too. I don’t think the titanium will do much. But the Glued Blind Stitch seams may help and could be a reason to choose the more expensive NRS stuff.
I have no experience yet, but would use a table like this to choose initial thickness and test immersion and see how it feels. Having less water enter through the seams really should be warmer.
They have a more expensive “ultra” version with Graphene and I wonder if that really adds comfort.
Graphene, a graphite-based interior fabric, provides next-level against-the-skin comfort. This quick-drying and wicking fabric layer also provides added insulation.
In general I think these space-age technologies may improve insulation by a small % for a given thickness. but if you need warmth, you need more thickness. Where the technology really could help is comfort (wicking, fit etc.) and that is really important since an uncomfortable suit may not be worn when it matters.
“Glued blind stitch” or “seam sealed” are standard practices for higher quality surfing gear. It’s the cheaper surfing gear and neo wear for paddling that often just use just stitched seams, without sealing. Water flushes through these seams more. It’s fine in summer. NOT good for colder temps.
State of the art neoprene wear is coming from the surfing focused manufacturers, NOT the paddling focused ones.
As mentioned above the main advantage of hydroskin gear is that it is easy to take off or put on, and works well when the water temps are mildly chilly. I bought my stuff when I was doing a lot of seakayaking and hydroskin was good for layering to match water / wind temps. As sing says if you are just starting out buy a good quality neoprene wetsuit first. Right now I mostly use my farmer john when I wore my board shorts to SUP paddle and decide that it’s a bit too chilly to keep trunking it.