Cold water paddling gear

Going through my videos and found this one on cold water paddling gear. It goes through the basics for anyone who is interested.

I’m in the northeast, so we get dangerously cold temperatures, but hypothermia can be an issue in warmer areas as well.

(and yes, I definitely have too much time on my hands.)

Thanks for an informative video on choices & layering.

I don’t paddle in winter…at least not yet. I do paddle in some cold water (Yellowstone). I’ve been having the wet suit vs dry suit debate lately. Several years ago I had a Kokatat Super Nova semi-dry suit for whitewater rafting, but sold it since I didn’t use it very much. Now that I’m paddling, I wished I still had it. I never cared for the ladies butt zip on it though. Now they have the Switch Zip that looks much easier for us gals to maneuver.

For cold water paddling, a dry suit is the best investment you can make. My dry suit costs more than most of my canoes.

after getting a dry suit I never used the wet suit again. I even use it for water temps up to 65*

I’ll wear my wetsuit in early fall when the water is still relatively warm. Once the water gets cold, its the drysuit all the time.

I’ve decided to get a Kokatat Surge semi-dry paddling suit. Got a 20% off & free shipping deal that took the sting out of the price a little bit. I can’t do a latex neck gasket, and the neo neck on my previous Super Nova paddling suit was acceptably dry when I wore it during a river rescue class. The new Switch Zip was the tipping point for me in deciding to try a dry suit again. I paddle a SOT, so protection is more of a concern for me. Especially now that I’m venturing more & more into bigger bodies of water that are colder. I still whitewater raft, so I can use the suit for lots of stuff.

Excellent! You’re going to love it!

Get a tube of zipper wax as well - it’s very helpful when working with the SwitchZip, especially when it’s new.

Great color combination: your green kayak and blue Surge!

I have two kayaks. My Necky Vector is baby blue & my Eddyline Caribbean is red/silver. Blue is my favorite color and the Mantis Green Surge color choice looked too pea green for me.

Seems like they sent a tube of zipper wax along with my previous suit. Do they still do that or do I need to buy some? What kind is best?

Not sure why I thought your new kayak was green - whatever, blue goes with everything and IMO, the more colorful the better!

I purchased my drysuit from The River Connection and asked Marshall to include a tube of the McNett Zip Tech he had recommended. When the suit got here, sat on the floor and practiced zipping and unzipping it so I could understand how it worked. Now that I’ve been using it, I get it zipped on the first try while putting it on.

I have this red & black thing going with boats. My whitewater raft is red with black trim, and my new kayak is red/silver with black trim & hatches. I blinged out my red & black raft with a pirate theme. All my straps are red & black skull & cross bones print that I got from No one will ever mix up my straps with their blue NRS straps at the take-out anymore :smiley:

I’ll see if I get wax with my suit this time. I’ll have lots of time this winter to practice with my suit. I might paddle Black Canyon below Hoover Dam in February with my outdoor club, then visit a friend down at Lake Havasu and paddle a little there.

McNett has great zipper products, wax and cleaners.

Dry suit hands down best investment you could make if you live in colder water half the year. You can then paddle from thaw to freeze!

I lucked out and found a great shape used kokatat goretex full suit for 400 canadian shipped :slight_smile:

deals are out there, just have to search

I received my Kokatat Surge semi-drysuit yesterday and it came with the McNett ZipTech. I will need some practice with the Switch Zip. Zipping & unzipping seem easy enough, it’s just getting the zipper started that will take some practice.

Confession time…I didn’t like the Surge paddling suit and I’ve returned it. Fantastic suit that’s well made by Kokatat and the size was good, but I just didn’t groove with the Switch Zip at the waist. I tried it on several times, put on my PFD, and sat in my kayak. Now remember, I’m a plus sized gal who already has plenty of God given “stuff” going on at my hips & waist. Add in the big Switch Zip, plus 2 shock cord/cord locks at the waist (inside & outside), plus a third shock cord/cord lock on the hem of the jacket part of the suit, and that’s a lot of extra stuff around the waist area. It just didn’t feel comfortable.

I’ve decided to stick with the Super Nova paddling suit instead. I had one 6 years ago and I liked it ok, except for the big butt zipper. I talked with Kokatat and they told me that they switched from the stiffer metal toothed zipper to the nylon more flexible & lower profile zipper 5 years ago. I wish they made this suit in Gore tex, but they don’t. They just started making the Super Nova Angler in Gore Tex for 2017, but only in men’s sizes. Even the Large-King would be too big for me, and its not one of the suits they will customize.

Now for the shoes. I decided to give the Astrals one more try. It’s been awhile since I tried one on, and they get such high praise from folks. I found the Astral Aquanaut on sale & ordered one size larger in a men’s shoe to give me plenty of foot room.

I received both the Super Nova paddling suit & the Astral Aquanaut shoes today. I’m happy with both of them. The suit is much less cumbersome, fits great, and the butt zipper is not nearly as intrusive as the one on my old suit. I must say that the Astral shoes are comfy. Thanks to Marshall for recommending them…you were right, they are nice. I tried everything on with polar fleece layers & Smartwool socks and the fit is great.

To any plus sized gals out there that paddle & want a dry suit or semi-dry suit. I highly recommend the Kokatat Womens in XLshort. It fits 5’4" - 5’8" and fits a plus sized female really nicely.