Fuzzy Rubber OR Surfskin OR Aquashell ??

Are the Sticky Buns made of waterproof material (I know they’re not dry pants and have no gaskets, etc.)? Anybody tried these from Rapidstyle:

I live 10 min away from Kokatat’s factory, so this is a high priority to look at – anybody have any experience with any of their Surfskin material garments?


Or would the Mountain Surf Aquashell be better as a winter layer? How much warmer than Hydroskin (with hheavy long underwear added) or Sticky Bs? Compared to 3mm wetsuit pants?

Mainly interested in pants and shirts :slight_smile:

My take
on these kind of fabrics for paddle shirts:

I got a Mountain Surf Aquashell shirt. The outer layer is wind but not waterproof. The inside feel like fleece. It’s a bit like a softshell jacket for kayakers. I use it directly against the skin. I don’t like it for multidays trips as it takes too long time to dry. For daytrips however, I’d rather use the shirt than a jacket. Even now during the winter.

I also got a RapidStyle fuzzy rubber shirt. The torso has a rubber like surface on the outside and is waterproof. The arms is more like a polypro shirt. The inside of the torso is thin fleece. I use it for windy days in the summer and again directly against the skin. Like it alot.

The Chillcheater shirt is a bit like the RapidStyle only the arms are waterproof too. The inside is not soft fleece. I use a polypro below the shirt. I haven’t used it much. I recently got a Chillcheater tuilik which I use instead for rough days.

No I don’t like regular paddle jackets… :slight_smile:


Only have the Surfskin to attest to. Have a LS Shirt that’s at least 3 years old and while the Kokatat label is almost worn off it is still in great shape. As to equivalent to 3mm neoprene, probably not. Personally my next step paddle garb wise is to a drytop or drysuit. Also, regarding baselayers underneath, it’ll make removing the garments easier if you are using rashguard like material but for every layer you add under neo or fuzzy rubber you are trapping more water against your body and reducing the garment’s insullative abilities. Try adding a paddling shell over top instead. One last installment of $.02, if you’re having out of boat experiences, the water’s darn cold on the Hudson River so I’m not sure what temps you’re dealing with but if it’s in the 30’s seriously think about dry gear.

See you on the water,



I seem to like and wear my Aquashell more around camp than in the boat. It is too thick and confining for me and stays clammy wet. I do not believe retailer and manufacturer claims of it being a fine substitute for a wetsuit, albeit 2.5mm.

Worn in cold water as a wetsuit substitute is a high risk IMO.

layered neoprene

Do 2 layers of neoprene add or detract from the insulation capabilities of the material?

Do combinations of fuzzy rubber and neoprene help or hinder?

How about multiple layers of fuzzy rubber?

Fuzzy Rubber
“Fuzzy Rubber” is really a generic identity for thermal fabrics, most of which are manufactured by Polertec under the name AquaShell. Both Mountain Surf and RapidStyle use the Polertec material. There are two basic versions: A nylon faced version that is wind-proof and water-resistant. The other type is a skin version which is wind and waterproof.

I think the claim of being as warm as 2.5mm of neoprene is a stretch, but the warmth-to-weight ration is pretty high. While the material is not as durable as neoprene, it is more comfortable. The pile inner layer insulates even when wet…much the way fleece does. Even thought the claim is that it “contours” the body, fuzzy rubber gear generally does not fit nearly as snugly as a well- fit neoprene garment. As a result, the loose fit can result in some gaps and cold spots.

In spite of some of the down sides, I still have a full complement of fuzzy rubber wear for paddle surfing - farmer john wetsuit, pants, shirt, vest and beanie. I layer these items depending on the conditions…the variables being the water and air temps, the wind velocity and if its sunny or cloudy. A paddling jacket worn over fuzzy rubber more than compensates for heat that might be lost by not wearing neoprene.

I do need to qualify my comments about the suitability of fuzzy rubber with the fact that the water temps where I surf rarely drop below the mid-50’s with the air temp rarely falling below the mid-40’s.

Which drys faster: Hydroskin or Fuzzy R?
or Kokatat Surfskin?

Dry Time
Its my experience that so called fuzzy rubber actually dries faster then traditional neoprene. I always fresh water rinse my gear, turn it fuzzy side out and hang it to dry. To shorten the drying time, I throw stuff in the washer and put it through the rinse / spin cycle. That way, the interior pile liner comes out almost completely dry.

Sorry, I can’t speak to the Hydroskin or Surfskin material. But I suspect it has the same properties as Polartec’s AquaShell.

Well put!
I have/use several fuzzy rubber garments (two different types). They are far more comfortable than neoprene but when wet they stretch more than I like, letting too much water go through. Not as warm as common thicknesses of neoprene.

And beware the fuzzy rubber STENCH. It’s different from neoprene stink but just as nasty. It is a sour smell.

More questions
I’m guessing you have a fuzzy rubber farmer John. I’m curious about combining the farmer John as a base with the pants and shirt over that.

All fuzzy rubber material. Is that a viable option in slightly colder water? When wet, would it hold too much water?

Northern CA…
50 degree water temp. Fuzzy rubber may cut it if you got excellent roll and self rescue techniques.

I got fuzzy rubber and hydroskin. These I use strictly in mid summer. 50 degree water to me is 3 mm neo territory for most folks. Of course, your body tolerance for cold may be different from mine.


Actually, I layer just the opposite. I slip on the fuzzy rubber (f.r.) pants and shirt and then pull the f.r. farmer john suit over those. Because of the somewhat loose fit of f.r. gear, getting the suit on and off over the base layer is no big deal. Then top that off with a paddling jacket and you’re good to go. Since I often surf a wave ski, I get pretty soaked and I’ve never felt that my f.r. garments absorbed and held too much water. I’ve had to swim on a couple of occasions and I did not feel like I was unduly weighted down.

As to the aforementioned odor…I’ve never experienced that condition. The secret with all water-ware is to rinse it and set it out to dry. Its when stuff is still damp is when it omits that foul smell.

I agree with Sing…wearing fuzzy rubber gear in water temps at 50 degrees or below is probably pushing it. However, it is amazing what donning a f.r. beanie does for kicking up the warmth factor. RapidStyle makes a simple one that, for the price, gets you a big return-on-investment.

Last SC, water temp was right at 50 but wicked wind. I felt good with a hydroskin top, under a 3 mm FJ and over that a semi dry top. A big difference was 1 mm neo hood to keep the windchill off my head


That’s what I was hoping to hear
I would think that ought to handle anything we get in Northern Calif. Especially since I don’t usually paddle in the ocean in Dec and January. The water temps stay pretty cold, but the air is relatively warm most of the time. I’m glad to hear you don’t get water logged.

It seems that if the layering of these garments really works when wet, the possibilities are really endless.

I know I would die from heat exhaustion in a full dry suit. I see very few kayakers using them here.

For RIVER kayaking, swims are short …
the vast majority of the time, compared to ocean/bay/lagoon kayaking, so I’m looking for gear that will keep me at a comfortable temp during and after a little (1-2 min) swim that is not nescessarily warm, but is far from hypothermic :slight_smile:

Right now I have nothing between the old 4mm neo farmer john and swim shorts except for some cozy, fleece-like expedition wieght polypro pants. These are somewhat thick, kinda like thin fleece, but they might go on the OUTside of my Hydroskin pants or on the INside of my dry pants or dry bibs (or splash pants in the meantime).

Hydroskin seems to make the most sense as it’s thinner and more flexible (the newer G2 is indeed better), and nicer for adding more layering in different weather, and I like that it has some neoprene but drys somewhat quickly.

Hydroskin Farmer John and then …
different options for additonal separate top an bottom layers might be a very versatile near shore and coastal river set up.

The Hydroskin Farmer John also has a double-pull men’s relief zipper (or just a “full-length front zipper” for women).

Understanding The Variations

– Last Updated: Jan-13-06 5:59 AM EST –

in possible contingencies determine by your skills, the conditions, individual tolerance to temps, the availability of help, etc., shape how what immersion gear is appropriate. That's why I find it hard to say whether this "X" gear is adequate/appropriate or not for a certain poster without knowing the above factors.

A reminder of what can happen was posted in the discussion forum:


If a person has limiited resources for purchasing immersion gear, answering the question is even harder (at least for me) because I would prefer to error on the side of caution.

For myself, I have the luxury of having accumulated a variety of immersion gear to cover a broader range of conditions (some extreme), from hydroskin, fuzzy rubber to 2,3, 4 mm wetsuits, drytops and drysuit. Nevertheless, even now it's hard to answer whether hydroskin/fuzzy rubber (the least protective gear alone) though you have posted it's for rivers. Other questions remain -- how cold the water, how far from outside help, how prepped are you and your partners, what additional gear, etc. Even a one or two minute swim in sub 40 degree water will quickly drain your resources where getting to shore may not be enough to bring your core temps back up fast enough. And, if this happens at the beginning of a run, then you got problem because, physically and mentally, you may not be in the condition to finish out the run.

Just some thoughts.


Brrrrr, sub/near-40 water would mean …
I’d be in a 4mm neo farmer and maybe 2mm longsleeve underneath semi-dry top, OR perhaps real dry top and well-rolled dry bibs or drysuit – either with Polartec and other layers underneath. And full neo hood, tight around face … Especially if it was over Class III, especially if there was no way out except paddling the entire run.

Good points about small immersion time in truly cold water draining you so quickly.

Silly me, I’d forgotten to mention that I was going paddle coastal Calif. rivers (Smith, VanDuzen, SoFork Eel, some Trinity/SoFork a little more inland but runs along Hwy 299) around 44-54? in winter, and in the ocean off of NW California (I’m in Eureka) … 50-55 yearound.