I live in the SF Bay area of Northern California. The weather here is highly variable. I was wondering about some splash pants, I would like to know if anyone else has used them, what conditions did they work the best, do they allow for good ventilation (It can get hot here, even on the water). Thanks

also in SF Bay area
I pretty much always wear a wet suit or dry suit. Ocean and bay waters are pretty much always cold.

Exception would be in extreme south bay, north bay, or central valley, where water can get warm. Then maybe just sun protection.

Here is info on local water temps:

If temp is below 60, wet suit or dry suit is the norm no matter what the air temp. Above 70, sun protection is the norm (unless air temp is cold). That 60-70 range is a question as to what I would wear - I look at air temps and other conditions.

I’m in the area too
But I don’t get out on the open Bay or ocean as yet (boat is too small.) So my paddling is in the warmer sloughs or over at the outer harbor of Half Moon Bay, which is ocean water and temp.

Much of the warmer months I paddle in only a biking long sleeve top and nylon pants. This is in a sit inside kayak with a skirt, BTW.

As soon as the air gets cold I switch to a Farmer John wetsuit and semi-dry top with layers under that. I’ve layered up enough to go out on literally freezing air temp days in winter here.

In warmer areas all of us go for our individual temperature preferences in clothing, but I know of no one who goes on the open Bay or ocean in less than a FJ wetsuit setup with paddling jacket at any time of the year.

Haven’t ever seen anyone here in paddling pants. I suspect maybe river runners do that, though.

Water temps can go from low 40s to 70, depending on time of year. But mostly it’s in the 50s and low 60s and theory would call for dealing with hypothermia if immersed at those temps.

Better to be safe and a little warm than cool and then very sorry!

Dress for immersion not air
As the guys below are saying. Splash pants can be a nice wind-blocking layer up in the air, but if you take a swim it is all about what you have under them (or a splash top).

paddling pants
For moderate/warm weather canoeing and kayaking (and reasonably warm water, i.e. not immediately painfully cold) I usually use a pair of NRS Endurance breathable waterproof splash pants which have a neoprene waistband and cuffs. In summer I might wear just a swimsuit and/or nylon shorts under but I am more likely to wear knee length neoprene wet suit pants underneath with a neoprene zip front jacket that I can remove or vent if the day is too warm. I tuck them into kneehigh Kokatat neoprene and coated nylon paddling mukluks. Even on hot days I have not found these pants to be uncomfortable and I like that they protect my thighs (and legs, in the case of canoeing) from sunburn if I am paddling with no sprayskirt or just a “half skirt” in moderate protected waters. I tend to hate to feel hot and sticky so I think my assessent of them as tolerable is pretty reliable.

But I would hesitate to wear this combo offshore in the ocean or in any condition where immersion or emergency would leave me in the water for more than a few minutes because they do NOT exclude water from contacting your skin when submerged. The neoprene is NOT a true gasket, like with my Kokatat drysuit, which is what I use in the conditions stated at the start of this paragraph. I have worn them over a full Farmer John wetsuit, but they can be a nuisance during full immersion because they fill with water.

I think for around $100 (or $80 if you are an REI member and use their frequent 20% off coupons) these NRS pants are a useful investment and mine double as my hiking rainpants. You might want to try a pair.

Awesome info thanks to everyone who replied

Splash pants
often are not waterproof and will fill upon immersion. This isn’t really much of an issue, unless you lack thermal protection underneath. I used to cycle every day from home to work and I purchased rain pants for cycling. I used them once and put them away because it is HOT when exercising under materials that don’t breathe.

If you are skirted up as you say, then your legs should not be exposed to wind until you get out of the boat at the put in/haul out. At which point, whatever thermal protection you have on should suffice.

I usually wear a wetsuit (generally paddle in Monterey and vicinity) with polypro or other synthetic covering what is exposed to air. Spray jacket if the weather is a problem. If I were without a wetsuit, I’d probably use pants made of a breathable fabric (wool, polypro, etc.) that retains thermal protection after you get out of the water.


Splash Pants
I have a sit on tp, not a sit in, so no skirt. I was a long distance bicyclist and am well aware of issues ralated to biking and hiking HOWEVER kayaking is ifferent, with splash pants, if I get wet and the fog rolls in (which can happen dropping temps from the 80 to the 50s or 60s in a half an hour) I can remain comfortable with a temperature drop like this with splash pants on. Without, I will be very uncomfortable. I know this because I use to sail in the bay, being caught without the appropriate gear can make a great day very uncomfortable and get one close to being hypothermic

Windbreakers can be nice (as wetsuit/neoprene don’t work well in dry/windy conditions as often occur on the bay), but my major point was that if the inner layer(s) of insulation are insufficient, they aren’t as useful as one may wish.

I would still prefer some kind of breathable fabric on the legs over splash pants. GoreTex pants are pricey, but work well.

I’ve worn capilene on my legs as a layer (lots cheaper than GoreTex) and find it works quite well with SOT kayaks, so I will usually use some type of synthetic sweats above them so there is additional wind protection between my skin and the air on those suddenly foggy/and or windy days.