I have two questions.
Living in Utah we are faced with snow-fed lakes that are very cold but temperatures that are in the 70-80 range. Am I going to be better off with a dry suit or a wet suit. My inclination is to go with a farmer john wet suit and a splash jacket.
I have also been getting a strong pitch from the salesmen that I should spend the money on hydroskin rather than neoprene. The argument is that it .05 hydroskin will keep me as warm as 3.0 neoprene, hydroskin will cut the wind better than neoprene, and that hydroskin will be more comfortable. Is this all true or are they just trying to get me to spend more money?
I have two questions.
I think it depends
on your personal comfort level and usage. A drysuit is great for cold water. If the air temperture get’s too warm you can roll to cool off.
Hydroskin is much more comfortable to wear than 3mm neoprene but I don’t think it is even close to keeping you as warm when wet as 3mm neoprene. I wear my drysuit when the air and water temperture is cold, when I’m paddling solo or practicing rolling and rescues. I wear my hydroskin with a splash jacket during the summer months as much as possible if I’m not planning on getting wet. I don’t wear my 3mm neoprene since I bought the drysuit.
on how much time you might be in the water. With 70-80 deg air temps, I might die from heat stroke paddling in my drysuit. If I was regularly rolling and/or swimming in 40-50 degree water, then it would be ok.
On the other hand, an hour in 40 degree water in a hydroskin or neo would leave a lot of folks hypothermic or maybe worse.
Hydroskin is more comfortable than 3mm neo and blocks wind well, but I believe 3mm neo would provide better insulation.
What the paddling conditions are and how long it might take you to get out of the water is something only you can answer.
What Lakes when the air temp is 70- 80?
Ex-Utahn here in exile in CA. Usually when the air temps are that high the only cold lakes are in the High Uintahs. In summer time 3 mm neoprene in Utah is over kill, Hydroskin would be comfortable in colder lakes/ resevoirs in the summer and for late spring early fall for places like Bear Lake. You stay warm in the water without dying of heat stroke. In colder water during the winter I would want some real immersion protection.
hydroskin is nowhere near the warmth of 3 mm neo. I have assorted hydroskin and neo wear and drytops and drysuits. You need to figure out the worse case that you’re protecting yourself from with the intended purchase and buy accordingly. But, no, Hydroskin is not warm as 3mm and I only use it in the summer months.
Since you live in northern Utah I’d suggest you start with neoprene. That will get you on the water sooner. You don’t have to zip up all the time if it gets too hot. Hydroskins are great but are more for late spring, early summer and early fall in your area.
May I suggest you try paddling Flaming Gorge and Green River just below the dam. I bet you’ll fall in love with the area if you haven’t already.
Hydroskin is not nearly as warm as the 3mm neo, but it is much more comfortable to wear. For me, it is enough in cool conditions as I don’t plan to stay in the water long if I ever end up there. Here is is in the 50s for high temps, and the water is about 55 degrees. I find the Hydroskin enough for me. I can swim in it and be fairly comfortable.
I don’t think I would want to be in the water for a really long time with it though. I guess it depends on your self-rescue skills.