This is not a discussion about drysuits.
I will be attending a rescue class next month and it is recommended that I wear a full length wetsuit,due to bumps bruises from rocks etc. I have been considering one anyway, as I’d like to lengthen my paddle season.
I am not a WW paddler, and in cool/cold weather-water, stay close to shore and go with others. Class I-easy class II max. I’ve talked with others and some recommend hydroskin, others a reg farmer jane wetsuit. I like the wetsuit idea, in particular the NRS top of the line,because it has a relief zip, which the cheaper version 3mm & 2.5mm basic, and the hydroskin don’t. I understand that hydro is more comfortable, but have been told is “wets out”
Any thoughts? Is a relief zipper really that big a deal to go from $90.to $145?
This is not a discussion about drysuits.
Hydroskin is very comfortable
because of it’s ability to stretch easily but the payoff is that it flushes water when you swim. If you are in conditions that you are very comfortable with and your chances of swimming are small then that’s when I wear hydroskin. If I think there might be a chance of swimming in cooler water then I’ll wear a drysuit.
likely wetsuit best
a wetsuit is better for minor bumps (though mainly helps with bumps if you fall out of boat) and for water below low 60Fs. Hydroskins are nice for warmer water. If you aspire to year around I’d get the wetsuit, if you still have more money get a hydroskin for those higher temps that are still too cold for just a swim suit.
basic wetsuits have relief zippers
my 2.5 MM NRS suit has the double zipper - I use it every trip. The basic NeoSport suits I’ve seen do also - at least in the male models. I sprung the extra bucks to buy my girlfriend a better 3MM NRS suit - and the darn thing doesn’t have the double zipper!
My biggest issue with wetsuits isn’t how warm I stay when in the water - it’s how warm I am when kayaking. I imagine a thinner neo layer would bake me less when in the boat, while providing some protection in the water. I find 60° water nice to be in, even without a wetsuit, as long as it’s sunny, while 50° water is un-pleasant quickly. I’ll wear the wetsuit until I see 60° water, and now I’m experimenting with Neo shorts and a thinner top for those higher temps.
Check with the people teaching
Since we don't know the water temps and we don't know how serious the rocks are it's hard to give good advice. In summer here when the water tempts are 62-68 I wear Hydroskin Top and neoprene trunks. If warmer I just wear board shorts. Whitewater in summer I have a hydroskin farmer john and wetsuit would be way too hot. If you are going to paddle in cold water get a wetsuit. If this is a onetime thing, then rent a wetsuit. I'm not sure if you are doing this in Texas but I would die of heatstroke wearing a wetsuit in Summer.
Yes to Seadart and this too
Totally agree with Seadart, ditto.
Hydroskin is only .5 mm neoprene sandwiched between layer of fabric, so it offers minimal insulation AND as Seadart said if flushes water through so you do NOT have a layer of water between you and the suit that your body warms and stays put their.
Do ask the instructors but KNOW for yourself that in water less than 70 degrees hypothermia is incredibly quick, especially in current, waves, and wind. Water removes heat 25 times faster than air and moving water at 5K removes heat 250 faster than air. 60% of drownings due to hypothermia occur in water less than 70 degrees not 60 as once was thought.
Yes, I get it that you don’t plan to be in water that long, but eventually all things happen.
And amazingly within about 10 minutes if unprotected you can lose use of your hands and then arms, which makes getting back in a boat difficult or even swimming to your boat impossible.
I use the formula that Seadart uses or instead of armless short leg farmer john with a good breathable dry top.
I’ll agree that a full wetsuit or farmer john is nice if you know you’re going to be bumping on rocks. I’ve taken a couple of swiftwater rescue classes and was happy to have the coverage of an 1/8"(3mm) suit.
Some of the newer full suits have plenty of flexibility for paddling. I picked up a full 3/2 at Sierra Trading Post that’s been very comfortable for whitewater.
I prefer the Neosport XSPAN
stuff to Hydroskin if a swim is likely in cooler water. It is 1.5mm stretch neoprene and is priced right. I wear a long sleeve with a NRS Farmer John. For a little warmer water I shed the John and wear XSPAN pants. The XSPAN 3mm John looks good too, I'd have gotten one but I got a deal on the NRS John.
Hydroskin is fine for warmer weather and water.