Just FYI there’s a clearance sale going on right now
Great timing. I’m starting to develop an interest in expanding my paddling season. Any recommendations for someone looking to do cold weather flat water paddling in a canoe? Also have a couple kayaks I might go out in as well but probably won’t be bothering with a skirt at this point, though the ability to add one in the future if I decide to start paddling places where I should have one.
Temp wise 50*F give or take is as cold as I can see myself going out in, and the water temp of the lakes and rivers (no WW, just broad moving flat water) I’d be on are mid to low 40’s. Need to do some research to figure out what sort of gear would be most suited for that, but if anyone has recommendations regarding the NRS stuff I’m all ears.
My 1.5 mm NRS Hydroskin pieces are my most versatile paddling base layers. I have the long pants, a Farmer Jane, a long sleeved crewneck shirt (which is actually the 1.0 weight) and the zip front 1.5 long jacket. For water down to 60 F the pants and shirt work really well with shortie 5mm dive boots – I add a spray top if it’s windy.
Once the water gets into the upper 50’s the Hydroskin Farmer Jane with the jacket over it adds more warmth in the critical core area. I have a fleece lined neoprene “helmet” style cap with a bill that prevents heat loss through my head once it gets that chilly.
But below 55 F I would rather have my drysuit on and definitely the drysuit with a fleece 'bunny suit" under it below 50 F.
I’ve had the lightweight 0.5 thickness Hydroskin which was OK for summer conditions, but it is more a rash/UV guard than a real insulating option. Didn’t find it useful enough so I sold it and got the 1.5 versions. I even wear the 1.5 pants in warmer weather and water, just for the added cushioning comfort if I am going to be paddling a long day.
Hi Barney. I think willowleaf is spot on. Neoprene (hydroskin is neoprene) around 1.5 mm will give you a lot of extra protection against cold water without being unbearably hot when you’re not swimming. It sounds like your biggest risk is cold water shock (gasp reflex) and like me there’s no chance you’d end up swimming far offshore where you’d need a drysuit to protect you for a long time.
I use thin neoprene in the conditions you describe and a semi-drysuit for very cold weather.
As far as the NRS clearance items I bought a second pair of the fingerless Guide gloves because I love mine since they let me continue to wear fingerless gloves down to about 40F. And if you’re interested in a paddling shirt with sun protection I think the Baja is a fine choice…besides being SPF50+ it has extra long arms and the seams that don’t interfere with motion and the zip-up collar gives sun protection to your neck. I even like wearing mine when I’m not paddling.
Thanks for the responses, much appreciated. And Tom you’re right, generally I won’t be far from shore. So if I take a swim more than likely I can walk back up to the bank, but there’s times I might be crossing a lake where I’d need to self recover and that might take a minute with the canoe.
There’s a couple dry suits and a semi-dry suit they’ve got that I was considering. I like the idea of being able to layer under them to tailor the insulation to different conditions. Also they seem like they’d be easier when it comes to donning/ doffing. Being able to hop out throw it on over my base layers then at the end of the day pull it off to hop back in the truck or start setting up camp, seems convenient. Seems like a wet suit would require a few more moments to swap back into shore clothes at the end of the day if I’d gone for a swim at some point. Then again this is my first time really looking into this type of gear, so I could totally be off base in my assumptions.
Never speak in generalities it’s only takes one time to be bitten. Always be prepared for the worst even if it’s highly unlikely.
Drysuits are awesome once you get used to them and make yourself familiar with layering.
Yes it sounds like you’re a candidate for a dry or semi-dry suit. I also like being able to just take it off after paddling. I have the Kokatat semi-dry and it’s high quality, I remember a Canadian whitewater instructor on another forum strongly recommending Kokatat. I can’t comment on the NRS drysuits since I have no experience with them but (speaking in generalities) I do have a lot of NRS gear and I’ve never been disappointed with NRS quality.
Keep in mind that a drysuit has all of the insulating properties of a plastic shower curtain. Insulating underlayers are essential and should be varied as conditions require. Avoid cotton.
Although I’ll occasionally wear Hydroskin in the short shoulder seasons, ever since getting a drysuit, I have not worn a full wetsuit again. I find the drysuit much more comfortable and versatile. A wetsuit by itself is not nearly as effective in keeping you warm for a shore break on a cool and windy beach. A wetsuit tends to work best when you are actually in the water. A properly fitted wetsuit must fit snugly and for me, a wet suit out of the water is often too hot or too cold.
Like any safety gear, swim test it regularly by walking out in the water and check for leaks and to be sure that the insulating layers are sufficient.
Expensive to begin with, with minimal care a quality drysuit with a lifetime warranty will last almost forever. Opt for the relief zipper and integral booties.
Yeah, I was aware they’re basically just a human shaped sack and would require me to bring my own insulating layers. I’ve got several different weight thermal base layers and fleeces that I can use to adjust for the temp.
I went ahead and ordered the NRS Extreme Drysuit (which is seemingly the least extreme of the drysuits they offer, granted I was only looking at the ones on clearance) and their Maxim insulated neoprene gloves a few days ago. I might’ve went for the semi-dry suit had it not been a back entry model. But yeah as soon as I started looking into this I determined anything without a relief zipper and booties was a non starter.