Paddling Pants

I have a pair of dry-pants made by IR. I have not used them yet but I am thinking that they are going to be fine for when the water cools down and I need some water proofing as well as warmth. What do some of you use for weather that is too cool for a pair of shorts but warm enough to make dry pants overkill?

happy paddling,


overkill ?
i use a pair of Lotus Designs paddling pants. if it’s weather as you describe, i wear them alone … colder and i wear capilene thermal under them, either light weight or mid-weight depending on temp. these pants are nice and breathable and i never find them overkill.

Unless you are in Florida…
it’s hard for the pants to be overkill in the fall. Even in NC - I have family there and spent much time when I was younger. You can wear really light weight layers underneath it. I often wear jogging shorts under a pair of semi-dry bottoms when the air and water temps are quite warm to stay dry but still not heat up. (IMO all separate layers are actually semi-dry, not dry, once you swim.) No reason you have to wear rash guard under the stuff, which I find to be poor on breathing when under DWR layers.

Or you can roll or scull to cool off your torso and that’ll keep the rest of you OK. Usual hypothermia concerns if you swim and get wet all the way thru, but the nice thing about the paddling outer layers is that they’ll block the wind so that even if you are wet underneath any sun will warm you up OK.

I usually wear the AdventureWear paddling pants I bought wayback when ProCanoe was still in Raleigh. Normally just wear a set of cheap WalMart lightweight Remington fleece under it. If it gets cold then I might substitute my Farmer Johns for the Remingtons. In either case I top off with a loose fitting paddling jacket and a pair of gloves.



Dry pants aren’t dry
and are the next step up from shorts with some thin polypro underneath.

Hydroskins work for me. That’s when I’m paddling a SOT and water is washing over me.

Almost all winter long…
I use nylon shorts, (bathing suit) with Performance cycling Gortex (waterproof)long pants over them. They are very light weight.

When it is real cold I substitute a pair of polar fleece long johns for the bathing suit.

I don’t roll, so I don’t have to worry about being completely waterproof.

I do always keep a spare set of dry clothes in a dry bag in one of the compartments - just in case!



Performance Gortex cycling pants
Damn!! Why didn’t I think of that?!! I’ve got two pair I use for cycling in wet/cold/snowy weather. Just the ticket when the hydroskin Grizley Bills are a bit too much.

Thanks Jack!!

second the cycling pants
I like my cycling pants for paddling.

I had them on this morning.
It was 33 degrees and a strong wind blowing.

I had on nylon shorts, (bathing suit) with the light weight Gortex cycling pants over them. Mine have zippers at the ankles, so you can get them over you water shoes or mukluks very easy.

We got the idea about three years ago on our Alaska trip.

You can dribble water on them till the cows come home and still stay dry and toasty.

I did a hard 7 mile training paddle, and at mile one unzipped my light weight water proof jacket. At mile two, I took it off, and at mile three I unzipped the top of my long sleeve poly pro shirt.

I wasn’t finished five minutes and my sweat started making me cold with the wind chill



Depends on the model
If you have the Zephyr paddlng pant then some form of 1.5 neoprene underneath if you are planning on out of boat experiences. If you have the Drypant which has conical neo gaskets on the ankles then some degree of base/loft layer underneath like GoLite tights works great up to the point of actively swimming in a rapid. If you are just wading in then yes, they’re dry. Also the material in the drypant is a Torray Entrant which I think is vapor permeable for I haven’t been able to outsweat it yet in my pant or drytop. OK enough rambling, back to customizing a kayak for a student of mine.

See you on the water,


Charter Member ACA Pro-School

Watersport tights
I assume you want three things:

  1. More warmth than shorts
  2. Comfort when the fabric becomes damp
  3. No sagging, bagging, or falling off your body

    I agree with the comment about drypants not being really dry–they are more prone to leaks than a drysuit is, and the typical coated nylon drypants trap sweat. I had a pair that would leave my longjohns literally soaked with sweat.

    However, it sounds like you are reserving use of a drysuit for the really cold water/weather. So I’ll also assume you don’t want to deal with gaskets and the like for this “in between” season.

    A good compromise garment is tights made of Polartec Aquashell or similar fuzzy-rubber type materials, as long as you don’t need to stay absolutely dry, or you know you can get out of the water quickly if you do capsize. If you get a bit of water in the cockpit and the tights become damp, they will still keep you warm. I have worn them while paddling a SOT with a very wet ride and they remained comfortable while soaked. But they just aren’t that warm if you go for a prolonged swim, so keep that in mind.

    Compared with cycling tights or other sport tights, watersport-specific tights that get wet sag/bag/stretch/deform MUCH less and therefore stay closer to your skin. The few extra dollars they cost compared with cycling or running tights are well worth the increased warmth and stay-with-you fit.

Paddling Pants
I tend to agree with pikabike. For example, White’s carries paddling pants that are less bulky than neoprene but still keep you warm and dry on those colder days.