I was wondering what people use a farmer john shortie wet suit for. I think they are for use only in warm water, though I have seen people advocate them for cold water (in particular a book by Joe Glickman). I have never used one so any info would be greatly appreciated.
are the farmer john shortie is for cool waters but not hypothermia cold. Simply to keep your core warm. Summer wear.
Versatility for different conditions
Sometimes the water and air are too warm for a full wet suit, but too cold for none. You can also get a short-sleeve dry top, good for warm air/cool water.
If you go out for an all-day paddle, the temp. can vary by 20-30 degrees throughout the day. When it comes to paddling wear, I prefer an “adjustable” approach. Multiple, adjustable layers of protection that I can customize based on air temp./water temp./potential time in the water.
Glickman is probably paddling a surf-ski when he recommended it where your body is wet all the time.
Like a wet-suit it’s a compromised article for closed deck kayaking and immersion protection.
I’d look at the various 1mm neoprene shirts as well.
Whatever you get try it out in the water so that you know what is being gained/lost in the big picture.
I wear a shortie for immersion protection while paddling Tahoe in the late spring early summer (April-June). The water is in the low 40’s - 50’s (melting snow water) but the air temp is in the 30’s (morning) to 70’s (afternoon). In the cold part of the day, I add a splash jacket to stay warm. In the late summer I wear at least a shorty Hydroskin. Skiers are usually in full wetsuits all year round.
Just used a shorty yesterday to swim
I needed to swim down about five feet and fix a strap around an underwater diving hazzard so it could be pulled out. I first tried to do it without any immersion protection (I had a floating dock right beside me) but could not even begin to do what needed done. The water was too cold. I could hardly control my breathing while above the water. Then I put on my shorty and had no problems whatsoever. I was even able to do fine movements like remove a keeper key, remove a main pin, attach the strap and replace the main pin and keeper pin and then crank down on the strap, all underwater. There is no way I could have achieved my objectives without the suit.
I've also used it for early season SOT surfing in the Atlantic. For me, they definitely have a place in my cold water arsenal.
Thanks for all the replies. I hear so many different ideas about immersion protection. I just wanted to see what the consensus was. If I pick one up I will surely try it in the water to see what the limits are before relying on it.
the weak link in the farmerjohn outfits is that water can flow around armpits and upperchest without much restriction, that’s why it’s worth looking at skin tight thin neoprene that can cover your armpits and restrict the flow around your chest. There’s a conflict between comfort out of the water for 99% of the paddling but provide worthhile protection that can be life saving the other 1% where you’re immersed 100%. The less spray/waves you get with cold water the more challenging it is to have BOTH immersion protection and comfort while paddling when the air is warm and the water is cold.
Something to consider is having a small survival hood rolled up in a pocket of a pfd whenever you’re wearing a wet-suit while paddling. The wet-suit isn’t for paddling it’s for the time you’re in the water, so if you’re wearing minimal neoprene for maximum paddling comfort you’ll probably be underdressed for any significant immersion. Having the hood,just in case,will significantly improve your heat retention once you’re dunked and losing heat rapidly.
A lot of this stuff becomes personal preference from your own experience turning blue.