Splash wear vs. dry wear

I think I understand the difference between splash wear and dry wear. Splash wear keeps you more-or-less dry when water splashes on you but won’t keep you dry if you take a swim. Dry wear, on the other hand, will keep you dry when fully immersed. So I guess I understand the value of having a splash top in weather that’s not too cold, as long as you don’t go in. But I don’t understand the value of splash pants. If you’re in your kayak with the skirt on, any water splashing on you will be shed off your torso by the splash top but will be kept off your legs by the skirt. And if you take a swim with splash wear on, you’re going to get wet to the skin anyway. Am I missing something?

Pretty much right on …
If you don’t use a spray skirt or paddle a SOT splash pants might be desirable.

Two things about splash pants. They
keep open canoeists drier, and they also tend to keep c-1 and kayak paddlers warmer. I had to get by with splash pants through the 70s and 80s, and I was grateful to have them.

Now I have breathing splashpants that seal pretty well at the waist and ankles, and I also have a breathable “bib” that has footies and mates to my drytop.

Sounds to me…

– Last Updated: Dec-09-07 2:48 PM EST –

Sounds to me like you pretty well have it figured out.

Splash pants/jacket are "not" designed to keep you dry; they are designed to deflect water, and "assist" in keeping you dry. If you swim; you will be soaking wet. If you swim, and the water & air temp are very cold, you will be very cold, if not hypothermic, in a "short" period of time.
A quality dry suit should keep you dry, whether you are in, or out of your boat. Within reason, the water & air temp. will be of little consequence if you are wearing a dry suit.

The point of wearing splash pants while paddling a kayak with a skirt would be what? I don't know that there is any reason for that, if your skirt doesn't leak.

So what are splash pants & jacket good for?

Probably best when used by paddlers in canoes; who don't spend a lot of their time swimming, while paddling on days when the air & water temps are not extreme. In class 2 & 3 water the splash gear will assist in protecting them from "splashes", as long as they stay "in the boat".

Another difference; a quality dry suit will be quite a bit more expensive than a splash jacket & pants..........for reasons already stated.


Splash Pants
I’m a canoeist and I’ve used my NRS Black Rock jacket and pants for a few years now. I’ve played in my C-1 and have done plenty of rolls when the air temps are in the 30’s-40’s and water temps near 32 and yep I get wet, but with fleece or hydroskin on underneath, I’ve never been cold. I wouldn’t want to be in the water a long time, but short exposures have proven to be fine. A drysuit would be best, but the splash gear has worked for my type of paddling.


Many times when the water is not.
rough, I’ll leave the skirt rolled up on the deck.

The splash pants will keep all that ice cold water that drips off the paddle from nibbling at my “tender” legs.



Splash Wear…
I own a Kokatat Goretex dry suit…and I recently got a set of splash wear, top and bottoms and I love them.

There is a roll for them as a kayaker.

I don’t like wearing the dry suit unless I have to. Uncomfortable and sweaty.

I find the splash top and bottoms (made of Goretex paclite) to be perfect for paddling in cool weather when there is not a chance of swimming.

The splash pants keep you dry when getting in and out of the boat and provide a barrier to the wind.

I have used this combination with nothing but a rashgaurd shirt down to the high 30s / low 40s and was quite comfortable.

Much more breathable than my dry suit.


Great on SOTs where you have to contend with more splash possibilities.