Union Suits

Wondering if anyone has the Expedition weight one piece base layer from either NRS or Kokatat, and can give some assessment of heft/warmth.

I have the lighter-weight suit from Immersion Research. Stretchy neck gaskets means you’re not putting it on in a rush; I’d prefer a zipper. The light weight version does well in water temps around the 50’s. I was out in 44 degree water yesterday (with additional layers) and it had me thinking about a heavier-weight union suit. I see that NRS and Kokotat make them (as does a European company, Aclima, with no US distributor). Hard to know from the description whether they are very bulky, warm etc. without seeing and touching them in person.

I see two options: (1) regular weight suit like I have and then add additional insulating layers which can become constricting or (2) heavier weight suit and fewer additional layers.

I’m committed to at least 1 layer of “suit” insulation. I don’t like the gaps that can develop between top and bottoms; that’s always the place I get chilled.

I have the expedition weight union suit from NRS. Definitely not bulky. In the shoulder seasons it is warm enough by itself. In the winter I add thermal underwear as well. I don’t spend a lot of time in the water, so for me the layering is more about the air temperature than water temperature. The fabric on mine has developed a lot of fuzz over time – I guess they call it pilling. Doesn’t bother me – it does take a lot of abrasion under the drysuit.

Bunny suit?

It’s a great suit. Merino wool core top and bottom, Neocore long sleeve shirt on top. Thin base layer over merino wool bottoms also at times. Poly shorts sometimes like Under Armour.

Bunny suit is very comfortable, light, stretchy or flexible. Usually don’t go out unless it’s 32°F. If it’s real sunny 25°F. Not a fan of hull and gear icing up.

I have a couple of the original Stohlquist Bunny Suits hanging around at the Store. I’ll check sizing tomorrow. $70.

I don’t think the IR Thick Skin Suits I have on Sale ($99) are going to be your size. (Medium- XLarge)

I just told Siri to remind me. Type to you tomorrow.

See you on the water,
Marshall Seddon
The River Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY. 12538
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I have a 2XL IR K2, the size suggested by them for my leg length. It’s a little bit baggy but they thought XL would come up short on the legs and tight across hips. It’s a nice piece but getting the still stiff shoulder into the sleeve while squeezing through the gasket is challenging, particularly since there’s products out there with zippers!

The solution might be to just layer but I was wondering what a heavier version might bring to the table.

It was 39 yesterday at Jones Beach with NACK. Good group but standing around in the wind before paddling was bone-chilling! I’m still working on the cost benefit ratio of how cold is too cold to go out. We paddled around for about 90 minutes but then there’s two hours of rinsing, drying and other clean up. At least I didn’t have the wind to contend with back home while hosing gear off.

It’s never too cold, unless the water if frozen :wink:


Or just starting to freeze :cold_face:

I was going to paddle over there to see some kayaks. :blush: I’ve done it a few times in the past.

Did you see any seals? Usually see them there. I haven’t seen any from boat or kayak except one. That was earlier this season about 4 plus weeks before I would have expected.

If I go anywhere I use Worx battery powered pressure washer to rinse boat and gear. Even 5 gallons is enough to rinse off everything When they saw it more people in that group bought it also.

For me when you get a group of paddler’s you end up waiting for everyone to arrive. Then some start talking and walking around. A 10:00 AM launch turns to 11:00 or more. If I go I’m ready to roll at 9:30 or sooner. Then I can help others unload or prep. Then the group spreads out and and most start talking and go nowhere.

I rather get going, go somewhere, then have a meal and talking sitting at a table or at the bar.

Then some only what to go for an hour especially in colder weather. To much effort for one hour for me. Went up on the Hudson River and we’re supposed to go to X destination with a group. We did probably 55% of the planned trip on a nice warm day. :nauseated_face:

I didn’t see any seals but I bailed at noon. About 5 people went through the marshes since it was high tide. I had chores to attend to and standing in the cold before the paddle sapped some of the ambition out of me.

I’m not accustomed to real-deal ocean wind, living near a protected harbor. I was carrying my boat to the beach from the parking lot and the wind caught the bow and spun me and the boat like a water vane; an excellent demonstration of wind-cocking! Now I understand why the others were using carts to move their boats all of ten yards.

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Carts are handy never used it there it’s fairly close to walk. Wind can be a PITA if it’s 15+ mph and carrying a bit. Throw in a gust or two and you may twist.

How many kayaks attended 10-12?

Eight in attendance. Nice group. I rescued a bag of vacuum sealed almonds that fell out of someone’s cockpit while practicing a wet exit. That was my contribution as the newcomer!

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Winter Kayaking Coldwater Shakeout - YouTube :laughing:

Did you get to eat any of the almond’s after rescuing them?

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My first liner was the Kokatat Polartec. I used it for years until the zipper final broke. Don’t remember why I bought the NRS when I replaced it, but I don’t find a lot of difference between the two. For cold temp’s both require additional layers.

I love winter paddling, and there is nothing like paddling in the snow, but lately it seems that snow brings out the hiking boots and snowshoes more than the canoe. Might be that my paddling crew is getting older and a lot of my friends prefer pool sessions in the dead of winter. I have to admit, it is nice to get out on snowshoes as well. Some winter paddles/hikes of the past…

I do have an XL Stohlquist Bunny Suit. Front zip. Approx. 300 weight fleece. Thicker and fluffier than the Stohlquist Vapor or IR Thickskin.

Chart says up to 6’3" height, up to 39" waist, and up to 44" chest. Waist is elasticized and seems like it has space to fit.

Want me to send it to you to try on? I don’t know if you’re going to be north to check it out at the Store.

Someone in a SK club I belonged to was selling her old Kokatat Polartec 300 fleece unisuit. Forget what I paid, but it was a bargain in very good condition. Fits me well, and it has a pee zip.

I use it for hiking, not paddling. It works great as either an outer suit or as an insulating layer. It also looks good even worn externally, being neither tight nor pouchy.

Lack of a waistband feels especially nice when wearing a fanny pack.

I loved hiking in virtually any weather . Always thought snowshoeing would be great but we seldom had enough to try. Our rare snows either disappeared quickly or became ice.
I don’t know anyone who paddles in our current weather which is 50s and rain or 50s and wind.

50’s and rain is no problem. Past couple of weeks we have had 30’s and rain. The rivers have been cranking, but people seem to be more inclined to stay inside and do pool sessions. Hiking has also become on frequent distraction. :wink:

I have been wearing Stansfield’s wool union suits for over 40 years, made on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Manmade fibers are fine for a day trip or a couple of days in cooler weather.

After awhile manmade fibers really smell. Even for a week long hunting trip, wool smells like wet sheep. Working in SE Alaska in 150 inches of rain, I wore a wool union suit even in July and August. We were wet all the time, and wading rivers. Filsons over wool was the best solution.

Actually, made in Truro, Nova Scotia, and have been since 1856. Nothin but Stanfield’s again my… :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:

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