warm weather, cold water

My wife and I are scheduled to canoe camp of the Smith River in MT the first week of June. The water will be about 45 degrees and the weather will be anything from snow storm to 80 and sunny. We will be paddling 4 or 5 days in a row. Because the boats will be loaded and mostly rafts, I am not expecting rescue assistance to be rendered very quickly if we swim. “Back in the day” we just wore wet suit vests for day outings but we were usually in a swarm of kayaks and assistance was prompt. And we didnt go out in snow squalls.

I am considering dry suits but if the weather is on the hot side, we could be cooked out of our protection. Seperate dry top and pants would be more flexible but leakier. We would be unlikely to be swimming for more that ten minutes but I am not at all cold tolerant. Advice for weather adjustable gear?

My best suggestions…
goretex equivalent separates. At those air temps any neoprene that is likely to be protective in 45 degree water will be an oven up above. Maybe get breathable separates and just dump water on yourself.

Someone needs to devise a lithium
battery powered air circulation pump for dry suits. Solar rechargeable.

My 2 cents
Single piece drysuits will be less likely to leak than separates. And since you can layer, you should be able to adjust what you are wearing enough that unexpected hot weather will not be a significant issue.

You can’t beat a good drysuit, especially if you are expecting water in the mid forties. Best of all is that at the end of the day, when you take your suit off, your feet will be dry. And if you end up with rainy weather, you will most certainly be loving Mr Gore (not Al, the other one).

Western Rivers Early Summer
I grew up in the Utah and my uncle was absolutely religious about float fishing in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. In Montana in early june I would put my bet on cool rainy days and I don’t remember the water feeling like 45 F, but I was a kid and we used to boat in levi’s cut off and wore nylon windbreakers or ski parkas.

Personally nowadays I would wear a hydroskin farmer john and a 2 mm neoprene wetsuit top, and a paddle jacket and bring along a heavier wetsuit if it stays really cold. On the Smith you are not going to be in the water for more than a few minutes, there are only two rapids if I remember correctly; you want to have a good dry bag and keep some warm polar fleece or down jackets and sleeping bag to warm up if you need to. Dry suit would be overkill and hellish if it indeed turns hot. When paddling in hot air temps and cold water it’s best to have some layering alternatives.

Ah, lithium & water =
Ka- BOOM !

They say the Devil is in the Details…