Warm weather spray skirt - materials

Since you folks were so much help in my last decision, I thought I’d post another question. I am now well underway with building the first of our two Arctic Tern 14s - hoping to have the two boats done by late Spring. We paddle mostly in the Southeast, in warmer months, and I am concerned not to wind up buying spray skirts for these boats that are intolerably hot to use. However performance is also important.

I have decided on something in the SnapDragon line b/c of their high quality and reputation and I know they have some warm-weather options available. Has anybody on this post used SnapDragon spray skirts in the hot Florida (or S.E.)summer heat and what can you advise on this topic? Thank you.

i use neoprene skirts all year around
i have Nookie and IR skirts…

love em…

never had a problem of getting too hot…

always comfortable


that’s an awkward one

– Last Updated: Feb-12-08 7:18 AM EST –

people sell cloth skirts saying they're cooler but anything that closes off the cockpit in hot weather is hot. I'd suggest two options, one is searching around for a super stretchy neoprene/lycra skirt. They aren't for rough water use, more of a racing type thing, sorry I don't have a link but I've seen and used one once. It might not even be neoprene but it's stretchy as hell.

the other item is another hard to find skirt, make from a stretchy white tyvek like material, waterproof, kind of light, looks like a cheap nylon skirt but instead of wearing it under your pfd where it can puddle water like any other fabric skirt you wear it over. Yes it'll let water in when rolling but worn over a pfd it allows some air to pump in/out while paddling.
Zyflex, that's the company that made it. They tried to sell them with little interest but me and a few folks at Annapolis Canoe and kayak thought they were great. Came in white and black.


you might check zyflex to see if they have any left in stock. The stitching was a bit cheesy on a couple but they made five different kinds of skirts/hoods/jacket/sleeveless combos but the market wasn't there. It really was a greatproduct but not enough sales. I think the material looked so different, grey/speckled/crinkly that it just couldn't sell.

Most folks new to paddling don't like the snug waist with neoprene skirts, but there's a bunch of neoprene deck/nylon tube skirts that are comfortable. IR makes a very nice one.

Half Skirt…
consider a half skirt…no good for rolling, but for the light over the bow wave, paddle drips, and keeping the sun off your legs they serve a purpose, and the open back allows the cockpit to ventilate…

I have one from Seals. Doesn’t help w/ waves from the side either. 'Got drenched when I eddied out on the Salt Fork a month ago with the Cent. Ill crew. 60 degree day in January was nice, but there was a lot of ice on the water. Woke me up in a hurry! lol

I use a Seals Tropical Tour
in the summer made from a breathable/waterproof fabric. I’d go for the red or blue since it might be a little cooler than the black.


I use an Ocean Tour EXP all year round
I haven’t really noticed that much difference in temperatures. It gets plenty hot in SC and I grew up in FL so I know hot weather paddling.

Give the Glacier Breeze a try.

Have SnapDragons
My wife and I both have SnapDragons here in Tennessee and use them year around; also use them on our frequent trips to Florida. I’ve had kayakers tell me: “No way I could use that in summer!” Well, as Henry Ford said: “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” We never had a probelm with being too hot. Also, excellent skirts in our opinion.

Just don’t roll
with the Tropical Tour, you’ll get a lot of water inside with you.

anybody considered a skirt made from it?

There’s no stretch whatsoever.
Good waterproof/shed ability, and it is stitchable. Still doesn’t allow airflow (not that anything “waterproof” would - “permeability” is too slow to be considered as an advantage on a day paddling). It’s not very tough, though. It has strong tear strength, but will develop stress cracks easily where folded and creased through movement. Also, UV resistance is not very good. Supposedly, it’s only good exposed to sunlight for about a few months before it breaks down (admittedly that’s forever in some people’s actual paddle time). The UV light weakens it.

Spray skirts for warm weather
Thanks Lee, and to the rest of you . . .

I found another post, from some years back, by you on another site and clicked on the link, but there was no company. I guess they went belly up.

What I am discovering is neoprene is the best all-round material - especially for rolling and heavy seas, but somewhat restrictive in twisting and can be hot in warm weather. It seals the best.

On the other hand, the lighter materials - good for warm weather - do not seal as well, are not as watertight in rolls and in high seas, but they allow more freedom of movement. With SnapDragon, they are available in yellow - probably the best color for avoiding heat absorption (next to white), but I can’t find neoprene in yellow. I suspect spray skirt color could be even more important than material that breaths. Finally, it seems neoprene lasts longer than the lighter materials. I am still working on a decision.

Warm weather spray skirt - materials
Hi Lee - I read your initial post on the other site . Thanks to all of you for your replies. I already responded with a lot of detail, but for some reason the post didn’t post (after about only 15 minutes writing it.)

Long story short, I think that company you recommended went belly-up. I’ll stop here - maybe that first post will show up.

Reed from Chillcheater
most probably the Reed skirts are not imported into USA but since I have tried one I have replaced all my other neoprene skirts with Reed ones.

They are available in UK and will mail order and custom make for same price as stock.

The material is very thin but still very durable.

Does not absorb water like neoprene and much lighter.

In hot climate (here in Australia I have a similar climate then Florida) they are much more breathable then the old neoprene ones.

Never feel too hot.

As far as performance goes: look at “This is the Sea” movies… pleanty of Reed skirts there!

I’ve used a Snapdragon skirt in the heat. It’s no hotter than a nylon skirt. A roll or high brace will help keep you cool.