SoT Kayak Winter wear inquiry

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Eyejuggler, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. Eyejuggler

    Eyejuggler Beech Nut

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Messages:
    963
    Likes Received:
    840
    Location:
    Tacoma
    Home Page:
    With the recent SoT posting and winter coming on, I was curious if anyone has thoughts on cold weather protection.
    I was thinking of just my waders and a rain shell but I was worried that waders would be super dangerous if you are overboard and flailing.
    I was looking at the Kotatat Gore-Tex front entry suit for cold/rainy Puget Sound paddling.
    I noticed some of the dry suits boasted Latex or Neoprene cuffs, I would guess latex would be better suited to whitewater applications and the Neoprene, being more comfortable, better suited to an SoT application since odds would be good, you wouldn't be getting submerged.


    I did a search but really came away with nothing related. If there is an old thread please pass a link!
    Thanks!
    Dave




    Thanks for looking and as a reward, here's a nice shot of a perfect Puget Sound day in MA 11 [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide.

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Messages:
    5,959
    Likes Received:
    737
    Location:
    Cranberry Country...a glorified coastal swamp!
    I would also prefer neoprene over latex gaskets on a kayak angling drysuit.
    I've done some research, and I like the Kokatat Angler "Hydrus" drysuit. Can be had for around $600.
    Apparently the "Hydrus" material is an upgrade over the "Tropos" material that was used in the earlier version of this suit.

    Gortex remains as the higher rated, better performing breathable fabric, and is also the most expensive material, so Gortex drysuits will set you back the most. I see them listed in the $800 to $900 + range.

    With any drysuit, you will need to get some good thermal layering to wear underneath. Kayak booties or some other appropriate footwear will be needed. This all could add up to a couple hundred$$ more.

    Also, I have heard that Kokatat's warranty and customer service is excellent.

    NRS makes some great drysuits, too, but I kind of like that Kokatat Angler suit. If I had one, I'd probably even wear it wading on a rainy day.
     
    Eyejuggler likes this.
  3. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    2,025
    Likes Received:
    1,223
    Location:
    The Salt
    minimum would be a good dry top matched to a pair of waders... but the drawback is going to the bathroom if you cannot run to shore versus a full drysuit with relief zipper.

    i have used both of the above and tested both of them while practicing self-rescues. the dry top and waders will keep you mostly dry although the dry top i have has a neoprene neck so there was more water intrusion than the rubber gaskets in my kokotat dry suit.

    i would get the rubber gaskets if you want to spend any time paddling far from shore where getting wet and cold is far more serious than 5 minutes from the launch.
     
    Eyejuggler likes this.
  4. martyg

    martyg Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    161
    Location:
    The world at large
    Well, if odds are good that you won't be submerged, and if you don't want latex gaskets, why screw with a drysuit??? Cuz' guess what??? Neeprene cuffs don't keep out water - therefore you don't have a drysuit. Plus, latex gaskets do require some care getting into and out of so you don't rip them, and they do require occasional replacement.

    A good option for a poor man's drysuit is to use a dry top with your chest high waders.
     
    Krusty likes this.
  5. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    2,025
    Likes Received:
    1,223
    Location:
    The Salt
    one more piece of kayak gear that should always be worn is a lifejacket, especially in cold water.
     
  6. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide.

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Messages:
    5,959
    Likes Received:
    737
    Location:
    Cranberry Country...a glorified coastal swamp!
    I don't have a dry suit. Since I usually just use my Tarpon SOT to fish out along the jetties here from mid March thru mid Oct, and keep it parked in my garage for the Winter, I wear one of my wetsuits. Once the water temps drop below 50 and the air gets cold, I can't stay out all that long in my kayaking wetsuit before I start feeling the cold creep in from my toes and fingertips (I don't wear gloves when fishing or paddling, and my feet are usually wet since I wade out when launching, and often hang them over the sides when fishing).

    I would not feel comfortable heading out on the ocean or the harbor entrance wearing waders and a dry top.

    Besides, my 3mm NRS Ultra John has a relief zipper! I layer a longsleeve 1.5 mm neoprene top under my farmer john, and wear a splash jacket over all of that, to break the wind chill and keep the rain off. With a wetsuit, cold rain and wind can chill you out fairly quickly, unless you have a splash jacket or even some rain gear over it.
    But like I said, this is a 3-season getup. I get cold after about an hour or so when surfing in my 5mm winter suit once the water temps fall into the mid-upper 40's and the air temps get cold. While a quick surf session followed by a hot shower is do-able, and often invigorating in cold conditions, I don't enjoy long hours paddling a yak on the water with frozen fingers and hypothermia setting in.
     
  7. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,128
    Likes Received:
    2,870
    Location:
    Central WA
    Jim, for even more warmth, try putting a pair of cheap nylon wind or rain pants on over the wetsuit bottoms.

    I really like the Kokatat 'paddling' suits like Jim mentioned; I have the old Tropos one. With the built-in socks, your feet will be dry and with latex gaskets at the wrists, you won't get your arms wet. The comfy neoprene at the neck keeps it from being a full-blown drysuit but still keeps all but a trickle of water out even if you swim in big waves (assuming you are also wearing a tight pfd). Like breathable waders, your warmth still comes from the layers beneath it so be sure to get one large enough for lots of winter layers.
     
    Eyejuggler likes this.
  8. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide.

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Messages:
    5,959
    Likes Received:
    737
    Location:
    Cranberry Country...a glorified coastal swamp!
    Thanks for the tip, Freestone. I've done that, and it works great.
    I also often use cheap rain pants over nylon shorts or boardshorts for paddling in the estuaries and tidal creeks in my Ultimate 12.
    They work fine to keep the bugs from chewing my legs, and offer protection from the sun, rain, and spray. In cooler weather, I'll wear thermal longjohns under my nylon shorts, with the rain pants over those.
    In cooler weather and with colder water, if I think that I'm going to be stepping out of my boat and wading when I'm upstream paddling a tidal creek, I'll wear my waders.
     
  9. Eyejuggler

    Eyejuggler Beech Nut

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Messages:
    963
    Likes Received:
    840
    Location:
    Tacoma
    Home Page:
    Thank you all for the input. I am leaning to the full suit, but the dry top and waders bottom is an option I did not think of. Either way is a winner, I just want to be able to get out there and not fret if conditions are poor or something freakish happens. Shortly after getting the kayak, I was out and as I was removing a hook from an SRC, I got too absorbed in the process and dumped myself in the drink. Fortunately it was shallow and the middle of Summer or I would have been in a light pickle :)
    Neoprene is not water proof but I don't plan on being immersed much so comfort is key. I really love the boat and the flexibility it provides and I do not want winter to curtail the fun :)
    Thanks again for the tips, I will post what I do for informational purposes :)
    Cheers,
    Dave
     
  10. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    2,025
    Likes Received:
    1,223
    Location:
    The Salt
    eyejuggler,

    one of the best things you can do is spend some time practicing re-entry into your kayak. start in shallow enough water to put your feet on the bottom if necessary.

    you don't want your first re-entry to be when you're in crappy conditions or deep water.

    chris
     
  11. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide.

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Messages:
    5,959
    Likes Received:
    737
    Location:
    Cranberry Country...a glorified coastal swamp!
    Key words here are "should always be worn." A kayak angler on the N Fork Lewis is missing and presumed drowned. His yak was found yesterday with his PFD on board. His PFD did a great job of keeping his yak from drowning.
    Another Darwin Award candidate.
     
  12. dfl

    dfl Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Messages:
    317
    Likes Received:
    130
    Location:
    Sequim WA
    Wear a boat that keeps you dry. SOTs are a disaster looking for a place to happen in winter.
     
  13. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,128
    Likes Received:
    2,870
    Location:
    Central WA
    I totally disagree! Being improperly dressed for immersion is a disaster waiting to happen no matter what type of craft one paddles. Add to it not wearing a pfd and/or not having adequate skills & knowledge and one will be in trouble in any watercraft.
     
    Eyejuggler likes this.
  14. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    2,025
    Likes Received:
    1,223
    Location:
    The Salt
    bingo, even washington state's "warm" saltwater will kill you. from an immersion standpoint there's very little difference between august and january.
     
  15. martyg

    martyg Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    161
    Location:
    The world at large
    I have to agree with both of these statements, and can totally appreciate where dlf is coming from. If you are out in anything but conditions suitable for your skill level and don't have a bomb proof roll to both sides - and wearing a boat that you can roll - you are asking for trouble.

    To Chris's point re August or January... It is extremely rare to see anyone on the water in the South Sound in the winter. In summer people are everywhere - but it is not like I would count on them. You are just out there by yourself. And once you make it to shore in winter you will be greeted by 45 degrees and rain instead of sun warmed rocks for your walk out. Likewise if you crawl back on your boat most summer days you will recover. In winter it is not as casual.