I live in MN, and have paddled in about 50 degree water temp which is about the lowest temp I have paddled.
I have had opportunities to paddle with others lately, but the water temp is around 38-40 degrees & I don't have a wetsuit or drysuit. After some reading, I know everyone recommends a drysuit, but I don't have $1,000 to fork out for one right now. So what's the best alternative? 7mm wetsuit ?? Will that do the job if I swim in 38 degree water? I mostly run rivers & can swim to shore pretty quick if I have to. Will a 7mm wetsuit keep me warm enough AFTER I get to shore. Most the runs I do are in the middle of nowhere & can take hours to get to the take out site. So, would I be OK running several more miles after a swim with a wetsuit?
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I Don't Know the Answers...|
Posted by: Kudzu on Nov-28-12 6:09 PM (EST)
to your questions about wetsuits. But... keep an eye out for deals on drysuits. Some years back NRS was discontinuing a model and blowing stock out the door in the $300 range.
Posted by: willowleaf on Nov-28-12 6:13 PM (EST)
7 mm is too thick|
Posted by: rjd9999 on Nov-28-12 9:55 PM (EST)
for paddling. Most will recommend 3 mm for occasional immersion and that will work fine for most people down to about 55F. I've worn a 3mm suit for ocean activities in SF and Monterey bay (and the coast south of Monterey) and it is fine, for me, anyway down to 55F or so.
Posted by: sing on Nov-28-12 7:12 PM (EST)
Posted by: sing on Nov-28-12 7:22 PM (EST)
I would say that if you are significantly obese and/or underweight for your height, you may not find a good fitting wetsuit. This would compromise how well the wetsuit functions by minimizing flush through (which should be just a trickle while immersed). In this case, better off with the looser, "Glad bag" fit and/or multiple folded fabric of the sleeves and legs of a drysuit.
Obese not an issue ...|
Posted by: seadart on Nov-28-12 8:01 PM (EST)
I've noticed some really fat guys out on SUPs lately. They seem to find enough rubber to cover themselves.
Posted by: johnysmoke on Nov-29-12 11:45 PM (EST)
Any idea on a good surf hood? Been getting flushed with a mystery skin cap, starting to get the ice cream headache.
What's Your Head Size?|
Posted by: sing on Nov-30-12 8:41 PM (EST)
I have several separate surfing hoodies (size L) that I don't use anymore. If it's hoodie and mitt time, I am in my 5/4/3 with the integrated hood.
Probably around a large...|
Posted by: johnysmoke on Dec-01-12 9:33 AM (EST)
Would appreciate a hood, will keep the old noggin from icing up...
thnk you very much!|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Nov-29-12 9:50 AM (EST)
I'm in the market and resisting the drysuit (have one, it doesn't keep me from sweating).
Hard to say|
Posted by: pblanc on Nov-28-12 7:17 PM (EST)
Different people seem to have differing tolerance to cold water immersion.
Posted by: booztalkin on Nov-28-12 10:11 PM (EST)
One of these days I will take issue with Pblanc, but not on this.
Don't forget head gear and plugs|
Posted by: Kocho on Nov-28-12 11:39 PM (EST)
A nice warm neo hood and ear plugs make a huge difference if you get your head wet. Ear plugs I also find very useful, even if I have a hood that covers my ears. Cold water in the ear could disorient you very dangerously and quickly plus it is said to cause surfer's/swimmer's/kayaker's ear (bone growth in the ear canal that reduces its diameter and your hearing ability over time).
Posted by: daggermat on Nov-29-12 5:15 AM (EST)
with a bombproof roll you could get by with a drytop and wetsuit underneath. This subject of yours is an annual thing here in the northeast...and in the end, everybody I know wears a drysuit. No need to spend the grand, I find the pee zip option unnecessary, booties a must but they're pretty much a standard these days.
Lots of good advice here|
Posted by: rpg51 on Nov-29-12 7:05 AM (EST)
I agree with all of it. Even today, on an extended trip I often paddle in cold water with no wet or dry suit and even do lake crossings and the like. I am aware of the dangers and I do take precautions. My tolerance for rough water, white water, and wind, goes waaaaay down in that sort of situation because I understand that the risks are much much higher and I am literally taking my life in my hands. Also, and this may be the single most important thing I do, I try not to go out in these conditions without at least one other boat paddling with me. There is huge safety in numbers.
Wetsuit after a swim|
Posted by: Celia on Nov-29-12 9:08 AM (EST)
Posted by: glendorado on Nov-29-12 9:45 AM (EST)
the responses I would get would be diverse. A little more info: I am 6' 170 Lbs so fitting a suit for me is not a problem. I also ALWAYS paddle with at least one other paddler in cold temps. I have a small & a large dry bag as well. The issue is maybe having to hike it out several miles if things go bad-losing my boat & dry bag. Gotta plan for the worst. Or do I just avoid my favorite paddling spots & just make runs that are safer & a short hike if things go bad? Pick by battles?
you answered your own question.|
Posted by: daggermat on Nov-29-12 10:16 AM (EST)
Posted by: Jaybabina on Nov-29-12 3:35 PM (EST)
You really didn't say what conditions you're paddling in and the likelihood of a capsize or a wet exit. Can you roll?
Posted by: sing on Nov-29-12 3:40 PM (EST)
If Your PFD has pockets|
Posted by: sing on Nov-30-12 8:38 PM (EST)
then losing the craft and the drybags and emergency gear, can be somewhat offset by keeping a space blanket (windbreak layer), matches and/or windproof lighter and a compass in your PFD pockets. These should get you through a short hike (less than several miles) and or an overnight in cold temps.
Ok, Individual Perhaps...|
Posted by: sing on Nov-29-12 2:11 PM (EST)
I've seen it.|
Posted by: jcbikeski on Nov-29-12 2:55 PM (EST)
I've paddled around wearing a wetsuit feeling just fine, got out at a rest landing and became pretty cold when there is a wind. I don't get the same level of effect wearing a drysuit. I'm sure if you exercise enough (walking rather than resting) or have any form of wind break you won't notice it so much. And if your wetsuit is VERY warm then you may get cooler but still warm enough not to mind.
And, The Flip Side...|
Posted by: sing on Nov-29-12 3:21 PM (EST)
Yup, it is very much so|
Posted by: Celia on Nov-29-12 3:29 PM (EST)
Dry Top and Waders|
Posted by: ShadyClip on Nov-29-12 12:15 PM (EST)
You might want to consider a dry top and breathable neoprene stocking foot waders if you are looking for a cheaper option. I have been pairing my bib style waders with just the NRS Paddle boots and with all that neoprene down there your feet stay dry and warm in the water. I use two wading belts -- one at my waist (mandatory to use) and one at the chest (might be overkill). Throw the jacket on over that and then a nice tight PFD. You end up with a lot of straps reducing the ability of water to enter.
bio. states cl.1-4 kayaking|
Posted by: daggermat on Nov-29-12 12:23 PM (EST)
anything 2 or over is what my opinion is based on. That long trek through the woods comes into play as well.
Its nothing to fool with that is for sur|
Posted by: rpg51 on Nov-29-12 11:15 PM (EST)
e. I did once get a good solid touch of hypothermia that scared me and I am more cautious now. It was summer. But it was in the arctic. On the Clarke river. It went from 75 degrees and gorgeous calm weather to sleet and freezing rain and winds I'm guessing in the 35 mph range. I got damp trying to keep our tarp up and a fire going. All of a sudden I realized I was shivering and could not stop. I dove into my tent stripped off all my clothes and got into my very warm down bag. Took hours but I did warm up. It was the first or second night of my first trip in the arctic. I was worried perhaps I had bitten off more than I could chew. We were 500 miles from the nearest human being. It dawned on my that the only thing between me and death was my tent and my bag. Thankfully I had a very good tent and bag, and they both held up well. No trees to tie to or to break the wind. Tent was being held down by boulders on the corners. Rattled to beat the band all night long. I remember thinking for a while that we might be in very serious trouble. But, the next day the weather broke and we had a glorious two weeks on the Thelon catching big grayling and trout and watching all sorts of wildlife. I'll never forget that trip.
Dry vs. Wet (suit)|
Posted by: Kocho on Nov-30-12 11:15 AM (EST)
Thanks, A Nuanced Response...|
Posted by: sing on Nov-30-12 8:24 PM (EST)
Heavy wool ancient Boy Scout sleep bag|
Posted by: Celia on Nov-30-12 6:12 PM (EST)
One of these saved my life once. Got wet in a summer T-storm, temperature dropped and stayed down after and I was already running undernourished and dry. Had no shelter, just the bag. Young and foolishly optimistic. I climbed into that old thing with not many brain cells operating and woke up a few hours later realizing that I had accidentally done the right thing.
Posted by: glendorado on Nov-30-12 7:37 PM (EST)
water temp here is now at 33-34 degrees. There are a few paddlers going out this sunday to paddle some play holes. Found out some are wearing drysuits, some wetsuits, some wetsuits with drytops. I guess it just boils down to $$ and what your comfortable with (cold wise)obviously living in MN I am used to the cold, so any of these scenarios would probably work for me as long as I don't take a prolonged swim. Found this link from Jackson kayak about cold weather paddling. Pretty good insight.http://jacksonkayak.com/blog/2011/01/13/how-to-stay-toasty-warm-in-the-winter/
Check out ebay |
Posted by: QCHiker on Nov-30-12 8:07 PM (EST)
Check out ebay for good dry suits. There are usually pretty good deals on there where someone bought one and out grew it or didn't end up using it for some trip that they needed it for and are now getting rid of it.
Posted by: sing on Nov-30-12 8:47 PM (EST)
when it comes to the hands in true winter paddling, I recommend NRS toaster mitts as the best and least expensive bet. With hands coverage, I have tried most of the options. Or you can spend hundreds (probably close to a thousand) bucks as I have to come to that conclusion.
I totally agree|
Posted by: Jaybabina on Dec-01-12 9:45 AM (EST)
My turn to agree.
and nothing about a wetsuit? |
Posted by: daggermat on Dec-01-12 9:12 PM (EST)
I understand Sings using a wetsuit in surf conditions, where you are immersed in the water, and the car is generally in the parking lot, salt water conditions, no shuttle, humping it past the surf line, etc....EJ talks about staying DRY, because on the river, you do have a choice.
Posted by: qajaqer2 on Dec-02-12 9:23 AM (EST)
Whether a wetsuit/drysuit is for you can also depend on you and your body. I ran a Thanksgiving road race on 30's temp. and when it was over, walked to the car and immediately took off all of my sweaty clothing and put on new socks, undies,sweats etc. Drove in a warm car about 30 minutes to a Denny's for breakfast. Got inside, had a hot cup of tea and then started shivering. I couldn't stop. Husband had to go out to the car and get his jacket too. I wouldn't wear anything that stayed wet now. You never know.
sounds like dehydration|
Posted by: daggermat on Dec-02-12 9:42 AM (EST)
the tea, while warm, is a mild diuretic. Your body is a radiator, and to work properly, needs fluid.
Either that, or fatigue|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Dec-02-12 10:09 AM (EST)