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Wilderness Tripping - BWCA & Beyond New Topic Printer Friendly Version

  Raingear for Paddling on Extended Trips
  Posted by: Murph1 on Oct-02-13 9:43 PM (EST)

Over my fifty years of canoeing, rafting, backpacking, and mountaineering I have used a large quantity of raingear from coated nylon ponchos to expensive Gore tex dry suits. My experience is you get what you are willing to pay for.
Unless you are a very slow paddler any coated nylon parka and pants will leave you soaking wet with in a few hours on the water. Ponchos tend to get blown away from your body in the canoe as it is almost always pretty windy on most lakes and rivers during wet weather.
Wearing an expensive Kokatat or NRS Drysuit in waters which are not particularly cold is over kill and very expensive Suits averaging between $550 and $1,100. There are several brands of Gore tex or other breathable fabric rain parkas, and paddle jackets that will keep you relatively dry and comfortable in most rainy weather. Some manufacturers to consider are, REI, North Face, Marmot, NRS, LL Bean, Cabelas, Sierra Designs, Pantagonia, and Mountain Hardware.
For my upper body in rainy weather I wear either a MTI Adventurwear Kayak Jacket with gusseted cuffs and neck closure or my prized Expedition Solstice Mountain Parka made of three ply Gore tex and Cordura nylon with lapped stitching on all seams. Solstice was a small California company specializing in high end mountaineering clothing. It was bought out by one of the large companies.
For my lower body I either wear my Immersion Research Paddling Pants with neoprene waist and ankle closures or if I have my spray skirt on the canoe I wear shorts or quick dry pants since my lower body is protected by the waist closure.
Anywhere in northern waters where water temperatures are immediately life threatening a dry suit is required.
As for using Froggtoggs for extended trips in wet weather, leave them at home. My wife and I use them on cruise ships to Alaska for walking around towns and escorted excursions, but "never" for serious backcountry paddling or backpacking. Duck take is no substitute for good performance in serious conditions
If my Froggtoggs fail on a cruise it doesnt do much to spoil my day. If they fail sixty to two hundred miles from civilization it taint no fun at all.
Happy paddling!

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