Professor Paddle: dry top vs wet suit?
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dda_50
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  Quote dda_50 Replybullet Topic: dry top vs wet suit?
    Posted: 22 Apr 2015 at 10:48pm
I just got back into kayaking about a month ago. All I have been wearing paddling so far is my rash guard long sleeve and a shortie semi dry top and I've been OK, but edging on chilled by the end 2-3 hour whitewater trips.
So my dilemma; wet suit or dry top? I lean towards wet suit because I like swimming (recreationally, not out of my boat)but a dry top would be mean that I was totally, well, dry.   
A dry suit is pretty much out of the question...too expensive.
Thoughts...?
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SOPBOATER
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  Quote SOPBOATER Replybullet Posted: 22 Apr 2015 at 10:52pm
Buy a used dry suit. There is no substitute. I've bought Kokatat gor TeX meridian suits in near new shape for less than you would spend on most tops and wet suits.
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  Quote imageAK Replybullet Posted: 23 Apr 2015 at 8:21am
What he ∆∆∆ said. There's one on the fsbo section right now for $150. And I happen to know he has a red level six one with an intact neck gasket too for about the same.
aint nobody got time for that!
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Trevorb
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  Quote Trevorb Replybullet Posted: 23 Apr 2015 at 8:52am
You can also check Mythic drysuits out. http://www.mythicdrysuits.com/collections/drysuits
$250-$325 for a good entry level drysuit. I've heavily used mine since December, both creek & playboating. So far it has held up well. They don't have a sprayskirt tunnel which kinda sucks, but being frigid cold sucks harder.
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JayN
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  Quote JayN Replybullet Posted: 23 Apr 2015 at 9:09am
Wow, those mythic drysuit prices are crazy.  That would have been awesome in college. 
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LisaF
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  Quote LisaF Replybullet Posted: 23 Apr 2015 at 9:50am
For late spring/summer paddling, nothing beats neoprene shorts and a drytop. The water is always cold, so a swim in anything less could lead to a massive chill.
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jP
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 23 Apr 2015 at 11:30am
I still believe that a farmer john wetsuit AND a drytop ( not "or") is a good "poor man's drysuit". Then, later you can also get a shorty farmer john wetsuit and have pretty good system. Keep adding sh*t like a shorty splash top and now you are set for all but the coldest conditions.

Of course, if you really want to get after it in this sport, nothin beats a drysuit. But winter is a ways off so it would suck to be stuck w/ a drysuit without other options in your wardrobe. Once october hits tho, you'll want one for sure. Many would argue that Oct-Dec is the best season to boat round theze here parts...

That said, there are other ways to mitigate a winter of paddling w/ a wetsuit/drytop combo:

Stay upright. Don't swim, but even better- don't capsize. People act like that's unreasonable when I suggest such things, but it isn't unreasonable at all if you know your limitations.I would argue that for the most part peeps ought to paddle enough within their ability to generally ensure Infrequent swims. Those who inadequately gauge their limits are only rolling the dice and sooner or later expose themselves to greater risks than are necessary to truly enjoy this sport.

Be a paddler, instead of being a piece of driftwood bobbing downstream. When you make more of an aerobic activity of the sport, you not only stay warmer, but you progress much quicker. Then guess what? You are reinforcing point number 1 (you will capsize less often if you constantly strive to refine and polish your technical skill). Catch difficult eddies on easy stretches of water where the consequences are low. You will be less bored and you will sharpen your sword at the same time. And you will stay warm. Bobbing and floating down the obvious main trunk of current is for dweebs who stay stuck in the "shallow end" of The River. Endeavor to paddle in the "Deep End" instead. Your blood will circulate more and you will stay warmer.

Eat plenty of calories before and after, during if need be. That will offset not having a fancy pants drysuit.

But if you really rely want to be *AVID*, might as well try to start hookin up that drysuit by august or september so you gots it to carry ya through the winter.

🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋
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LisaF
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  Quote LisaF Replybullet Posted: 23 Apr 2015 at 12:12pm
JP had a good point about not being "driftwood." I remember something I read very early in my paddling career; the author said (and I'm paraphrasing here): "anyone can just float down the river; if that's all you want to do, you may as well just get an innertube."
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stevej
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  Quote stevej Replybullet Posted: 23 Apr 2015 at 10:13pm
IF you decide a farmer john wet suit and a dry top are the way you go, you can always add a set of Kokatat Bibs later on....they mate up with the dry top to make a dry suit. I've been using this set up for a long time. Long sleeve dry top for the cold days....short sleeve dry top for the not so cold days. Nothing beats a short sleeve dry suit with cold water and warm days.
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  Quote SOPBOATER Replybullet Posted: 24 Apr 2015 at 8:08am
If you are going Kokatat bibs route or any other route other than a dry suit hit me up. I have a ton of nearly new gear that I just don't wear cause I dry suit it year round. Remember a dry suit is also so you can Wade for an hour keeping your buddy stable in a pin or some other such emergency. For me a dry suit isn't about comfort as much as safety.
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dda_50
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  Quote dda_50 Replybullet Posted: 24 Apr 2015 at 8:16am
Thanks for all the feedback everyone! SopBoater, what great do your have? I'd be a size large
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