Is my foot or toes going to fall off today?
I was asking myself this one early spring evening as I had my feet in the bathtub running warm water over the top of them.
Even though the sun was out and air temp felt pretty good, I went paddling in some chilly water without my booties. When I got out I couldn't feel my feet! They eventually came back to life in my bathtub but some strange thoughts ran through my head, ha! 🤪
Proper insulated water gear will have you protected and have fun year around. If you are hardcore like that!
For this one, I'll focus on clothing. I’ll go into some personal experience with cold weather gear like a dry suit vs. wetsuit and other things you may consider to keep you safe and toasty while paddling.
I have an older dry suit ( bought back in 2013) that is one piece made of a waterproof thin polyester material. Looks just like a jumpsuit you would wear plunging out of an airplane :)
Layering is easy and a good idea to keep you warm. Great for flatwater paddling and you could keep cooler by adjusting your layers underneath. I have seen some nice new ones on the market that look like they have come a long way! I would check out some reviews and see if my "cons" are still an issue that you'll see below.
- Def keeps you dry
- Baggy and easy to wear
- Rubber Gasket around neck is very uncomfortable(feels like it chokes you)
- Hard to zip
- Air gets trapped inside the suit as you fall into the water and inflates you like a human balloon(makes it difficult to swim)
I would recommend a full-on wetsuit if you are into surfing and or paddling in rough water where you may be taking a plunge often. Get’s a little hot if you are just flatwater paddling and not getting wet. Wetsuits usually come in different styles and thicknesses for water temps.
Common ones you will see are 3/2, 4/3 and 5/4mm thicknesses. The first number(thickest areas) are usually in the core and chest portions of the suit. The second number(a bit thinner areas) are usually in the extremities... legs and arms area.
Most shops and websites will have recommendations on needed thickness base on your area's water temp and time of the year. You'll find you may need multiple suits for different times of the year. How convenient right?! I reccomend visiting your local shop to see how different brands fit and feel to you.
- Form-fitting and neoprene usually has a good stretch to keep you agile
- Keeps you warm
- Material is soft
- Fairly reasonable $
- Hard to get on and off
- Can get hot if not jumping in the water
Other Recommended gear
- neoprene gloves
- neoprene hats/ hood
- neoprene booties
- insulated pants/tops you can use to layer
I personally have both and rarely wear my dry suit. I would rather have thinner 1.5 mm neoprene pants and a similar top/jacket. I also have drysuit type pants that are almost like snowboard pants and I'll combine that with a light neoprene top/jacket when easy flatwater paddling. Much more comfortable than my full drysuit. These usually come in men's and women's sizes.
Some picture examples and links below or visit your local shop:
1.5mm pants link: http://amzn.to/2zOj1iv
Dry pants link: http://amzn.to/2j1Z3Xu
Paddle Jacket 1.5mm: http://amzn.to/2j3YlZF
I wear my wetsuit when I SUP surf.
More eco-friendly gear is coming on the market using bamboo, natural rubber and recycled materials which is always awesome.
It's better to dress properly for the time of year and have fun rather than suffer from numb feet/hands 2 hours after you are done paddling 😰 I've been there.
Hope this helps! Leave any comments below sharing your setup and or you think I missed something epic.