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Seattle Area Sea Kayaking Meetup Group Message Board Skills Development Discussions › Reason to wear a dry suit this time of year.

Reason to wear a dry suit this time of year.

user 7967064
Seattle, WA
Post #: 16
Here's a story from the Pennensula Daily News about a person who wound-up in the water and needed to be rescued by the Coast Guard. Thankfully this person was wearing a dry suit which probably kept them from going deeper into hypothermia.


NOTE: The Salish Sea temperature doesn't change very much between now and summer.

This person probably wasn't planning on capsizing, but for what ever reason ended-up in the water out of their kayak. I hope to see fewer people in their cotton outerwear on future paddles for the safety of themselves.
A former member
Post #: 2
This is awesome, thank you for the link! This guy would not be with us anymore if not for the drysuit.

I wear a drysuit year-round out here. I just keep dousing my hat in the summer to keep my temperature reasonable.

Drysuits are the bomb. Mine has upped my confidence and skill level immensely!

A former member
Post #: 1
I'm new to the PNW. I understand that a dry suit would be best, but as we all know, they are pricey. I don't own one. I generally paddle in a good dry-top and a 2mm farmer john. I wonder if people would comment what they view as the next best thing to a full dry-suit, and any special considerations for those alternatives.

- Dan
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 158

Drysuits can be found on Craigslist for under $100 probably about once a month or so and under $200 most days. I used a wetsuit for years and bought my first drysuit last year, it moves you from hypothermic survival mode to being able to step through what you need to do rather methodically. Like anything we do it's a matter of prioritization, beer or drysuit, hmmm.
A former member
Post #: 3
Yes, drysuits are exPENsive!

There is an alternative I've seen people use w/good results; Kokatat makes bibs called "Whirlpool bibs" (in gore-tex and their lightweight Tropos fabric). The bib comes all the way up to your armpits, and it has a waistband that interacts w/a drytop's waist tunnel. You can layer fleece pants under them. I think the Tropos ones run about $200. Combined with the compression from a PFD, these can keep you dry for a capsize you recover from. But for an extended period in the water/survival situation, a drysuit is tops.

If you're new to the NW, I'd recommend getting in the water for a spell. We do drills in our drysuits (rescues, eternal quest for THE ROLL), and after a half-hour I've lost a lot of strength (even with fleece layered under the suit), and after an hour I'm done, toast; weak as a kitten. It's a sobering proposition. This water WILL kill you if you hang out in it.

Fleece-lined/surfskin balaclavas are also really nice in the winter wind/rain!
user 7967064
Seattle, WA
Post #: 17
I've heard of people using dry pants with a dry top with some success. The problem I see with this combo is more places for the water to leak under. Water soaked clothing invites hypothermia that much quicker.

Another thing to consider when purchasing dry pants or a drysuit is having the socks built into the unit. If the pants do not have dry socks built in your feet will always be wet. Cold wet feet will start the rest of your body feeling colder faster.

For people who want a better understanding, I'd suggest you put January 1, 2012 on your calendar for Kayak Academy's cold water workshop to learn how to dress in the event you find yourself a swimmer in cold water. In the mean time start saving to puchase a drysuit.
Dana G.
user 13004954
Seattle, WA
Post #: 1
Having attended the Jan 1 event for the first time, I can second this. The water in Lake Sammamish was 34 degrees. I foolishly had only neoprene shorts and a fleece vest under my dry suit. I was able to hang out in the water for between five and ten minutes. During the rescues (supported, not solo rescues) I got *cold*. This was in a drysuit with built-in feet. If I had been wet after my dunkings, I would have needed help immediately.
user 7967064
Seattle, WA
Post #: 20
Kayak Academy has cancelled their January 1, 2012 Cold Water Workshop since Bob is no longer working for them. See "http://www.roguewavea...­ for more info on the January 1, 2012 PSPN Cold Water Workshop at concrete beach at Magnuson Park.
A former member
Post #: 35
I left the Kayak Academy and started my own business (Rogue Wave Adventures) this year but started and continue to host this event since 2006.

The Puget Sound Paddlers Network Cold Water Workshop is on New Years day at Sail Sandpoint starting at noon till around 3pm

Our traditional "come swim in what you paddle in" swim is simply a test of the garments you believe will protect you during a capsize in a kayak. All are welcome to do this swim in anything they choose, wetsuit, drysuit, birthday suit. It doesn't matter. We just want you to know what's going to work best for you.

After the swim, we delve into a short session of cold water rescues to help refresh your memory as how to in a less forgiving environment.

Email or call us for more info if you like. 206-321-0011 or
user 7967064
Seattle, WA
Post #: 22
Ayoung man recently passed away in Spokane, WA from a kayaking related incident. I suspect a contributing factor was hypothermia and this person wasn't dressed to go swimming in the cold water.

In this case it sounds like the water conditions were near flat calm when the paddle started, then the wind kicked-up.­
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