drysuits or pants with socks.

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by mbiraman, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. mbiraman

    mbiraman Paddler

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    I had a conversation with an outfitter today who said that wearing pants or dry suit with built in socks are a death trap because if water gets into the legs it will sink you. Now from a physics point of view ( not that i'm a whiz ) that didn't ring true to me at first but when i thought of a plastic bag full of water it would sink wouldn't it ??. What are your guys thoughts on the socks/no socks issue.
     
  2. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Misleading: you won't sink, but extracting yourself from the water in the event of a self-rescue can be tough, as the water balloons into the lower part of the pants/dry suit when you get the rest of your body onto the kayak deck.

    If the pants/dry suit do not allow water into the top, then no problem.

    I had this experience, wearing Chotas, with my FJ inside the Chotas, during a long practice session with multiple water entries -- last haulout, I just about lost the Chotas off my feet as the water settled into them. I suppose this is good prep for the fat ankles we will all have at a late stage! :| :D
     
  3. mbiraman

    mbiraman Paddler

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    Thanks Dave; that was exactly my thinking but like to check out these new things with you folks who been around a while.
     
  4. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Interesting discussion.

    Dave is right -- water in your socks won't sink you but it will create a problem when getting back in your boat -- in such a situation, I'd be inclined to grab my knife and cut a slit at the feet to allow drainage. For water to be inside the suit, it's already compromised -- a couple more cuts aren't going to matter much.

    This might be an interesting scenario to play out near a beach some time -- to allow water in the suit and then try a re-entry. Anyone here ever done this?

    *****
     
  5. KayDubbya

    KayDubbya Paddler

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    I wear pants with socks and a separate dry top when I paddle. It keeps me completely dry 95% of the time. If I fail more than 1 or 2 rolls, I do get some leakage into the pants, but only enough to wet me down inside. I have never had so much water in the pants that I would consider cutting them to get back in my boat. If you expect to be in the water frequently, I'd recommend a full dry suit. OTOH, if you are planning on not being in truly hairy sea conditions or you roll occasionally, (mostly for showing off), you could probably get by with the two piece set up and a few hundred extra dollars in your jeans.

    As with most things, ymmv.
     
  6. blondie

    blondie Paddler

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    I don't think I really buy this one. I used to have a pair of drypants with latex gaskets at the ankle (but no socks). I was doing a lot of wet exits trying to practise my rolls and as these sessions tended to be fairly acrobatic, the pants would begin to let in water at the waist. For the most part, while I was in and out of the boat I didn't notice it so much, and it didn't hinder me from getting back into the boat. Later, when I would get out on the beach I could see masses of water pooled in the pants above the latex gaskets. It was a bit heavy, but not so much as to hinder motion.

    As you are most likely to be wearing some form of booties over your drysuit socks if the suit does take on water it will pool around the ankles. I can see this happening more often with drypants since the waist band can let in some water. There are pluses and minuses to any type of gear, and it's good to test things out so you don't end up with nasty surprized. My two cents: dry feet are a very nice thing to have.
     
  7. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    I worry that I will forget to close my fly zipper properly after using it.

    That too will 'compromise' the suit.

    You won't sink, so long as you are wearing a life jacket, but the suit won't keep you warm anymore. It'd be tough getting back in the boat.
     
  8. mikec

    mikec Paddler

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    whoever told you that should be ashamed of themselves for scaremongering. they are doing a huge disservice to the paddling community by propagating such inane nonsense.

    the event of having a catastrophic suit failure leading to the entire lower half filling with water is so remote the odds of getting hit by lightening or walking off the curb and getting hit by a car are way higher.

    i don't know what shop or outfitter that was, but i would never set foot in there again.

    in the infinitesimally small chance that this did occur, slicing a hole anywhere in the foot or leg would allow water to flow freely.
     
  9. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    A drysuit is a useful tool if you know you are going to get immersed. Playing in surf, riding currents, practicing skills.

    Its overkill for wearing while paddling for the event of accidental capsize. Death by hypothermia is an hour away; more than enough time to get back into your boat.

    In the water you lose most of your heat through your head, armpits, and groin. You don't need dry feet when disaster happens. Many drysuits don't even have a hood. The socks then are nothing more than a comfort that keep your feet dry whenever they enter the water.

    The scenario of having the legs filled with water is only likely if you wear the suit after a failure (or misclosure) of a gasket or a zipper and subsequently tip; very low odds. I guess a tear in the suit would also compromise the integrity but this is really low level probability.

    If you do end up in the water with full socks it is a serious problem, one that may prevent you from getting back into the kayak. And once the suit is compromised and full of water its not keeping you from hypothermia. So don't wear a compromised suit. (That means always carry a spray jacket as a spare)

    I have a knife on my life jacket but I don't know if I would be able to use it cut a hole into the foot of the drysuit while I was in the water. It is pretty tough material.
     
  10. mbiraman

    mbiraman Paddler

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    In fairness to the outfitter they were mostly concerned about dry pants with socks. They weren't trying to scare me, and sometimes people use a poor choice of words to get a point across. In the end they said if i found out any different let them know. I wouldn't hesitate to go back and pick up a piece of gear i wanted if they had it. For me the dry pants is mostly about getting in and out of the kayak in cooler weather, a comfort thing.
     
  11. KayDubbya

    KayDubbya Paddler

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    Which is precisely why I got my pants with the built-in socks. They're perfect for that purpose. Wet, cold feet are the pits!
     
  12. blondie

    blondie Paddler

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    Actually, I can see this point of view. With the drypants that have latex gaskets at least you can pull the latex away from your ankle and drain the legs if need be. I certainly did this on wet occasions. If wearing drypants with socks you couldn't do that. In my opinion, it seems that drypants with socks are good for people who don't intend to be immersed very much. One or two dunkings will give you some drips inside, but repeated immersions will likely result in your pants taking on water, which in addition to being cold, awkward and uncomfortable, might cause extra stress on the pants as water is heavy. In this case you can just choose to wear a wetsuit when you know you'll be doing lots of swimming, and maybe drypants when it's cold out. Once you get your roll down you won't need to worry about repeated swimming anyhow!
     
  13. mbiraman

    mbiraman Paddler

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    "Once you get your roll down" Quote

    Well, small steps,thanks for the encouragement, i'm still getting use to things. I had on a dry jacket last week and it made me claustrophobic. I thought , "this is going to take longer than i thought or maybe i'll be limited to summer. I bought that dry jacket cause it was a good deal, new , 1/2 price, and tried it on last night and already it felt better so there's light at the end of the tunnel. Took my new FJ with me yesterday to do some practicing but in the end didn't feel like it, just paddled along the cliffs of Cape Horn , looking into the mnts, having tea, and feeling what a beautiful day.
     
  14. blondie

    blondie Paddler

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    Yeah, it took me a good three years of practise to really get my roll down. But the process was a lot of fun too. And honestly the benefits are two fold: one, you are pretty sure you can roll up, and two, if your roll does fail you've practised so many wet exits that you know you can re-enter in no time!

    You say your drytop is making you claustrophobic. Is that because the gaskets are too tight? Many people stretch them out some to get a more comfortable fit.
     
  15. mbiraman

    mbiraman Paddler

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    I think its a combination of tightness and me being new to it. Its laying over the back of the chair right now with a bowl in the neck to stretch it some.
    Thanks Blondie
     
  16. nhk750

    nhk750 Paddler

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    A coffee can can be used to stretch the gaskets or you can always cut a layer off the top. Back to the socks in the pants, you got to remember that these dry pants and jackets are designed to be used in whitewater aplications and when you sea kayak you rarely will expeience the same hydraulic forces you experience while in a class V rapid or hole. SO, you can rest assured that your dry pants or jacket will protect you while at sea. There are always people that will have myths to dispell...
     
  17. mbiraman

    mbiraman Paddler

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    So far so good . I've got the dry top where i want it and the pants are great. What happened to summer??,,,,oh yea its october.
     
  18. nhk750

    nhk750 Paddler

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    Summer will be back in around 8 months.....:(