a challenge to you experienced paddlers

Doug

Paddler
Joined
May 9, 2006
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195
Location
Vancouver
Hello,
I've read some discussions here on various paddling gear. In terms of paddling jackets, I was hoping you experienced paddlers could answer this: knowing what you know now, what is the 1st jacket/top you would buy for summer + shoulder season paddling?

My gut feeling tells me that I should get a relatively light-weight waterproof breathable top (cheaper than Gore-tex) that has good rubber gaskets on the wrist. Neoprene neck would be preferred (not a tight latex gasket). This jacket would be complimented with a farmer john wetsuit.

Speaking of farmer john wetsuits, has anyone used a "convertable" wetsuit instead? Convertable means that it is a full length wetuit but the sleeves zip off (keeps the shoulders).

thanks,
 

fester

Paddler
Joined
Aug 3, 2005
Messages
144
NRS stampede shorty. excellent peice of kit. The neoprene neck and arm seals are quite comfortable and do well at keeping out the water
 

Mark_Schilling

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Mar 8, 2005
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"Home by the Sea" - Nanaimo, BC
I have a Kokatat Helix dry top, which is towards the lower end of the price range for a true dry top. It's great for 'shoulder season' paddling when complimented with a wet suit, and I wear it quite often in the summer without a wet suit. It gets rather warm at times so if you can roll to cool off a bit, so much the better (otherwise just cool your head and hands with constant dunking!). It's not super breathable but the latex wrist and neck gaskets make it an excellent year-round top for budget-minded paddlers.
 

Astoriadave

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May 31, 2005
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Astoria, Oregon, USA
Dan_Millsip said:
The Kokatat Gore-Tex Paclite paddling jacket is nice -- it's light weight, breathable, stows very small, and has neoprene cuffs and neck. It's also priced very reasonably at about $170.00.*****
At my instigation, my ex-wife bought one of these a year ago, and she loves it. Very lightweight and very comfortable. She says the neo wrists are pretty good at keeping water out, and a lot more comfy than latex. She has wrist tendonitis problems, and needs less compression than latex provides.

She got the lime, which is not what you want to see if you're hung over in the morning!
 

blondie

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May 29, 2005
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Nanaimo
I have a Gul Spray jacket http://www.bcdive.com/products.php, which is a little lighter, and perfectly comfortable for summer and shoulder paddling. It has a simple breathable membrane, velcro adjustable rubber wrist seals, and velcro adjustable neoprene neck, and neoprene waistband. The adjustable nature does tend to leak a bit during immersion, but it will keep you mostly dry until about the third consecutive immersion. I find the ability for venting is a good trade off if you're not planning on a lot of swimming. The jacket is simple, but I've used it year round so far.
 

Mark_Schilling

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"Home by the Sea" - Nanaimo, BC
Sounds like this is Blondie's jacket (the link in her post doesn't point to a specific item):



Gul - Sphere Breathable Spray Jacket

A waterproof, breathable spray jacket with a neoprene waist band, adjustable wrist seals, and a venting adjustable neoprene neck seal.

Cost: $ 129.99
 

blondie

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May 29, 2005
Messages
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Location
Nanaimo
Mark_Schilling said:
Sounds like this is Blondie's jacket (the link in her post doesn't point to a specific item):
Gul - Sphere Breathable Spray Jacket
Yup! That's the one. The Gul Essential rider mentioned has an elasticized waistband.
 

Mark_Schilling

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Mar 8, 2005
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"Home by the Sea" - Nanaimo, BC
The Re-Action is also a good jacket - it seems very similar to the Helix, with the exception that it has a neoprene neck cuff in place of the latex gasket found on the Helix, and also a slightly different tunnel tube at the waist.
 

Kasey

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Aug 20, 2005
Messages
767
Location
Kelowna, BC
Is it worth it to go the extra price of Gore-Tex? or do these fabrics provide the same amount of breathability? I also am thinking I have to buy a good paddling jacket right quick here but am worried that if I cheap out and don't buy Gore-Tex I won't be happy with it...
 

Mark_Schilling

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I don't own a shred of Gore-tex - but not because I don't like it. It's just quite a bit more expensive than I can usually justify. I'm sure Gore-tex is infinitely more breathable, and therefore comfortable, than any of the cheaper 'waterproof breathable' fabrics out there, including Tropos. I've been happy with my Tropos jackets, although it's quite easy to overheat in them. So, for what it's worth, I'd say if you have the extra cash for true Gore-tex, go for it. But in my opinion, a less expensive dry top is better than no dry top at all. Every one of my shoulder-season paddling trips has been infinitely more enjoyable with latex wrist gaskets - it's quite a treat to get to camp with dry arms after paddling around in glorified rain jackets before finally purchasing a 'proper' paddling jacket or dry top.
 

Dan_Millsip

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Mar 8, 2005
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Beautiful BC
I've owned several Gore-Tex garments and am completely sold on them. They work well. My preference is the XCR version as it's extremely breathable -- unfortunately, it's also the most expensive -- but for my money, I'd rather spend the extra dollars for the additional comfort.

I had a Kokatat Tropos paddling jacket and wasn't overly impressed -- after about a half hour of paddling I would notice a puddle forming in the elbows -- a puddle of perspiration, yech.

I do agree with Mark that a cheaper waterproof breathable dry top is better than no dry top at all but I'd still opt for the best that I could afford, even if it meant saving a while for it.

*****
 

Astoriadave

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May 31, 2005
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Astoria, Oregon, USA
Dan_Millsip said:
I've owned several Gore-Tex garments and am completely sold on them. They work well. My preference is the XCR version as it's extremely breathable -- unfortunately, it's also the most expensive -- but for my money, I'd rather spend the extra dollars for the additional comfort.
Absolutely. I've owned and worn out a couple generations of Goretex PJ's, and the latest dry top is an XCR, which is quite a bit more breathable.

What evenually fails is the coating at the edges of the seam tape ... but Kokatat has been giving me real deals on garments when I send in a failed one. Great value over the long haul.
 

Doug

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May 9, 2006
Messages
195
Location
Vancouver
Dan_Millsip said:
I had a Kokatat Tropos paddling jacket and wasn't overly impressed -- after about a half hour of paddling I would notice a puddle forming in the elbows -- a puddle of perspiration, yech.
Wow, that doesn't sound too good. I wonder how the Tropos material compares to the GCX of Gul? I think I'll need to make a trip out to Abby.

FWIW, I've never been completely convinced of the price vs. performance of Gore-Tex. However, kayaking may be one of the areas where this material really does shine. My experience with Gore-Tex for hiking, biking and skiing is that it doesn't breathe enough to fully vent perspiration from hard excercise and that it was not worth the trouble for trying to keep 100% dry. For cooler weather paddling I can see Gore-Tex being very usefull though. For warmer weather paddling I think I would opt for breathing as opposed to water-proof.
 

Komatiq

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Jul 23, 2005
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152
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Vancouver Island
:oops: I'm starting to feel like a bit of a gear nut........

During warmer weather I usually use my Whites paddling top, neo/velcro closures at wrists and neck. If it's snotty out I opt for a full drytop with latex seals or use the Brooks tuliq i got a couple of years ago.

All 3 can get a little warm and I expect even goretex will but to a lesser extent. Never tried the goretex so take that with a grain of salt.

If I had to stick to 1 the tuliq would get the nod.
 

Rod

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Jun 1, 2006
Messages
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Location
Vancouver
Goretex XCR breathes better than any other fabrics I've tried, and if kept relatively free of salt accumulation, stays waterproof. I like latex wrist seals because the neoprene ones I've tried leaked. XCR is expensive, but I think worth it. I like the fit of Kokatat and Palm.
Not being too hot while paddling is of course an issue, but the main purpose of a drytop is protection in cold water immersion, and to me that takes precedence when deciding what jacket to use in conditions where I might get wet (like surfing or breaking waves, not just rolling over).
 

greg0rn

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Oct 15, 2005
Messages
683
Location
Victoria
It's winter now and my wife says that I should get a waterproof paddling jacket (finally, after several years of kayaking!) General consensus here is that Goretex XCR is the most breathable fabric. Now, Kokatat has that Tectour Anorak model in XCR that I like.

Do any of you have that model? I need your opinion on suitability of it for occasional paddling trips. I'm not planning to roll my Klondike, but need a jacket that will keep me warm and dry in autumn/winter/spring weather.

By the way, I did some window shopping today and found one medium size, mango in MEC in Victoria. The price was unbeliveable: $290. Checked for my XL size, but they only had that one jacket left in the whole of Canada. Anyone there that wants one?
 
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