Newbie kayaker shoulder season kayaking question

SwannyBC

New Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2021
Messages
2
Location
Vancouver
Hi.
I live in English Bay, Vancouver and just started kayaking this last summer with a modular Point 65 Tequila kayak. I mostly Kayak off Spanish Banks and into False Creek and want to continue kayaking into the Fall. I am looking at buying a wetsuit but not sure what I need. The kayak is sit-on-top and quite stable, but I do get wet. Would a 3mm full suit be warm enough into later October/November (I’d only be going out on calm days)? MEC has a Farmer John bib style 3mm which I could wear with a jacket. I like the fact that it would allow more ease of movement when paddling, but concerned that if I did fall in that the exposed arms wouldn’t keep me warm enough until I got to shore (also seems like that style would allow cold water to flush into the suit). I am also going to get some neoprene boots.
Any suggestions would be really helpful.
 

AM

Paddler
Joined
Jan 30, 2006
Messages
963
Location
Vancouver
Wellcome. Most of us start of with a farmer john and splash jacket, a combination that offers enough protection to mitigate the risk of cold water. Of course, it is also wise, as you indicate, to choose your paddling conditions and your route accordingly. One suggestion would be to “handrail”: that is, follow the shore as you paddle, avoiding large crossings or getting so far out that you would be in trouble if you capsized and couldn’t recover.

Your route is a good one for risk management. In the event that something goes wrong, you can get out anywhere along the Kits foreshore, plus you have two yacht clubs and the CCG station near at hand. Carrying a cell phone in a waterproof case is a very good idea.

So yes, your plan is workable. The FJ and jacket will not keep you toasty warm but, combined with some sensible route planning, will provide you the margin you are looking for.

Cheers,
Andrew
 

Peter-CKM

Paddler
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Messages
643
Location
San Francisco, CA
3mm is the normal thickness for the farmer John (farmer Jane for women's version).

With covid, not clear what is available on the market right now. But if you have the option, I find a wet suit with a relief zipper is worth the extra cost.
 

sofstu

Paddler
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
103
Location
Kootenays BC
As for the jacket,
I got a Level 6 dry jacket around a year ago at MEC on sale for around $200.
Probably the best $200 I have spent in 5 years.
It does keep my upper body dry, and I can wear thermal wear under it.
What I like most is how much air it traps around my arms.
When you take that swim, that little extra buoyancy sure makes it easier getting back onto your boat.
 
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