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Outer Layer Guidelines


alcoons

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Can someone remind me about the formal NSPN water temperature guidelines for outer layers (Dry Suits, Wet Suits)?

I have been very happy with my Hyroskin pants and I think I am correct in saying more and more of us are using this wonderful fabric under appropriate conditions. Anyone have suggestions on where it might fit in with our guidelines?

Thanks,

Al

Al Coons

Eddyline Nighthawk

Red/White

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Hi Al,

The only official rule that I know of is that a wet or dry suit is required October thru June for NSPN trips.

Kayakers do have a rule of thumb that says water temp below 50 degrees you should be in a dry suit. This is a personal choice though. I tend to fall on the side of safety and usually wear my dry suit until the water is well into the 50's. Of course you can also take the air temp into consideration as well. If it's 80 out, and the water is 50, I would most likely go with a wetsuit or fuzzy rubber etc. and a dry top. If the water was 60 and the air 40, I may go with the dry suit. The other thing to consider is your skill level, conditions and who else you are paddling with. What are the chances you will end up swimming for an extended period of time. The best way to figure out what works best for you is to take a swim (close to shore) with your various items of clothing and see how cold you get. With water temps currently in the mid 40's I think you will find that hydroskin doesn't keep you nearly as warm as a drysuit.

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>With water temps currently in the mid 40's I think you will find that

>hydroskin doesn't keep you nearly as warm as a drysuit.

Hydroskin -- to say the least! I think you'd need at least a dry top with 3mm neoprene, full farmer john wet suit. Even with that, as our esteemed TL trainers of yore usedta say, "If you swim, you'll be cold, butcha won't die." Of course, in the TLT, it wasn't "if". But there were also plenty of eager folks in training around to fish you out reasonably quickly.

--David.

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Al:

There is no official water tempature policy in NSPN to my knowledge. Bill is correct that we have used a rule of thumb: wetsuits below 60 degrees and drysuits below 50 degrees. But the requirement for any trip is up to the trip leader, depending on conditions and skill level. Most would consider the above guidelines a minimum.

As for Hydroskin, there has been debate over the years about it. It is .5mm of neoprene (compared with a standard 3mm in regular wetsuits), with a nylon skin and a liner. I have several versions of it and wear them regularly, but would not consider them comparable to a wetsuit which is six times thicker. It would not, in my opinion, be suitable for cold water (under 60 degrees). Some people use them as a mid layer under a drytop, a drysuit and even a wetsuit.

I use them for "warm season" when the water is mid-60s. It gives some insulation in a swim without being too hot or restrictive. I find that they are not really warm in a wind, especially when they get wet (evaporative cooling). You'll need a paddling jacket of some kind if the air gets cool and breezy.

Scott

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I have a product called Hydrowear made by LL Bean and now discontinued. You can get the same material at NESC and I saw it at Kittery trading post. I forget the current manufacturer.

I love the stuff. It is dense fleece with wind block and lycra. If I don't think I'll be doing a lot of swimming, I use it above 54/55. As was said before, I won't be super comfortable in the water but I won't die in the time it would take me to self rescue...or possibly roll.

Karen

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Hi Scott,

I have a folllow up question.

Can a trip leader require a dry suit to go on a trip?

The reason I ask is that on page http://www.nspn.org/play-what-to-bring.html the NSPN trip gear list says that either a dry or wet suit is required October thru June.

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I was turned away from a lot of trips while waiting for my suit to be made for me... Was a long 3 or4 moths waiting as nobody would paddle with me.

I had a farmer john and a dry top but I wasn't allowed as I would be putting the group at risk.

-Jason

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Yep, a trip leader can require immersion protection such as a dry top.

There may be a conversation with the Trip Coordinator if the requirement is out of the ordinary. But generally the club gives the trip leader the discretion if there is a rational reason for the requirement.

The basic logic is that if club members do not like they requirement, they don't have to go on the trip. Participation of both the trip leader and member are voluntary.

Scott

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