BWCA Wetsuits, neoprene, for cold water paddling? Boundary Waters Gear Forum
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overland
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05/09/2024 07:22PM  
This is more for kayakers, I suppose, than canoeists. But I wonder if anyone has experience wearing wetsuits or neoprene clothing while kayaking, for example, and might have some advice for me. This would be for use in cold water and/or cold weather.
 
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Tomcat
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05/09/2024 10:07PM  
Do you have specific questions or concerns about wearing a neoprene wet suit ? Your question is vague. Including how you intend to use it, the temperature, environment and personal requirements or goals may help.
 
05/10/2024 07:34AM  
You will find information on the NRS website that will be helpful.
 
RedLakePaddler
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05/10/2024 10:24AM  
I have a dry suit I wear for early and late trips. I was worried about the neck gasket being too tight but didn’t have any problem wearing it.
I felt at my age with compromised health I need any advantage I can use.

I have a armless wet suit that I haven’t tried yet. Plan on using it for day trips around home. I don’t think I would tolerate a wet suit on a BWCA trip.

Carl
 
RedLakePaddler
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05/10/2024 10:44AM  
boonie: "You will find information on the NRS website that will be helpful."


+1. Give them a call, they are very helpful. I purchased my suit from them.

Carl
 
justpaddlin
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05/10/2024 11:10AM  
I paddle canoes and I have both neoprene and a semi-drysuit for cold water paddling.

What you need depends on you (are you a strong or weak swimmer?) and the type of water you paddle. If you are always on small rivers or very close to shore then I'd recommend wearing relatively thin neoprene and carrying extra dry clothes in a drybag. If you paddle offshore or in current where you may have to spend time in cold water then you need to dress for immersion and you need a relatively thick wetsuit which many find uncomfortable or a drysuit. Safety is the biggest consideration but comfort is also a challenge where you want to be warm but not too warm.

 
overland
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05/10/2024 01:03PM  
The reason I posted this is because I'm going to be snorkeling, I hope, in a lake at the end of this month that will be about 60 degrees. I was hoping to get something, maybe used, that I could use for that excursion but that might also be useful for rowing/kayaking/canoeing where I live, in northern Illinois.
 
Tomcat
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05/10/2024 01:46PM  
For activities such as snorkeling and kayaking in temperatures around 60 degrees I suggest a neoprene surf suit. They are available in short or long styles. They are lightweight, comfortable and provide adequate protection when performing physical activities while being wet.
 
05/13/2024 09:20AM  
I have a billabong full wetsuit (5/4mm) that I've used for snorkeling quite a bit (in the bwca even) and it works great for that, though if you like to dive a lot consider getting a weight belt as well because they make you quite a bit more buoyant. I've also used it kayaking and snorkeling on lake superior with a 3mm shorty underneath and have done some caving in it as well. I now have a drysuit for paddling though which is much better for that.

A good wetsuit hood and booties and maybe gloves will go a long way to make you more comfortable as well FYI.
 
overland
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05/13/2024 09:41AM  
I ended up getting a cheap, used, neoprene wet suit that's 3mm in the body and less in the arms. The trouble is it was a devil to put on, and I couldn't get the zipper, on the back, to zip up. So today I'm going to get another used one that's a size bigger and has a front zipper. Gotta lose weight, I guess.
 
05/13/2024 01:22PM  
overland: "I ended up getting a cheap, used, neoprene wet suit that's 3mm in the body and less in the arms. The trouble is it was a devil to put on, and I couldn't get the zipper, on the back, to zip up. So today I'm going to get another used one that's a size bigger and has a front zipper. Gotta lose weight, I guess."


Not sure if you've used one before, but you can pretty much expect them to be difficult to get on whether they're sized correctly or not. I like to keep a couple grocery bags handy to put over my feet and hands when getting in to help slide it on. they also help keep things bagged up and out of the sand when you're done. Something to prevent chafing (like body glide) is really good to have as well.
 
05/13/2024 03:04PM  
overland: "...and I couldn't get the zipper, on the back, to zip up..."


Triathlon wetsuits have a long pullcord attached to the back zipper tab.
 
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