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Thread: Cags, dry pants and wetsuits

  1. #1
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    Default Cags, dry pants and wetsuits

    I've just had a morning of some self rescue training at a local reserviour with my bow partner. I was wearing Yak Kestral dry pants and a Palm Greenlander XP50 cag. my bow partner was wearing a 5mm wetsuit. We tipped about 150yds from sure with a fully laden boat, to assimilate a real situation. As soon as I entered the water I was cold and wet under my gear. Progress was slow and it took approx 15 minutes to get to shore as the boat was heavy. On finishing it was clear I was in worse shape than my bow partner. My dry pants had quarter filled with water, I was a bit knackered and very cold.


    My point being is in three weeks we're going on a 4/5 expedition in the highlands. Loch Morar/Nevis so the water will be chilly. I'm seriosly considering sacking the Dry pants and cag and wearing my 5mm wetsuit under clothes. Buying a drysuit isn't an option at the moment . Could I ask for any words of wisdom and opinions as to why a wetsuit is a bad idea.

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    Thank you for listening and trying a recovery. Im really glad you tried it in a safe place first.

    I dont think a wetsuit is a bad Idea.

    The kids and I have been using full length and shortie wetsuits for years under clothes for sailing.

    They arnt that warm when they are open to the air, but Ive found them fine under a polo shirt.

    Not sure how it would restrict your arms for paddling though.

    Might be possible to snip the stitching and take the arms out. Would need to check if the rest would become unravelled, or simply chop the arms off a few inches from the stitching, perhaps - only on cheap suits though lol.

    I have fell in off the back of a boat with a wetsuit just pulled up to just above my waist - arms not in.

    That worked to a degree too.

    Ive found that even wearing a polystyrene life jacket helps.

    Expecting deep water to warm up in the summer is a mistake. The water only really warms up in the shallows.

  3. #3

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    I have cut up an old spraydeck and use the waist band as a seal round the waist between the dry trouser and cag, that stops a lot of water getting in. Also if you wear good fleece underneath you can whip it all off, ring it out and put it back on damp, it will still keep you warm when wet.

  4. #4

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    10/10 for trying and finding the weaknesses of your kit.

    As an open water touring paddler I have practised self rescue an always find its better to re-enter the canoe this should also be easier with two of you. If you keep your kit on leashes it can float away from the canoe whilst you and your partner flip (Capistrano flip) the canoe right way up, empty then get your self's aboard recover kit and then head to the shore sort yourselves out.

    I don't own a cag dry pants, or a drysuit, just good out door clothing I think a wet suit will chaff especially if covering big miles but have no personal experience of wearing one whilst canoeing.


  5. #5

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    I've got a wet suit and recently bought a decent dry suit. I have to say, for the money, I think a wet suit is a great option. Here's a video of me trying out the wet suit in February. Had no problems paddling, although it was only for about 90 minutes or so. Then went for a swim. Again, no problems: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_92Dj...PelrDsqYZMLY8=
    Campsites on Water - Touch the river to sample the last that has gone and that which is to follow.

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    Several years ago I capsized and went for went for a swim-- a total immersion... - in 8 to 10 degrees Celcius water .

    I was wearing a Lomo dry cag like this http://www.ewetsuits.com/acatalog/ev...tops-cags.html and Gul dry trousers.

    Due to the waistband of the Lomo cag ,I was dry and able to continue the remaining 2 hours of the trip without being cold or wet. (after a deepwater reboarding,of course)

    I reckon that Pete's suggestion of a spraydeck cut up for a waistband may customize your cag into something more efficient.(or get some neoprene sheeting if no old spraydeck available )

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    I used to paddle wearing both full & long john wetsuits and found them uncomfortable after any real time paddling. You can get wetsuits that have reinforced knees (as well as extra 'bend') but the nature of neoprene is to return to its natural shape so you are always fighting against it. Even with cut-out arms, there will always be rubbing & chaffing at the underarms & other places.

    I would recommend a dry-suit if you are likely to take a swim; if not, dry trousers / cag would be my choice as they give greater flexibility in how you wear them and can be easily removed (or added) depending on the temperature & conditions. A good combination of trousers & cag should keep you dry enough to right & re-enter your canoe before making for shore and sorting yourselves out properly.
    Death is natures way of telling you to slow down.

  8. #8

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    FWIW my experience of dry trousers and dry cags from my many years of kayaking adventures is, as pointed out above, they are generally designed to work in conjunction with a well fitting spray deck.
    The waist tube on the spraydeck helps seal the inner waist of the dry cag over the top of the dry trousers eliminating/greatly reducing water ingress.
    If you have that type of double waisted dry cag you're not giving it a fighting chance of keeping you dry if you don't have the spray deck helping to seal them.
    Buy a dirt cheap, second hand, neoprene spray deck off fleabay and cut the waist tube off it.

    Regardless, I personally couldn't recommend fleece highly enough for your under gear.

  9. #9

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    The Greenlander is not a dry cag, it is a touring smock.

    A double seal waist on a cag will work to some extent with dry trousers provided there is a good seal, Palm dry-cags come with adjustable velcro straps to provide a seal. The Yak Kestrel trousers already have a wide neoprene waistband so adding a spraydeck waist tube is going to be little better.

    A wetsuit can be useful but be aware that it is designed to work when wet to keep you warm so if using it whilst canoeing, you should also add windproof layers. As already recommended, I would use a 'longjohn' design with no sleeves to give you good arm movement and add a rash vest or lightweight thermal underneath. I would avoid the 'polo shirt' advice. Cotton is not good as outdoor wear since it holds water and will drain heat.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    The Greenlander is not a dry cag, it is a touring smock.

    Sorry, it's the Vertigo not the Greenlander. I have a Greenlander which was my first cag, used it for messing around on the shoreline, sea kayaking. Vertigo is really only a semi dry but I was still taken a back when my dry pants took in so much water from the neoprene end. I think a quality dry cag would make a diffrence.

    As I'm a bit skint the Lomo dry Cag looked a good option. I rang the shop in Glasgow to be told they only have small and XXL. They won't have anymore back in until the end of the year.

    Leashing the kit and using the capistrano is a good option. I'd need to practise it first, I've got no more self rescue practise beween now and the trip so It'll have to wait until I get back.

    I'd consider the cut off skirt option as a short term measure. I'd have to buy one as the one I own is too descent to cut up.

    I think I may use the wetsuit option this time and go back to the drawing board for the next venture. I'll use it only when necessary, in tippy conditons and during the sea Loch crossings. Yes, that could be the whole trip!

    Thanks for your responses, always helpful and thought provoking.

  11. #11
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    As I don't have a dry suit (yet), I had been putting off paddling through the coldest months if there was any chance of getting wet. However, this year I decided to give it a go anyway. In January, paddling grade 3 sections of the Tees in -3C (with ice forming inside the boat; river frozen in the slower moving water near the banks banks) I was perfectly warm (indeed too hot) wearing the following:

    Marino base layer
    Imersion Research thermal fleece
    Longjohn wetsuit
    Cheap Craghopper fleece
    Craghopper lined winter trousers
    Woolen socks in my wetsuit boots
    Semi-dry cag
    Open palm neoprene gloves

    Although I didn't take a swim that day, I was very pleasantly surprised that kneeling in sub-zero water didn't feel at all cold. Although not obvious, I believe the trousers over the wetsuit made a big difference. (Indeed, I was warmer that day than the previous one kking the grade 4 sections dressed the same except wearing a kk rather than the trousers.)

    On the whole, wetsuits work well when wet, are not too bad when dry, but it is the transition from wet to dry that makes one cold. Here is where trousers over the top may help.

    One consequence of that trip is the drysuit has slipped down my priority list (just as well, as my bike frame broke the next week...).


    Stuart

  12. #12
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    Been paddling on the seas this morning for about two hours. I wore my supertight full wetsuit and a touring cag. Stayed nice and warm but I couldn't imagine wearing the wetsuit for 7 hours canoeing. I got chafing marks from 2 hours paddling. I think I'll invest in a 4 mm shortie with a bit more space for my expanding frame,hopefully help to minimize chafing!

  13. #13

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    If your still thinking a wetsuit is the way to go buy a cheap shortie and take the scissors to it cut the arms and neck totally out or invest in Vaseline.


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    Quote Originally Posted by retro View Post
    If your still thinking a wetsuit is the way to go buy a cheap shortie and take the scissors to it cut the arms and neck totally out or invest in Vaseline.
    Vaseline now there's a thought. I'd rather not cut the suit up as I think that would be a big compromise if I did take a dip. I may well grease myself up.

    I get a bit of, "deliverance" stick from my non canoeing mates. If I start talking vaseline that will give them a lot more fuel.

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    I'm up on the Caledonian Canal a week after you on expedition and as I will be sailing much of it, the chances of capsizing will be high, so I invested just over 200 in the Gul Astro drysuit. Because I have a damaged shoulder & hip, I needed to come up with a device to help me get back in the canoe following a capsize. This is me testing the device a couple of weeks ago on Rutland Water.

    I sometimes leave off the sailing gear at home and take the canoe out for a paddle with my son. I can see the capsize recovery device coming with me though, because it is lightweight and could make all the difference if I do go for a swim.

    This video shows how quick I managed to get back in the canoe, so if you opt to use wetsuits or cags, it might be an idea to pop down to B&Q, spend 20 on a telescopic broom handle/ tree pruners and a 6" water tank ball float and knock something similar up. Getting out of the water quickly in Scotland would be a good idea!


  16. #16

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    We picked up our first canoe this Saturday, at the same time we got a shortie each so we can practice "falling out" and more importantly getting back in. They are only 3/4mm neoprene and I would doubt they would keep us warm for long in the water but they will help. Although I have no experience in a canoe I have many years experience in a wetsuit and I think paddling in one for any length of time would be very uncomfortable.

    For me the option will be to use a wetsuit to practice getting back in and once I am confident we can self rescue I will just wear out door clothes and carry dry spares just in case.

    I think chafing would be your biggest problem on your trip if you was to wear a wetsuit.
    Last edited by mikgee; 9th-April-2012 at 12:53 AM.

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    If Im going to wear one a wetsuit on the canoe, I simply roll it down to chest height.

    I see it as much better than nothing to keep my legs and torso warmer, but dont need the arms.

    I put a polo shirt and big thick pfd over the top to keep the wind off my shoulders.

    Obviously, being bobbin shaped, its happy to stay rolled above my huge stomach.

  18. #18
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    If there is any way you can scrape the cash together, get a drysuit you really won't regret it - mine was less than 200 new. I've just got back from Scotland, the water is cold. I used mine a couple of times when poling and when on a sea loch where it was great for walking about and getting mussels

    I fell in once on the last day in about 6" of water getting out of the boat after my feet had completely gone to sleep from kneeling

    A

  19. #19

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    gm10 here's a pic I was txted yesterday night, from our friends evening camp at the end of nevis thought it might wet your appetite.



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    Quote Originally Posted by retro View Post
    gm10 here's a pic I was txted yesterday night, from our friends evening camp at the end of nevis thought it might wet your appetite.

    10 days and counting!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamerpoint View Post
    I'm up on the Caledonian Canal a week after you on expedition and as I will be sailing much of it, the chances of capsizing will be high, so I invested just over 200 in the Gul Astro drysuit. Because I have a damaged shoulder & hip, I needed to come up with a device to help me get back in the canoe following a capsize. This is me testing the device a couple of weeks ago on Rutland Water.

    I sometimes leave off the sailing gear at home and take the canoe out for a paddle with my son. I can see the capsize recovery device coming with me though, because it is lightweight and could make all the difference if I do go for a swim.

    This video shows how quick I managed to get back in the canoe, so if you opt to use wetsuits or cags, it might be an idea to pop down to B&Q, spend 20 on a telescopic broom handle/ tree pruners and a 6" water tank ball float and knock something similar up. Getting out of the water quickly in Scotland would be a good idea!

    Looks like a good set up. Is it screwed down or strapped? I'm hiring the canoe from Fort William so it may pose a problem.

    I've done the Caladonian a couple of times. Have a great trip.

    Due to buying an over priced log burner for home I'm brassic at the moment so a dry suit is out of the question. I only intend to wear the wetsuit when really needed. As you say No Idea, I can roll it down if it gets uncomfortable.

  22. #22
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    It's screwed to the leeboard thwart in my case but no reason why it couldn't be lashed to the yoke or a thwart. It would cost you about 5 for a couple of ballcock floats if you have a telescopic handle kicking around the shed somewhere, alternatively I was looking at a walking pole at the weekend for less than a tenner that would do the job.



    See here on Amazon for less than a tenner: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Trekrite-Fou...096869&sr=1-18

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    Drysuits and such are typically meant for whitewater guys doing lots of eskimo rolls in kayaks. Wet suits are uncomfortable for flat water touring and the gortex waterproof stuff always seems to let water in over the top. If that is what you have though you are doing better than most.

    The most important thing this time of year is not to go swimming and to read the conditions constantly. I will repeat that just in case... The most important thing this time of year is not to go swimming and to read the conditions constantly.
    If you are going more than a few yards from shore have a get back quick plan and make sure the get back location is not up wind. Personally; I have paddled in most of the extreme conditions the east coast of Canada has to offer without special protection. I always had a plan though.

    Make sure you have a plan and do not rely on self rescue and fancy gear as part of it. Wear the gear as an insurance policy for the plan that should work if you are just wearing a speedo. Get to shore, get warm, reassess and continue or bail out from there.

    I looked at a dry suit for the local non freezing river up here but really it is overkill unless a lot of swimming is a certainty. Swimming is an indicator you are doing something wrong and should reassess you paddling skills. I figure I will pick up the waterproof overalls with the pajama feet in them and wear wool then just keep the canoe the right way up.
    Lloyd

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    "Swimming is an indicator you are doing something wrong and should reassess you paddling skills."

    I like that.
    I took my kids to a quiet sandy bay and tipped them in, just so as they knew what to do / not to do in the event of a swim, things is now all they want to do is jump overboard!

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    Swimming is an indicator you are doing something wrong and should reassess you paddling skills.
    I agree, however canoe sailing increases your chances of capsizing and swimming, hence my desire to wear a drysuit.

    The self-recovery gadget is important for two reasons. 1) I will often sail a long way from a riverbank or shoreline and 2) I will often sail alone and self rescue is my only option.

    I took part in the first paddle meet of the year on the 2nd of Jan and wore only my gortex gear, not the drysuit, because the chances of going for a swim are greatly reduced and your only a few yards from the riverbank if it does happen.

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd View Post

    Make sure you have a plan and do not rely on self rescue and fancy gear as part of it.
    Swimming is an indicator you are doing something wrong and should reassess you paddling skills. I.
    Lloyd I agree with this 100%, paddling skill is key, it's not about stars, awards or certification, it's about understanding the condition's and what your input will do to you and your canoe in theses condition's.


  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by retro View Post
    Lloyd I agree with this 100%, paddling skill is key, it's not about stars, awards or certification, it's about understanding the condition's and what your input will do to you and your canoe in theses condition's.
    I agree also, skill always makes the difference between success and failure, but you also need a plan B incase you get it wrong.

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamerpoint View Post
    but you also need a plan B incase you get it wrong.
    With the right judgement calls on the condition's and the skills to match them, you shouldn't get into the scenario where the plan b would be necessary, but if you did the simplest plan b is don't die.


  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by retro View Post
    With the right judgement calls on the condition's and the skills to match them, you shouldn't get into the scenario where the plan b would be necessary, but if you did the simplest plan b is don't die.
    I must say I do prefer the romance of using experience and guile over being geared up to the eyeballs. I only get out in an open canoe a couple of times a year and always with my gung ho, blow caution to the wind, bow partner. We've been friends for 35 years so we can have overblown tiffs about judgement calls. Definately a bit of testosterone flying around.

    With my limited experience I'll still use the wetsuit for the sea loch crossing.

    Steamerpoint- Thanks for the additional picture. We take poles with us for the tarp so it's definately one to consider.

  30. #30
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    After the trip and in reflection I'm quite happy to keep a wet suit with me to don for those twitchy bum moments. problem solved without a penny being spent!

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    You have done it?!?

    Congratualtions!

    Where are your pics?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Idea View Post
    You have done it?!?

    Congratualtions!

    Where are your pics?
    Its on the blog: Morar/Nevis -sunny days

  33. #33
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    i know im a bit slow in replying to this blogg interested at the point every body being going on about wet suits and restrictions and options of cutting arms of surprised nobody had mentioned the long john type that zip up from the front but more importanly have no arms just a thought
    People keep telling me im in my second childhood I never left my first

  34. #34
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    A bit tricky this one.

    Most comfortable of all is undoubtedly normal good outdoor clothing with synthetic base layers. In clement weather you can go for a swim, warm up and keep paddling in the same wicking layers. The trouble is, if you flip in cold nasty conditions, you need to get to shore, dry out, warm up, put on your spare dry clothing - then what do you do if you flip again (in the same nasty conditions)?; you are out of options and all your clothing is wet.

    I have enjoyed paddling in a Farmer John wetsuit (no arms) and find it a good combo with (say) a fleece over the top keeping your arms warm. Absolutely no chafing. However, they do act like a neoprene wine cooler when wet when you are out of the water and back in your boat.

    Dry trousers are excellent garments in their own right and are nice to paddle in, keeping your legs dry when wading, sitting in a half-swamped boat or getting in and out in waves. In my view that is what they are for. Dry-trousers are best without socks for the reason given below.

    I tried combining a dry-top and dry-trousers to make a versatile dry-suit, and wouldn't recommend it. The combo leaks at the waist, slowly or quickly depending on what you have, and the trousers get heavy with water inside them, which makes getting out of the water difficult.

    For deep cold nasty water and white water I now prefer a dry-suit. I would count any Scottish loch in that category if there are wind and waves. You will stay dry in dry-suit. However you will also get sweaty if you run around on shore too much and you can get cold inside a dry-suit without enough under layers, especially your feet. Alternatively you can boil in the bag. However, for that feeling of confidence I always have my dry-suit with me on a multi-day trip now.

    No perfect answer as always, just my views
    Last edited by Perthshire Wood Canvas; 29th-April-2012 at 03:17 PM.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by cragger View Post
    i know im a bit slow in replying to this blogg interested at the point every body being going on about wet suits and restrictions and options of cutting arms of surprised nobody had mentioned the long john type that zip up from the front but more importanly have no arms just a thought
    Adrain's post no 9 mentions the long john style.

    I've gotta say after about 3 or so hours in the open sea I didn't feel any lack of comfort in the wetsuit. Probably because I was s**t scared!!

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by gm10 View Post
    Adrain's post no 9 mentions the long john style.

    I've gotta say after about 3 or so hours in the open sea I didn't feel any lack of comfort in the wetsuit. Probably because I was s**t scared!!
    Whoops missed that said i was slow
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  37. #37
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    For me its:

    General paddling, good weather still or flatwater: Outdoor clothing - good quality layers and waterproofs. In summer, shorts & wicking t-shirts.

    Easy whitewater, rainy days, days where getting in and out are possibly going to mean wading: Dry Pants and Cag (I have swum in these with no ingress of water, but wouldn't expect it to keep water out long)

    Sea (unless very good weather), proper whitewater: dry suit.

    All these situations will be backed up by a complete set of spare base layers, socks, gloves and a warmth layer, in a separate dry bag inside my normal bag.

    For your trip, I would have taken the dry suit, even though its a pain in other ways (bulk, weight etc) and I sure as hell wouldn't have done the portage in it!


    On another note for Scottish Loch paddlers, I reckon a dry suit would be great against midges...as long as they don't get inside it before you put it on!
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

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  38. #38
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...lands-17877577

    It's good that they're OK. I wonder if anyone knows the group and what gear they were wearing. I've nearly tipped on Loch Lochy a couple times.

  39. #39
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    I first used my Yak dry cag and trousers for FRST course last september in still dock water, the most physically exerting thing I have done for a long time, the kit kept me dry enough for long enough to do all the exercises but only my shoulders and upper chest were dry by the end of the session which entailed about twenty dunks and probably 2.5 hours of immersion work. Another tip if you are doing this is to keep flask on the dockside, a couple of cups of steaming coffee will do a lot to help you stay warm enough to function.

    I am on part 2 of my level 1 coaching this weekend and will be getting a bit wet intentionally again, I will be wearing knee length wetsuit shorts, a rash best and thin fleece under, this kept me warm on high winds and ferocious rain this weekend whilst doing some of the course but did not go in, I have no time to order anything now so hope what I have will keep me warm and dry. I intend wearing a swim helmet ontop of my bald head and under my waterproof goretex cap as heat loss from the head is important. Would love a dry suit but have to build up to buying kit like most money is not endless. Will take the flask again though..

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