Friday, September 21, 2007

Fun with Hypothermia

I realize that it was about 85 degrees out this afternoon, but hypothermia is on my mind. You see, in order to kayak into the winter and then in the spring, you need to dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. If your kayak capsizes the water will suck all the heat out of you. It the temp is below 55 degress, I'm not just talking about chattering teeth, but an actual survival situation. See the chart below.

Now if you don't get wet, you can float around for hours trying to climb back into your boat or await rescue for hours. This means a
dry suit is very important if you paddle in the winter.aA custom dry suit take 6 weeks to make and the water temps will require a dry suit by the end of October. Which is why I am thinking of it now.

Less than 15 mins
15 to 45 mins
32.5°F to 40°F
15 to 30 mins
30 to 90 mins
40°F to 50°F
30 to 60 mins
1 to 3 hours
50°F to 60°F
1 to 2 hours
1 to 6 hours
60°F to 70°F
2 to 7 hours
2 to 40 hours

Just as a warning to everyone trying to save money on a dry suit, do not fall for the Kokatat dry pants/dry top
combo. I tried this out myself since it is half the price of a full dry suit. Thankfully, I bought these form REI and was able to return them for a full refund even after having tried them out in Maine.

In general Kokatat makes amazing equipment, but this combo fails.

The dry pants and dry top never completely seal at the waist, so if you jump in the water the air burps out of the pants and water rushes right in. I must of had a quart of water in each leg. Also, the pants Kokatat makes are semi dry pants. This means if you are sitting in a puddle of water in your kayak for a few hours, you will be all wet.

I am looking forward to a real dry suit. And Kokatat will custom make one for you at no extra cost.

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