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Author Topic: Thermal Layers  (Read 4262 times)

Tim

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Thermal Layers
« on: October 25, 2008, 06:47:11 AM »

Any thoughts on dry suit underlayers? A friend of mine, Art at The Kayak Center, gave me a tip on Carol Davis Sportswear for one piece, long, underwear.  They look good.  Any experience out there with Smart Wool? 
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Cat

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SmartWool Rules!
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2008, 06:54:48 AM »

The winter of 99-00, I worked as a lift operator on Mt. Hood, Oregon, otherwise known as The Slush Factory of the Modern World.  We routinely got soaked and had to stand for hours on/in wet snow.  We would pour water out of our boots at the end of our shifts.

I tried all sorts of socks, but the only ones that kept my feet warm were SmartWool.  And they last and last and last - I still use the same socks I bought nine years ago.
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Carole

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Re: Thermal Layers
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2008, 08:08:30 AM »

Ditto to Cat's message - although I've never tested wool as drastically as she has! I was finding that I would sweat more in an underlayer of synthetic, but with my wool (Ice Breaker, although I suppose any brand will do), I find that I'm very comfortable and warm. On really cold days, I wear a medium layer top and bottom over a thin layer top and bottom under my dry suit (and of course wool socks). I have a heavier top I can wear if needed but usually I just bring it along in a dry bag. I'm not familiar with Carol Davis but long underwear has its charms - mostly being draft free and non-bunching around the waist. The only drawback I see is that it might be less versatile, like if you just want to change either the top or the bottom layer while on the trip.
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gerry p

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Re: Thermal Layers
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2008, 09:31:39 AM »

Wool underlayers has more positives than negatives.  For single day paddles, it is the inner layer of choice.  Though it absorbs moisture that synthetics wouldn't, it retains 85% of it's heat capacity when wet.  Synthetics will absorb practically no moisture but, in the microclimate of a dry suit, will saturate, feeling cold and clammy, bacause it has no place to push all that sweat as fast as it is produced.  Good wool (such as Merino) also has natural odor fighting capacities which are superior to even the best (and scariest) treatments applied to synthetics.  This is not to mention that wool is a natural product that is ok to wear till it's worn out and than throw it out.  I believe all the major synthetics originate as a PETROLEUM product.  Wool may be the only natural material to be found anywhere on or in a kayak, unless you make your own boat and paddle the mighty stick, which is a whole other discussion
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mkrabach

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Re: Thermal Layers
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2008, 10:09:49 AM »

I agree that wool is the fabric of choice when wet.  Note that Smartwool is a brand name and not any different than plain Merlino wool.  It just has synthethic fibers in the fabric for strength. It is a marketing ploy, and quite sucessful at that.  I have several pair of wool jerseys and long underwear by Terramar. http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/4679,14303_Terramar-Long-Underwear-Top-Woolskins-Long-Sleeve-For-Men.html.  While they say they are closeouts, they have been in the catalog for several years. Price is down now too, price was $35 a month ago.  The quality is excellent.  Wish I could find similar with thicker fabric, like the old wool rugby shirts.  I put a fleece pullover (no collar type, Patagonia) over that if necessary.  For another article on wool: <http://www.rivbike.com/article/clothing/all_you_need_is_wool> from my favorite custom bike mfg. Glad I bought my custom frame when it was much less than a fiberglass kayak.
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Peter

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Re: Thermal Layers
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2008, 10:29:56 AM »

On of my first kayak instructors in the US was an Irishman who's Mum had knitted him a woolen outfit for swimming in the North Sea.

Anyway. I tend to wear a wetsuit under my drysuit. Two brands work well for me. Montain Surf used to make wetsuits out of a Polar Tech material. It's fleecy on the inside and breathes well. I have a farmer John.

Then there is Mysterioso (sp?) which tends to get hevy when wet but sucks the moisture away from the skin and seems to work a lot better as a drysuit lawer than a wetsuit. The stuff I use under the wetsuit is a fleece marerial but I think I have some rashguard neoprene stuff from them that I wouldn't use under the wetsuit.

On warmer days REI MTS or Patagonia stuff seems to be OK.

Smartwool socks are really good on cold days. I have two sizes of booties The ones I waer over the drsuit are a size bigger so I can wear warm socks under the built in drysuit socks.

I also have a onepiece Kotatok fleece designed for under the wetsuit. It's pretty good but kind of snug - I was a little lighter when I bought it  :'(

One piece things like the farmer john or the Kokatok onesy keep the lower back warmer than a sererate top and pants.

I recently got some socks from REI that have a certain percentage of corn fiber. I didn't get them for kayaking but I might try them.

Having said all that I like the idea of wool. Minimally processed. Potentially organic. Less relience on oil - especially if it's locally grown.
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