Hans is going kayaking! What should he wear? Dress your kayak boy up on dressupgames8 ;-0)
There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. Jeff Alan has written an article on kayaker's essential dress in issue nr. 13 of Ocean Paddler Magazine. In recent times the dress code amongst Dutch kayakers is changing rapidly: on the Voordelta-trip last week I was surprised to meet 6 kayakers of which 5 were dressed in drysuits and only 1 in a neoprene long john three-quarters wet-suit. Which is quit amazing: only a year ago the rate drysuit-wetsuit would have been reversed! The combination of a neoprene long john, an insulating garment on the upper body, covered by a long sleeved paddle top has been the Dutch standard for years. Also in winter.
4 kayak boys - according to the latest fashion dressed up in Kokatat-Drysuits (nr. 5 joined later).
In his excellent article Jeff describes some pros and cons of drysuit and wetsuits. Where serious risk exists of coming in contact with hard abrasive objects like rocks, Jeff wears a wetsuit. The Achilles' heel of the drysuit is it's vulnerability to tears and punctures. Big advantages are the comfort and the high grade of dry insulation.
The Drysuit creates a new discussion theme for Dutch paddlers: what to wear underneath? Most agree with the principle of a combination of a garment with good wicking ability (= moving sweat away from the skin to the outer surface of the fabric) next to the skin, covered by an insulating layer. Number and thickness of the layers is a personal thing - in search for balance between roasting while paddling and sufficient insulation for the (unintended) swim. I swear to technical underwear (like Helly Hansen or Odlo) in combination with (depending on the conditions) a thick or thin layer of fleece.
The Merino wool solution of the Icebreaker garments is a welcome alternative for one day trips. The wool combines good wicking and insulation capacities, keeps you warm, doesn't itch, can hold a good amount of moisture before it begins to feel damp and smells less. This is almost perfect - but just almost: I experienced that (due to it's absorbing capacities) it takes much longer to dry Merino wool than to dry "technical" garment. On multiple day trips in cold and humid conditions this is in mine opinion a serious disadvantage of the Merino wool option: Merino wool is still humid next day, while the technical garments are dry..(the second disadvantage is the price tag...)