Layering Wetsuits for Sailors and Kayakers
The most frequently requested item in the shop is a wetsuit for kayaking or dinghy sailing. Each consumer has a preconceived notion that they want either a full wetsuit, i.e. one with armour, or a one-piece wetsuit. Layering Wetsuits for Sailors and Kayakers
The most frequently requested item in the shop is a wetsuit for kayaking or dinghy sailing. Each consumer has a preconceived notion that they want a full wetsuit, that is, one with arms and legs, if it is cold, or a shortie wetsuit, that is, one with short arms and legs, if it is warm. The issue with this is that you must purchase two suits; if you purchase a fullsuit, you are either in it or out of it; what if you wear it and it is too warm? You can’t really utilise it if it’s only half full. A short wetsuit is the polar opposite. Second, both of these suits cover your arms, and because kayaking, more than sailing, demands a lot of arm movement, having your arms on the suit might rub and be uncomfortable.
So, what do we suggest? We propose that you purchase a layering system. It will cost somewhat more than a complete suit or a shorty, but you will have a setup that you can wear almost all year.
The Wetsuit Layering System is Described.
A layering system can have many different configurations, but they all begin with a Long John Wetsuit (Or a Long Jane for the ladies version). A Long John or Jane Wetsuit has no arms and only legs, chest, and straps over the shoulders. A basic one will cost around £60 for a 3mm flatlock suit and will cost around £200+ for a 3 or 4mm blindstitched suit. The variations will be in warmth, flexibility, and waterproofness, with the more expensive having higher levels of each. Some men’s suits include a convenient zip.
Wetsuit, Long John
Wetsuit, Long Jane
If you mostly sail or kayak in the summer, a cheaper wetsuit will suffice; but, as the season progresses, you’ll want something warmer, possibly blindstitched so you don’t get wet through the seams.
After you’ve decided on a wetsuit, you’ll need a base layer to protect your arms. In the summer, a rash guard will suffice, but in cooler weather, consider a polypro or thermal rashguard. These are fleecy on the inside, moisture wicking, and don’t hold water well, making them excellent for the occasional swim because they dry rapidly. With these first two items, you’ll be ready for some relaxing summer days on the water.
Long Sleeve Rash – Ideal for Hotter Weather
For cooler days, use Thermal Rash or Poly Pro.
The final piece of apparel required to complete the summer wardrobe is a cag or spray top. A waterproof and windproof jacket, ideally with a neoprene enclosure around the waist and tight-fitting cuffs and collar.
With these three or four items, you’re very well ready to sail in hot, sunny weather or inclement British summer weather. As the weather changes, you can layer up or down.
What if I wish to sail for a longer period of time on either side of the season?
Cag or Spray Top?
Cag or Thermal Spray Top?
Cag or Thermal Spray Top?
To extend the season with the above setup, you would first require the polypro thermal rash rather than a basic rash, followed by a thermal spray top or a wetsuit top. Thermal spray tops include a PU outer layer to keep you dry and a fleece interior to keep you warm. We like the thermal spray top over the wetsuit top because it is more flexible and can be used in a variety of settings.