Rapids Transit Systems

Paddling Wear

Jul 1, 2001
Outside Magazine

(1) Before fuzzy rubber (stretchy fleece laminated to rubber), cold-water paddling was all about bundling up in restrictive layers of polyester pile or clammy neoprene. However, SplashGear's Aqua shorts ($62; 800-996-9327; www.wyomingwear.com) are lightweight, stretchy, and breathable. And because they're cut high to keep those kidneys warm, you can get away with a less bulky top as well.

(2) Women should check out Northwest River Supplies's Hydroskin Little Jane ($95; 800-635-5202; www.nrsweb.com). Designed to keep the core warm, the Little Jane is made of new-generation ultrathin (half a millimeter) breathable neoprene that's covered with a stretch-nylon blend and lined with stretch fleece. Wear it alone under a paddling jacket on mild days or, when temperatures drop, use it under a fuzzy-rubber top and

(3) Bomber Gear's The Bomb drytop ($285; 970-259-1571; www.bombergear.com). Cut from three-ply waterproof/breathable fabric with a watertight latex gasket at the neck, The Bomb has Velcro closures to seal out water at the wrists and waist.

(4) Who wants to paddle in cold weather anyway? If you're a summer boater, check out Lotus Designs's EKG Shortie short-sleeve top ($92; 800-638-6464; www.lotusdesigns.com). Made from water-resistant yet highly breathable treated ripstop nylon with a brushed lining, the EKG is perfect for sunny rodeo sessions.

(5) Although the Teva Cobra ($70; 800-367-8382; www.teva.com) looks like a trail runner, it's actually a slip-on multisport shoe made with synthetic uppers drained by mesh ports. For portaging and rocky hikes back to the car, dual-density running-shoe-style midsoles and padded heels offer ample support and protection.

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