In winter I generally have a neoprene tuliq over a goretex dry suit. I can feel a bit damp by the end. I take the tuliq off first thing so the goretex suit can breath better, and it feels dry inside by the time I've got the kayak on the rack etc. With other outdoor gear I have not had good luck with the durability of breathable fabrics other than Gore.
Yes, I've had this problem as well, especially as I've frostbitten my fingers a few times over the years. There is a lot under the tuiliq. So, I've done a couple of things: 1/ I had the forearms of my winter tuiliq recut for more volume, though the wrists are the same. 2/ I've trimmed the wrist gaskets of my drysuit just a little so that I can pull them up just slightly higher on my arms and not under the tuiliq gaskets; 3/ I've cut off the cuffs that Kokotat insists on putting over the wrist gaskets; and 4/ I pull up the sleeves of my bunny suit that I wear under my dry suit so that they end near the elbows. (I'm thinking of cutting the sleeves of the bunny suit at the elbows...but haven't so far.) With the changes, there's nothing under wrists of the tuiliq. Much better.
The problem I'm having is sweat. We're padding in among the bergy bits this winter, and are iced out of a few normal launching points. The water at the surface is near or below freezing, though it's about 38-40 degrees just a foot below the surface. I'm paddling in a custom skin-out Brooks tuiliq with a drysuit under. Surgical gloves under Brooks mittens on my hands. I wear a 200-weight fleece 1-piece bunny suit under the drysuit. My sessions always start with some rolling practice to get used to the water temperature. This getup is just fine, warm and comfortable once my face and thumbs get accustomed. But once I get paddling, I perspire. By the time I've paddled for even a short time, the bunny suit starts to wet out. And by the time I'm off the water, the inside of the drysuit is quite wet. (The outside is dry.) It's fine when I'm moving. It wouldn't be OK if I had to be out of the kayak for any period of time, in the water or out.
So now I'm wearing a thin (2mm), very stretchy, skin-out neoprene full wetsuit as a base layer. It mostly works well as a vapor barrier to keep the perspiration out of the insulating bunny suit. This is a Camaro wetsuit that's made for water skiers, I think. There is some water vapor getting out of the vapor barrier through the back zipper that's not watertight. But other than that, this works remarkably well. It also has the added benefit of letting me wear a thinner insulation layer under my drysuit, and so is somewhat more comfortable. The inside of the wetsuit gets soaked inside, though I barely notice that; the insulation layer and the inside of the drysuit stay mostly dry; damp up my back along the zipper.
Have other people had similar issues? Has anyone else tried vapor barriers?
-- Dan Segal
When the water is no longer swimmable here in Maine, the drysuit goes on under the tulik, BUT and its a big one between the seal on the drysuit and the seal on the tuilik thand circulation goes down. I could force the tuilik sleeves to get wider but then it wwouldn't work for non drysuit days. Any one solved this?
The issue isn’t what you wear when paddling “in cold weather”; it’s what you wear when paddling “on cold water”. Similarly, the issue is not whether the tuilik is waterproof or watertight. The issue is what happens if you wet-exit because your roll fails. Safety dictates that you should practice self or assisted rescues at the water temps in which you paddle. That’s realistic. If the water temp is 40F (4.4C), you practice at that temp. Failure to do so is risk enhancement. This strategy is reflected in the Five Golden Rules of cold water safety explained on our website. I like to think of thermal protection as “survival gear” because I’m relying on it in the event that things go wrong and I wind up swimming in cold water. My goal is to be able to be immersed, get back into my kayak, and continue paddling as if nothing had happened. In other words, an accidental immersion is no big deal because I’m properly prepared for it.
Be safe and have fun.
Founder and Director
National Center for Cold Water Safety
The National Center for Cold Water Safety is a 501©(3) non-profit organization.
I find my Reed Tuilik Paddle Suit to be very effective for cold weather paddling. It’s not quit a dry suit, but it is mostly dry with a bit of leakage at the hood and wrists and perhaps a bit seeping through the fabric. The leakage and seeping is far too slow to be a problem except in cases of prolonged submersion. For normal use, especially with help around, it works exceptionally well for me.
Oops, I figured out how to "reply" now, thanks.
I wear a Comfort Paddling tuilik with a neoprene farmer jane. I wear neoprene booties and a wool sweater summer and winter. I've done wet exits during rescue practice, and have not been cold for the rest of the day. When I do have to wear a wetsuit, I wear my wetsuit underneath to remain warmer at lunch. I think this is a good combination. If I re-enter and roll, water gets in the sleeves, which then gets in the kayak, but that has not been a problem.
Regarding Tuiliks and Drysuits – A comment was made regarding a Tuilik being cheaper than a drysuit. That’s like comparing a SOF to a motorboat. The issue with Tuiliks is that if you have to wet exit, they offer no protection from cold shock and little protection from incapacitation. In that respect they’re much like pogies – good until you have to remove your hands. I have plenty of respect for traditional paddling, but I think anyone who paddles with only a tuilik for protection against cold water is taking a major and unnecessary risk.
How much for an older tuilik I would like one I don't kayak much any more I always wanted to get one but the are out of my price range
Thanks for the info, everyone! Good to know that there are options available!
Reed also makes a full tuilik paddle suit. Just like the tuilik but there’s a second layer below that continues down to for s full suit, including socks. I think mine was 6-700 a year ago, and well worth it. Very comfortable and with appropriate layers, quite warm when necessary.