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Neoprene for cold float trip?


Ryan Kral
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Hey guys, as I posted before, I will be doing a 3 day float on the manistee next week. Its supposed to be in the 40's during the day, water temp around 40 degrees as well. I fish locally in the winter in my basic breathable waders, I just throw some fleece pants on underneath, and seem alright. I will be fishing mainly from the kayak, but will be in the water sometimes. Also, just the constant drips of water from the paddles. Would neoprene waders be worth the purchase, or do you think I would be fine with my breathable waders? Any cold water/weather fishing advice, Im used to fishing until I'm too cold, then hopping back in the warm car. That wont be an option, seeing that we will be on the river all day, then camping on the banks at night. Thanks, Ryan

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If something goes wrong and you happen to dump the kayak, water that cold with breathables could kill you. A tight fitting wading belt is a must. If you were wearing tight fitting neoprenes, you might have a better chance to survive IF you can get out of the water quickly enough before the waders fill with water. Either way, be sure you have a 100% water tight container to keep dry warm clothes and fire making gear. Hypothermia out in the middle of a river far from your car is a serious issue.

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I've been wearing the breathables with fleace pants and got pretty cold last Friday kayaking. Heading out this week I'm wearing the fleace pants plus long underwear or the real heavy neoprenes. Usually I have more clothes than fishing tackle. Face masks, hooded fleace, parkas, hand warmers lots of quick dry stuff and wool. I don't like to be too cold. It's easier to stay warm walking the shoreline and moving. Paddling can get you warmed up but your legs and butt get cold from sitting. Sounds pretty brave camping. Inside of neoprenes can get pretty wet if you get too warm. My advice fish the section of the river closest to the Holiday Inn stay there.

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I agree with the others, very snug wading belt at all times and absolutely no cotton (retains water too long making you heavier and colder). But I'd also be more concerned with your jacket than your waders--make sure the cuffs are as close to water-tight as possible or that paddle drip will be down your who arm, and you'll be done with the trip in 5 minutes.

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Neoprenes keep you warmer w/o the hassle of multiple layering.They're also less likely to develop[ leaks & are very inexpensive.Being spongelike they'll help to keep you afloat if you fall in & since they fit tighter will allow less water in as well. Water that does get in will not feel as cold due to neos inherent insulating qualties.I once fell out of a floatube into 41 degree water & was glad that I was wearing them.In the coldest conditions 5mm is better than 3mm.Cabelas is the only place I know of that still sells them.In the long run you'll actually save $ since every time you wear them you won't be putting wear & tear on those expensive breathables.

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Dry bag with clothes that you can get to quick. Have a bulk pack of hand warmers. If you do flip and have to switch clothes stick them under your arms, crotch and then put on ur clothes and build a fire. The hand warmers will keep blood moving to your outer limbs and keep your tempature up. I would also set a call or text in schedule with someone and have a plan if they dont hear from you.

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Thanks for all the replies guys. I lived and worked in Yellowstone for a couple years, and have a decent amount of winter camping experience, just not the paddling in winter part. I am going with 4 other guys, all have a good amount of paddling and winter camping experience, so I'm pretty confident if somebody tipped, we could manage. I got a lot of good info, or reminders of somethings not to forget! Thanks, ryan

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Glad you're not going alone. Many years ago, I did an overnight float trip in the spring with 23 other guys on the Jack's Fork River in Missouri. It wasn't a fishing trip, just 12 canoes. It was a 8 hour drive to Missouri and it started raining when we put the boats in the water at 8 o'clock in the morning and never let up all day. I'd never done anything like this before and was totally unprepared. By the end of the first day, 10 of the 12 canoes had dumped along the way, mine included. Everything I brought was soaked. All my clothes, sleeping bag, and tent. I was never so cold and miserable in my life. It was a good thing a couple of the guys on the trip knew what they were doing. They loaned me some dry clothes, and had dry wood and fuel to get a fire going. It was still a tough night. I learned my lesson.

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So they'll know where to find the body.

 

I do consider myself to be a bit of an idiot, so better safe than sorry.

I only have one eye so my depth perception is a bit off and there have been times when I've done stuff (while out fishing) and thought to myself

"Well that was stupid."

Never know, I could break a leg or something.

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