I did not want to go down the full drysuit route as they are too bulky for me and would be too hot for summer use. I wanted flexibility so that i could fish with less layers on warm spring and summer days but add layers to keep warm when fishing in the colder autumn and winter. Being already well into Spring and the days turning ever warmer i opted to get the Palm Ion pants and Kaituna longsleeve neoflex thermal top. The Ion pants will keep my bottom half dry and the Kaituna will keep my top half warm even if I'm getting splashed whilst paddling. This will be paired with a cat later in the season for winter fishing. The Descender boots provide tough but comfortable footwear.
Lets take a closer look......
Palm Ion Pants in Jet Grey
Ergonomically designed with a 4D-cut for comfort when sitting in a kayak
The Ion Pants feature Palm's XP 3-layer fabric - durable, waterproof and breathable. The XP 3 Supplex Nylon face fabric is coated in a water-repelling, microporous polyurethane. The pores in the polyurethane are too small to allow water droplets to pass through, but large enough for water vapour to pass through to the outside air thus making the fabric waterproof yet breathable. Just what you need when paddling on warm days.
The Ion Pants have what Palm refer to as a Twin-Waist - an inner skirt in addition to the outer waist band. This minimises water ingress and can be paired with a twin-waist cag to make a versatile two-piece drysuit. Although not guaranteed to keep you completely dry, it will keep most of the water out should you take an unexpected swim! I will be pairing the Ion Pants with a twin-waist cag later in the season ready for those colder winter sessions.
The inner elasticated skirt features an anti-ride waistband to prevent it riding up when your moving around. The outer neoprene waistband can be adjusted using the velcro tabs. The tabs hold well even when the waistband is done up much tighter than would be comfortable for use! Small drainage holes feature at the base of the join between the inner skirt and the outside, at the front and back of the Ion, to allow any water to drain back out if it gets to the inner skirt.
Reflective piping and decals can be found on the legs. The Ion Pants also have heavy duty Nylon 320D reinforcement at the seat and knees, places where any wear is most likely to occur.
The built-in socks are made from XP 4-layer fabric with Nylon 320D reinforcement and taped seams for durability. The ankles can be adjusted too using the velcro tabs.
The socks are likely to experience the most contact with water during a kayaking session. They are also areas that are likely to experience the most wear and therefore must be worn with protective footwear, such as wetsuit boots, to prevent them being worn or torn to the point of water ingress.
Palm Descender Shoes
I wanted tough and comfortable footwear and after trying on the Descender shoes they seem to be perfect for my requirements.
The Descender is made from 4mm Thermofibre lined Titanium Neoprene with glued and blind stitched seams. Titanium isn't just some fancy name either because a very thin and flexible titanium coating has been added to the neoprene. This reflects body heat back towards you, reducing heat loss. Whether this will make much difference i have no idea but if it keeps my feet half a degree warmer than I'm not complaining!
The Thermofibre lining makes the shoes really easy to slip on and get off, further helped by the pull tabs at the bridge and heel and a 'Smooth Skin' lined opening.
Velcro adjustable bridge and heel straps make sure you get a comfortable fit. Cushioned ankle pads make for further comfort.
A tough rubber diamond traction sole provides durability and will help with grip on wet surfaces.
Reinforced toe and bridge area for added durability......
Palm Kaituna Longsleeve Neoflex Top
The Kaituna is made from Palm's NeoFlex material - 0.5 mm 4-way-stretch neoprene with a Thermospan liner. There are no underarm seams and a lifted collar to prevent chaffing whilst paddling. A dropped rear hem keeps your lower back covered up when in a seated position.
The seams are flat locked for comfort and are un-noticable when worn against bare skin.
The soft Thermospan microfibre lining provides a nice thermal layer but with moisture wicking properties.
On the body.....
and sitting down in an imaginary kayak.....
That last photo may look a little weird but when trying on paddle clothing it is essential that you see how it fits when your sitting down with your legs slightly bent, as you would be when paddling a kayak. Most paddle clothing is designed and cut for a comfortable fit when in a paddling position. This is particularly the case for dry trousers or drysuit legs. Excess fabric on the legs when standing up is usually taken up when seated with bent legs. Likewise, a comfortable fit when standing up often becomes tight on the knees and uncomfortable when seated with bent legs. I settled on the Ion Pants in Large, after trying other sizes, to allow for a comfortable fit when seated as above. The Descenders were brought two sizes larger than my normal size to allow for a comfortable fit with the Ion socks and a thick pair of socks if its cold. The Kaituna hugs the body well and is surprisingly warm.
Overall it works well on dry land. Hopefully it will be just as comfortable on the water!
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