Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Trouser Spotting

Ewart has recently updated some kit (found he had sold it or given it away due to an enforced break from paddling). Take it away Wokka! 

Here is my guide to dry trousers at AS Watersports and how I went about selecting a new pair ( I will tell you what I choose in a bit). 
I started by deciding what I was actually going to use them for, I have a drysuit for paddling in the depths of winter be it white water or sea, fishing or any paddling in really bad conditions or just cold water (trips abroad). So it was some thing to compliment this where you need protection but just not as much. 
I've started doing a lot more "sports touring" ( up to class 3 in a touring, hybrid or even small sea kayaks) but its never that punishing and much less chance of a capsize or swim. But the weather can still be bad, there are still portages and the need for dryness and comfort in and out of the boat. 
In the past I have always had latex ankle seals with a normal height waist. This has mostly been fine, a bit damp on the odd swim but not a drenching. (quick rope work from friends!)
There is now not as much choice in trousers with latex ankle seals, the trend from manufacturers is for built in fabric socks. 
This is for a couple of reasons. One, its easier to manufacture, producing latex goods is messy, hot and smelly work. Its not easy to do. Latex is a pretty raw version of rubber and because of this its a bit vulnerable to tearing, perishing, and splitting, as many of us have found out when getting changed and discovered a split just before getting on the river. It does offer a good seal but its not with out its weaknesses. 
Two, built in dry socks can be made more easily, can be made much wider at the top of the sock (latex socks only come in a few sizes, from any manufacturer) and can be more easily replaced when they wear out. (and to be honest, they will.).
However, Yak still use a latex ankle seal on their Chinnock trousers and as far as latex goes its pretty thick and definitely gives a good seal. 

So, what I wanted was: A tough outer fabric that will stand up to bashing around on Dartmoor and sloping fish over them but not to heavy for doing some walking and wearing in warmer (spring/autumn) weather.