Frostbite Gear - Advice Please

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Looking for some advice on favorites recommendations for winter sailing gear, mainly brand and styles for:

1. Dry boots (to use with a wet suit) and/or waterproof socks

2. Dry? gloves

3. Dry suits (if a reasonably priced, decent suit exists)

Will be sailing in coastal North Carolina where the average daily high temperature in the worst of winter is 50+ degrees with many days going into the 60's and water temperature does not slip below roughly 48-49 degrees.

After looking at dry suit prices I was motivated to try what I have presently in the closet, mainly a good wetsuit, dry dinghy smock over and then add good boots/gloves. Do you think this would be sufficent or is a dry suit the only way to go? Nordic blood replies welcome.

Thanks for the feedback.

I can definitely speak from experience on this from Erie, PA. I sail until the ice forms and then we sail on top of the ice until it melts!

In general, I think drysuits are nice, but they are not at all versatile and they are really expensive due to the special zipper and seals, which must be taken care of for the suit to last. I own a drysuit for windsurfing as you get realyl wet when windsurfing, but I don't wear it at all for sailing.

From your description, I think you will be very comfortable with a wetsuit (farmer john minimum) with some fleece (pants and top) over top and then a set of good dinghy foulies and some extras. Layering is key. NO COTTON EITHER!

The wetsuit will add some warmth to the package, and will serve as insurance should you flip over and go swimming. I also remommend a "C-skinz" top. It is a long sleeve .5 mm neoprene shirt with metallic lining inside. Can be worn under a farmer john or just as a shirt on a cool summer day. Very versatile top and not too much $$.

For foulies, I use the gill breathable top and pants. MUCH better than the older non-breathable. I use them for all sailing (big boat and small boat stuff) and I have never been convinced that the heavier stuff is worthwhile except if you're into the southern ocean.

I don't wear gloves while soft-water sailing, but there are a lot of neopreme stuff available. They should be neoprene as they WILL get wet. Murray's marine and APS has good choices.

As far as feet, I'd recommend a neoprene boot (5 ml). My wife really likes her gill dinghy (side-zip)boots. I, however, usually go with my regular gill boots with thorlo socks.

You'll need head protection too. When it's really cold, I use a neil pryde standard hood (neoprene). Bought it at Isthmus sailboards. I also have a new "xo beanie" also from isthmus that I am getting to like too. It is a neoprene hat with the smooth side out. With either of these lids, you can add a fleece hat over top for more warmth if you want. I also add a fleece neck gaitor thingy when it is cold/snowy. Perheps ski goggles when its really cold and windy with snow and hail :eek: .

Some people wear their PFD inside of their foulie tops for added insulation. I just wear mine over, but snugly to keep the drafts out. Make sure you wear one! :D

Here's a pic of thanksgiving sailing in Erie! I had to use a shovel just to find my laser!