A few months ago a good friend of mine, Shiro Ose, gave me a pair of Raven Paddling pants to put through the gauntlet. Shiro is an awesome kayaker/athelete (one of our Japanese dealers) and had input on the design of these pants, and I was very keen to try them out.
They have quickly become one of my favorite pieces of equipment. Here’s why.
They are a breathable fabric akin to Gore-tex (the Japanese equivalent) and have integrated socks. This means that basically from waist down your are waterproof, without sacrificing mobility or comfort at all. This could be the biggest plus for me; I hate the constriction of Drysuits/wetsuits and the impediments they place upon me while I am active. Kayaking often involves impromptu sojourns into other activities (hiking, climbing, ultimate frisbee yadda yadda yadda) and I love being free to explore without feeling like a Michelin Man. These pants are quickly forgotten once worn, they even look good.
Protecting the bretheable socks is a priority with me, I worry that I’ll wreck tham in no time…… but slap on a pair of old sneakers and you are good to go. They seem to be holding up musch better that i had anticipated.
Obviously these aren’t a replacement for a good dry suit or even a wet one, but are perfect for the times where suits are overkill. I’m not even sure where to get these specific pants, but I do know Kokatat has their Tempest pant, which is a very similar product. I have heard that their sizing is a little wonky (small socks and too large waists), but you should check that out for yourself.
There are pants with bibs as well, but I have never liked the feel of a bib……..insert joke here.