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Cags & Dry Trousers

The next step up from a wet suit is some specialist paddling clothing in the form of a cag and paddle pants combination. A cag is a waterproof top with seals at the wrists and neck, and some of the more expensive cags will also have some method of joining it to the trousers, to form a waterproof seal. Paddle pants are usually in the form of a bib and braces, and some come with a seal around the ankle, while others have built in feet.  This type of clothing has a big advantage in that they give you some degree of flexibility in how much clothing you are going to wear on the water, but personally I always worry about the seal between top and bottom and just how waterproof that would be if you ended up in the water for any period of time.

For that reason I tend to wear a cag and trousers combination once the water has started to warm up at the start of the season, and also towards the end of the season, where the water temperature is still high but you want something to keep you warm whilst afloat. During the heights of summer I'll go down to just a pair of neoprene lined shorts with a water proof outer layer, and take a cag along with me in a dry bag in case I need it, I've also got a really good short sleeved cag that gets a lot of use in the summer, although this can leave you with a rather peculiar sun tan.

For both cag and pants, and drysuits, you can wear the right combination of layers for the conditions you are going to expect. In the depths of winter than a thermal base layer, a mid layer, and one of more top layers will keep you toasty, while in the middle of summer, you might only need very little apart from a waterproof outer layer.

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