Frogskins - a new level of comfort in cold conditions
Some of you may have noticed that we have Frogskins on our website, and will be wondering what they are like, so I thought I would give you my experience with the brand. For the last two months I have been using the Frogskins top, pants and more recently the socks and vest, for both training and coaching.
Frogskins are an Australian brand, engineered with an inner lining made of super soft “Quick Dry” fabric, a waterproof and windproof ultra stretchy 0.5mm neoprene mid layer, finished off with a flexible outer shell made from highly abrasion resistant nylon.
Tassie paddling in winter can be very cold. Water temps below the teens, even into single digits, apparent temperatures through winter are often below zero! Frogskins are designed for these conditions.
My first impression is, as a female, the gender specific top fits well, and the sizing feels pretty accurate. I am generally a size 12, and the size 12 is a great fit! The vest and pants are unisex, which doesn’t seem to be a problem at all, as the extra stretchy fabric means they are comfortable for both males and females. The pants have a lovely high back and drawcord to them, and when the top is pulled down you really don’t have anywhere that the cold can get in! The fit is designed to be snug, fitting in a similar way to a wetsuit, but is super stretchy, so you never feel restricted while paddling or even doing remounts.
I have mentioned that the review is about them in both a ‘training’ situation and also a ‘coaching’ situation. When training I don’t generally get cold while I am on the water, but previously have cooled down the moment I stand up out of my boat, to the point that getting changed can be difficult. When coaching the intensity that I work at it is much lower while still getting wet, so until this winter, I have usually been very cold during a 1.5hr coaching session, even when the days were comparatively warm.
Training - Sessions where I am working hard
- Comfortable air temperature range when wearing the top and pants - 3 degrees to 10 degrees, either early morning or late afternoon into the dark of evening.
- I have not overheated on a cloudy 14 degree day - these garments are surprisingly breathable
- I can wash down my boat and paddle after the session, without the need to change straight away.
- I have worn a Vaikobi Smock over the top, in temps above 5 to 7 degrees and been too warm during a training session. Frogskins are water repellant, wind resistant and fleece lined - I have found the need for more layers on top, during training to be unnecessary. (Last winter there was not a single session that I didn’t require my Smock, despite wearing quite warm layers)
- I still wear Enth Degree socks, with Frogskins socks over the top when there is frost on the ground.
Coaching - Sessions that usually involve low intensity, with the occasional minutes where I work physically hard
- If there is sun and the air temperature is above 10 degrees, with light wind, I will only require one layer.
- Frosty mornings, with a light breeze and shade, or when a Southerly is blowing and it’s drizzly, I will add my Vaikobi Smock over my top, plus wear the Frogskins vest under my top. I will always wear a double layer of socks when it is frosty. (For myself I find two layers of thin socks gives ample warmth, and I can still feel the footplate) I use Vaikobi Pogies, in preference to gloves, and also wear a beanie. It is worth noting that you can lose up to 30% of your body heat through your head and feet, so these additions to my attire are essential in winter.
- On days where I do two or three coaching sessions back to back (i.e. wet for up to 6 hours) the above combination has me needing to change my socks in order to stay warm between sessions, but nothing else. Prior to Frogskins, when it was cold I would need to change fully between every session.
Paddling in Tassie in winter is cold to extremely cold (without being Norway winter cold!) with the apparent temperature often below zero in the early mornings and late evenings. As our temperatures have dropped, I have found the addition of the Frogskins range to my paddling kit has made the last two months very comfortable, only needing to wear my Smock while coaching or paddling on very cold days at low intensity.
Frogskins really are NOT designed for warm days!
So if you are after some new winter paddling gear I can confidently recommend the Frogskins to keep you warm….and they look good too!
Check out our Frogskins range here.
Roz Barber - Next Level Kayaking