Sometimes it’s the simple ideas that are the best. Quite often when you’re kayaking on the lake, especially here in California, it’s nice and calm and warm and sunny. You don’t really need a spray skirt. But maybe it gets a little windy in the afternoon. Or maybe you just don’t like water dripping in your lap. Or maybe you’re getting in and out of your boat to pick blackberries. So it would be nice to have a skirt, but one that isn’t too warm, that’s easy to adjust to your needs and easy to get on or off when you get out of the boat. How about one that you don’t even have to remove from the boat to get in or out?
Enter the Wildwasser Convertible Pocket System Zip Spraydeck. It’s made of a waterproof, breathable nylon so it won’t get too hot. It has a mesh pocket on front to hold your camera or a couple snickers. But most importantly – it has a zipper! That’s right, a water resistant zipper runs down the middle of the skirt, allowing you to open it up for venting or even to unzip it and leave it on the boat when you hop out for lunch.
I took one out for my workout paddle the other day – it was 65 deg. and sunny, your typical Cali winter day. I started off with the skirt zipped up and under my PFD as a normal skirt and it worked just like a normal skirt. But once I started warming up and I wanted to unzip it I realized that I couldn’t access the zipper under my PFD. So I stopped and rearranged things – I put on my PFD and then the skirt (with it’s suspenders) on the outside. This allowed me to zip and unzip as needed and it also took better advantage of the tent-shape design of Wildwasser skirts to prevent pooling. This approach may not work the best at keeping water out when rolling, but that’s not really the point of this skirt. It worked perfectly fine for paddling in a little wind chop – I remained dry underneath.
But just to test out the zipper I created a nice little puddle in my lap and kept paddling. While the zipper is not meant to be waterproof – only water resistant – I didn’t notice any water leaking through. The only thing you have to be aware of is that if you unzip the skirt while there is a puddle then it will all drop into your lap.
And getting into or out of the boat while leaving the skirt attached is made slightly more complicated by the pocket. The skirt doesn’t unzip all the way so it’s not going to be a large enough opening to pull your legs out while in the seat – you have to scoot back onto the back deck first. But a pocket is such an awesome convenience that it is totally worth it.
Overall I think the Wildwasser Convertible Pocket System Zip Spraydeck is a great warm weather, flat water skirt. If you’re not hitting the surf but you want to keep yourself dry or the sun off your legs then it does a great job. I also allows you to adjust the ventilation as the day warms up. And the pocket holds all the snacks for a long day of paddling and some emergency gear as well. Check it out – we have a few at our Sacramento store right now.