While we might not be allowed out to play right now, it won’t be long before everything is back to normal. That combined with the glorious weather we are having can only mean one thing: summer boating is going to be the best it’s ever been!
So in preparation of the best summer boating season ever, we thought we’d give you a rundown of our top five white water short-sleeved cags.
Up first is the entry point into the world of short-sleeved white water cags, the Palm Mistral. Made with XP-2.5 layer fabric, this jacket is described by Palm as bridging the gap between white water and touring and I have to say it does just that. The Mistral works superbly for warm weather kayaking, canoeing and is ideal for raft guides. An adjustable Velcro neck collar allows you to maximise ventilation during those flatter stretches, yet quickly tighten up the collar when you know you’re about to hit something rougher.
The Mistral features really well fitting neoprene bicep cuffs making for an excellent seal. This combined with the twin waist makes for an excellent entry point short sleeve cag for whitewater. The 2020 colours are also a massive retro throwback which we really like!
Kokatat’s Blast Jacket is a slight step up from the Mistral, if you are looking to be doing more white water and freestyle, but still sits well in the affordable end of the short-sleeved cag range.
The Blast uses Kokatats 2.5 layer Hydrus material which is super supple, lightweight and also features an interior dri-touch print, making the cag really comfortable against bare skin. While 2.5 layer fabrics aren’t quite as durable as 3 and 4 layer fabrics, it is worth considering where the high wear areas of a cag are: primarily the elbows, which just so happen to not be there on short-sleeve jackets.
The bicep on the Blast jacket features a punchthrough coated Lycra stretch cuff which does a remarkably good job at keeping your armpits nice and dry. This combined with the adjustable semi dry neoprene neck collar works really well to keep cold water out when the sun is hot. While not necessarily as dry as some other glide skin seals, the cinch cord allows more flexibility in how tight you want your neck seal, which is a god send when you’re paddling a flat section between rapids on a scorching hot day.
For pure comfort and style, the Blast is a firm favourite here at Whitewater.
A firm favourite with UK boaters, you will no doubt see dozens of Peak UK Combi cags donned by brits throughout the Alps and at UK summer paddling hotspots.
The Combi is also made using a 2.5 layer material, however differs from the previous two cags in that it features latex bicep cuffs with Aquaout outer seals. The use of the latex makes for a far dryer seal around the bicep which is super useful if you’re paddling glacier fed rivers in the Alps. Peak UK have also got the middle ground between shorty cag and winter cag covered with their removable neoprene sleeves. Simply slip them on, tighten the bicep outer seal around them and you’ll be absolutely toasty.
The neck seal on the Combi is also a great compromise of comfort and functionality, comprised of a soft superstretch neoprene neck cone with an easily adjustable tension strap behind the neck. This is the same system that Peak UK use on their Semi ST which all of us in the shop have been using all winter, and I must say it works really well (even after a fair few beat-downs at Shepperton and Sunbury).
Another firm favourite among UK paddlers, the Palm Zenith Short Sleeve Jacket is perfect for Alpine boating, summer surfing and busting moves at your local summer playspot.
The Zenith, as well as the rest of Palms semi-dry range recently underwent a bit of a revamp, especially the way in which the glide skin seals are constructed. Some of you may remember the double-layer glide skin neck and bicep seals from a few years back and, despite their effectiveness, the difficulty of getting your head in and out if you had a larger noggin. You’ll be pleased to hear that Palms newer glide skin slips on and off far more easily while maintaining its performance.
Like Palms Mistral, the Zenith is made using XP 2.5 layer fabric, however features a Velcro adjustable waistband which makes for a better seal over your spray deck.
The only shorty cag in this blog that can be categorised as a dry top, the Kokatat Mythic! If you love paddling but really want to keep the water off yourself and out your boat, the Kokatat Mythic is the shorty of choice.
Made using Kokatats super breathable and waterproof Hydrus 3.0 fabric, the same fabric that is used in their top end drysuits, the Mythic features full latex seals and really does the business. Featuring a tough Nylon outer-layer with a DWR finish, a micro-porous proprietary polyurethane coating and a soft polyester moisture managing inner layer, the Mythic really does keep you comfortable and dry during long summer sessions.
Having used the Mythic myself for a good few years now I have to say it is fantastic most of the year round, especially as I’m not worried about getting wet on my torso. From late spring on the Tryweryn to paddling down the Zambezi in thirty odd degree heat, the Mythic works great on a broad spectrum of conditions.
So there you have it folks, a quick run down of our top five short sleeved cags! Now to get prepped for some summer paddling!
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