The last few weeks has been transitional weather here in the American south. The dog days of summer are over - and with summers departure my favorite quick dry top is no longer quite enough anymore - and it isn't quite drysuit weather as the the air is in the low 60's and the water is in the 70's. The drysuit - while convenient in terms of staying dry, is a bit warm, even though it is made of gore-tex.
Which leaves me with a paddling jacket that I love and have used for years. It is - or was, as it is no longer manufactured - made by Patagonia and is called a Skanorak or sea kayak anorak. It's a wonderful jacket with a large rubber rand at the waist and good wrist and neck gaskets. But oddly I have found myself NOT wearing it. This is the perfect weather for a tried and true piece of gear, but I just keep picking up something else. Something not even made for kayaking.
It is the REI Shuksan jacket. I bought it three or four years ago as a rain shell and it has been wonderful. It's light weight, layers well, and packs down to nothing. But the best thing about it is how incredibly breathable it is. Far more breathable than any gore-tex shell I have owned and far more breathable than my drysuit. I first grabbed the REI jacket for paddling because it was all I had, I ended up at the water under dressed and I had it in the car. I figured it was better than nothing - which was true! - but it was better than most anything! I put it on first, then my skirt, then my PFD. It is so thin that I barely feel it under my gear, it has a hood like my Patagonia Skanorak, it is even a similar color orange. But the breathability is incredible. NRS does make an eVent drysuit and I would consider it if I didn't have an amazing Kokatat drysuit. I can't really justify two drysuits. So what I really need/want is a paddling jacket made out of this amazing fabric.
If someone could get to work on that I would gladly product test it and give appropriate feed back.