Palm Aleutian LS Paddle Top
According to the catalogue Palm's Aleutian LS paddle top is designed for ocean, touring and expedition use, well we fish on the ocean, we like to tour and every trip is like an expedition therefore it must be ideal for fishing, well given it's silver XP150™ 3-layer breathable, water durable fabric I was a little concerned at just how long it would last before looking a little unsavoury to wear.
Well it's into it's second season now and still looks very nearly new, which is quite amazing given the state it's been in on many happy occasions, bait, fish, mud and even tar, the tar has proven difficult to remove as I don't want to use any solvents on it as they may damage the bonding of the material layers or the outer waterproof coating.
Cleaning to date has been a simple rub with a plain bar of hand soap on the dirty area and a rubbing together of the dirty area, working dirt against dirt, a rinse in cold water and all but the most stubborn marks are removed. When the marks start to build, then I pop the cag into the washing machine for a cold delicate wash with no powder, but hand soap applied to the troublesome areas as before washing, this has been done every 3-4 months and the cag has looked like new. Do not spin dry, hang it on the line.
Sleeve rolled back to reveal latex wrist seal.
As the Aleutian comes with latex wrist seals the first thing required before hitting the water was to adjust the seals to fit my wrists, this is not a job to be rushed. The easiest way to do this is to slide a piece of plastic pipe down the sleeve and through the seal, being careful not to tear the seal, align the seal at one end of the pipe, mark 4-5mm onto the latex seal from the end at various points around the seal, then trim with a sharp craft knife with practice this becomes a very easy process. Remove pipe and retry seal on your wrist, repeat until you have a comfortable fit, if you hand starts to tingle or veins start to raise then it's still too tight. Do not be tempted to slice off a large piece as you can't stick it back on should you make a mistake, too slack and it will leak. After a few months you may find you need to re-trim as your wrists get stronger through paddling. The latex seal is protected by an adjustable soft neoprene cuff.
Soft neoprene neck seal.
No latex seal on the neck so no problem. The neck is sealed with an overlapping soft neoprene collar, very comfortable in use and no allergic reaction around the neck which often happens with latex neck seals when used in saltwater. A second high collar zips up to protect you from the elements, this collar hides a rolled up storm hood with stiff peak, once fully adjusted and tightened down you feel well protected from everything that can be thrown at you by the weather.
Adjustable storm hood with stiff peak.
The first major trip wearing the Aleutian LS was at Llangorse Lake in the Brecon Beacons, on one of the days we fished the gods threw all they had at us, we started in brilliant sunshine, but as the day wore on the rain came in, torrential rain, a very short (thankfully) lightning storm, which was incredibly scary given we were in the middle of a lake with a long paddle to shore and shelter, this was followed by a hailstorm, hail the size of marbles, then bitterly cold winds, the Aleutian's hood proved it's worth on that day, keeping me warm dry and protected, mind you the hail bloody hurt!
The cut and fit of the Aleutian is very good it feels almost tailored. I chose a size that would allow me to wear a thin thermal base layer plus a thin fleece which has proven perfect and allowed me to fish in all four seasons and I can honestly say that I've only felt cold on a couple of occassions and the guys with me in their drysuits were suffering just as much as me so we all headed in, a wise choice.
Tummy semi-dry zip pocket.
There are three pockets on the Aleutian, all with semi-dry zips, one on each sleeve and one large one on the tummy with a two zip entry one on either side of the cag, I've not used any of these on the water but would not trust with any non-water resistant items, although mine have not as far as I'm aware leaked at any time, even when immersed on the odd occasion I've slipped up and taken a dunk.
Double waist with outer adjustable cuff.
The Aleuthian LS makes a perfect partner for the Palm Sidewinder Bib, the double waist cuffs on both garments mesh together to make a near perfect seal, mine has yet to let in water through the seal either when making deep water re-entries or when I fell into a hole whilst walking my kayak back up the river at Towyn, went up to my shoulders that time!
During the summer months I tend to wear my base layer against my skin to keep my body dry, the Aleutian LS is then worn over the top, the breath ability is second to none and most importantly my neck, body and arms get protection from the harmful rays of the sun, only on the very hottest of days will I remove the cag, but I still wear my long sleeve thermal base layer as protection to my body and arms.
3M reflective piping below storm collar.
Finally the Aleutian LS has 3M piping on the sleeves both down the front and down the rear, plus a strip below the collar on the back which at night when caught by torch light, turns the wearer into a character from the hit 70's movie TRON, it's great to see Palm are using this material throughout their new range.