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Review: Palm Zenith Cag

A long term review of Palm Equipment’s short sleeved dry top

I’m a simple soul.  A while back, one of my friends once asked me, “what is your main kayaking goal?” What a question… To run Grade 4 all day long, effortlessly perhaps? To get a first descent in a far off country or invent a new freestyle move maybe? I thought for a while before answering him.

“To paddle somewhere where it’s warm enough to wear a shorty cag. Just once and I’ll be happy…”

As much as I love chasing the rain in the winter, I have always envied those that get to paddle in endless sunshine,  whilst topping up their tans. After a summer season of working in Iceland, I realised that something had to be done about this and booked my flight to Nepal.

In preparation, I bought a dirt cheap, second-hand shorty cag from a friend, which lasted throughout the trip. On my return to England I decided that I wanted a new one of my own, that fitted a little better.

Enter the Palm Zenith:

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For me, the Palm Zenith ticks all the boxes for what I look for in a shorty cag:

  • Breathable fabric – If it’s that warm that I’m wearing a shorty, I want to be wearing a breathable material. I’ve found Palm’s XP2.5 fabric to be light and breathable enough to wear in the heat, without compromising on waterproofness and durability.
  • Double waist – In hot weather, there’s two reasons why I wear a shorty cag. Firstly, to keep the chill of the water off me and secondly to keep my boat dry.  With my spraydeck locked in to the  double waist of the Zenith, my boat stays dry as I paddle down river.
  • Neoprene ultra stretch seals – On sunny days, I’m going to be wearing sun lotion. Latex and sun lotion don’t go together particularly well, making the seals last much less longer than normal. The seal of the neoprene isn’t as dry as with latex. However, if it’s warm, I’m unlikely to be bothered if I get damp anyway. The soft-feel seals on the Zenith cag also mean that it’s easy to throw on and I no longer get a chaffing mark around my neck. Win-win.

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Quite often, I still wear a long sleeve rash vest with this shorty cag, if the water is cold.  This means that I stay warm enough on the water, but don’t overheat on the river bank, like I would in a full sleeve dry top.

I’ve been wearing my Palm Zenith top for nearly a year now and despite having to re-glue a small section of seam tape, I’ve been really happy with how it’s performed.  Interestingly, Palm have re-launched the Zenith shorty again this year, now with a neoprene glideskin neck and bicep seals, to make the cag a much dryer fit for summer playboating sessions.

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I
‘m tempted… very tempted.

 

 

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