Many of the tours I lead are water-oriented. That means wet. Wet can mean cold. Even with warm air temperatures and tropical water, eventually you find yourself shivering, especially when the sun goes down, the wind is blowing or the boat is moving. Personally, I don’t have an abundance of natural insulation (body fat) so I tend to get colder than your average person…, and a lifetime of outdoor-traveling-water-adventure-activities makes me something of an expert on staying warm in wet environments.
My favorite strategy for keeping my core temp up and avoiding the shivers is to make sure that I get dry in between dunking, or if that isn’t feasible, at least I try to minimize the effects of evaporative cooling. I’ve found that the best way to accomplish both of these is to always have my Surf Bomber jacket from Chammyz handy. The Surf Bomber is a unique garment that originated in the surfing community. I stumbled across it while attending the National Surf Show in Florida almost 20 years ago, and immediately realized that this type of garment could revolutionize the art of staying warm for scuba divers, which at the time was my primary tour leading gig. I placed an order for our retail store, told the owner of Chammyz that he needed to expand into the scuba market, and the rest is history, as they say.
So what’s so remarkable about this jacket? Mainly, it’s made from some sort of post-production wood fiber…stuff they throw away after making other stuff. Don’t think that because it’s made from wood that it’s stiff and uncomfortable, quite the opposite, the material is actually a thick, cushy, soft type of fabric with a cotton-like feel. And it gets even softer after a couple washings. Similar to a synthetic chamois, the fabric absorbs water like a sponge, which is the secret to how it keeps you warm.
So if you’re a scuba diver, surfer, or water skiier, you can peel down your wetsuit and throw on the Chammyz, it will suck the water from your skin and keep the wind off you as well. It’s made in over-sized increments (Most, Bigger, Way Big) because it’s designed to be able to be part jacket, part blanket/beach towel. In fact, if it’s not feasible to peel off your wetsuit, the Chammyz jackets are cut generous enough to pull on over your wetsuit, which will stop the evaporative cooling of the wind hitting your body. They have a large hood to keep your head warm, and extra-long sleeves which makes it easy to pull them down over your hands. It’s not unusual to see several divers, garbed up in their Chammyz and looking like medieval monks, (but no doubt warm and cozy) hunched down out of the wind as the dive boat heads back to shore. Those not in Chammyz? Usually shivering and huddled together trying to share body warmth…or trying to snuggle up to someone in a Chammyz.
You can buy it directly from Chammyz.