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The Immersion Research Nano is not a jacket you see out on the river very often, so I got curious and decided to get one (actually two).

Why would I do this? Well, readers of this blog know I love cagdecks (topdecks) because they are simple and reduce bulk around the waist. Let’s be honest, white water kayaking involves wearing a lot of shit. Climbers have ropes and shit, we have cags and decks and shit. I’m on a quest to, well, reduce all the shit.

The UK is unique in the world because while in most other countries summer means going boating in a rash vest, in the UK it’s quite often either too warm for full dry gear or too cold to just use a rashy. Well yes, I know some people do insist on a rashy all the time, or even a Neoprene based top, but let’s just pretend those people don’t exist.

I tried a Neo top for paddling in the surf once, and lets just say that it took away half my skin under my armpits! Salt water Neo tops, and paddle motions do not go together well!

Annnyway, the Immersion Research Nano

What the hell is the Nano?

The reason why most people have probably never heard of the Nano or bought one is because it is about as simple a jacket as you could hope to get. Some might mistake it for some sort of beginner style thing because it has no deck tube. Don’t be under any illusions though, the Nano is designed primarily with white water use in mind.

What happens is that you put your deck on first, and then the Nano pulls down over the top of it, creating an extremely grippy seal. Think of the Nano as being like a cagdeck without the deck attached to it. It gives most of the advantages of a cag deck, removing excess material and bulk around the waist, but without the expense of buying it with a deck attached.

The Nano is made from 2.5 layer mini-ripstop polyester face material, which is of the same or very similar construction to the Immersion Research Rival semi-dry jacket. The simplicity of the Nano means that you can pick one for £100 from Immersion Research’s website. It’s available in both short sleeve versions and long sleeve.

Is it dry?

I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive when I first tried the Nano out, but I have to admit to being extremely impressed with it. So much so that this is likely to become my go to general three season paddling jacket. You might get a little damp around the waist with general paddling, a bit like a cagdeck, but even though I was chucking the boat all over with some flat water freestyle practice I didn’t really get any more damp than with my usual semi-dry kit. In fact the leakiest part was my deck, which I have now discovered has a big hole in it!

On colder days I’d still go for a dry jacket or a drysuit, but certainly for those mild spring, summer, and autumn days the Nano is perfect. And the really good news is that the short sleeve version is just as dry as the long sleeve.

There’s no latex at all with the Nano, not even on the wrists, so wearing the Nano is very comfortable to wear indeed as well as giving another option for those with a latex allergy. No latex also means less maintenance.

Who is the Nano for?

  • Spring/summer white water cruising
  • Park and play
  • White water parks (CIWW, Lee Valley etc)
  • White water racing
  • “Extreme” slalom racers
  • Summer freestyle sessions

Conclusions

In short the Nano has been surprise and much better than I was expecting. It won’t suit everyone, especially if you’re one of those people who does freestyle and expects to be absolutely bone dry at the end of the session. However for me it is a really good find. It’s inexpensive and does make me wonder if much of the kit we see on the market today has been over designed. If I could pick any downsides to the Nano it’s that Immersion Research’s colour ways continue to get urrrm, more “interesting”. The sort sleeve black Nano looks great and the blue long sleeve is fine also. However the rest… Maybe next year will show some better choices. That said, I think the Nano is a jacket more people should consider.

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