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HydroCuff: Innovation NRS Style

NRS HydroCuff Close up
NRS HydroCuff

NRS has some 20+ different options for protecting your hands and 30+ choices of footwear. Why? Boater’s hands and feet are right out there exposed to the elements; they need specialized protection. With all the different kinds of boating and different climates and seasons, it takes a bunch of choices to cover the needs of all of you.

We’re always looking for ways to improve on our existing products and for ideas for even better ones. Out of this ongoing research and development, the HydroCuff™ has emerged. We’ve taken the opening of several gloves, socks and a shoe and turned the lips of the opening inward to form a snug seal that helps keep out water and debris.

What can the HydroCuff do for you? For one, it keeps out “splash and trash”. While not as watertight as the latex gaskets on drywear, it does a much better job than the hook-and-loop closure strap on other gloves and the open top on other socks.

By sealing snugly, helping to keep water out and trapping dead air next to the skin, the cuff holds in your body’s warmth more efficiently. And with the gloves, we do away with fussing with the hook-and-loop cinch strap. Also, please notice that all of these products with HydroCuff openings are waterproof, right up to the lip of the cuff; all of their seams are sealed.

The Gloves
Two new items that we’re particularly excited about are the Rogue and Maverick Gloves. There’s always a yin and yang with boating gloves. The thicker the neoprene, the warmer the glove. On the other hand, the thicker the neoprene, the less dexterity you have when wearing the glove. So there’s always a compromise involved – warmth versus dexterity.

Another issue is waterproofing of a glove’s seams. Gluing and blind-stitching seams is a common method of trying to waterproof neoprene seams. Glue is applied to the joining edges and a special sewing machine stitches the pieces together, with the needle piercing the face fabric on only one side of the material. With the needle not going all the way through the material and glue binding the edges together, the seam should be waterproof, right? The problem is that the thinner the neoprene, the less surface area there is in the glue joint. Most factories will not guarantee a glued/blind-stitched seam to remain waterproof unless the neoprene is 5-mm or thicker. Again, thickness versus dexterity.

With the Rogue and Maverick Gloves, we’ve chosen to go with 2-mm thick neoprene and to externally seal the seams. On the Rogue, we’re using a seam tape and on the Maverick, a liquid seam seal. The 2-mm neoprene gives quite a bit of warmth, while also allowing considerable dexterity… and the seams are waterproof. Slip the cuff over the top of the latex gasket on your drytop or drysuit and cinch down its adjustable overcuff. Or tighten the hook-and-loop wrist closure of your splash top above the HydroCuff opening. Then you’ve got an even more watertight seal for the gloves.

Putting on and taking off these gloves
With the different opening feature of the HydroCuff, here’s our suggestion on the best ways to put the gloves on and take them off. To put the glove on, first roll the cuff up. Then slide your hand in with a twisting motion and roll the cuff back over your forearm. To take the glove off, slide the thumb of the opposite hand inside the cuff, along the palm of the hand and push the glove off. This technique is demonstrated in the video in this article.

The Socks
Your hands and feet are a long way from the body’s blood pump, with the feet being the farthest away. And your feet are usually the first thing to get dunked into cold water. Neoprene socks are great items to have in your gear bag. They increase the insulating factor with your neoprene wetshoes and can turn a water sandal into warm footwear.

The Expedition Wetsock, with 3-mm of neoprene has been a boater’s favorite for several years. With the addition of the HydroCuff, it’s an even better value. The Boundary Sock is also in 3-mm neoprene and its 18” height gives you lots of insulated wading room. The Sandal Sock has 2-mm neoprene and is a great choice for wearing with river sandals and low-cut booties like the NRS Kicker Wetshoe. And again, they all have fully taped, waterproof seams.

When you’re looking for dryer, warm protection for your hands and feet, give the HydroCuff a test run. We think you’ll be glad you did!

Boat Often & Boat Safe