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Having been using the Palm Spark suit now for 2 years fairly solidly I decided it was time to put some thoughts into words.
The Spark suit is designed as a lightweight freestyle / freeride suit, because of the freestyle aspect its built as a semi dry meaning as standard it comes with neo ankle gaskets and a glide skin neoprene neck as well as the standard latex wrists and Plastic master Zip.
They have hit the nail on the head!
‘Most comfortable and colourful suit yet’
That’s the reason I’m wearing this suit for 90% of my paddling.
The Spark is built from Palms XP3 material so super breathable and lightweight without the bulk of reinforcing you will find on other suits making it a lighter weight suit.
Being a lighter weight suit makes this suit really comfy, the plastic zip gives far more movement and flex than other metal zips or the old TiZip. this extra movement makes you forget you even have a zip giving you full rotation and movement for any strokes.
The new ‘toothed’ zip looks more like your standard jacket zip just chunkier, this makes it much easier to do up on your own. you do have to have some flex but it is very easy to zip yourself up.
Compared to metal zips the flex is just perfect also making it extremely difficult to break (I haven’t seen a broken one yet!)
The colour, now this bit is important!
The lime green is perfect, this suit is designed to make a statement and it does, the Green holds its colour well without excess fading and doesn’t show too much of the dirt the grey panels take most of the abuse keeping your Greens green you wont need any Daz!
As standard this suit comes with Latex wrists and a Glide Skin neck, the latex is essential on the wrists to keep water running down your arms and the glide skin neck is not only super comfy but provides a very good seal, whether its freestyle of creeking the neck gives a great seal, being able to step out dry at the end of the day is a nice touch from a semi dry suit
Me being a bit of a girl when I first got the suit I decided comfort was key and actually sent mine back for fabric socks to be added by the nice guys at Palm HQ and can honestly say its the best thing stepping into the river with warm dry feet, its certainly the best €50 I’ve spent.
As standard the ankle seals are neoprene cones, same as they use on the Neon pants and traverse bib, these are a semi dry closure as they will stop the bulk of water running up your leg but the neoprene will allow small amounts to pass between your skin and the cuff, if you add a set of neoprene socks you can stay pretty dry but for extra comfort of the fabric socks cant be beaten.
The suit is fairly lightweight this makes it ideal for alpine paddling and generally having fun, on tighter runs or Irish “ditches” I usually add a set of elbow pads both for my own protection and to take a lot of wear and tear away from the suit.
As with all the Palm kit the cut is second to none the 4d cut as they call it just means that they actually though about how a person sits and paddles in the boat, wrapping the suit to alleviate excess baggy areas and to give enough space to allow freedom of ,movement, Some other companies prefer to use a box style cut this means it fits a wider size range of people in a standing situation. when you look at a Palm dry suit hanging they look huge, then when you first put one on you find the excess length in the legs, but once you sit down the magic happens, suddenly that excess is taken into a nice comfortable fit with no pressure on the lower back or shoulders whilst paddling means your suit will not hold you back.
I’m very happy with my Palm Spark suit to the point that I own both this and a Stikine (Palms top end suit) to which I’ve only worn about 8 times in the same period because I’m so happy with the Spark. the only reason I’ll be getting rid of this one will be to buy another brighter one!
See you on the river,
I’m the Man in Green!