My friend pulled a permit last month for a Grand Canyon trip. In truth, I got a permit, and another friend on this trip got a permit. Three of us had applied, thinking we might have a chance to go this winter. Apparently the usual plans for Christmas and New Year's Eve are more exciting than a Grand Canyon trip, for most people. Considering how long many people wait to get on the canyon, I am a bit surprised that we were actually turning down two permits so we could all go on one.
After the initial excitement/confusion we decided that everyone on this trip needs to have a drysuit. I can't imagine winter paddling without one. I've used bibs that roll into a drytop, but it still does not compare to the comfort and actual dryness of a drysuit. I have an NRS Inversion Drysuit, that works well. A few people have Kokatat Meridian Drysuits, and we will order some of the new Level6 Barrier Drysuit
Two weeks (or more) in a drysuit made me wonder how to keep clean and dry. A drysuit will keep the river water out, but there is bound to be perspiration that will not totally escape, no matter how "breathable" a suit it. After hearing several suggestions of alcohol, or other wipe down scenarios for feet, pits, etc, the simplest solution came from a local Housatonic River paddler who was on the canyon two winters ago. He brought a new pair of wool socks for every day of the trip. Foot rot is a real issue for boaters. I thought that this sock idea made perfect sense. I'm going to add one or two extra layers of polypro base to be kept with the clean socks. Having a dry, clean base layer will go a long way towards maintaining comfort and cleanliness.