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Whatever you have will work just fine. I wear either/or. I have different combinations for different conditions. I don't get too hung up on it. I guess after spending years getting soaked and cold in a two piece dry suit (and thinking that was normal) everything and anything with my one piece dry suit is pure luxury to me now.
Having the ability to add or remove layers is key till you figure it out. Don't skimp on the bottoms (at least for open boating) and add or remove top layers as necessary.
Sorry, not much of an answer. But that's how it works for me.
as I canoe. If I yakked with a bombproof roll I'd consider a 2 piece, though NONE of my bombproof rolling yak friends use a 2 piece.
Undergarments, I just make sure it's at least 50% poly. Sweatpants and sweatshirt 1/2 poly when it's cold. I found some jeans that are 54% poly and some nylon in them as well. These work well and I use them on my way home from work or if I'm doing something else before or after in public. Nylon shirt when it's warmer air but cold water....good socks and mukluks.
...4 me. Just about a year ago i came here with the same question - 1-piece vs 2-piece - walked away with a Kokatat Expedition and never regretted money spent. But then I generally paddle alone in cold Nordic seas and theoretically might get stuck floatin' for 30 min or more. I guess a good 2-piece should work for rivers just as well, if you are not planning on going for very prolonged swims.
And layers? Wool, wool, wool. Does not stink as much as polypro after a day or two, works even when wet and multiple layers are easy to adjust for temperature.
I see answers that seem to be relating to one-piece versus two-piece undergarments and also to the dry suit itself, so I think different people are interpreting that part of the question two different ways. I can't imagine Celia recommending a two-piece drysuit in preference to a one-piece, so I'm sure she's talking about the undergarments, and Matt is definitely talking about the dry suit rather than what's under it.
Regarding your later question about putting the dry suit over "jeans and T-shirt", the posters who talk about wicking clothing are NOT recommending jeans and T-shirts. You'll be a lot happier wearing some kind of non-water-absorbing fabric like polypro or synthetic fleece. You can't beat wool either, though it's pricey. I usually wear very thick, baggy, polypro longjohns under a dry suit. Rarely have I paddled in such cold weather that I needed another layer (even at around 10 degrees), though if I were a kayaker and thinking I might be swimming for extended times I'd include more insulation than I do. If you go with one layer, thick and loose long johns are nicer than thin and skin-tight (and that's 99 percent of the long johns that are made). Long johns with thick fabric that fit loosely are unbelievably difficult to find, but once you try some (for any outdoor activity) you'll probably be hooked (you never end up with that irritating, can't-wait-to-get-these-things-off feeling as you get undressed at the end of the day).
and nylon t-shirt. Noted some consternation below about jeans. Bear in mind these are not typical heavy cotton jeans, but a light weave that's about 60% synthetic. I'll find out the brand and model when I get home. I sometimes wear synthetic sweatpants under and a synthetic sweatshirt over the t-shirt.
actually, I think they are these.
whoop, out of sequence here...this is meant for OP...and I guess they're 46% poly...though there's nylon in there as well.
I get away with mukluks. In my 'tight' boats, NRS "attack" shoes. Be aware of lack of foot room in a yak and order appropriately.In my squirt boat I would just put a pair of socks over the booties, 'cuz that's all that would fit.
The Union suit is real nice. I was offering options above as someone who gets out 4-5 days a week, often after work.
Personally, after 250 drysuit runs, I've never missed a peezip. Unzip the front zip, drop the shoulders, and I've been good to go ;-).
They are Kokatat "Seekers". I got a pair. The soles are not at all robust. But the rest of the shoe is pretty good. Depends on how much walking you have to do to get to the put in. I will put a layer of Aquaseal on the bottoms of mine as a wear layer.
Nice selection of sizes right now too.
And note: There's definitely a difference between the stuff that's 100% merino, and the stuff that's only partially Merino (i.e. much of the Smartwool stuff, IIRC).
I'd examine the tags before bothering to try anything on.
I hope you got booties on the suit and not ankle seals. If not turn it back in for one with booties. Absolutely no comparison in warmth, comfort and water integrity. Plus way easier to get on and off.