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Looking to get my first dry suit... What do you recomond for where under it. One piece or two pices? I will be doing some white water in ohio / Pen area.. class 1-3..

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.



  • Both work well
    -- Last Updated: Jan-21-13 4:57 PM EST --

    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.

  • With a pzip?
    If so, I personally prefer two pieces. Also, I find that I more often sweat thru the top and want to change midday than the bottoms.

    Also keep in mind that, since you'll want very wicking layers, what goes under the drysuit can also go out to shovel snow, stay warm on a sub-zero day in the house etc. Do you want one or two pieces for those purposes?
  • drysuit one piece
    -- Last Updated: Jan-21-13 4:53 PM EST --

    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.

  • Options
    it will have a Pzip.. and I didn't think about it, but I think I would just use it for paddling. are the garments usually just put over the jeans and t shirts?
  • Two piece
    of course. I use multiple poly layers with my relief zipper suit.
  • Options
    -- Last Updated: Jan-21-13 5:48 PM EST --

    ...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.

  • Options
    and some thin layers too
    very light weight top and bottoms are great for days when you just barely need a drysuit and can be used as base layers below wool, etc. for extra warmth.
  • I think there's some confusion here
    -- Last Updated: Jan-21-13 6:00 PM EST --

    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).

  • Options
    for the confusion.. I'll be ordering a 1 piece suit this wendsday.. I'm just trying to figure out which is best for going under it. Thanks for the information..

  • drysuit sale...
    EMS in Hingham MA has a sale on Kokatat front entry Gore tex drysuits, a size medium and a large, for $457.00...
  • If they have relief zips and booties
    Somebody ought to pounce
  • relief zippers and booties...
  • Wow
    Best price on a new GFER I ever heard of
  • Jeans under a dry suit....
    Personally I wouldn't do that, because the jeans are going to be stiff and may abrade the lining of that very expensive garment. And they have rivets and buttons and all kinds of things that would just bother me in the fairly tight spaces of a kayak.

    But the biggest problem to me is that cotton doesn't have either the wicking or thermal properties that you need under a dry suit if you need to use it in the first place. The materials that I use are, as I said, the same stuff that I use under Goretex shells for stuff like snowshoeing. I am talking stuff like coolmax, fleece, polypro or wool blends.

    I have basically one or two piece long underwear under the dry suit. The only pants I put under it are thin synthetic ones for times when the air will be warmer and I know I will want to stop and get out of it for something like an ice cream stop.
  • one-piece fleece
    That's what I wear directly under the dry suit when it's really cold. I have worn separate top & bottom fleece, but it crawled and bunched. No such problem with the union-suit. There are a few brands of long-johns that are 100% poly and not scratchy. I have some that fit snug and are very comfy. Those go against my skin as a wicking layer, then the fleece one-piece, then the drysuit. I haven't had problems with moisture collecting in the suit, even though I tend to work up a sweat. The one-piece has a two-way zipper, so I can take advantage of the pee-zip. Don't settle for less.
  • Ditto what Steve said, for 30 years
  • Celia, they are
    54% poly and I think 6% nylon. I'll look up more info on them when I get home. Very thin material for jeans, no rivets, and I've found them very appropriate on approx. 100 poling and paddling runs. They've never even been moist after a good poling session. I use them hiking as well.
  • no, just the "special" jeans
    -- Last Updated: Jan-22-13 9:21 AM EST --

    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.

  • Options
    I think I'm going to get the union-suit.. and then some other pieces to go over and under..

    Now what do you guys where over the dry suit socks? What do you suggest for that?

    thanks agian. I plan on ordering everything tomorrow, and I'm sure looking forward to it.

  • as a canoeist/poler
    -- Last Updated: Jan-22-13 9:40 AM EST --

    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 ;-).

  • OK - was thinking cotton
    That said, I have never really known what the name is for the synthetic pants that I tend to favor once temps start warming up. I suppose they could be called jeans as well...
  • You might try these for $30 at STP
    -- Last Updated: Jan-22-13 9:48 AM EST --


    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.

  • Whoops! I meant the undergarments
    Will correct. A 2 piece dry suit is not dry in my experiences, just manageably wet in the right uses.
  • One thought re wool underlayers
    I have to shy away from straight wool as a base layer because it makes me itch. But I can take wool as a layer over a super-wicking base one like CoolMax or the proprietary equivalents from sports stores. Just keep in mind that it is not necessarily one layer does all when it comes to drysuits, often a mix of two lighter layers works better.
  • Socks under and...
    regular paddling boots over. I have settled on beating the heck out of NRS's crew-height basic neo paddling boots until it gets to really cold stuff, then I go to a pair of diving dry boots that have the height of mukluks. And thicker neoprene for warmth. But lots of manufacturers have good basic boots and mukluks.

    Many we paddle with favor Smartwool socks for inside the booties (have to protect the inner membrane there especially), or polypro for warmer temps. But any sock that is warm and wicks some will do. Happily there are many sources for good socks since you basically use hiking stuff.
  • Options
    for all the info. Going to be ordering everything tomorrow, and I'd hate to order something that isn't right
  • Leave a half size up at least in booties
    When you order any footwear. Or at least try them on before getting them wet with a good sock and the bootie. My feet run small, so no matter how well the suit fits I am doing some folding over.
  • Options
    Even merino wool?
    Have you tried 100% merino wool garments, such as Icebreaker?

    I'm in the same boat as you... I find regular wool sweaters, etc. to be itchy, almost unbearably so, but merino gives me no problems.

    Apparently the fibers are considerably finer than reg'lar wool, which makes a difference. Color me surprised.

  • Options
    Additionally, the 'no stink' and 'breathes really well' factors tend to make me like merino even more than fleece... and I like fleece.

    Far as 'still being warm when wet' goes, that seems to be a rough tie between the two.
  • Hmm...
    I can do socks with a high amount of merino wool in them, but then again I have typically been able to handle more in the way of straight wool including scratchy rag socks on my feet than I can take in something like a long sleeve top.

    If I am someplace I could try something on I'll give it a shot - but I'd have to be able to walk around with it for a few minutes to tell.
  • Options
    -- Last Updated: Jan-24-13 12:01 AM EST --

    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.

  • Options
    Yes two piece
    I totally agree with Celia. I think every paddler has to do some experimentation with undergarments. Obviously wicking. I too find that if I do a longer cold weather paddle and stop for a lunch break, I change my top which will be quite damp. Actually I don't understand a 1 piece undergarment. Why? What's the advantage? And if it gets damp on top, then what?
  • agreed - it's a personal choice
    Wool or synthetics.

    I can wear smartwool but what makes me itch is the cost. And although it doesn't wick "stink", my smartwool garments never smelled laundry-fresh when I was done. So I tend to minimize the "stink" issue. Even if it doesn't stink, it's going in the laundry after I wear it.
  • Options
    Plus - get booties on the suit
    -- Last Updated: Jan-23-13 11:27 AM EST --

    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.

  • Liking these...
    I bought a used kokatat gmer drysuit before xmas. Wife bought me the kokatat polartec fleece 1 pc liner for xmas. Love it.

    NRS booties have been great and are on sale now. Really well made product, good gription too. Had MEC booties before these and they didnt last.

    Anyone have any thoughts on top fleece midlayers? Do you find collared fleece/merino fits comfortably below the drysuit gasket or top layer without collars better?

    Hey JB dont forget about some noggin' coverage, although if your in white water, i expect you've got that covered allready.

  • Fold the collar down
    The way the Kokatat gaskets are shaped, there is plenty of room for a moderate little collar.

    I like fleece as a top layer myself, with something like capilene underneath if two layers, but everyone is different.
  • Options
    i prefer
    merino wool. In summer i often just use netting set, if you know what i mean.
    if it gets colder i like to have the netting outside the wool layer. I recently bought a light ursuit finnfill suit. I wear it all the time now since winter is cold this year. I like two piece underwear, since its much more flexible.
  • Options
    I ordered my suit today.. After talking with them they sugested that I order a xl to kinda try on.. Then they will order one with shorter sleves and legs.. I'm looking forward to getting it. Thanks for all the information.

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