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.

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.


– 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.

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).

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…

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.

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.