3mm nepoprene wetsuit question

So if you kayak in cold water with a full coverage of 3mm neoprene wetsuit and end up in the water it’s life threatening? And a drysuit is a must? If thats the case why are the U.S. Coast Guard Rescue suits for civilians neoprene?

Why not answer the question for yourself
Wear that suit and walk into some cold water. Let us know how it turns out.

Different purposes
Emergency immersion suits are not wetsuits. They are dry suits. Some are made of neoprene. Some are not. Neoprene is used because it is waterproof and relatively inexpensive.

An emergency immersion suit’s job is to keep you warm and alive in cold water after your boat sinks. It is not designed for swimming or diving. It is not designed for paddling. It is not designed for ease of mobility.

A paddling drysuit is specifically designed for paddling. It is cut to allow good mobility. It is made of breathable material so that you will not totally saturate your insulating layers with sweat. By itself, it provides very little insulation, but you can wear different layers underneath to match the conditions, making it much more versatile than a wetsuit.

Take a look at this site:


For divers, it suggests that a 3mm suit is good down to maybe 55F water.

Will you die immediately if you paddle wearing that 3mm suit? No probably not.

Are there better options? Yes.

You are doing some research, which is good. Gather some more information, make an honest self-assessment of your skills and your tolerance for risk, and make a personal decision.

Here we go again…

– Last Updated: Jul-29-07 7:34 PM EST –

You can be very comfortable for many many hours in a full 3 mm wetsuit in water that is around 57 F. Colder than that and I like a little more protection of a semi dry top or a 4/3 suit. That combination works down to about 45 F water temp. I'm sure Sing will chime in with his icewater suggestions for wetsuits.

Do not succumb to the "you have to wear a drysuit" Religion. There are very workable alternatives .


thanks seadart
thanks seadart finally you and a few others have rang in with something other than “blind faith” for drysuits which I have read can have theyre share of problems

uh yeah but …
I just read your other post.

In MN a 3/2 wetsuit is not going to work past mid October.

Dude, You’re Fishing For Answer
that you want to hear.

Folks gave you pretty good feedback but seem intent on wanting to believe your 3 mm FJ wetsuit and vest, and hood and glove are sufficient for you described. In my strongest opinion, it is not, especially if you don’t have a roll, or even one that is tested in cold water conditions. I’ve seen many a folks with roll in a pool or warm water come right out of their boat when they flip in winter conditions. That cold water is a shocker for those not acclimated.

Do as you pleased. But you got some pretty good info that applies to most folks. There are folks who are very cold tolerant. Perhaps you’re one of them.


Make sure you have a will and your life insurance is paid before you paddle. Paddling in MN in the winter in a wetsuit will only prolong the agony before you die.

a 3mm wetsuit will work very well for you. But, just in case, you should buy some sponsons.

He don’t need no stinkin wetsuit!!!
After training in an icy pool for weeks and enduring more than 20 minutes in the Arctic Ocean, Capetonian Lewis Pugh said he was “relieved it is over”.

Pugh became the first person to complete a long-distance swim in the freezing ocean - at Verlegenhuken, on the Spitsbergen island in Norway.

In just a swimming costume and cap, Pugh endured 20 minutes 32 seconds in 3°C water and a distance of 1.07km.

‘Throughout the swim I just focused on the finish’

The swim was under English Channel Swimming Association rules, which meant he was not allowed to use a wetsuit or dry suit.

The safety crew included Professor Tim Noakes of the University of Cape Town’s Sports Science Institute, and a team of armed Norwegians on a support ship, because of the threat of polar bears and walruses on the island.

Noakes said Pugh’s core body temperature, which had risen to 38°C before the swim, had dropped to 36°C by the end of it, and continued to drop until 25 minutes after the swim to 35.5°C, which was still within a safe limit.

Due to his training, cold water adaptation and personal drive, Noakes said, Pugh could swim in temperatures which would disable most people in seconds. Weeks before Friday’s swim, he had trained in a pool of icy water.

Pugh said: “Throughout the swim I just focused on the finish. I am incredibly happy to have succeeded, but the enormity of the swim has not yet sunk in. I am just relieved it is over.”

This was the first long-distance swim in the Arctic Ocean, Pugh said.

Once had a custom made 3mm wet
suit, and while it was warm enough for an occasional unintended swim in winter whitewater, it was totally unsuitable for paddling long periods or in technical water. The neoprene is constantly fighting your actions.

That is what makes the market for drysuits… not performance in cold water, but paddler performance, wearing a garment that does not interfere drastically.

you aren’t reading enough

– Last Updated: Jul-29-07 10:23 PM EST –

You are expressing opinions based on little experience then characterizing others opinions that are based on experience.

The folks advocating dry suits for 40degree waters aren't operating from faith, it's from experience.

For someone seeking information you are being unnecessarily argumentative.


Some pics of experience

– Last Updated: Jul-29-07 10:37 PM EST –

http://tinyurl.com/23fzbl http://tinyurl.com/2k8xw8 http://tinyurl.com/29egq3

where’s that?
wish I could show you a picture of me in a 3mm farmerjohn with 3mm vest, fuzzy rubber jacket,fuzzy rubber pants, paddle shirt, dry top, gloves and beanie. Then sitting in 39degree water for 20 min. My arms had the equivalent of 2mm neoprene and they were HURTING.

Donner Lake
In December. Water temps about 34 and air temps about 20. Semi dry top and dry bibs with 2 layers of 200 polartec and neo gloves and a neo hood. I was in for about 15 minutes and pretty comfortable.

great descent on a bicycle above it,in the summer time.

Ok I get it easy with mellowdramatics
take it easy its not like Im going to find snow where i live right now and from what I have read I am planning on getting a drysuit. I got the point lets keep it friendly and not act like republicans defending creationism while a guy holding a fossil in his face keeps saying evolution hehehehahahha

this is friendly
some people here are old enough to know people who have died from immersion in cold water. It’s not personal, cold water is dangerous. It’s not a slam on you. None of us know you. The water doesn’t care what you wear anymore than the pavement cares if you’re riding a motorcycle at 35mph or 90mph.