Air temp 85 water 60-65F what to wear?

Planning a kayak trip up to Georgian Bay sometime in July this year. I have a Kokatat Goretex drysuit but if the air temp is in the 80’sF range and what I just looked up online that water temps are between 60F and 65F in July I was wondering what would you were? I could just use my drysuit and do some rolls to cool off but not sure that would be all that great. I have a solid roll and can cowboy scramble in pretty rough conditions plus paddle float by re-enter and roll myself up with float in really rough conditions.Installing electric bilge pump as soon as it warms up, have all the parts now.

Would possibly a shorty wetsuit 2mm be better. I never owned a wetsuit so no experience with wetsuits. Any other thoughts?

Also carry VHF and have PLB. Kayak Greenlander Pro use greenland paddle and carry storm paddle for spare.

We were up there last summer, and
never experienced a day over 80 degrees. Plus, there’s usually a breeze.

But you do cite a problem, that if one dresses strictly for water temperature, you may overheat in the air.

Nutcase that I am, I forsee a time when solar powered pumps force outside or even water cooled air through drysuits. Until then, I would compromise. And, I think you have to plan as if you are NOT going in the drink and NOT struggling with the re-entry issue.

what I do
What I do is all based on water temps. Water below 60 for me always requires a wet suit or dry suit (usually dry suit). Above 70 and usually nothing, it is that 60-70 range I start varying depending on air temp and other conditions (such as my likelihood of swimming).

So for what you say, and assuming not rock gardening, surfing, or other situation with higher likelihood of swimming, I would probably go with a 2 mm shorty wet suit. Or if the water was at that warmer end and air was quite warm, maybe a 0.5 mm neoprene shirt.

I also do have a new drytop I got for christmas a NRS revolution not gortex but some kind of breathable fabric. Havent used it yet.

As far as air temp I took a guess as iam in Buffalo NY not to far away maybe 6 hours so I figured in July it might get into the 80’s air temp. Water temp is what I found online so I would guess thats about right 60 to 65F in July.

I guess I could go with some wetsuit pants or maybe Hydroskin although that stuff looks awfull thin to do much of anything and my drytop. I do like surfing waves though. I also have kokatat drypants with built in feet which I bought for running shallow creeks in fall time were I kept having to get out in shallows and haited wet feet.But I dont think they would be ANY good in a swim of any kind.

I want to be extra carful because I will be kayaking alone. I have wore my drysuit in 70F air temp last summer but after that I stopped wearing it. It was first year with drysuit. Plus I was paddling with groups mostly so less risk of being in water for long. But the trip I will be alone. Hence the new elctronics the VHF and PLB.

I just dont want to roast but have enough to keep me warm for at least a little while in the water. Just finished reading the book Sea Kayaker Deep Trouble. Most problems were from lack of proper clothing for the water temps.

Typical summer here …
water temps 60-65 degrees much of the year. If the air temperature is really warm, I’m usually fine with board shorts and a rash guard. If a bit cooler I have 2 mm trunks and top, fromm Oneil. I use them about 6 -8 months of the year. If you are alone or offshore wear the neoprene, and roll or splash yourself to cool off.

Funny we talk about this but if you we’re at the beach and it was 85 and the water was 66, what would you wear then?

Wide temp variations in Georgian Bay

– Last Updated: Mar-04-13 9:23 AM EST –

while it can be 60 one day the next the water temps can fluctuate considerably.

I think you were cited that figure in the shallow areas such as near Parry Sound. The rest of the bay can be quite cool.

Never been there when it was hot and that destination is a favorite of Killarney and Prince Edward Island and the French River.. Winds tend to come from the west.. and while land temps can be 85 inland, I have always worn a hydroskin on the water and occasionally wished I had drysuited up.

Its a nice picturesque location but not nearly as tropical as you envision,

Here is from White Squall Oufitters just north of Parry Sound

Remember that when evaluating air temperatures over land, air temperatures over water can be vastly different.

It does get in the high 80's here in Maine. Then we grab our kayaks and fleece and go out in the Gulf a couple of miles..And don fleece.

I’ve been there…
…several times under similar conditions and have been fine with a tee shirt and shorts. Once there was a period of about 36 hours of light rain. For that I used a breathable top with a hood (temp dropped to mid 60s). However each time I was with a group and we were never far from land.

Great place to camp as you can usually set up on rocks and not have to deal with mud on those rainy days.

BTW, if you decide not to solo it, check out Black Feather (out of Parry Sound). They do a bunch of trips in that area. I know that I would not try that area by myself as navigating the maze of islands is beyond my skill set.

different risks
When I am at the beach, I chose if and for how long I am in the water. If I get chilled, I get out and warm up.

But when boating, I am dressing for the odd chance I am in the water for longer than I plan and don’t have a way to get out.

Wet suit
Buy a farmer john wet suit off eBay, you shouldn’t pay more than $40 for one. Forget the dry suit you will be to hot in one and would be tempted to not wear any insulation under it. Remember dry suits get their thermal protection from what you wear under it not the dry suit. If you go in the water you will be warm enough. Also take a dry top so you can shed it if you get too hot, your body core will be protected by the wet suit.

regardless of location
Air temp 85 water 60-65F

Regardless of location at those temps, I would be very happy to wear a pair of surfskin shorts or neo shorts, a long sleeved rash guard and Kokatat Knappster (short sleeve breathable semi dry top). What I would have handy to layer up would be:

fleece top

gore-tex paddling jacket or semi dry paddling jacket

gore-tex paddling pants

skull cap

windbloc hat

I have used a drysuit in those conditions in Maine over a hot 4th of July weekend, but only because I was testing out a prototype, not out of choice. It was Kokatat’s lightweight Gore-Tex Paddling Suit It was quite comfortable and I did have one thin layer of capilene on underneath.

I don’t like to wear wetsuits so a shorty wetsuit wouldn’t make it on my list of choices.


I have the male version of that…
…and it is very comfortable in warmer weather. However there have been two issues for me: 1) the neck seal allows a little water in and 2) the synthetic zipper leaks ever so slightly (even with zipper wax). Overall the paddling suit would not be the best for an extended swim. It now serves as my plan B.

My standard Kokotat suit has neither of these issues and it really isn’t so bad in warmer weather as long as one is willing to roll as needed.

Thanks for all the replies.
I looked further into air temps as I just took a guess at what they would be. It appears from what people here have said hear and what I could find out online air temps hover around 70 to 75F in July. I could do my drysuit but maybe a farmer john with my drytop would be better.

I went to wetsuit warehouse webpage and it generally shows 2mm farmer john as a 70F and up suit and a shorty 2mm 68F and up. Probably because of open arm pits on Farmer Johns. But then they also talk about stretch the more pricey ones have 100 percent stretch while the cheaper ones like BodyGlove are around 50 percent stretch. I don’t want to buy something that is to restrictive. Not going to buy a used wetsuit, no thanks. So for wetsuit people does the stretch rating make a difference? I figure buy once something decent rather than buy something and then end up upgrading later.

NRS wetsuit
I would look at a wet suit designed for paddling (NRS) if you are going to get one. They are cut different and generally have two different thicknesses of neoprene depending where they are on the body. I got mine and my wife’s wetsuits for under $40 new off eBay, like you I didn’t want a used wetsuit especially one that had been used for diving. There is no reason to pay $140 for one.

The amount of stretch does make a noticable difference. If buying a full suit or shorty suit, I’d definitely get a good stretchy suit. But for a farmer john I think it’s less important. Might be better to get a paddling specific farmer john in that case.

I’d dress for air temp

– Last Updated: Mar-04-13 2:31 PM EST –

In the conditions specified in the OP.

I've gotten more concerned about overheating in hot weather than swimming as I've gotten older. To me, dress under any given conditions is a balancing judgment of several risk probabilities based on my personal paddling history all over North America for many decades.

During a solo week in Georgian Bay, where I was paddling about 18 miles a day, I wore basically lightweight summer shirts and pants, maybe shorts and t-shirts if it was in the 70's F or above. I always carry a towel and change of clothes.

I felt quite safe doing this, as in the all parts of Georgian Bay I paddled, I don't think I was ever more than than 50 yards from land. That's the appeal of the place -- a labyrinth of 30,000 islands. Plus, I was on an outrigger canoe, which is easy to climb back on for self-rescue, which hasn't ever been necessary for me in any canoe or kayak for 30 years.

If there are long crossings in waves or wind, I simply don't do them in any craft. I stay near shore where the scenery and safety are both much better.

If I were paddling the open ocean in those air-water temps I would probably wear my hydroskin wetsuit, but I don't like wearing wetsuits and have never really liked paddling in northern oceans, so I don't do it any more and the issue doesn't really arise.

Georgian bay
Well when I go to Georgian Bay I do plan on paddling far from shore to many different islands. Could be out from shore as far as a mile or so sometimes.

I think I will go for either a 3mm shorty wetsuit a NeoSport XSPAN looks like really good material or 2mm Farmer John. I will also bring my dry-suit and dry-top along in case I change my mind when there.