Do you stay dry under your dry suit?

Just curious how much water if any penetrates via the fabric of your dry suit/dry top?

Mine seems to have lost a lot of its original water repelency and I get pretty wet while paddling just from paddle spray and waves. After 2 hours or so I’m wet where the dry top is wet and dry when the paddle spray has not reached.

When splashed with water the droplets no linger run off like mercury but instead tend to saturate the external layer of the fabric almost like regular fabric. Is this normal after only 4 months of light use?

Might be the time to contact the
dealer and/or the manufacturer.

4 months?
That’s not very long…

Serious question: Are you “sure” it’s not perspiration?

If you are sure, contact the manufacturer.

What brand and fabric is it?

No this is not normal
definitely contact the dealer or manufacturer.

Do you stay dry under your dry suit?
For many fabric types you can recharge the water repellancy with a warm iron.(not near gaskets or zippers) And you can use some products to restore it. Check with the care instructions or the manufacturer.

If you’re using it in salt water; are you rinsing it after use?

How wet are you getting? And are you sure that it isn’t from sweat?

you dont mention the
fabric layers of your drysuit, but if its Goretex or a similar membrane buried in there, the performance of the membrane is highly dependent on the Durable WaterRepellency of the outer fabric. Like car wax this allows beads of water to form.

Apply something like Nikwax and we hope you are rinsing your suit after every use. Salt residue will kill your investment.

Do you stay dry under your dry suit?
This may help -

water should not penetrate the fabric
In order for most waterproof breathable fabrics to work the inside of the drysuit needs to be hotter and more humid and the air outside the suit.

This normally isn’t a problem because people wear drysuits when it is cold. HOWEVER, if the DWR (durable water repellent) layer on your suit has worn off then water can soak into the outer layer of your drysuit. The outer layer protects the waterproof breathable layer, but IS NOT the actual waterproof breathable layer. When the outer layer is soaked with water it is 100% humid. Thus, you can not have a more humidity inside the suit than outside and the fabric can not ‘breath’.

Additionally, a spray skirt tunnel keeps the covered part of the suit from breathing well, as does a PFD. And the air inside your cockpit (when the spray skirt is on) can reach very high humidity levels. All of these factors (plus some others) hinder the entire drysuit from breathing properly.

What you are probably noticing is perspiration. But, if you send the suit back to the manufacturer they can check for micro-leaks.

Have folks tried the 303 Fabric Guard?
And used it as a DWR? Does it work? There was a thread about the stuff some time ago, but I couldn’t find it.

I haven’t found anything yet for my drysuit that works very well to keep the saltwater beading off. If anyone has found a product that does this, I’d sure like to know about it. Thanks.

Some answers

– Last Updated: Mar-01-09 10:58 AM EST –

It is a Level 6 3-layer dry top (Duke model). I think it is not perspiration since for instance the top of my shoulders/arms gets wet where the underarms stay dry, where I would think I would sweat more in the area of my arm pits.

But it might be due to the effect described above where the water sticking on the outside prevents evaporation on the upper areas which are wetter but at where my armpit area is relatively drier on the outside it is still breating and allowing my perspiration to escapeg. So, it might be perspiration. However the wool sweater under the dry top was so heavy with moisture last time I used it that I doubt I sweated that much - the thing is supposed to breathe after all and if I get that much sweat in 40 degree air then I might as well use something non-breathable -;)

I do not think it is leaking at any specific area as the effect is pretty uniform everywhere, except as I said in some areas where I get less wet on the outside.

I e-maield the manufacturer, who has been extremely helpful in the past so I hope they will let me know what they think.

As for salt water, I've used it a handful of times at the Chesapeake and always rinse it after use. Most of the time I use it in fresh water though. I do not think I've used it more than 20-30 times for 2-3 hours each time since I had it though.

I paddled a surf ski yesterday and my bum and legs were constantly in water, much more so than my upper body where the paddle spray is somewhat less than on my legs. Plus I walked knee-deep in the water to get in and out of the ski. And water gets in the foot wells all the time. Still my legs were a little drier than my upper body when I went to change later, so my dry pants apparently work somewhat better. I had similar layers on my legs as I did on my upper body.

I get soaked
but that’s sweat

If you’re a heavy sweater, it is surprising the amount of water you can wring out of your base layer. The fact that your upper body was wetter than your lower body is pretty normal, in my experience. I think the posters above are correct: you’ve got some DWR issues with your top.

Just for perspective: I cycle commute to work all year, wearing gore-tex jacket and pants through the cold, rainy months. I keep my DWR healthy and I have full venting (pit zips, back zip, leg zips, open cuffs), but still I get very moist by the end of my half hour ride. Compare that to a paddling dry-top/suit, which has no venting whatsoever and which is mostly covered by a skirt and PFD. You are bound to be moist, if not sopping, depending on the temperature.

“Dry” wear is a relative, not an absolute, term.

couple of suggestions
The next time you paddle try an immersion test before you go paddling. Wade in up to your neck and then check for leaks when you get out. This should help to determine whether or not it’s leaking or sweat vapor.

yes and no
I wear the typical wicking layer first, then a layer of fleece for warmth. Magically the wicking layer seem dry and the fleece can be soaking wet with sweat. Works good, and I’m a real heavy sweater. I bring an extra fleece to change into mid-day.

only when I don’t sweat :slight_smile:

Thanks! DWR + Sweat it is
Level Six responded to my question with mostly the same information I got here - the DWR layer is getting worn. I’ll follow their suggestion to replenish it when I get a chance.

As for underlayers, I have been using the wool sweather since it is cheap (I would not wear it in plain view-:wink: and seems to work fine for short workouts. But it is not merino… Last time I tried a fleece and it indeed seemed to work better for me. The underlayer I have below that is fine and seems to be doing its job of moving the moisture away from me into the upper layer.

I’m going to try some.
My local West Marine has it. Cheaper elsewhere until you add on the shipping.

Talked to NRS for awhile. He said that they always spray it on their gear and let dry before heading out for a day and that it makes substantial difference. Not sure how long the effect lasts. But anything that helps keep material beading up so that it can breath would be helpful. Does not bring the material back to ‘as new’ DWR beading ability, but about the best thing they’ve found. Designed to work with w/b fabrics as opposed to something like Scotchguard that will not allow the fabric to breathe acc’d to NRS.

Huh…it seems to work.
The bottle is clearly labeled ‘water repellent’ and that it is for use on w/b’s and won’t inhibit the breathabilit of the fabric.

Definitely do this outside or somewhere you don’t mind a smelly, slippery mess. It is smelly until is sets. Overspray gets everywhere and it is slick. Supposed to be at 73 deg for 2-4 hours to dry and then it mentions 8 hours in the sun for it to set–no sun and cold here so i just put a heater in the bathroom for a while with the fan on. Seem to need several hours with at least room temp for this product to set.

This morning, the drysuit doesn’t smell at all and beads water like I’ve never seen any other product do–Nikwax, Revivex or Grangers, whether wash in and heatset in dryer or spray on and heatset in dryer or just spray on by itself.

Time will tell, but I had to rub on a bead of water harder and longer to get the face fabric to wet out than with any other product. I’ll report back when I get a chance to get out next. Seems promising at this point.

Thanks for the feedback (n/m)
no message

Out in fresh water today.

– Last Updated: Mar-06-09 8:16 PM EST –

The 303 High Tech Fabric Guard water repellent definitely did better than all the other DWR renewing products I've used in the past. I recently used Granger's on this suit, which, according a study or two done by Backpacker magazine, I believe, appeared to beat out Nikwax and Revivex for it's longevity. Wash-in the Granger's per direction and heat set for 1 hr at medium in a dryer (I've found that by 303ing the latex gaskets right before this process and by closing tightly the velcro neck and wrist cuffs, the latex comes out not looking any worse for wear. 303 immediately after drying.) After using the Granger's per directions, the next time I was in even freshwater, the suit wetted out pretty quickly, especially where any amount of pressure or rubbing occured.

Today, with the 303 High Tech Fabric Guard water repellent I would walk in the water, stay in the water for awhile, splash around and move fairly vigorously underwater, come back out and the water just rolled off the suit leaving dry fabric. Several rolls produced the same effect. (I would've done more, but it was 28 deg this morning when I got up and the lake water is about 38 or 40--nearly and ice cream headache each time you roll.)

The real test would be in the salt water and surf and how long does the effect last. However, with this product, it's pretty easy to reapply and let dry if it wears out. And especially if you buy it by the gallon, it's fairly inexpensive compared to the other products out there.

Anybody want to buy my last brand new bottle of Grangers? No, I think I'll hold onto it for now and see what the long term results are here.

When I took the suit off, the only place it was wetted out was under the shoulder straps of my PFD.

That fact that there is no heat involved for this stuff to function is wonderful news for drysuit owners worried about heat and latex.