Dry or wet suit ?

Fall approching here in Quebec, the water temperature will drop rapidly. I’m planning on paddling until the end of october or before the air temperature drops to 0°C (32°F).

What should I wear ? A dry or a wet suit ? Will a wet suit be enough in water warmer than 50°F ?

Thanks for your help.

Accepted rule of thumb

– Last Updated: Sep-11-04 9:25 AM EST –

is water temp above 50...wet suit with some sort of dry or semi-dry top is acceptable. Water temps below 50...Dry Suit.

Remember that a wetsuit will inherently provide some insulation and thus warmth for your body. A dry suit, whilst keeping you dry has no inherent insulation so ensure sufficient base layers are worn!

do not waste money
buy a drysuit

A dry suit is expensive
Here in Canada a Gore-Tex dry suit costs around 1000$ ! It seems most of the people I talk to will go with wet suits. I’m so confused !

wetsuit should be fine
As a diver who dives in the winter a wetsuit works fine. I also WW kayak and use a 3 mm wetsuit and a dry top and I have done some swimming and nver have been cold. I don’t think I would want to stay in the water for a long time but for a dunk and reentry it should be fine.

Go Dry
Go Bomber Gear Radiator Drysuit. It’s finally a breathable material that I haven’t been able to out sweat. Also they come in one configuration, loaded w/relief zip, pockets, reflective tape etc. at about $700.

See you on the (ice) water,



Limited choice in Quebec
Unfortunalely here in Quebec, the choice is quite limited…

I might buy a 5 mm wetsuit.

Search the archvies…
You’ll find a lot of information. It is a debate that rages on, and on, and on, and on…

I will be paddling all winter, air temperture to 20 degrees above zero and water temperature to about 35 degrees and I will be wearing a drysuit because I read all the threads on this topic. I had been using a wetsuit but I’m spending the big bucks because I want to be around to paddle next winter, too.

a drysuit would be best if ya can afford it. Especially if you paddle on large bodies of water, in rough conditions. A wtsuit would be better than nothing though. Maybe check e-bay or the classified here for used gear.

I’m not planning on paddling in waters below 50°F so perhaps a 5 mm wetsuit would be enough.

… and I always choose my weather. Calm and sunny days mostly. So if I capsize, I won’t be in the water very long, 1 or 2 minutes at the most before I get back in the boat. Maybe less…

non breathable drysuit 300-500 bucks
if you are park and play type paddling a cheaper option is a non breathable drysuit. lets you get in the water and self rescue etc.

it also depends on what the relative likelihood of spending time in the water is. if you are kayaking a drytop may be all you need with sufficient water clothing on the bottoms.

if immersion is an immediate threat to life, a drysuit is needed. if not there are many other ways to split the hair.

it’s all about risk management my friends…

What’s dangerous for you ?
I’m talking here of waters over 50°F (10°C). Don’t you think a good wetsuit could do the trick ?

It all depends

– Last Updated: Sep-22-04 12:21 PM EST –

Solo, bad conditions, less than godlike skills, 52 degree water ten miles from shore: uh maybe drysuit.

Solid paddler skills, Paddling in milder conditions, 58 degrees water ,with friends of known skills, a half mile from shore, with flares with radio with lots of boat traffic: uh maybe wetsuit.

Are you really asking someone else to make a decision about you and your boat and your gear, which could affect whether you live or die if an unexpected untoward event happens. Do you homework, do your experiments, add it up, take the (hopefully small) risks you choose. Swim in your immersion gear

You are the captain of your own boat! You live by your judgement, your skills, your decisions.

lots of variables
how long would you be in the water if capsized? How well do you function in cold water? How likely are you to capsize? How far from help, dry land are ya gonna be?

I’m asking people because I don’t know what the hell to buy. Most paddlers I see only wear wetsuits so it’s only normal for me to question the use of a drysuit, especially when it’s worth 1000$ cad. Drysuits are mostly used in winter conditions and for waters below 50°F.

Yes, I’m asking people to decide for me because I’ve never tried neither one. I’ve never paddled in fall or spring conditions yet.

I’ll never be far from land. I only go out for a few hours at the time. I don’t know what is the big fuss over getting back into the boat. The few times I’ve practiced, it took only a minute or so. I told you I wasn’t going into rough conditions. Calm and sunny weather. No sea and no big waves. And it’s not like a wetsuit isn’t effective at all !

It’s on this site