dry pants recommendation?

In colder weather I’ve been paddling in a 5mm farmer john, and a Stohlquist drytop, but I’m looking to extend my season and I’m sick of sweating in the thick wetsuit.

A drysuit would be really nice, but it’s not an option right now because of price. And since I’ve already got a drytop I’m happy with I figured spending $200 on drypants would be worth a shot to put me into a virtually-dry suit that I’d be safe using in our cold-weather late fall and early spring. (water temps in the 40s, air temps about the same on a nice day).

I’m wondering if people who have used this sort of combination can recommend features or particular models of dry pants/bibs that work best.

I’d definitely like to get something with booties, so I can wear warm socks and not mess with latex seals on my hairy ankles.

Thanks, Nate

I’d like to hear too
But, without boots, since I want to use my own (due to foot size). So in this case, would you consider keeping your feet dry when entering the boat in knee-high water essential? Or would using neoprene water shoes that are warm but wet acceptable for the above mentioned conditions for 2-3 hours on the water?

You can keep your feet dry under
… dry pants (without booties) by wearing Chotas. You can put the pull the dry pants outer layer over the Chotas and then cinch down the dry pant’s velcro around the bottom. If you tighten the Chotas up a bit at the top, and tighten the dry-pant’s velcro around the bottome, you should be able to stay totally dry in deep water for almost a minute. Then water will start to intrude. But, then again, your mileage may vary.

Mooners Drypants for the latex seal or for an easier on/off try the Neptune Drypant (same pant) different gasket, neoprene with smooth skin at end of the cuff like the neck gaskets of the Body Pod Drysuit.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY


I’ve never seen
drypants with booties. Any leakage at the waist would drain into the feet, and be difficult to drain without completely removing the pants. At least with ankle gaskets you can drain the legs easily.

My drytop/drypants experience is that the waist seal is only good for a very short swim, but I’ve got older gear that probably isn’t state-of-the-art. The Kokatat roll-together pants & top seem to have the best reputation for dryness.

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Stohlquist makes 'em with booties
… as does Palm. I just picked up some Palm Sidewinder bibs with booties. Haven’t tried them yet. But I do share your concern water being trapped in the booties. But at the same time, not that much water enters during relatively short swims that it should be an issue. I’ve worn dry pants without booties for years and never once did I have to drain water out of the ankle gaskets. That’s not to say I was never wet. But there was never so much water that it could be drained out.

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I have a breathable Palm bib that
mates well with my Stohlquist drytop. The bib’s booties turned out to be big enough for my size 14-15 feet, even with socks on.

I really think you have to go for a bib, with shoulder straps and a relatively high chest, rather than “dry pants.” It is vital to NOT allow water to load into those pants through an inadequate mating seal at the waist. A dry bib gives an extra measure of security.

totally agree
When I posted above about my drypants, I forgot to mention that that when I first got them, I sewed a tunnel onto them so I could roll and mate them into the tunnel of my drytop. But, that’s pretty much a 2 person operation to do reasonably well.

Neoprene socks with a neoprene boot
like the NRS rodeo sock work well for me in 32 degree water.The water enters when you launch, but is quickly warmed and ready for a long paddle. It is the flow of water that would be bad (swimming/kicking). I have the Stohlquist white water dry suit that came without dry boots and a pee zipper. For $120 I added boots and a pee zipper this year. I will probably be challenged on this but here goes anyway. If you plan to winter paddle or cold water paddle in water that is more than a two minute swim to shore, don’t do it until you have a dry suit. If you plan on being closer to land (warmth) and have a change of clothes with you, a two piece set up is fine. I realize that there are no guarentees with the dry suit, but why subject yourself to a prolonged immersion with clothing that will leak.

I recommend…

…dry pants.

But that’s just me.

Works for McCain. Works for me.

g2d how do you like the Palm bibs?
You have the Sidewinders? I picked up a used, but never actually used, pair from a wahoojim. Haven’t worn them yet.

When you talk about mating them to your dry-top, how does that work? The sidewinders don’t have a tunnel. Are you just lining up the drytop’s tunnel into the wasteband and then tightening it up, or am I missing something?

NRS Black Rock Dry Pants
mates really well with my Stohlquist Dry Top. I get no leakage whatsoever. I’ve always had leakage to my feet regarless of the footwear. I’ve gone to dry socks and that’s helped.


TJD have you been swimming in the pants?
Have you wet exited and re-entered in cold water with this set up? I have talked to people who stay dry in this set up, but when we talk more there is always a few caveates that enter. “I get a little water in” or “I wasn’t really swimmng” or “I was in a river and stood up”. I am not disagreeing with you, but would like to know if you are confident that you could spend a few minutes swimming in cold water, climbing in and falling out of your boat, and not get wet. I believe it can be done, but I think the chances of intrusion are far greater than in a one piece.

Of course,
a one piece would be a safer bet. But yes, I have intentionally immersed myself in a local reservoir in February. Water temps in the 40s. Stayed there about a minute or so floating on my back and generally playing. No leakage either top or bottom. None!

I, also, took swim, this one inadvertant, in a local river last year. Did a wet exit, scrambled up the bank, reentered the boat, and pumped it out. The only thing wet was my head.

As an aside, to comment about the dry top. I’ve taken several on the water rescue classes in cooler water with this top and have never had any water leakage after being in the water off and on all day. I have the FreePlay.

I think the NRS dry pants/Stohlquist dry top is a good and economical solution. Hope this helps.

Dry pants combo
Before I bought my first drysuit I did the dry pants and dry top combo and I tested it out with a swim. I was totally dry. You have to put the pants over the inner flap of the dry top. You will get cold feet without booties but nobody dies from cold feet. Plus anybody with brains doesn’t go off shore alone in the winter. Even with a full drysuit, you have to be cautious in the winter. If you ever come out of your boat, you will get very cold quickly.

We practice rescues and rolls in the 32
degree water. I am no colder in the water than out of it, sometimes it is colder out when the wind is up. We spend 1-2 hours in and out of the water. One person last year used a two piece suit and NO GLOVES! He is a freak as far as I am concerned, he did get some water intrusion but not enough to drive him to shore.At the end of the session some of us(all in one piece suits) just laid out in the water to see how much we could stand and it was longer than we had time to waste doing it. The other people I paddle with who use a two piece have all told me they get some leakage and will not use them in winter. I believe you guys, but for what we do “I” would only be willing to use a one piece. It could be that the people I have talked to don’t know how to use the two piece properly, which brings up a whole other area of concern for use of a two piece. Why worry about whether you have in on correctly?

the original poster was considering the economy of the dry suit v. 2-piece solution. I’m afraid I fall into that category, as well. For the winters in Va, and for the conditions I paddle in, the 2 piece works for me.

No ,No I want to keep arguing no matter
how foolish it makes me look! You are probably right, but I assumed that it gets very cold in Maine. I only paid $329 for my drysuit online clearance from REI last year and spent $120 adding booties and pee zipper this year for a total of $449. As for Virginia sir, I beg to diffa. The portraits of Washington’s winter campaigns always show him in a one piece dry suit!!

add booties?
What type of booties did you add?

I’m looking for a place that will retrofit goretex booties.