Dry suit question

I am new to kayaking,but have spent a lot of time in the great outdoors.I live in the San Francisco bay area. I use Mountian Surf’s brand of fuzzy rubber now and like it alot. I do not think it is enough (insualtion) for the open bay or ocean.I have looked at dry suits,but do not have the money for some of them. Do any of you know of a dry suit that will not cost me an arm and a leg?

Don’t See Too Many Dry Suits in NORCAL

– Last Updated: Apr-08-04 8:34 PM EST –

I really haven't known anyone who uses a dry suit in Northern California south of San Franisco. I am sure some do.

Most surfers just use a wetsuit, and they are in the water a lot more than kayakers...Check out the guys surfing Ocean Beach in San Franisco.

A full 3mm wetsuit or 3mm farmer john with fleece top is the most common wear I see in/on the ocean.

The ocean water temps range from low to high 50's. Personally I am comfortable for hours in a farmer john and top in water temps in the mid 50's. But I have gotten chilled when I spent 15-20 in the water in February. It think it was very low 50's then.

I use an Immersion Research
Competition dry top and either drypants or a Farmer John. I use fleece onderneath the top and pants. Although it is not totally dry, it keeps me warm enough to stay in 35-40 deg water for 15 minutes or longer. Cost me about $250 for the top and pants and 75 for the farmer john.

I an not into neoprene
I over heat in neoprene ,but want to be safe in 50 degree water.Is there any way to use my fuzzy rubber( Is said to work like 2.5 neoprene) with something else?

You can use fuzzy rubber
under dry gear. I get into the water before and during paddles this time of year when the air is warm, 70+ deg and the water cold, 40-45deg. That prevents overheating and keeps me comfortable and safe. I was in Santa Cruz last month and was overheating in the drytop, despite rolls. The water was warm enough to just wear fleece during rolls. You want to be able to layer.

Another question
It’s idle curiousity, and I shouldn’t hijack the thread, but I really am curious: what happens when you have to pee? I know they come with relief zippers, but if you’re using the relief zipper, aren’t you compromising your immersion protection exactly when you’re most likely to need it (paddle on deck, skirt off, hands inside the cockpit)?

I have not done any really long
cold water crossings so I usually just come ashore. Since I was issued a penis I would use a condom catheter and a leg bag for long crossings wearing a drysuit.

Makes sense
but yikes. As a fairly heavy coffee drinker, I’m grateful for warm water and scuppers/footwell drains!

Definately miss the warm waters
I probably spent enough on dry gear to have purchased a nice surfski. Jun and I may try and jump on an AMC flight to Hawaii this fall.

Please let me know if you’re going to be on Oahu and have time for a paddle (or a beer).

more information

– Last Updated: Apr-08-04 10:19 PM EST –

Hey DLonborg, that's more information than I need to know :-)


Purely hypothetical, of course

I promise not to pee
Are there any ideas out there on cost effective dry suits? I saw one by nrs that runs around 450.00 that they are very high on.

recently had a 25% off sale on Kokatats, last I talked to them their mens selection was very limited and I’m not sure if the sale is still on.

I’ve seen the non-Gortex, no frills (booties, relief zipper) out there (Kokatat)new for $3** somthing. I wear the 2 pc. Mountain Surf layer under a non-Gortex OS Systems drysuit and after a day on WW, am wet from sweat but appreciate it when I’m swimmin’ 50 degree or less water. On the unisex zipper kind (no relief zipper) a water bottle works. Used is another way to go get something reasonable this year and hold out for a sale on a Gortex. On used, be sure to inspect the gaskets first or consider the bucks you’ll spend replacing them if they’re shot. NPMB.com, boatertalk.com, CBoats.com …google and compare.

Two possibles…
Gul makes a drysuit that’t pretty breathable at $475 and a fantastic (opinion) model is called the Radiator by Bomber Gear. Depends on your needs.

See you on the water,



Wrong time of year
In winter, there were good deals on both Stohlquist and Kokatat Gore-tex drysuits. Normally $700-800, they can sometimes be on sale for about $500.

I wouldn’t do without Gore-tex myself. If you don’t sweat much, you might be able to get away with the nonbreathable drysuits, which cost much less.

I tried to save money at first by buying a Gore-tex drytop ($330) and coated nylon drypants ($105) but that turned out to be a bad idea. My “out” was that the drytop had two defects, so I got a full refund and switched to a drysuit. BTW, the coated nylon drypants left my long underwear soaked with sweat; I do not recommend using coated nylon unless you really don’t sweat.

Farmer John
I wear a Farmer John, and does not over heat nearly so much as a full suit. Sometimes I do not wear any top with it and leave my arms bear to cool off.

I’m looking at non gore-tex dry suits
I saw a dry suit at the NRS web site that runs around 450.00. They claim it works as well as gore-tex. I know that in the back packing world

many manufatures have come up with thier own gore-tex “like” products . This suit will not be out till mid may,so I’m just gathering information

Sierra Trading Post
sometimes has really good deals on gear including drysuits. They have an outlet here in Reno and I can check it out for you.

Palm Also Makes
a drysuit with non-goretex but reputedly breatheable material. I believe the Palm has a relief zipper – very convenient.

Also, keep an eye at gearswaps like http://www.boatertalk.com


and here. Some folks end up selling drysuits because of fit, lack of need, etc.