dry suit questions

How important is the extra seal for the skirt if using a sea kayak? Does the skirt you’re using make a difference, like if you can get a good deal on a suit w/o the skirt seal is it still a good deal? If looking for a bargain are you setting yourself up for a disapointment; as in you get what you pay for? Any brands of models to avoid or other info?

Thanks for any help, t.george.

Sometimes, the spray skirt tunnel may
"fit" the diameter of the drysuit body well enough to keep water infiltration during rolling to a low level. If you don’t roll often, and don’t get sloshed up your chest with heavy waves, then maybe you can get away without an overlapping drysuit margin over the sprayskirt.

However, in terms of bargain hunting, I don’t see many drytops or drysuits on offer without the overlapping closure.

How much do you mind getting some water in the cockpit?

I lived with it for a couple of years until my drysuit zipper broke.

With a front zip and a tunnel you may still get more water than with a shoulder zip & tunnel.

water in cockpit
As said, the drysuit tunnel affects the amount of water you will get in your cockpit. If you have it, it makes an overlap between your drysuit and the skirt tunnel, providing a better seal. But it also requires a little extra step to put the whole thing on (not a big deal).

My Palm drysuit does not have it. And I do get a little water in when I roll. Not a big deal.

My girlfriend doesn’t even use her’s, even though she has one. Her Seals skirt has suspenders on it, which she couldn’t use if she used the tunnel.

Generally …
If you are sea kayak touring and use a neoprene skirt with neoprene tunnel you don’t really need an overskirt. An overskirt is usually preferred for whitewater and sea kayak surfing or paddling in heavy seas and tidal races. You will get considerable more water in if you use a nylon skirt or a neoprene skirt with a nylon tunnel and do not have an overskirt.

Avoid drysuits meant for diving. You need a paddling suit (or sailing suit) that is designed with more room for paddling motions. Ankle gaskets are a PITA, but if you find a suit with them at a good price go for it. They can be changed out to either sewn in booties or glued on latex booties. A relief zipper is also a nice option.



If you are using a neoprene skirt it won’t matter much. I have an old Kokatat dry suit with no tunnel and a Kokatat dry top with one. I have paddled whitewater kayaks using both and a neoprene spray skirt.

I really didn’t notice much difference in how much water leaked in around the skirt tunnel with the dry suit vs. the dry top.

suits and skirts
A double tunnel on a drysuit is great if you are doing whitewater or a lot of rolling, where water will be pouring down your suit. It keeps the cockpit much drier under those circumstances. If you are paddling flatwater and don’t roll, it really won’t do anything for you.

Whatever you choose, make sure it has a pee zipper and booties installed. As much as like my double-tunnel, I like those features even more.