dry suit versus wet suit

drysuit vs. wetsuit which one is suggested for the beginner who is often engaged in reentry after wet exits.

over all, which is the better choice in cold water conditions?

Dry suit

dry suit versus wet suit

thanks. any suggestions as to choice of dry suit product/

There has been quite a bit of discussion regarding drysuits lately. Search the archives and get yourself a bit educated.

Kokatat, Palm are highly rated as well as some others that don’t come to mind. Buy quality, it pays for itself. Goretex suit is great but expensive.

If you improve your skills, you’ll have far fewer wet exits.


In The Long Run…

– Last Updated: Feb-06-07 5:49 AM EST –

a drysuit will cover a broader range of temps, depending on the under layers for insulation.

Wetsuits can cover a smaller range of temps comfortably, thus you'll need about 3 different suits to match up to the conditions year round. If you're lucky, you live in warmer temps where one suit will cover you for the winter season and the rest of the time you're looking for sun protection.

What's not true is the often made claim that winter wetsuits are too thick and heavy for paddling. The newer surfer wetsuits are great. Surfers have to paddle too and have flexibility to jump up on their boards quickly.

I have two drysuits -- Kokatat GMER (top of the line) and a Palm Stikine (good initial value to cost, follow up service is yet to be tested). But, I mostly waveski only these days and haven't been in either drysuit for well over a year. My 6/5/4 (6mm core, 5mm arms, 4mm legs) wetsuit has kept me warm so far this winter and I actually think it is safer for me for what I do in terms of not worrying about tears or punctures in a more dynamic environment (My "home break" is all rock/shell/boulder bottom -- great for keeping casual swimmers away).


Dry Suit

– Last Updated: Feb-06-07 9:05 AM EST –

with booties.

Gore-Tex comes with lifetime guarantee. Worth it in the long run.

Most I know have Kokatat, with Palm second most popular.

Here is a current thread:


if you’re new to the sport
and not sure you want to stick with it, that’s a tough call. If you know you want to stick with it, a dry suit is well worth the investment. You’ll be mortified paying for it, but glad every day from then on that you did. It’s that dramatic a difference, ESPECIALLY in cold-water conditions.

shame of it all is…the more you are a beginner, the more you “need” a drysuit…as you get better, and tip … on purpose rather than un–expected…the more you “want” a dry suit, but don’t really need it

Best Wishes


did not like drysuit
Paid $800 for kokatat goretex and hated the tight neck and wrist gaskets. Took it to scuba dealer for trim and was still too tight and washing it and drying it is a big hassle. Real mess in the house to hang it up and dry it. And then suppose you are in a hurry to go and you left the relief- pee - zipper open. If you swim with that zipper open then you could be dead. I No longer paddle in cold. Fuzzy rubber with hood around neck to pull up is ok in 55 to 60 degree water when there is no wind. Have overton farmer john for 50 degree water but did not use this year. Hiking is more fun so enjoy full range of fall and winter fun. Not sure we were intended to swim in icy water because I have been rescued by FD and it was no fun. Suppose you spend $700 and you hate wearing it?

Probably a drysuit
is better for lakes in Western Montana. For whitewater rivers, neoprene may be better because of the possibility of tears. I paddle Tahoe year round and prefer a drysuit. For air temps below 20 or so, I drysuit would be my only option to go out. I use an NRS Extreme that I got from Outdoorplay for $383 (Join their club and get 15% off and free shipping for life). Another deal


Yes it is nylon and does not breath that well, but it will protect you against immersion and urethane coated nylon is not that bad at dryer elevations in the cold. Goretex won’t breathe either when it is coated in ice.

I’m going to try both

– Last Updated: Feb-06-07 4:30 PM EST –

Ebay: used... got both for not much, although the drysuit needs some seal patches until I can buy new seals...

Drysuit > wetsuit -->yes
Not really a question in MI. Our waters get truly cold (30s & 40s). It’s either drysuit or stay home. It’s my first season,so far I’m paddling every month. That’s good.

Yes it is an investment. So are the best rated tires I could find for my driving style & my vehicle. It was possible to save money & go cheaper on either. I choose for me, and I chose not to do so.

From Dec 1 through mid May I forecast wearing a drysuit. The instructors who are in the water giving classes in early May prefer drysuits to wetsuits, and they obviously have their choice.

I also wear a 3/2 mm Farmer Jane long leg wetsuit and drytops for waters 50s &60s - that would be the latter half of May and again in latter half September, October and November. I have short sleeve and long sleeve BomberGear drytops, the shortie is 2 layer Toray, the Nimbus is 3layer.

I like them alot over a wetsuit but they don’t come close to the protection of a drysuit.

Unpleasant fit was never an issue. Both suits go one in about 90 seconds. As for leaving a pee zip open, that’s not a defect in the method, that’s a mind bleep on the part of the wearer! Just another reason to check all gear before taking to the water.

Pecos, a couple of Drysuits on Pnet ads

Keep the faith and paddle hard.

drysuits vs wetsuits
Having both is nice (except for your credit card balance). When the air temps get hot, the dry suit is unbearable, no matter how many times I roll. But the wetsuit leads to some nasty rashes (for me), so if you’re susceptible to wet-swimsuit rashes, as many people are, a wet- wetsuit is even worse. So I tend to use a drysuit on the shoulder seasons, and hydroskin during the warmest months (this is for Lake Superior–warm air temps in the summer, cold water, but not nearly as cold as the ocean since the surface temps do warm up where I kayak on Lake Superior). I don’t know anyone who uses a drysuit on Lake Superior in the summer, even though it’s not a bad idea for some crossings.

Love the dry

– Last Updated: Feb-06-07 3:51 PM EST –

read Jon Turk’s advise
On his 3000 mile trip from Japan to Alaska, he did the first 1000 miles in a drysuit and 2000 miles in a wet suit.


Maybe not the same circumstances
I remembered that article when I read it, and yeah if you are risking crashing down on rocks the drysuit has some risks. (tho’ not enough to keep them from showing up in WW kayaking) But I am guessing that the person asking the question was thinking more about going out in more controlled situations, a day paddle with some wet work. We often carry our wetsuits as backup for days in Maine that we go out in drysuits.

if you want to sell it
let me know.

I’ll trim the neck and remember to zip my fly.

wet or dry
The wife and I made this decision 40 years ago as suba divers, and I think the same applies to kayakers today, with very few exceptions. Either wet or warm (dry)


but as back up?
AS Celia says, taking a wet suit as back up is prudent if you have one.

I presently have the Stohlquist body pod and have hydroskins, but as previously mentioned, nothing for the in between and have been thinking about a wet suit. Water temps here will not get below 54 degrees.

the other alternative is since I have a dry top, is getting dry pants or bibs but they are pretty expensive (more than the wetsuit)

BTW, with a wetsuit, does a dry top mate to that well enough to keep the water from getting under the drytop? (sorry if this is a stupid question)

99 % of the time when rolling or playing in waves I will be wearing a reed tuiliq but wanted to know in case I get sucked out of the boat?