What is the difference? When would you use a dry suit or a wet suit? I saw dry suits list for 100's of $$$$$$$$$$$$$. And wet suits far less expensive.
if the water's warm, you won't need anything but a bathing suit. When the water gets a bit colder, a wetsuit would help. Colder still, a drysuit is the hot ticket.
A wetsuit allows a thin layer of water to enter, trapping your body heat in to keep that water and your body warm. A drysuit allows no water in. The warmth you get from a drysuit, other than the fact that you are separated from the cold water, comes from the layering you place underneath it, and of course, your trapped in body heat.
If you go with a wet suit get a one
peice not a farmer john. It will keep you warmer.
one works better for very cold water and the other one doesn’t. Very cold water kills in much less time than cold water. Just to keep your priorities in order,the idea is to stay alive in order to have fun.
Where neoprene becomes marginal the sensation of sudden chilling takes over as a significant factor in being able to THINK through a rescue if you don’t have instinctive skills for a rescue.
Thanks for the great answers!
if you’re concerned about immersion protection then you have to think about your head. If it’s constant splashing in cold water and no immersion a beanie can make a huge difference on heat loss over time. My rule of thumb for water that’s cold enough for a wet-suit is that every time my bare head is immersed it’s like another minute of total body immersion. So if I’ve got 10 minutes of comfort zone time (all mental faculties working,no panic, reaction times and skills readily accessible) with a wet-suit and I find my self having to go through a few missed rolls or rescue attempts that 10 minutes could get reduced to one or zero.
When it comes to immersion in very cold temps under 45 degrees wearing a dry suit without full head protection like a fuzzy rubber hood is like wearing a dry suit without the zipper closed.
There’s also the amount of time you think you might have to spend in water. On a cold river where you can swim to shore you might just be in water for 5 minuters. Solo, at sea and separated from your kayak or unable to do a re-entry you might be soaking for a few hours.
if you’re on a multi-day trip —
if you’re on a multi-day trip in cold water, a wet suit is WET all the time and hell to put on again the next morning. brrrrr. drysuit is the way to go in my opinion.
there’s a huge difference between adequate protection where you expect to be able to re-enter your kayak, solo or assisted, and paddle away or still be a warm body when you’re discovered floating in the water.
Check into a SEMI-Dry Suit
Just as a thought,…
I have a 3mm farmer john, that I wore with a semi dry top. I found in situations where the water was cool, and the air was warm, I would sweat my butt off in the wetsuit/s-dry top combo. I felt “safe”, but very uncomfortable.
I switched to a Kokatat, “Super Nova” SEMI Dry Suit. This looks just like a dry suit, but is only about 1/2 the price. It has dry socks sewn to the legs, and Latex gaskets on the wrists, It has the waterproof entry zipper, and relief zipper too.
Where a true Dry suit has latex around the neck, this has neoprene around the neck (Far more comfortable), and you can tighten it pretty tight. If you make it snug, it is almost perfectly dry.
The semi dry suit breathes when it is warm outside, and that makes a BIG difference. Staying dry when you spill, and having a breathable suit when you are in the kayak, makes it a super deal.
Kokatat makes two versions. The Lower priced semi dry suit is a little over $300.00. It has latex ankle gaskets and wrist gaskets, with the neoprene neck seal. But no relief zipper.
The “Super Nova” Semi Dry suit has the sewn in waterproof socks, (so no latex at the ankles to pinch off circulation), and it has the relief zipper for when “you gotta go”.
With the sewn in socks, you don’t need to buy waterproof boots either, so you can save some money there.
Check them out!
after a week in Maine
my wetsuit smelled like vinegar,just like those folks who sleep on the street,