Dry suits - how late into the season?

How late into the spring do you wear your drysuit?

The “rule of 100 degrees” has been posted on this site many times.

I just came across this site:


At the bottom is a table of water temperature and expected time to exhaustion and expected time of survival.

Mustang (a maker of survival suits) also has an informative page at:


Many of us probably wear dry suits much later into the spring than we “have to”. Obviously there are other factors to consider, including rescue skills, the trip location, likelihood of a capsize, personal risk tolerance, etc.

Depends …

– Last Updated: May-07-06 12:24 PM EST –

on water temp. Last year the last time I wore mine was on the first weekend in June because I took a lesson on a large inland lake that had only reached 50F one or two days before the course. On many other smaller lakes and rivers I was no longer wearing it by mid May. I am comfortable in my suit in quite high air temps knowing that I can always roll to cool off, if needed.

I should add I live in upsate NY, YMMV.

Anything under 68 degrees
will find me in a drysuit if I am practicing rolling or bracing skills or paddling alone or with only one other paddler. I hate cold water and have low tolerance for extended dips into anything colder.

If I am with a group of experienced paddlers that temperature drops down 5 or so degrees.


As long as I can stand it
For me that is an air temperature less than ~ 80 degrees F (if I’m not paddling too hard). The water is almost never so warm around here that you couldn’t wear the dry suit. But most of my paddling buddies shed theirs earlier.

I would think
I would be in it a whole lot given how thin my blood probably is here in Florida.


For normal paddling, I wear my dry suit until the water temperature exceeds 60F. If I am doing a lot of wet work or embarking on a long crossing, I wear my dry suit after the water temps are well into the 60s.

Rule of thumb
is irrelavant here. As others have said, each individual is unique in their tolerance of cold, in their own skills to re-enter the boat, and in the places they paddle. One thing I failed to mention in my first post is that when I discontinue using my drysuit I am almost always in hydroskins and/or aquashell, so essentially I go from a drysuit to a wetsuit before summer temps when shorts and a t-shirt will do. Guidelines can be found on this website: http://www.atlantickayaktours.com/pages/expertcenter/how-to-dress/How-to-Dress-1.shtml


Longer by removing air and wetting
Just a technique for using it in warmer air temperatures. Get in thte water with the suit on and burp it from the neck, removing all the air in the suit. One has removed some of its insulating properties, but left a suitable margin depending on the layers inside your suit. This, along with “rotational cooling” allow you to stay the right temperature longer into the season.

In directing our Thursday “Rock n Roll Rescue” program we are glad to use drysuits long after others are not even using wetsuits by virtue of these techniques and repeated recovery and roll demonstrations.

Massive Over Kill
Dry suit for 68 degrees!

I think you guys have a dry suit fetish.

Idiots die in my lake
7 years out of ten. 40 degree water 70 degree air go over 1/4 mile from shore. End up in my freezer!

hmmmm…strange diet, eh?
As to the comment about 68 degree water and drysuit fetishes,…I am always the last one in the pool in the summer when the water is 78 degrees…now if I could just hook up the pool heater to Long Island Sound…

Location, location, location
and weather. Even if not wearing it during warm weather it will be in the dry bag for when the afternoon T-storms arrive. Our Great Plains lakes warm up nice in the summer. The mountain lakes are a different story. The water at 9,000 to 11,000 feet, fed from snow melt never warms much. The mornings can be blazing sun through the thin air and the afternoons can be a raging tempest with any or all of rain, hail, graupel, snow, and blasting wind. If caught out away from camp on water in this weather I will be in my dry suit.

I have been DIVING fully submersed in 3mm wet suit for an hour with no chill at 70F air temp, 72F water temp.

Diving at 55F in 6mm wet suit for 45 minutes and got a little chilled.

If you consider the worst case scenerio, then (IMHO) some kind of exposure suit should be used if there is any risk of prolonged immersion at less than 80F water temps.

A dry suit at 68F water temp is probably overkill. But it would feel good at 68F water temp on a stormy or windy day.

year round
on the ocean. It never gets much above 50 degrees water temp.

I cheat a little when kayaking among the fingers of Maine; they are more like estuaries, near shore and warmer. Hydroskin then.

even now, in my office
it’s only about 65 out, and there is a chance of rain. i’ve got my pfd on too, in case any puddles form.

you must work
in New Orleans!

Odor Factor
Spend more than half of paddling time in water where there is a reason for a drysuit, either the temperature or how wet things’ll be.

But then there is the smell too - haven’t found an instance yet where sweated up stuff under a drysuit smelled half as bad as hydroskin conditioned with late summer pond scum.

dry suit
Iwear mine year round as the water temperture never gets warm up here in alaska.

Whatever works
Actually I have a dry foot fetish.

I don’t wear my drysuit when the water gets into the 60’s but that’s also when the air gets into the 100s.

I do often get chilled standing around in wet neoprene in the summer evenings after roll practice.

I just don’t think a dry suit is necessarily less comfortable or hotter than neo, although I’m starting to have less tolerance for the neck gasket. Like I said, I like dry feet.

The main thing is to do what works for you, in your conditions, and for your skill level. All are important factors.

…the “100 rule” is just plain wrong. There isn’t a single combination of air/water temps that equal 100 where I would consider paddling without a dry suit.