Drysuit, 1 piece or 2?

I have been looking at drysuits and see that I can get a seperate dry top and pants cheaper than a drysuit. Besides the cost I can see where that might be handy some times.

Is a dry top and bottom as good as a 1 piece drysuit??

I've never owned either and looking for some advice.

my experience
My first purchase was a 2 piece. I bought it because it was much cheaper (on sale). At the time I basically need everything to get started. My 2 piece meant I got wet every time I swam more than 30 seconds. Both the pants and top had tunnels that got rolled together.

This year I have a 1 piece and now I am completely dry and comfortable. I swim in the lap of luxury.

To my knowledge the only 2 piece combo that seems like it might remain pretty dry (based on claims from folks I trust) is the Kokatat Whirlpool bibs and dry top combo. But I haven’t tried it myself.

It all comes down to money and where you paddle. I was doing small bodies of moving water. So, a 2 piece wasn’t life threatening. But doing open water in a two piece is a fair bit riskier.

There is one system which I’ve seen but not used which some have said is quite dry - a Kokatat bib with bottoms. I’ve helped a few people get into them - it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to get that rolled well so it’s secure. The two pieces cost almost as much as a regular dry suit if I remember correctly.

I have the bottom and dry top combo, and as an alternative once you have the regular dry suit and will be in situations where you might have a little more control over how wet you might get in a capsize, they have a use. But they aren’t a substitute for dry suit.


I can pick up a Stohlquist Drytop and pants for $300.

He has Stohlquist drysuits on special for $500 w/liner but only has one left and its an XL, I think I’ll be swimming in it…

Other places have Stohlquist for $500

Here is one of them: http://waldensridgewhitewater.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=25&products_id=116

I don’t know of one that throws in a liner though. But, a liner isn’t close to necessary. All you need water-appropriate long johns.

If you can scrape together the extra $200, you really need to get the one piece suit. The little bit of versatility you get from the 2 piece does not come close to offsetting the wet.

tough decision
full drysuit always beats the bibs/drytop combo, but if you don’t have a drytop already, you’re going to want one eventually for days the full drysuit isn’t really needed.

i have kokatat bibs that never get used, a drysuit that gets lots of use, and a drytop that gets lots of use. I think most people eventually will end up with a drytop and drysuit.

if you can afford both a drytop and a drysuit, go that route. if you can’t, you can get by with the bibs and drytop for awhile, but eventually you’ll likely end up getting a drysuit as well, and the bibs will sit unused.

Gratuitous plug: if you’re interested in used and are a size medium, i have kokatat whirlpool bibs with relief zipper i’d part with for $100, and a palm torrent breathable drysuit with booties and relief zipper for $350.

Will they fit me

I’m 5’7" 165ish pounds. 30/32ish inseam and 32/34ish waist.

Where are you located?

I general I would think a one piece drysuit is a much better solution - assuming it fits you. I am 5’7"/215# with a 48" chest, 17 1/2" neck, 33" waist, and 29" inseam. In my case I have to resort to separates: usually an XL top and either M or L pants. An XL suit would be huge in the waist and way too long for me. Same scenario with wetsuits.

Yo Clarion

– Last Updated: Feb-25-11 5:50 PM EST –

Love that "swim in the lap of luxury" line. First swim this year was before my first stroke(seal launch into a rock), but yeah, when ABSOLUTELY NONE of that 32 degree water touches anything but your face, that is luxury.
Unless you're a skirted kayaker with a bombproof roll, I'd go with a one piece.

You were with me once in my two piece. After a certain surf-swim (for me) I was jumping up and down on the bank to stay ahead of hypothermia!

No more brother. I’m like a child in a Gore-Tex womb.

Hey we need some pix over here. Word is you got some.

great deal
Great price for the GPod with tunnel. If you plan on surfing the tunnel helps keep water from going down the spray skirt.

I got one from Stohlquest and they did alterations for free. The sizing is accurate. I’m 6’3’’ and got an XL. 36’’ waist that is nice and snug. My inseam is pretty long.

On their website they have prices for alterations and out of warranty repairs. Very reasonable.

You don’t need the one peace bunny suit although it probably be a nice addition later on. I use poly base layer and fleece top.

If you don’t plan on a lot of surfing the regular BPod is a great deal for $300. And even if you do surf it’s not that big a deal not to have a tunnel. This is way better than any kind of two piece.

The Stohlquist B-Pod…
…is a great drysuit for the money. My wife has had hers for a couple of seasons and loves it. Well made, tough, comfortable, excellent customer service, and very good prices to boot - what more can you ask???

Piling on…
I have the Kokatat bibs/top combo too. If the water I get on in the winter wasn’t so small, I would have replaced with a one-piece by now. Even at that, I will likely do it soon. The two-piece is a bit of a bother to get in and out of. And having the skirts rolled together adds a bit of bulk under the PFD.

Ya’ gotta’ get on FB

– Last Updated: Feb-26-11 7:10 AM EST –

to see the ones of my canoe "side surfin" ;-)
Side surfing in this case was surfing across flatwater with the boat on it's side. Nice shot but I don't know where else Tim has it.
Eriks got some nice video of the successful seal launches (no Aaron though his was good as well...I probed a rock to let the others know ;-)) and we both posted pix, which can be seen here

a 2-piece drysuit is not a drysuit
it’s a water-resistant combination

drysuit would
i double checked and the bibs are size small. the drysuit should fit you though. I’m 5’7" and about 140 lbs, and it’s quite large on me.

i’m in northern MN, but could always mail it.