Drysuit advice

I am pretty thin. I only have a 32" waist.


expensive dry suits
with dry suits and the price, I look at it this way, you might have to pay more for a nice one, but its still gonna cost less than a coffin

I like palm drysuits, we sell them at the shop I work at, good quality in my opinion, comfy. I bunch of my mates on the school sailing team wear em

Love those dry suits
andcould not paddle in my region without a good one.

I’m 6’2", 170#, narrow of shoulder, 33" waist. Think human stringbean!

I started with a non-breathable. Was fine for recreational canoeing for short paddling periods… as long as I had a nice warm vehicle to jump into after I put out because of the moisture sheen that will occur regardless of metabolism.

When I got into kayaking I extended my paddling season into the colder months. I now paddle unless the waters are frozen. I also now wear a Kokatat with GT socks and a pee zipper.

You really need to ask yourself what kind of use your suit will see. How often will you wear it? Do you paddle solo? Easy in and out water access?

A friend uses a Super Nova and its fine. Said friend doesn’t do a lot of cold weather paddling, very little aggressive paddling, and stays to short swim venues.

I paddle a lot and like areas that may expose my suit to more rigorous conditions, e.g., rocks, ice, etc. I need the extra durability of the GoreTex. And the lifetime warranty is invaluable for my application.

Buy your suit from a resource that is return-friendly. Do not remove any tags or trim any gaskets. Take a shower prior to trying the suit on and dust the gaskets with a bit of powder.

Get into paddlin’ position on the floor and put the suit through its paces. Try various stretches, deep knee bends, toe touches, etc.

If the gaskets are too tight, and they may well be, you may have to perform several brief sessions to check for a proper fitment.

This will give you a good idea of what you can expect if you need to exchange the suit for a different size. In my case, I started with an extra large Kokatat but it was too voluminous for my skinny arse. The large is great and allows for plenty of inner layers for those 10 degree days in the canyon gorges.

If a paddler is going to use a dry suit more than a half dozen times per year then I believe breathability, relief zips, and socks are a must. If use is going to be on a regular basis in the cold waters then go with the GoreTex - you’ll never have to do it again.

Pleasant waters to ya.


One more home test
When you get your drysuit, put it on indoors, zip all the zippers fully, and get into a tub full of cold water. If there are any leaks from the factory, you want to find out there rather than out on the water.

Comfort level?
What is the comfort level like on drysuits? I have this friend that insists I’ll be miserable if I try to paddle around in one, and will just overheat and sweat. He says he’s speaking from experience, but he also mentioned he was using a diving drysuit (said it was some sort of tri-lam material). From reading threads here though, it sure seems like comfort level on these is good, and the breathability will keep you comfortable.

No comparo between a heavy dive suit
and a breathing drysuit. Wear wicking undergarments and go for layers so that you can adjust to the air and water temps in which you will be paddling (The water temp should be your primary consideration). If you are so inclined, you could learn to roll. A roll is a good method of cooling down if you should begin to overheat. In extreme cold water padddling there are several considerations, comfort is only one of them.

Leaning towards…
After reading the replies here, and spending time just thinking about it, and checking my bank account :wink: I’m leaning towards a Kokatat Gore-Tex suit. Probably the GFER. I noticed on the Kokatat website they have that model in a new color, black with red above the zipper. I like that way better than the current blue/yellow combo.

Couple of MORE questions

What is some good footwear to wear over the booties? I am thinking they aren’t made to walk around in by themselves?

Who are some good dealers with good prices? I’ve looked at REI and NRS mostly.

My only main concern now is which size, which I addressed earlier.

Excellent suit if you have the coin

– Last Updated: Oct-15-05 6:11 PM EST –

Over my latex booties I wear something similar to this:


Good deal on Kokotat GTEX Drysuits…

– Last Updated: Oct-15-05 6:25 PM EST –

For a $25 membership fee you can get a 15% discount on all merchandise at OutdoorPlay. That lowers the cost of the $850 suit to under $725. Even considering the $25 membership fee, that's a considerable discount.

Yes. I have a friend who bought a
Kokatat Dry top on eBay. When she got it a section was de-laminating and Kokatat replaced that section for free.

Drysuit shoes: I wear Crocks over
my drysuite booties, with a warm sock (Thorlo or Smart Wool) under the booties. It’s a winning combination for me.

Regular water shoes
Todays paddling drysuits are nothing like a diving drysuit. I would compare wearing my GMER to wearing a pair of coveralls.

You definately don’t want to risk stepping on anything that might puncture the drysuit’s Gore-Tex booties. I have found these Desperado socks to be great for me, with or without the drysuit.


The same thing with a treaded sole is at-


Shoe size
Should I go up an extra size on the shoes if I’m wearing them over drysuit booties?

I don’t
neo watershoes are stretchy and the booties aren’t much thicker than socks.

go xl
Im 6 foot170 lbs and wear an large and it snug on me so you would defintly need a XL

Good deal!
Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) is about to have a huge 20% off sale…and i know that they have kokatat GFERs!!! the sale starts on thursday night…ems.com

BTW: an unmarked deal that i found from them: a kokatat supernova semit dry suit: 149.98$


I e-mailed Outdoor Play about the size recommendation, and they said I should go with the XL. Also, they mentioned that thier 15% Club discount doesn’t apply to drysuits :frowning: Too bad, though I am still planning on the GFER anyway. They also said they’ll have the new 2006 colors in mid November. As much as I like the new Red/Black color, I’d like a suit sooner than that.

You’re gonna love it
Dealing with the gaskets is a bit of a pain, but there’s nothing like a breathable drysuit for comfort in a wide range of temperatures.

Today air temps hit a cheery high in the high 70s, water temp in the high 50s. Because conditions were quite mellow, I paddled in a fuzzy rubber shorty Farmer Jane at first. But I donned synthetic lightweight top and bottom plus drysuit for rolling practice afterward. After an hour of that, I was just starting to feel slightly chilled–quickly eradicated by simply staying on top of the water. I wore mesh/neo booties, no beanie cap or hood, no gloves; with thicker underlayers and the latter two items, I could probably roll right up till the water freezes. (Not that I want to!)

Have fun!

EMS w/sale is the ticket
Kokatat GFER suit. Original $830, Sale Price (20% discount) = $664. W/relief zip and booties.

Pretty good deal.


Sizing for shoes
I moved my Kicker size up a half size to fit over my drysuit booties, because with a size 6.5 foot even the small booties have a decent amount more material than is needed to cover my feet. So it gets kinda folded over my toe.

If your foot size and the bootie size are closer, this might not be needed.