Drysuit question

At the start of my L2 class this summer, I watched as my instructor immersed himself in the lake to purge the air from his drysuit.

Must that be done in the colder/winter months as well?


What I do

– Last Updated: Nov-23-15 10:57 AM EST –

I just duck down into a squatting, crouching position while pulling open the neck gasket. I fold my arms across my chest while doing this. The gets out more than enough excess air for me. You'll feel the air bunch up in the suit when you do this, and can adjust your body position as needed to push out as much air as you wish.

Dressed for immersion
It doesn’t bother me to get in the cold water to burp my suit; I’m dressed for immersion. I do have the attached gortex socks on my suit, so even my feet stay dry – I suppose I wouldn’t want my feet getting wet, if I didn’t have the socks. Immersion will burp out more air, but, as said, it’s not a requirement – unless it bugs you. I suppose it’s personal choice – what is more distasteful to you, immersion or some remaining air?

Just more efficient than squatting
You do feel like a human food saver vacuum bag walking out of the water. If you’ve overdone it bleeding a little vacuum at the neck gasket is all it takes for comfort.

You can do the opposite and have the nephews pile on the human raft after you’ve exhaled under the neck gasket to make yourself into the drysuit blimp. Not recommended for boating but rather for being the boat.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY




– Last Updated: Nov-23-15 11:25 AM EST –

but it's not as bad as it looks.

I like to do it to help acclimate myself, unless it's really frigid I also dunk my head.

But you can certainly accomplish it as guideboatguy describes.

that is called “burping”

– Last Updated: Nov-23-15 8:07 PM EST –

Best to burp a lot of the air out before going paddling, but you don't need to immerse yourself. Then again you are wearing a dry suit so walking in up to your waist or chest and you are still dry (the exposed hands and head stay dry by not submerging), yet can get most of the air out.

Or you could just crouch down out of the water. The folding of the materials also burps a lot of air out.

Learned something - thanks guys!
I’ve no experience with drysuits and didn’t know they had to be “burped” until seeing that done. Immersion seems to be a good way to check if your layering is sufficient but must feel odd the first time you do it.

Snowy and cold here so I start thinking of the best way to stay warm while paddling and wondered about a drysuit. Maybe someday I’ll get to try one on and see if I can tolerate having something tight around my neck.

Till then, my neo-gear will have to do. Would love to have one last dance with my boat before moving it to the pool.

Ah’s do it…

Not me
I am not a fan of it. I do the squat/burp on the beach as described above. I find that when I did the in-water burp it had two effects that I did not want: 1. It left the suit wet. Even though it is a drysuit and you stay dry inside, that water on the surface has to evaporate. That pulls heat away from you and I find it to be chilling. 2. It compresses your insulation quite a bit. I want some air in the suit, that’s what keeps you warm! The water burp usually leaves the suit “shrink wrapped” to your body which can reduce the effectiveness of your insulation. Hope that helps.

Air is year round

– Last Updated: Nov-24-15 12:07 AM EST –

No law that says it won't trap air just because it is winter.

That said, you can purge the air without getting into the water. The reason to get into the water is less about purging air and more about making sure that you are wearing warm enough layers underneath and have not left a zipper open. You don't want to find that out in a real capsize.

There is an argument for leaving a little air in there come really cold weather. There are times I have. But you still trap more putting on on than you want to be paddling with.

Of course, the whole point of a dry suit is that you can wade into the water in the winter and not be chilled.

Not required to do it in the water
The drysuit should be burped, but you can do that on land OR in the water.

Burping in water gets more air out, which can be desirable or not. If it is winter I would rather not burp it totally, because a little bit of air serves as insulation, and the suit still leaves you plenty of flexibility with that little bit of air inside, The crucial thing is to make sure you do burp it either way; if you do not, the greater amount of air inside hinders movement and can make entering or exiting the cockpit difficult.

Burping in water immediately tells you how an immersion would feel. OTOH, you can get a very good idea by putting a bare hand in the water, in which case your suit’s surface is not sucked down to your body before you have even started paddling (and therefore are not yet warmed up by exertion).

One big advantage of in-water burping is to check for leaks…but shouldn’t you have checked that in the tub before the prior rinsing anyway?

Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man

– Last Updated: Nov-24-15 7:42 AM EST –

I didn’t do a particularly good job of burping out the drysuit on Sunday, and you can see the air collecting up around the shoulders. I’ve got that marshmallow-man look. Jonathan did a better job of getting the air out than I did.


You do want to get out as much of the air as possible so it doesn’t affect your ability to swim, but I would never get in the water to do it.

For me, problems usually arise on the second half of the trip after I’ve opened the relief zipper. It is tougher to burp out the drysuit with the PFD on, and the last place that you want air collecting is down in the lower legs if you are trying to swim.

A drysuit is heaven
Rookie, worth saving your pennies and dollars for this item of gear. It’s wonderful. When you do get one – and you will – get the kind with the Goretex feet, not ankle gaskets. I paddle in NC through the winter as an eagle nest monitor at the local lake, almost always alone. (Eagle nesting here starts in January.) A huge part of my margin of safety is my suit. I also take other stringent precautions, but I would not go out there alone without my drysuit. My suit is a Kokatat; it has worked perfectly for me and has been durable.

I think everyone has said it…
I went out once without burping and in a test-swim found I could not swim at all: I just floated like a pool toy.

Since then, I burp on land and then go in the water up to my neck to make sure everything is sealed up. Hop in the boat and go…

Very stylish
but if you want to get the Sta-Puff man modeling gig, you’ll have to leave a bit more air in than that.

I have the luxury of paddling N. California where the weather isn’t horribly cold most of the time. I usually wear a wetsuit and before more paddles, I get in the water before starting out. I figure I’m going to get wet at some point, anyway, and I like to remind myself that getting wet is the worst thing that will happen all day and that ain’t really so bad after all.

But then, I love being in the water as much, or more, as I do being on it. Most people don’t seem to have this psychological issue.