I am planning on getting a drysuit since the water in NY stays cold for a long time. Just curious if most people that have drysuits still use wetsuits in warmer water? Am I going to want a wetsuit in addition to a drysuit for when the water is just slightly chillier than comfortable? Or once you have a good drysuit do you stop using a wetsuit?
I favor the drysuit mostly
but also own and use a polartec aquashell wetsuit (velour finish) and drytop. If you invest in a high quality breathable drysuit you will rarely use a wetsuit, but it is hard to wear that drysuit wne the air temp is 90 and the water is 60. The polartec wetsuit is close to as effective as 3mm neoprene and you can make one for yourself.
I’m still learning, too, but…
it seems that the more tools you have in your toolbox, the better. I started with just a short Farmer John, but now have a full length one, a dry top, a full dry suit, and a tuiliq. Learning what combination to use with different air temps, water temps, and the amount of exertion is an on-going process.
I have two drysuits, assorted drytops, FJs of varying thickness and 2 surfing wetsuits. I only use drysuit in the coldest months. I probably use my FJ and drytop and surfing wetsuits more. The FJ/drytop combo is used in white water, longboating and surf kayaking. Surfing wetsuit is my preference for waveskiing.
mostly dry suit
I have three wet suits, all purchased before I got my dry suit. I find I wear the dry suit (Kokatat Gore-Tex Expedition)or semi-dry suit (Super-Nova) until the water temps exceed 60 degrees. Since getting my dry suit, I've worn my wet suits very little. I'm thinking of keeping one of my wet suits (a Farmer John shorty) and selling off the others.
Don’t use wetsuits anymore
Mainly because of chafing. When the water warms up above 55 or so , I just use spray wear, above 60 and it is shorts. Air temps in high 90s-triple digits and water temps above 70 ( the tropics) and I break the rules and wear cotton. Keeps me cooler.
The wetsuit stays in the closet
My dry suit is so much more versatile and comfortable that I never use my wetsuit, except in pools. The dry suit is the best investment I’ve made in paddling clothing.
Never except in pools
Look at a Semi Dry-Suit too
If you are a touring paddler, and the chances of you “going swimming” are less than that of a white water paddler, take a look at the Kokatat Semi-Dry Suit.
I have the Kokatat, “Super Nova”, Semi-Dry suit, and I have not worn my wet suit since I got it.
It has sewn in waterproof socks, so my feet stay dry, and a relief zipper for when you need “relief”. It has Laytex wrist gaskets, and Neoprene neck gasket.
The material is slightly thinner/lighter than a full dry suit, which makes it nicer to wear in warmer air temps, when the water is still cold. You can then wear layers under it as the air and water temps dictate.
This Kokatat, Super Nova Semi-Dry suit was 1/2 the cost of the full dry suit I was considering. Also, you can read my and several other’s reviews here on P-Net too. I have been very happy with mine.
I am planning on getting the Kokatat Expedition dry suit whenever I save up enough since I would like to get a sea kayak in addition to my touring canoe eventually. Since I mostly solo paddle I generaly overkill the protective gear. I just didn’t know if I would be wanting a wetsuit in addition, which I could afford now. I am young so it looks like I will be getting the most out of the lifetime gaunantee.