experience with two piece dry suit?it

has anyone had any experience using a two piece dry suit? Any leaks? What sort of footwear? Will sealskin socks and paddling shoes be enough? I am not interested in using this in whitewater. Mainly slow rivers , lakes or ‘mild’ bays. Thanks.

If Your Are In the Water
long enough, you’ll see some seepage. You have to take great care to mate and roll the top and bottom.

Only reason to go with it is when cost is (a valid) factor. Otherwise, get a full drysuit. It will definitely perform better.


I used one for two years

– Last Updated: Mar-02-04 8:31 PM EST –

but would recommend a one piece also. It is difficult to roll the top and bottom together neatly and carefully enough for a two piece to function well. I always needed help when donning the pieces. It is also important that you use a neoprene tunnel sprayskirt with the two peice. The tunnel helps hold the rolled overlapping sections together. The only time I ever had a noticable leak was the first time I swam for a while in the combo without purging the air well. I found that air inside the two peice system could force the rolled waist section open some. All in all though, it was still way better than a wet suit in cold water.

experience with two piece dry suit
Right now cost is the issue. Great tip on purging the air out. Any thoughts on footwear? Thanks

To save money, I bought a drysuit bottom to complement my often-used drytop. I don’t paddle in the winter very much, and I could use the savings for lift tickets. I’ve never spent more than 20 consecutive minutes in the water, but the suit combo hasn’t leaked yet. A few observations: Get a relief zipper - undressing to empty your bladder is even more difficult that with a one-piece suit (plus, it’s an easy way to purge excess air.) I have latex booties installed, and with 5mm neoprene booties my feet stay warm. It’s important to try things out on dry land - the joint between top & bottoms needs to be between the bottom of your PFD and the top of your backband, otherwise the discomfort is significant. I agree that a one-piece goretex with booties and relief zipper is the best way to go, but a 2-piece will do in certain situations. Good luck & be careful.

It will leak at the waist
How much depends on how well you rolled the top and bottom together, how well you purged the air out, how long you’re in the water, and how much movement you’re making while in the water. Movement disturbs the rolled layers, compromising the seal.

I started with a Gore-tex drytop and non-breathable drypants and was dissatisfied with their performance (construction defects, poor design of pant closure). I ended up getting a Gore-tex drysuit and would recommend springing for that as soon as you can. It’s expensive but leakproof and comfortable.

Be aware that if you sweat even a little bit, the non-Gore-tex materials will have you soaking INSIDE the clothes.

Someone here posted that the 2-piece suits are targeted toward river boaters, who have shoreline very close by, so prolonged immersion is unlikely.

experience with two piece dry suit?
Thanks for all of the tips. I have been imagining many amusing ways to purge the air. Group hug? Letting it out of the relief zipper sounds the best, wish I’d thought of that. I wanted to extend my kayaking season with a dry suit, but I’ll still be close to shore so I doubt that I would be submerged for long. I plan to test it out first by sitting in the river in it before I get in my boat.

Footwear and burping
Not together!

It’s easy to burp the suit by holding a gasket slightly open and then squatting down (pant or drysuit) or bending over (drytop).

Sealskin and booties should be fine for all but winter paddling, and depending on the booties it might even be OK for that. I have used Teva Proton (mesh top neoprene slippers) without any liner sock in 45-degree water many times. Below that, I switch to Chota Mukluks.

I have found
that my two piece dry suit will keep me dry as long as I stay in the boat (rolling, bow rescue, etc) but not if I have to wet exit. I invariably end up with water sloshing around my ankles. For footwear I just wear neoprene socks with water shoes, and my feet stay pretty warm even in chilly water.

Do you have a neo-tunnel skirt?
I always ended up with more moisture from sweat than from seepage, even when swimming. My sprayskirt waist was really tight over the rolled section though and I’m sure it helped a lot. When carefully rolled, covered with the skirt tunnel, cinched at the drytop, purged, and cinched under a well fitted pfd, the system worked OK for me. I never had any measurable amounts of water pooling in the legs even during several group rescue sessions. I did try to limit my reaching/stretching movements so as to not strain the seam though. I doubt that the system can work at all without the neoprene tunnel.

I’ve got a full drysuit now though, and definitely feel less vulnerable to leakage.

experience with two piece dry suit
I don’t as yet have a spray skirt with the tunnel. Is that the only way the pieces will stay rolled? My PFD is pretty snug, I wonder if it will help to keep the seal without a tunnel? I just got this dry suit set and haven’t tried it out yet, so all of these tips are really going to help when I finally get out-there.

Try it out but I think it may unroll.
If I weren’t going to use a neoprene skirt I would look to find some kind of “girdle” that I could place directly over the rolls to hold them in place. Once you are swimming you don’t want ANY air bubbles to work their way into the rolled area. An air pocket will force the seam open.