GoreTex drysuit query


I upgraded to a GoreTex suit this year and I have certainly enjoyed it over the last four months.

I’m making a few Yellowstone trips again this summer with expected air temps in the mid 70s.

I’ve worn my suit in the mid/upper 60s with no problem as long as I maintained a casual pace. My attire under the suit consisted of UnderArmour and two pairs of poly liner socks inside the GoreTex socks. I anticipate using sandals for external footgear as the temperatures increase.

What are the highest air temps some of you have paddled in with your GoreTex suits? Are mid to upper 70s simply too much for even a breathable drysuit?

Thanks for the input and pleasant waters to all.


you know this already… What’s the water temp where you’re paddling? If it’s much below 50, I would I would stay in a drysuit no matter the air temp and just plan on doing a lot of drinking, rolling and sculling. If the water temp gets to 50 plus and air temp in the 70’s, I would shed my drysuit in favor of a farmer john (fuzzy rubber), a thermax t shirt, and a (shorty) drytop over that.

I bought my drysuit to Santa Cruz surf festival. But with the air temps in the mid 70’s and water temp a tad bit over 50, I just could not bear the thought of putting on the drysuit. I purchased a farmer john and a drytop (both on sale) and went with that. I should say that I knew a long swim was not likely at all – I was going to roll, or worse, swim to shore if I had to bail.


80 degrees
one day on an open coast adventure (water in the 50’s/ air in the low 80’s) I wore my drysuit. I had river shorts and a lightweight capilene T shirt (short sleeve) under and was fine. i did the normal roll when HOT routine and was fine.

I also did an instructor training in SoCal this spring in the high 70’s. same undergarments.

Granted a fuzzy rubber suit and paddle jac would have been better but I had my drysuit and was encouraged to rescue and roll practice!


80 degrees in our climate
Dry, sunny.

It was hot at 80 degrees, and I only used a set of thin wicking long undies–no socks, just mesh Teva Proton slippers. But I deliberately wore the drysuit in that heat because I was practicing rolling for about an hour. Even with 80 degree air, an hour of rolling in 60-something-degree water would leave me chilled.

If no rolling, the drysuit still remains fairly comfortable to the lower 70’s, as long as I’m not hammering.

Hot air, cold water;

– Last Updated: Apr-29-04 1:14 AM EST –

even with rotocooling, always a compromise! Bottom line, make sure you can survive.

88 degree air temp 48 degree water
the water maxes out at 54 so its always drysuit time. I have been hosing mine off for four years but this spring actually put it in the bathtub. An incredible amount of silt came out. For maximum breathability keep your Gore-Tex suit clean. Unfortunately for dry suits you have to dress for that 48 degrees. A bathing suit under a dry suit isnt of much use in the event of capsize, though it still beats cotton.

A couple of quick rolls, or Eskimo rescues for the roll impaired helps summer paddling immensely.

Thank you kindly…
for the comments.

In early July water temps will be around 50-55 F. Previously, I’ve used a 3mm FJ style but the last few years the air temps have been on the increase making the 3mm a bit much.

I’ve talked with the folks at Chill Cheaters and I’m going to try one of their Aquatherm Short Johns. I’ve tried NRS Hydroskins before but have not been able to realise the fit I need with the off-the-shelf sizing. The Chill Cheater will be tailored to my abnormal bod!

This should work well with a dry top for the afternoon paddling. The mornings up there are cool enough I think the drysuit will probably be my best option.

Thanks again for the comments and I’ll report in once I put the Chill Cheater through its paces.

Pleasant waters, all.


Report Back
I’m definitely interested in a scoop on the Chillcheaters. They actually make a tuiliq with the stuff.