long or short sleeve drytop?

which of the 2 is more versatile?

i paddle in rivers and lakes, no whitewater (yet.) the waterways were ice covered maybe up until a month ago. air temps usually around 50s this time of year.

i had thought of going strictly long sleeve because i know it’s the water temp that counts, but there’s just no way this weekend, where the water temp’s prob. around 40s but the air temp was well over 70.

Air temps…
and water temps can be vastly different,especially at this time of year. A fabric that breathes is key. I was out for 3 hours today, 78 degree air temp, 39 water temp. But I wore a full drysuit, and was very comfortable with a polypro base layer. So 'd go for a long sleeve for the additional protection against the water temp at todays temps; as summer gets here, a short sleeve top for torso warmth will be the ticket, especially if it’s a short swim. I think short sleeve tops are more of a whitewater thing. Dress for immersion. Period. Or take an unnecessary risk of hypothermia.

no brainer
you get both. If you can’t get them both at the same time you get the long sleeve initially and the short sleeve when you can. (I just bought a short sleeve but probably won’t be able to use it for another month until the water temps climb a bit or I may use it with a hydroskin top underneath it but this woudl not completely seal out the water.


I trade
in long for short when water temp approaches 60 degrees. Know some who go down closer to 50. No one at 40.

Short sleeve drytop?
I’m not sure that’s possible… while there are options that are officially semi-dry, full drytops generally have such tight gaskets that it’d be impractical around your bicep.

That said, just look at where and when you paddle. Air temps, sunprotection issues etc. Then the right one.