One piece or two-piece dry suit?

The ice is off the rivers and soon will be off our cottage lake in Eastern Canada. I’m not going to go out immediately (I’ll wait until the water is warmer – in the low 50’s). I’m planning on purchasing a drysuit and noticed that MEC sells drysuit tops as well as one piece suits. Purchasing a top and pants separately doesn’t seem sensible (as it it would seem to me to provide two entry points for water that don’t exist with a one piece). However, before making the plunge (joke intended) I am wondering if others have opinions on this and have a preferred suit. I’ll be using it in the spring and fall. Thanks in advance.

One piece
I have a Ravenspring…check them out. Absolutely get a relief zipper…

Stick with a one piece as those two piece combinations almost always leak around the waist

slightly disagree

– Last Updated: Apr-05-05 10:14 AM EST –

Yes if you are using "dry" pants for your two piece system, it will leak as the seal is woefully inadequate. However if you have a good double tunnel dry top mated properly with a pair of dry bibs and with a spray skirt over all of that, it is bomber. Granted I do admit that a one piece is safer and the preferred option in terms of comfort and ease of use, but I do like being able to use my dry tops with the bibs as well as with a wetsuit at times. Also I can wear my shorty dry top with the bibs (great for summer runs) which is something a full dry suit does not offer.

In terms of one piece dry suits, if you have the money, a full featured (relief zipper and booties) Goretex drysuit from Kokatat is wonderful. I believe Outdoorplay currently has them on sale and you can get an ACA discount as well. For more affordable options, Palm and NRS both make breathable full featured dry suits for $300-$500 which is a great deal.

Dry top

The choice depends alot on what and how you paddle. I know I’ll get some grief for this,but if you have a reliable roll and a good spray skirt you will be more comfortable in a dry top with either fuzzy rubber pants or nylon pants. This gives you a great deal of flexibility especially if you have a thin farmer john wetsuit for severe conditions. If you swim then a one piece drysuit is superior. Remember that dry suits usually are not dry(you tend to collectd sweat). Also remember that the more gaskets you have the more trouble getting in and out and the more upkeep. I have two dry tops. A long and a short sleeve. The short sleeve is very usefull when the air temp is above sixty but the water temp is low. Hope this helps,Frogge.

I, myself have been fighting with this
and I prefer the two piece dry suit all the way. With the double skirt on the top and the pants, the seal is waterproof. I don’t like the one piece as it has more limitations of uses than the standard two piece. Either option will work for you( if you use them correctly), for me, it came down to personal preference.

As mentioned above, drysuits do permit sweating inside…this means wet skin (unless combined with HH lifa, or some other product along these lines).

But for me, 2 piece all the way.


Thanks for the suggestions. Doug

1 or 2?
the 2 piece suits can be made pretty darn dry but the rolling of the tunnels around the middle added to the whole not being able to freely move about thing. and while 2 pieces offer greater utility as you won’t always need the pants, the whole roll and unroll of the tunnel thing was a bit of a pain in the tuckus.

i scrapped my bibs (which are for sales - kokatat with the tunnel…just need new gaskets…anyone?) and have gone to either the dry top or the 1 piece drysuit - it’s just more comfortable.

I agree with the disagreements
[I know it sounds like someone who ran for president[ it depends on what sort of paddling you are doing. But if you end up in the water a one-piece is goung to keep you dryer than any two-piece combination

Certainly a one piece will keep
you drier. But even here in Newfoundland, where our water would be considered cold no matter what time of year…proper base layers under a 2 piece - I find more comfortable.

I wear Helly Hansen Lifa under the dry top, and a think wetsuit skin…even with a bit of water inside, I am more than warm enough.

'sides, I was taught Sea Kayaking is not a dry sport !!!




– Last Updated: Apr-05-05 7:31 PM EST –

The water in the St Lawrence in Montreal is about 0.3 deg C right now, and I don't want to take a chance of getting wet at all therefore I use a one peice dry suit from kokatat, the same model that is sold at MEC, the GMER with booties and relief zipper. It is very comfortable, and I will wear it until I can paddle in shorts as it is more comfortable than a wet suit when paddling.
In passing, I also have a drytop for the week or two transition period between dry suit and t-shirt season.

Dry Suit or Dry Seperates
Dry suit definitely. I have both and find the dry suit more comfortable and better at keeping out water.

Goretex with booties and relief zipper is the way to go.

Yes, kayaking is a wet sport – can’t count the number of times I’ve heard ‘It’s a water sport!’ However, when the water is well below 60F nothing beats a good dry suit.

I have 2-pc.
I like the versatility of being able to use dry-top only for white-water kayaking or cruising rivers. If you have a reliable roll and are on a small river, there really is no need for a full dry suit.

When I go on bigger cold water (reservoirs, bay) I use the two pc. combo. (I have the sprayskirt tunnel in the dry top, so I can do the roll-seal). I’ve tested the two pc. without a sprayskirt on and it leaks very slowly. It would probably take an hour or more to take on any significant amount of water. I’m sure it would hardly leak at all with a full neoprene skirt on.

When the air and water are cold, I use a 3mm wetsuit under the dry outfit. I like the redundant protection and feel it is very safe. It’s also very warm on 40 degree, windy days.

If I were venturing into big, unprotected, sub-50 degree water, I might want the full dry suit.

Food for thought
Thanks again. This discussion has been very helpful.