Polypro under a neoprene wetsuit?

I had read in a recent book on kayaking what I believed the author to be recommending is that you layer polypro undergarments UNDER your wetsuit as a base layer.

Sounds comfortable, until you get in the water…

Think this is an idea worth trying?

and it helps keep the inside of your wetsuit cleaner!

Yes, if it’s real polypropylene and not
the fuzzy polyester we often wear when hiking.

True polypro does not absorb ANY water into the fibers, and will drain out and dry quicker than polyester, and MUCH faster than Nylon or wicking fabrics.

how do you pull the wetsuit on without the “base layer” all bunched up underneath?

don’t worry about bunching
I wear compresion pants or shorts and a loose shirt I tuck in while I pull up my farmer john. Bunching is never a real problem.

Try a rash guard and tight fitting trunk
I usually don’t wear anything on the bottom until it gets really cold in winter, I have some very thin neoprene trunks I use for a layer.

Oneil sells several kinds of thermal layers that are tight fitting and comfortable under a wetsuit.

snug polypro
will not bunch up. The snuggerer the betterer. My wetsuit has zippered sleeves and legs so I can get it on with very little bunching.

Before I had a drysuit I regularly wore polypro under a wetsuit to add insulation. Even when rolling etc it doesn’t feel wet. And to me it feels warmer on the skin than just a wetsuit alone.

If I wear a shorty-john in the summer I still often put on a polypro t-shirt just for comfort. And when I take my kids out in cool water, they wear polypro under their wetsuits for extra protection.

I have not tried it under neo, but I think wool beats all synthetics hands down. Get a dry suit and some wool and you will be a happy camper.

I Don’t See The Benefit

– Last Updated: Aug-24-09 12:31 PM EST –

I almost always wear nothing underneath. More comfortable, especially since most of my wetsuits fit really well (snug). The only wetsuit I wear something under is my Quicksilver 4/3 which seems to have stretched. I sometimes wear a .5 mm top underneath to make it warmer. To me this is NOT a good thing. I'm ready to buy another 4/3 (preferably an Xcel) because of that.


wetsuit and poly.
A wetsuit maintains body heat by allowing your body to warm that “small” amount of water that gets between the neoprene and your skin.(assuming a properly fitting wetsuit) The neoprene is filled with tiny bubbles and provides insulation from the water. It seems to me that adding another layer between your skin and the neoprene just adds more water that your body is required to heat and is simply inefficient despite how nice it feels.


Works for me
I’ve only worn long-sleeve polypro tops with a wetsuit in colder weather. If it is really cold, my layering is: polypro top, neoprere farmer john wetsuit, nylon pile sweatshirt, paddle jacket. It has worked well in very cold conditions that I have either had to roll in or swim in.

I typically wear a nylon swimsuit under the wetsuit, but no other layers.


Sounds contradictory …
… to me also, given that wetsuits supposedly work by heating up the thin layer of water between your skin and the neoprene.

I have always looked at the wetsuit as a protective layer that keeps me warm for a period of time if and when I am ever IN the water. It is not meant to keep me warm when I am out of the water and in the air. Keeping warm in the air is done by wearing warm things OVER the wetsuit, preferably polypro that you can immediately wring out should you ever go in the water.

I used to wear poly briefs under a wetsuit, but I thought even that resulted in an unnecessarily damp spot on my seat.

That all said, I have seen many people wearing clothing under wetsuits, long before drysuits were invented. Some even used to choose very loose wetsuits to accommodate this, which I always thought was doubly contradictory.

Not for me. I have never seen wool that
can drip out water as fast as properly woven polypro.

Wool does release a little heat when it is first soaked, but your body may have to supply that heat to dry the wool later.

Sorry, but a layer of warmed water
under a wetsuit has no useful insulating value. People tend to assume that because that water feels warm, it is keeping them warm. But it is only conducting heat from the body to the wetsuit, where that heat is lost through the wetsuit depending on its thickness and bubbly quality.

It is always better to have a layer of air between the wetsuit and the body than a layer of water. And as long as one keeps polypro from getting soaked, having a layer of polypro between the body and the neoprene will slow heat loss. Whether the added polypro is comfortable or not is up to the individual.

Benefit for fat people with BO
I just wear the rash guard to make it easier to slip my blubber into the suit. Also reduces suit stink. When the water is freaking cold I like a little extra insulation around those sensitive parts that soak in the water on a ski.

You’ve been had, also. That business
of a thin layer of water keeping you warm is absolute nonsense. Water is a much better conductor of heat than air.

water layer
A wetsuit works simply by retarding the rate at which the water next to your skin is circulated. A layer of polypro is not going to have much effect, one way or the other.

Who cares …
You are warming a small layer of water, if the suit works well it’s retained in the suit and the specific heat capacity of water does serve as a thermal sink for heat loss from your body. Is it insulation no, is it a source of stored heat, yes.

gross wetsuit

– Last Updated: Aug-24-09 8:27 PM EST –

So your butt crack is right up against your neoprene: I hope you wash the suit w/ soap everytime. I like to kayak several times a week and don't have time to do more than rinse my gear w/ fresh water but I can throw my underarmor in the washing machine.