Semi-Dry Pants & Tops: What temperature range are they good for?

If the water is cold enough that you need cold weather apparel, getting out fast is mandatory.

Been in 54° water w. a flooded drysuit, and survived. Again, under such water temps, avoiding conditions (wind & waves) that would result in a swim, is priority #1.

Getting in & out of the Gortex drysuit has always been problematic. Thinking that the 2pc would be easier to put on & take off.

Was thinking latex or neoprene ankle gaskets for the pants. But the bootie idea is probably a better option.

Lake Superior? Does that mini ocean ever get calm? Can see why you use the drysuit.

Getting out fast may not always be an option.

How does latex malfunction with proper care?

Hard to get in a drysuit get a two piece drysuit.

Next time out I’ll be in a drysuit. Yes first time out I hate it but it’s not bad few extra minutes. Very comfortable and I feel safer so more peace of mind and more enjoyable time.

Bad me, for misspeaking. In many years of drysuit usage, never had a latex gasket fail … but then I was always good of using 303.

Agreed. Even a drysuit isn’t perfect. Best defense is to pick your paddling location & weather conditions.

Cold water paddling is dangerous, period. As with warm weather paddling, bring the risks down to paddler’s comfort level.

[quote=“PaddleDog52, post:24, topic:118697”]Hard to get in a drysuit get a two piece drysuit.

Next time out I’ll be in a drysuit. Yes first time out I hate it but it’s not bad few extra minutes. Very comfortable and I feel safer so more peace of mind and more enjoyable time.[/quote]
Logged plenty of drysuit time, and besides the fact that my current one doesn’t fit, detest getting in & out of it.

Since my post last night, have had to time to digest all of the responses, as well as my all of my cold water trip reports, and concluded,

  • 2pc drysuit w. booties in the pants, is my best option.
  • Price-wise, probably worst than a 1pc drysuit, especially since I’m fanatical about Gortex.
  • If I want to go semi-dry on the pants, need to check w. my cardiologist that that the neoprene ankle gaskets won’t be an issue.
  • Feet, hands (pogies are not enough by themselves), and head protection are still needed.
  • All the above is moot if I don’t get into better shape (too close to the upper size limits :().

Thanks to everyone who responded. Have some serious thinking this winter.

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Here’s some one piece semi drysuits on sale: Sale Priced Kayaks, Drysuits and Accessories | Kayak Academy too much to go wrong with a two piece once you’re in the water. With a one piece fleece liner and pile vest I’ve swum in 45 degree water and been fine.

– Andrew

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I’m a year round SUPer, bought my 1pc semi-dry last year. Tested it at the boat ramp in 33 degree water (early March), stayed in for 10 minutes up to my neck with just the uni-fleece as my under layer without issue. Took several dips throughout the spring, always confident that the suit was my best decision.

Getting in and out of the 1pc is a PITA but I’ll put up with it because it works. BTW, the suit has built in suspenders so I can wear it fine with my shoulders/arm/chest exposed.

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Again, that’s a key issue for me. And so much so, that I’ll be inclined not go kayaking, because of that hassle factor.

One thing this thread convinced me of, is it is better to go dry than semi-dry. Early 2023, will investigate what kind of gloves I need under the pogies & what footwear is needed. (Obviously, I’ll search old message threads first, if those issues become confusing.)

Glacier gloves are my choice if it’s really cold water. Sometimes thinner gloves with pogies. I always keep glacier in my PFD if water is cold below 55 - 60° F. Boots are chota neo with heavy wool socks. I extended the zipper pulls with Paracord tabs on the drysuit so it’s easier to pull and reach zippers. Trim all gaskets on suit to fit properly.

Thin merino wool base layer top and bottom, kokatat bunny suit, sometimes extra layer up top.

Feel safe and worry free. Take my Cag if it’s really cold to block wind.

I’m afraid I’ve overstated the PITA factor, its only 5 minutes to pull on my semi-dry 1pc and well worth it to be outside.

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Glacier Gloves: Are these what you are talking about?

Couple varieties of these gloves. Some reviewers complained that the curved ones have issues w. the wrists not being sealed. And wonder if they are too warm for 60 degree water? However the idea of fleece-lined is worth investigating.

Regarding the wool socks, I’m ASSUMING that your drysuit has booties? If so, think the idea is a good one: For hiking, all year around, use synthetic wool socks w. sock liners. Never thought about that for drysuit suit.

Yes drysuit has booties. I wouldn’t put a cotton sock on my foot for ten minutes anymore. Yes I have the curved gloves. Water 60° you don’t need them. I go out when water is 37°. So if I had an extended water stay I’d want them on me.

Cotton + kayaking? NEVER! Even in the warmest conditions.

Must have trashed the Chotas. Tried the NRS Titanium boots + synthetic wool socks + polypro sock liners; they fit. One less cold water problem to deal with.

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When the water is cool, but not cold enough for cold water gear, I’ll often wear Chotas. But when wearing a dry suit with booties, I’ll wear wool socks but regular water shoes. Under layers and wool socks are warm enough and I don’t want to deal with a boot full of water if I step into water too deep and especially if I end up in the water out of my boat with two heavy boots full of water.

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I can tell you from personal experience that a dry top and dry pants will not keep you dry if you swim. A dry suit will.


Really no way for Kokatat to answer that IMO. For ex l always got more water in thru my non latex collar in my 1 piece Tropis suit from Kokatat than companions w the same suit in a swm. They did not have chicken necks.
My waist band on two piece systems behaved similarly. More water in than companions. Just did not fit as tight as on some of the guys.

In a fast roll, yes minimal water. But if l had to come out of the boat or repeat things got fairly wet.

Really appreciate everyone who chimed in. But I won’t be buying any cold water gear this spring: Waistline exceeds Kokatat’s largest dry pant size. And because of 2 back injuries, won’t be ready till mid-May anyway. Maybe after Labor Day.

The only way to answer your question is to try them out. Take a thermometer. Get in the water before you paddle. If it is too cold, come back later in the season. Get in some swimming pools. Take your thermometer and see how it feels. Anything below 50 is going to feel cold.