Under a DrySuit?

Well, after reading “Essentials of Sea Survival” I broke down and got a Drysuit for my late fall/early spring excursions. I’m an open boater so It’s for comfort/unplanned immersion rather than rolling. I’ve got lightweight & expedetion weight polypro, and a Mysterioso top from my current wetsuit cold weather arsenal, but I’m seeing some union suits out there like the NRS wavelite and Kokatat’s polartec 100. I’d love to hear from anyone with experience with any of this stuff. Also, how do you deal with GoreTex socks? I had actually ordered a nylon suit but have cancelled it and have a Kokatat Gore Dura suit coming.

Thanks Much!


you will be HAPPY
you HAD to go with GORE!!! :-))))

undergarment selection is the key to drysuit use. on a warm day you might find me in a pair of river shorts and a silkweight calilene t-shirt under my GORE d/suit. The union suits and such are quite warm. You’ll see when you start using it. it doesn’t take much to be comfy.

and forget about dressing for the water temperture and spending a long time in the water. Dress for comfort and LEARN TO DO RESCUES!!! Skill will save your butt way better than kit.

If you truely dressed for a LONG immersion time you would dry of heat stroke!

care is simple. Rinse inside and out after each use. Get a carpet scrap to stand on when changing. DO NOT walk around in your bootied feet ONLY. Wear sox and protective shoes. Use 303 on the seals and Zip-EZ on the zippers. You did get a relief zipper, eh???


Oh yeah- I did get the relief zip-
I figured if I spent the $$ for GoreTex, the relief zipper was a must!


oh yeah.
good call. you got a Porsche instead of a Chevy! good call.


I’d like to wear a union suit
because shifting cannot expose my back to cold. I layer in silk, medium weight underwear, a powerstretch bib, and various polartec tops. I might buy a thick union suit from stohlquist or somebody else. I wish kokatat made their 300 weight liner.

Goretex socks? Poly pro liners, smartwool mountaineering socks (and I meen mountaineering not hiking) under them, and some kind of shoe over them. I use lightweight lace up water shoes and chota zip up booties depending.

Beware of laces entrapping you in the cockpit. I once had them wrap around the footpeg. (Luckily in a bit of rolling practice that day I did not miss one). Keep them short.

Use the underlayers you have
If you’ve got a good selection of fleecs and other synthetics, there’s no need to spend a bundle on a union suit. There simply isn’t much advantage to it, other than a bit less bulk and less elastic around your middle. Depending on your physical proportions, a good fitting union suit may be hard to find.

As for how much you need to wear, test it by walking into the water you’ll be paddling on. That will tell you really quickly whether you’re adequately dressed or not. Since you can’t roll the boat to cool off, I guess you’ll have to compromise somewhat on the insulation, depending on what the air temp is vs. the water temp.