Wet/Drysuit for early spring season in WI

I would opt for a three piece system instead. A light weight neo pant ,such as Hydroskin, Surfskin maybe a pair of Reed chillcheater pants. They will not only insulate some, but act as a cushion for your legs inside the Kayak. When on land , they will offer bug and brush protection.

The other two parts are a neo vest and then something like a hydroskin long sleeve top. To pair /mix and match with the pants. Add a pair of neo socks and you have options as the weather progresses.

If you find you grow in any direction, just buy the one part of the system necessary. Much more adaptable than a shorty.

Thanks for both your replies. The waters I want to use will be 60+F. and I have an iSUP. So I don’t think I have to spend extended time in the water to get back on. So unless I want to extend the season into more cold, I don’t think I’m looking at a full body system yet.

I know one dresses for the water temperature. But I guess we will have 80°F air temperature and sunshine when I go out. So wearing too much will be uncomfortable. I just need something to buffer the initial shock when I fall in. If needed , i also can wait till water is 65°F before going out. At least for this year and see how it goes. Next year i may be more brave :slight_smile:

My reasoning for the shorty or any other one-piece suit, was that it is watertight around the waist. I fear a separate top and pants will allow water to enter where the top and bottom overlap (by my waist/belly). Or am I wrong with that assumption?

Obviously a 2-piece instead of a onesie would allow more flexibility in what to wear and would resolve the pee-problem.

And can someone tell me if a Farmer John can fit without letting water to my chest? I’m also playing with the idea to buy the M-size of the NRS shorty I had and see how it fits. Ideally I avoid buying so many parts and then return them. But maybe this is what it has to be. And no, local stores don’t have wetsuits.

Edit: I ordered this onesie in M-size and will see if that fits. the NRS is sold out in M, so that makes the decision easier. Many other products I bookmarked previously are sold out a well. So at this point I just try a few that may work and will see in spring how good they are.

Wetsuits are designed to work by letting a small amount of water in them. The fit must be snug to prevent a large amount of water in suddenly and prevent it from flushing in and out. Your body quickly heats his small amount of water and the neoprene provides insulation. Wet suits are not waterproof. That’s why they are called wet suits as opposed to dry suits.

As the fit must be snug to work properly, whether you opt for a one piece or two should make little difference. With a two piece the water will enter a little bit more rapidly, but will give you more flexibility as to how you wear it.

Be aware that as neoprene does not breathe, it can be rather hot when actively paddling, but works rather poorly if you are taking a break on a beach in a cold wind. In this case having a warm outer layer to put on over the wet suit is advised.

So I got my full outfit and it kind of fits. I have:

All in M-size except the socks that are XXL. It is a bit tight, but I can move well (at least for the short time I wore it). I also noticed I’m about 15# heavier than last summer, so I hope to lose that till spring.

I never wore wetsuit before, so I may not judge well how it is supposed to fit. But it looks like things are selling out quickly, so i need to have buy now if I for sure want it for spring. I typically wear L, and the amazon sizes are all wonky. but I really fear an L is too flabby.

Some questions:

  • does it stretch over time and with use?
  • is wearing the shorty and then the long pants and jacket on top (layering) good? Obviously this makes it a bit tighter, but gives me the chance to adjust to temperature?
  • are the socks a bit loose around the feet? Or are they supposed to be as tight as the suit parts? I’m almost tempted to buy the next smaller size to try.
  • is the top supposed to overlap the pants a lot? Currently there is not much overlap. But if i wear the shorty, there shouldn’t be water-contact to my waist.
  • Neoprene might stretch a bit over time, but not to a large degree.

  • Multiple layers can definitely work well and increase insulation, but check that this will not decrease freedom of movement too much or restrict breathing.

  • Socks being a little loose are generally not a problem as you will be wearing some sort of water shoe over them. You will probably need to have a larger pair of water shoes to wear over neoprene socks that what you would wear in warmer water.

  • The top and pants need overlap just enough to maintain an overlap during normal movement. A few inches should suffice.

Thanks. I didn’t realize I need to wear shoes over the socks. I have some water-shoes that I used last summer kayaking.

I ordered the next smaller size of socks to see if they fit tighter, but still can fit in well.

Once you are in the kayak, you don’t need shoes. Most times I wear Neo socks and slip on a pair of crocks for walking , loading, unloading. I take the crocks off when I get in the kayak and I place them under my thighs as a nice cushy support. When I land, I remove the Crocks from under my thighs …put my feet out and the crocks on…then land

My feet don’t fit comfortably in very many kayaks that I like to paddle if I am wearing any type of shoe. YMMV

I just wanted to update on my wet-suit testing. Last weekend at 48°F water temperature (per website, didn’t measure) i tried out my wetsuit at a beach. I had:

  • 3mm shorty
  • 2mm Jacket (over the shorty)
  • 1.5mm long pants (over the shorty)
  • 3mm socks and some watershoes

It wasn’t too cold for the short period of time and if i would fall of my iSUP, I sure would be able to get back on in time.

It was weird to feel how it gets wet. It isn’t like I would want to swim in it for a long time.

it was quite windy and i changed under a poncho. it was windy and i was afraid to expose myself in front of some kids, and changed under the poncho in the car. I even drove home with the shorty on since it wasn’t too wet just to not have to do the changing at the busy beach again. So for actual boating I choose a less busy and windy beach. This was just to feel how cold it is with the wetsuit.

It will not be too nice till a week or so. so by then I’m sure water will get a tiny bit warmer. So my rule of thumb hers is I can start going out in May for sure.

I definitely recommend everyone to try out any suit in their local water at a safe spot before going out on a boat. If you have a kayak or other craft hard to get back in, I even recommend testing with that and trying to climb on to see if you can be in the water long enough to do that. If you don’t have an iSUP that is easy to get on, you may want to dress a bit warmer.

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I don’t know if this Lake Monster website is correct. but according to that site water is 50°F. I took the iSUP out yesterday at 90°F ambient and bright sun. I almost had a heat stroke! Boy, this was a short ride and I switched to only wear the shorty wetsuit after a few minutes.

In the shorty I jumped into the water and practiced self-rescue, which worked fine. It didn’t feel cold at all for the few seconds. I don’t have a thermometer, but no way this was 50°F. I then even ditched the shorty wetsuit and just boated normally for a few hours. I wanted to jump into the water with just regular clothes, but on the way back got caught in a rain storm and didn’t feel like going into the water.

Being in a wetsuit (even the shorty) isn’t comfortable. and if a wet suit is needed, I just do a land-based activity. I think I sell the long wetsuit and socks. Maybe I can make friends with the shorty.

Edit: that lake Monster website really is wrong. it still shows 50°F. I today rode by a beach and many people were in the water casually swimming in regular bathing suits. I think I made a fool of myself trusting that website and using a wet suit :slight_smile:

Since I started watching a few lakes in my area I have noticed some strange readings… I saw one lake that said 39 for a week or so and then showed 72 for a few days, now it shows a more reasonable 63.

I usually look at several lakes in the same area and if possible look at some actual river measurements by the USGS in the same area. Also looking at the historical chart will sometimes highlight an issue.