Wet suit opinion

I am planning a early spring trip where a wetsuit is recommended, AND I want to start practicing a roll. I have a plan, but I know I am going to get wet. There are no pools or as far as I can find instruction in striking distance.
So, for the purpose of the discussion, assume that we are looking for a wetsuit to keep the chill off IF I go over in chilly water. One outfitter near where the trip is recommends a 2mm. I am looking at a 3mm “jacket” It is more like a man onsie with long sleeves and short legs. https://www.amazon.com/NeoSport-Premium-Neoprene-Waterman-Wetsuit/dp/B0070YYYN8/ref=sr_1_7?dchild=1&keywords=wetsuit+front+zip+men&qid=1600105708&sr=8-7
Mine will look a bit rounder…
I figure I can put on some quick dry pants if I need, but the legs will be in the boat unless I really NEED the wetsuit. If at a later date, I come to like chilly paddling and decide to go on more than just a float, I can add one of the bib overalls types and get double coverage over the core.
The other reason is that while a 2x should be fine at the waist, a 3x will be pushing in the chest. I figure the bottom pants part of the onsie will help hold it together.

What will the water temperature be when you practice?

Very difficult to answer w/o temperature info.

I have no intention of swimming with the ice. Not likely lower than 60’s for practice, if it is to cold, it wont happen. At the moment the trip will be Pine Creek through the PA grand canyon. Probably mid May

Will you be learning to roll, or will you be practicing a roll you have already learned?

If you are planning on learning a roll on your own, you should expect to come out of the kayak a lot.

I don’t know the water temperature in the area you describe. I am from Europe. But at sea, May is one of the absolutely worst months for dressing. The air will be hot, but the water is still only slightly above winter temperatures.

Autumn is much easier: Air is getting cooler, but water is only slightly below winter temperatures.

If the place where you practice is a river receiving melt water from the mountains, I would expect May to be even worse than at sea.

If it was me I’d get the 2 mm neoprene top and bottom as was recommended (Hydroskin is it called?) and I would forget about roll practice until I could find warm water. If I chose to learn / practice rolling in cold water I’d wear a diving hood to ward off the brain freeze.

2mm was the minimum and would be an option but 3mm should be alright. What the outfitter rents is the farmer John style in a short suit. I was thinking that if I was going to buy, up that a little to something that would be more suited to getting my upper body wet.

60s water means wet suit should be ok, l do recommend a hood too.

Be aware that many here, including myself, regularly paddle in water in the 50s and/or at some point practiced stuff like rolls at water temps into the 40s. I got old and lazy enough to reserve that work for 55 and up. But you can’t assume comfy water temps for folks here especially those of us with ocean time.

Option 1, I expect to be wet a lot. This is a long term thing and I only have a couple weeks left of good temps as it is this year.I DO NOT plan to try this during the winter. Unless a rolling class springs up at a indoor pool. However if I can get out a bit this fall and even just lay back with a paddle float I will be ahead of the game. I have been in cold water, because I had to and went through the ice once. That isnt something I need to push and breaking ice doesnt interest me. The roll and the trip are 2 separate things that the suit could be used for. If I was just thinking the trip, I would rent a Farmer John and be done.
May in PA is pretty similar. Though water temps will be a bit warmer, I have been out when they are cold enough that swimming isnt preferred. That is why the outfitter on Pine Creek recommends the wetsuit. Running Pine Creek apparently needs to be done in March, Apr, or May because of water volume. I have river tripped in May before and the air temp is pretty reasonable.

Gray hair is just the color of wisdom. I have no need to play roll in 40F water temp. Paddle in 50F water? Sure, already have and will again. The odds of me buying a 7mm full suit and hitting the Pacific Ocean in December are exactly zero though. I was kind of hanging with the outfitter recommendation for the trip while trying to get something a bit more useful for rolling and to extend my season a little while staying a bit safer.

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I used raft local rivers in the spring during snow melt. The good flows start in March and go until maybe early June. The Truckee River was frequently around 42-45 degrees. We used full wet suits that were 3 mm. Some people liked 5 mm. A long farmer john was suitable with poly pro and a paddle jacket over it. People came out of the boat sometimes, but the wet suits allowed them to be functional long enough to get them back in the boat.

I have a reasonably dependable roll. So when I practice solo, I wear a farmer John (2 mm?), a dry top, and an ear-covering skull cap. Typically there is no need for a wet exit, so I stay warm enough. I don’t practice below 60 Fahrenheit.

However, when I practice with a friend I like a dry suit, because I am in the water next to his kayak in case his/her roll fails - ready to bring them upright. When standing in the water for an extended time like this, the wet suit is not warm enough.

More important than 2mm vs 3mm is whether the suit fits snugly enough to prevent water flushing through. A little bit of water entering is normal, but I’ve see people wearing neo that is far too roomy to do its job.

Therin lies the rub. The chest on a 3x will be snug, the waist might be a roomy. Might not, but it looks like it will.
If I pull hard on the tape I will hit 48 in the chest, 38 pants with only a little shade for the carport so 3x on top, down to 2x in the middle. So I am thinking 3x should be about as close as I can get.

If the pull you posted is for the wet-suit you plan to buy, I would rethink it.

Long sleeves , unless one of the several top end surf suits, will chaff in the arm pit and also restrict movement. Short types are summer suits. A regular leg will not only pad your legs in the kayak, but also make a major difference in adaptability of the suit for standing in cold water…or sitting in cold water.

I would look at two separate pieces since chest and waist etc are not really consistent with one size. And also would lend to better use for varying your protection. {and pee breaks are easier}

A long sleeve rash guard or silk weight hydro skin, topped with a surf neo vest {either hooded or add a separate hood. And a pair of 2 or 3 mm pants would be my choice if sticking to strictly wet suit. Other weights can be bought and mixed as you find what conditions are really going to be.

A paddling jacket {a main staple} would top off the outfit and add a huge measure of not only safety, but adaptability.

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I hope everyone noticed that I didn’t get too negative about this suit…I could have mentioned a zipper running down the thigh being in contact when rolling.

I’ll leave that for someone else to mention

Me being good…HA HA HA

Yeah, the zipper is there, but a little dig is a small thing when the coffee comes calling :slight_smile:

Ok, that made sense to me. I was concerned about the arms and paddling also.
What do you think of a farmer john, topped with a paddling jacket? It would be quick to layer under with a poly pro or fleece if the temp drops, or a performance T (non cotton wicking) if it was warm. That would cover the core in case of a out of boat experience which is my main concern, and leave options open.
This may lead to colder adventures, but my hair has the stripes of wisdom so, to put it this way, there will be no seal hunting weather…

What roym said… pairing stuff.

I sold my Hydroskin (thin neoprene) top 'cause it was clammy and restrictive. I bought a dry jacket and paired it with the Hydroskin bottoms. Much better. When it gets really cold the drysuit gets put to use.

My go-to garment for most of the year is an O’Neill farmer jane with long legs. In cool weather, I wear a thin neoprene long-sleeve top under the FJ. In hot weather, I substitute a rash guard or synthetic T-shirt for the neoprene shirt. In either case if I get hot, I unzip the front zipper and pull down the top half of the FJ.

I may have some bad news for you. Wetsuits are designed for fit young people. I wear a large shirt but an XL wetsuit, and one of my Oneil is 2X. So even though they give measurements in the real world the sizes run small. Best thing is to buy from someplace where you can try it on in person and make sure it fits your body type. I would go for a 3 mm suit and extend your paddle season, and pick up a 2 mm top so you have some ability to adjust to water temps. I lived in PA and you should be able to paddle well into late October with a 3mms. The farmer john is usually a bad option because the water flushes through, but if you need a really large top it might fit the bill. Hydroskin is great but it’s not the same as 2 mm neoprene. NRS is a good place to buy wetsuits. O Neil, Excel, Rip Curl make quality suits. Beware of Amazon, they are selling lots of junk knock off products in recent months.