Wetsuit for warmth without being wet?

For a suit that claims to be waterproof/breathable at that price, it must be made of some off-brand crap that probably won’t last long. Notice that they don’t tell you what it’s made of or what the warranty is. It doesn’t have a tunnel at the waist, so you’re going to get leakage past your spray skirt. Latex sock work, but they don’t last all that long. Neoprene wrist and neck seals work well if they fit properly, but they’re not designed to be trimmed to fit like latex, so either they fit or they don’t. You won’t know until you get the suit. The bottom line is that it’s better than nothing, but I wouldn’t expect it to hold up for long.

I just find other activities this time of year until April or so but in the end a huge +1 to CharlieK.

Someone posted about a year ago the Coast Guard’s guide to immersion gear for water temps and the recommendations were for astoundingly warm waters, as in already in the 60’s you have to be careful and a wet suit is recommended. Once you’re in the 50’s a dry or semi dry suit for sure.

This is because even if no major cold shock happens to you, you’ll get vasoconstriction (or your blood vessels close down) of the extremities. Your body is trying to save the heat for your heart, lungs and brain but in the end what this means is when you lose blood flow in your limbs you will also lose use of them.

When you flip into the water this time of year it only takes a minute or two to lose the ability to use your extremities so then you are basically a trunk with arms and legs that have fallen asleep and it won’t be long that the rest of you becomes tired, unconscious and dead.

Semi dry suit is nice for extending season but the truth is that winter Kayaking is considered an “extreme” sport. I miss it already and was talking to the wife about how I can’t wait for spring. It beats the alternative.

Good thread - very consistent with what I see most folks doing here in North Shore of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and southern Maine. Wet suits for paddling in shoulder seasons, water temps above 60 degrees, with appropriate splash tops, etc… Drysuits for water temps below 50 degrees and a mix in between.

I’ve worn various thin neoprene (“fuzzy” neoprene, 0.5mm NRS, NRS Hydroskin, etc.) as a base layer and under a heavier 3mm Farmer John from summer into fall, but not under a dry suit, since it doesn’t wick moisture away from the skin.

Speaking of drysuits, if you fit into fairly standard stock sizes then take a look at Stohlquist (owned by Aqualung, who I think invented drysuits) as a less expensive alternative to Kokatat. Their basic suit (booties, latex gaskets at wrists, neoprene at neck, cross chest entry, no tunnel) is under $500 last I looked. Stohlquist doesn’t do the custom sizing that Kokatat does.

Last year I replaced my Kokatat Meridian (great suit, simply worn out after 15+ years) with the Stohlquist Shift. I really like the entry system on the Shift - the entry zipper runs from shoulder to shoulder behind the neck, creating a flap opening in the front you step through. This allows you to fully don the suit, including zipping up the built in jacket, without having to pull the neck gasket over your head - something Stohlquist refers to as “standby mode”. Great at lunch stops, etc. I also wear it as a rain suit and at other times when I’m going to be in and out of the water.

Something to at least look at.

Last comment: the AMC Outdoor magazine had a nice sidebar in its Winter 2020 edition on layering, using W.I.S.E as the mnemonic for the layers: Wicking, Insulation, Shelter and Extra. Helps simplify the thought process. If you’re interested, there’s a (15 minute) video about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvD1nscm3L8. Pretty new to doing the video thing, so comments appreciated.