Wetsuit Questions & Creases

I just recently received my brand new NRS Farmer John Ultra Wetsuit and Rash Guard, which now leads to a few questions:

  1. I tried it on and it fits like a glove, but when I took a cold shower, the crotch region got a little wet. I am not sure if it is due to some water dripping down the neck line or the fact that I was wearing a cotton under garment, or if it is too large (I am between a medium and a large in size so that is why I am kind of concerned). Other than that I was very warm in the areas where that the wetsuit covered despite how cold the shower water was (estimating between 40-50F). Any thoughts on this?

  2. I also noticed a few creases and did some googling has come up with multiple answers, most stating that they could lose some insulation, but nothing to worry about; problem is no one has really confirmed if they are bad or not overall. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks in advance for your advice and input,


It has a zipper over the crotch, it’s going to leak a bit. Also a wetsuit lets a little water in, your body heats the water and the suit keeps it warm like a thermos bottle. If you don’t like a wet cold crotch -don’t buy a front zipper wetsuit. Notice all high quality wet suits have the zipper high and in the back.

You know what, I didn’t think about the zipper, lol.

I think I can stand some shrinkage. I just wanted to make sure that it was fitting me right. One of the reasons I bought that particular model was due to the front zipper for needing to water a bush or tree every now and then. So I take it that it fits properly if it is keeping me warm (minus the little bit of water seeping in the neck and crotch area)?

Sweet. What about the creases?

I think they may have been formed during shipping. I wish I had paid more attention to the details; I was just too excited to try it on and not check before. Taking it off was pain to get me feet out, but watching youtube videos last night before trying it out when I received it today kind of helped.

don’t worry about the creases
they may go away some, or not. Folded neoprene gets a crease.

I often paddle places where one can’t land to answer the call of nature - if my wetsuit or drysuit didn’t have a front relief zipper I wouldn’t be able to paddle there. I have a different opinion on a front zipper - since I don’t always surf kayak where I can readily go in the water to relive myself, I have little use for a wetsuit without the relief zip.

And don’t wear cotton underneath. I wear thin poly or nylon with no apparent loss of warmth, with a lot apparent reduction in the stink factor. Your mileage may vary

Cool thanks
I was reading up on the under garment recommendations for wetsuits; talking about hilarious comments. After trying them on with what would be equivalent of swimming trunks, I think I am leaning towards one of those biker like shorts that I have read about surfers wearing, because I hate the bunching up of the shorts. Going commando doesn’t sound like a bright idea, but from what I have read many guys don’t find it a problem.

What do ppl think of merino wool under wetsuits?

Icebreaker makes some nice stuff. =]

As above…

– Last Updated: Aug-25-11 12:27 AM EST –

wet suits work by keeping you warm when wet, and do allow water to flush thru. That's why you also need a wind-proof top - what makes a wet suit work well when immersed is a fast run to hypothermia if your body is in the air in a wet wet suit, like after a capsize.

Congrats on that cold shower. (That sounds a little odd doesn't it?)

As to what to wear underneath, exactly what will work for you for paddling really varies a lot individually. The same stuff that doesn't work at all for me is my husband's favorite choice.

My suggestion is to scout out sales and pick up just one piece of something, see how it works for you before getting more. You have a bunch to choose from - polypro, wicking fleece, the various proprietary materials used bu manufacturers... of wicking-but-warm stuff.

Heck - you live in upstate NY. The worst that happens if it doesn't work well for paddling is that it will work for shoveling snow, snow shoeing or just generally staying warm at home when you don't want to feed the utility company's maw too richly on a zero degree day.

You can buy neoprene shorts
In the deepest cold of winter I sometimes where a thin pair of neoprene shorts under my wetsuit … I don’t like cold crotch syndrome … ONeil makes a very nice pair … they are about $70 though.

Rash guard top - stops arm chaffing
Yeah most of the world goes with nothing on the bottom … works just fine.

I just ordered a spray jacket.
I took the advice from many on this forum, after a few hours of research, and ordered an NRS Endurance spray jacket. Its on sale at backcountry.com for around $68, plus free shipping. A few review referred to is as the poor man’s dry-top; sound like a good deal.

List now:

  1. White light
  2. Booties
  3. Gloves

    The gloves I am pretty set on the NRS rapids gloves, but not so sure on what type of booties to get. I have trouble finding a good info on booties though, any suggestions?

    There are a lot sales going on now that September is rolling around. I wish I had waited to buy my kayak and other gear now, because I could have saved a couple hundred bucks :-/

not a bad idea
I may take a look into that. A cold crotch is an unhappy crotch, lol.

Seriously though thanks for that suggestion. I only have strong cold tolerance for my legs and feet, but hit the torso and it goes down very quickly, ditto for my hands. I happen to have a mild form of Raynaud’s so I have to make sure I get the proper gear to keep my extremities warm during the early spring and late fall.

From what I have been reading the farmer john suit with a decent dry-top or spray jacket, plus the undergarment you suggested (or biking shorts as others) and a rash guard is all I need for paddling up to November and mid-March in upstate NY. I had gone paddling as early as April this year, but that was due to a fluke day (and after reading several posts here, I should have been wearing a wetsuit :-$). I want to get the most of kayaking this year and every year thereafter.

Booties and gloves, Raynaud’s

– Last Updated: Aug-25-11 8:05 AM EST –

Boots - Ankle high work for me for all year round, Chota and NRS make good basic ones that you can stick a pair of wool socks under. For colder weather mukluks are nice. Thicker and taller, caution is that most find them a bit hot for year-round use.

Hands... with Raynaud's - you need to think more about air temp than many. And the basic long fingered NRS gloves won't be enough for the outer edges of the season you describe. You also need to be careful about circulation, yes? Some of the thicker winter gloves, like the NRS Reactor gloves, have not worked for me because they really cut off circulation. Dry gloves for winter scuba diving are the only straight glove that handle the really cold stuff for me, but they are tight and may be a circulation issue for you.

I would strongly suggest that you look at Pogies, a kind of overmitt that goes around your hands and the shaft of the paddle, as well as over any gloves you are wearing. You can buy them with fleece lining, or straight neoprene, some make their own. Lots of options there. But it allows you to use less thick and binding gloves while still having something that'll keep your hands warm.

Also, consider a basic full neoprene hood for your head, that covers your head, ears and neck. Can also use a wool cap, but the full hood is more protective if you get caught in rain on a cold blustery day.

We’ve both got Deep See brand ankle high booties with a hard sole. I think they are 5mm neoprene and are simple and sturdy. I find them comfortable year round and good protection for negotiating rocky and mucky launch sites. In really cold weather I wear stretch polyfleece socks inside. They run around $35 to $40.

In fact, here they are:


My winter booties
are very basic (i.e., cheap) and ankle length affairs, but I also wear neoprene socks (also cheap). My feet are kept wonderfully warm by effectively 6mm of neoprene.

Crease answer directly from NRS
Janelle from NRS has sent me this info about wetsuit creases, just in case anyone wanted to know:

Thank you for your email. To answer the question about the wetsuit first: the creases will not affect anything and will work themselves out as soon as the wetsuit gets wet. They are just there from being folded.

In a nutshell, they are nothing to worry about. It looks like the debates that I have seen online are nothing, but pure speculation about creases in wetsuits. Anyway I thought I would share this.

Thank you all for your help. I am eyeing some of the booties that you have recommended, as well as other gear.

Thanks for the help.

I have been thinking about what you suggest poggies, plus gloves. From what I have read on poggies they can get very warm even without gloves; however, I have to think about what kind gloves to get. There are hardly any good reviews on gloves (and booties), I am surprised for the number of people whom I see own them. Most of the reviews say good fit or excellent glove with no explanation as to why. I am looking for a balance of warm, comfortability, and grip.

As for poggies, reviews for them are easy to find and well written. Its the weirdest thing I have seen.

More on gloves

– Last Updated: Aug-26-11 11:18 AM EST –

First, there is an argument that all gloves detract from grip. This is probably strictly speaking true. Avoiding them is not a luxury for someone paddling in our climate though, especially if you have Raynaud's.

And there are only a small set of gloves that are very similar and almost everyone uses a version of - those are the short-fingered ones by NRS or Chota for warm weather, and the long fingered hydroskin ones by NRS and other manufacturer's equivalent for the shoulder seasons. We have taken to using gloves from a marine store for summer, but they are all basically the same glove. The short-fingered ones grip better than the full hydroskin gloves, but they all work.

The very thick winter gloves all have fairly poor grip - they are so thick it is inevitable - but cold is cold. As I mentioned above, the very thick winter neoprene gloves sometimes leave my fingers cold because they inhibited circulation, like the NRS Reactors. My husband as well - we have two nearly new pair of these things in the basement.

Looking up more on Raynaud's, I wonder if you need to think about having a system for your hands that'll assure dryness as well as leave plenty of room for circulation. There is some dipping of hands into water over a paddle, and cold dripping water could be a bad match for Raynaud's.

You may want to do what I've seen folks from warmer states recommend to keep paddling right thru the winter, for under the pogies. That is to have a base layer be something like dishwashing gloves, or some similarly well-fitting latex glove like the disposable ones from the drugstore, with glove or mitten over that and pogie on top. The mitten may be better for your circulation than a glove.

There are paddling mittens, but a good wool ones will cost less and fit under a pogie. It is correct that wool retains its ability to provide warmth when wet - I had occasion to test that theory out in a near miss with bad hypothermia in my youth.

Re size, I need to try the gloves on. I am a different size in the NRS hydroskin gloves than I am in the Chotas equivalent, for example because they have different size breaks. No way to tell but by visiting a local vendor and trying them on.

Hope this helps!

Technofox–just a bit of info for caring
for your wetsuit. I hang most of my neoprene items on padded hangers. Even my short boots. I’ve found several at estate sales for a fraction of the original costs. It may eventually get rid of the creases.

For my knee high Chota boots, worn in winter, I take a cardboard box, cut it into large pieces, roll them and place one in each boot. It helps to dry them naturally and keeps them from falling over while stored.

Enjoy your day.