I was wondering if any of you guys have a particular wetsuit brand that you are fond of? One that has really held up and was worth the investment? I’m looking for one that would be wearable in the spring and fall where the outdoor temp is alright (in the 60s), but the water temp is pretty cold (probably in the 40s).

Thanks ahead of time,


I Swear You Asked This Question
Last year. Maybe it was another “princess” running around.

You can try NRS. They have wetsuits on sale in the “great deals.” Wetsuit really isn’t sufficient for water temps in the 40’s, unless you match it with a drytop and a bombproof roll.



– Last Updated: Apr-20-04 11:36 AM EST –

Body glove,surf style with back zip,a quality product,I commercial spearfish /lobster and wear one all day long.they hold up and are comfortable,I've tried a lot of others and always go back to body glove. get one with taped seams since your'e in colder water. buy what you'll need for summer water and then use underlayers added in the winter. get a beanie cap style hood. o'niel makes one with a bill for sun, thats really functional. also at the beginning of summer wetsuits generally go on sale at surf shops
substantial savings by buying last years model
also surf suits generally are thinner thickness under the arms to facillitate easier paddling

3mm Wetsuits Not Enough
3mm wetsuits are not enough protection for water colder than 50 degrees, and that is pushing it.

Divers out here in NORCAL wear 5mm or 7 mm wetsuits, but I doubt you could paddle in one. Too restrictive

Wetsuit with drytop?
I know this topic has been covered ad-nauseum, but as a beginner just buying a boat, I’m hesistant to immediately fork over $500 plus for a full drysuit.

Is wearing a shorty farmer john under a drytop adequate for spring and fall paddling in places like NJ/PA? Or a full farmer john with the full legs?? How about a paddling jacket instead of a drytop?

I don’t feel like waiting until July when the water finally warms up to beginning working on paddling skills.

Water temp in the 40’s???

– Last Updated: Apr-20-04 11:17 AM EST –

If that is right, Imhop you deed a drysuit. (Water in the 40s will numb my hands within about a minute of exposure so you might want to get a thermometer or a reading from one) If you are facing any kind of immersion time or exposure after immersion, you need a drysuit. Anybody else feel the same?

Of course we do not know whether you are paddling a pamlico xl on a local pond or a surfski in 4 foot waves in canada.

My rules of thumb

– Last Updated: Apr-20-04 11:43 AM EST –

for sea kayaking: water temps under 50 degrees drysuit required. under 60 wetsuit required. Paddling jacket or dry top recommended at colder end of the 50 to 60 range. To me this is a minumum standard for safety. You may do what you like, of course. Test swim you systems. This stuff is about saving your life.

Helpful to know your intended use and water temps. Months mean little in this context to me.

"Adequate" is, of course, relative. I wore a full 3mm farmer john and a paddle jacket for my first couple of years paddling a sea kayak in Michigan and survived. I did get cold, and I was reluctant to do much early- or late-season rescue practice. I knew that I’d be in trouble if faced with a long solo swim and so did my best to avoid those situations and bring the risk down to what felt like an acceptable level.

I would skip the paddle jacket and go for a drytop, or at least a semi-dry with wrist gaskets. Rolling and coming up dry seemed like a minor miracle after years wearing a paddle jacket.

If you take a water temp reading
remember surface water maybe up to 10 degrees warmer than 4-5 ft. down.

The Best Compromise??
My paddling would be in a 16-foot sea kayak on wide rivers, lakes, mostly flatwater, in Southern New Jersey and SE Pa. Would probably limit my paddling from May-November.

A local paddler I respect says he wears a Farmer John during the summer months (June-August) and a full drysuit the rest of the year. But then again, much of his paddling is in the ocean and bays, with a lot of rolling and instruction.

My other question: How effective is wearing a drytop over a Farmer John? Seems it would be near to impossible to keep that cold water from flooding in under the waist, no matter how tight it is.

I’m also from PA and the intense variations between the spring/fall and summer weather have been problematic for myself as well. That’s why I’m interested in purchasing a good wetsuit to extend the paddling season a bit. Thanks everyone for their suggestions.:slight_smile:


wetsuit on yak?
move farther south,water temp here this afternoon was 76,air 82, a little chilly but bearable, wore surf trunks and a tee shirt for sunset paddle

That’s Why
I said drytop and a roll. If you wet exit, water will seep in from the bottom into the top. However, if you can roll, you can probably do a reentry and roll much faster than a paddlefloat rescue.

In my first year, I was practicing paddlefloat rescues in a wetsuit into november. I think the water temp was in the low 50’s. I lasted about 15-20 minutes before I had to get to shore to warm up on the bank, in the sunshine. I was shaking.