What to wear under the drysuit??

How do you guys dress under the drysuit to stay comfy?

Do you only use one layer or more?

Do you prefer one piece jump suit or top/bottom?

What are the specific brands of clothing you wear?

I am trying to go cheap but worm and comfy and just trying to get some ideas of what to wear in couple of months under my about to be bought b-pod drysuit.


One piece inflexible?
I’ve pondered the one piece but makes it a challenge to change into a dry baselayer when stopped for a break.

(no, not depends)

It depends on conditions. I have some silk long underwear I use when air temps are warmer, thin and comfortable. When it gets colder I wear anything from rashguard to smartwool to duofold long underwear. Sometimes I double up.

I agree with the above comment regarding 1 piece.

Also depends
I find fleece to be the most flexible as cold weather comes on - it’ll stay functional for warmth when pretty sweated up and I can turn around and use it for winter actvities or just walking around if I get a regular fleece type top. Almost any kind, but anyone’s microfleece and Malden Mills thermalpro seem to work quite well. Hind also has a product that stays warm even when pretty soaked thru with sweat - don’t know what it is named but I picked a top up on sale that has become a favorite.

For warmer weather, one layer of almost anything will do. I’ve worn regular supplex paddling pants with a slightly heavier top under the suit for some days in the shoulder seasons.

Lightweight polypro is fantastic up to the point that it is really soaked thru, then for me it becomes a little chilly pretty quickly.

The one piece suits are quite nice, but as others mention above they can be a drag if you tend to stop and switch into dry layers at noon. It requires a larger rock or more sheer room to make the change discretely. They also make access to things like the pee zip more awkward than a two piece. I have one and find it quite comfortable to wear, but for longer paddles involving a lunch stop I generally go with two piece.

multi-sport use
The great thing about purchasing baelayers for a drysuit is that I can use them for multiple other activities- snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, and snowblowing my driveway. I find that many of the non-cotton synthetics work rather equally well . .so I typically look for sales at Sierra Trading Post or Campmor. My personal favorite fleece materials always seems to be made by Malden Mills.

thermal fabrics
I like Patagonia Capilene as it seems to last longer and stink less than other varieties of polypro. The silkweight Capilene is very comfortable against the skin. Thicker layers can be used as needed. I also like fleece. I think most of it comes from Malden Mills whether branded by them or not. In cold water, hot air temp conditions sometimes only one lightweight layer of Capilene is sufficient under a drytop or drysuit. Even then, I often get overheated but a roll fixes that.

wool + fleece
I used to use capilene as my base layer under my dry suit (or only layer when warmer), but I found it absolutely stinks to high heaven once I’ve worked up a sweat (for me anyway). Wool base layers are more expensive, but I finally purchased some long sleeve tops and tights on sale last year and now I am a committed “woolie.”

I use wool as a base layer (or only layer if it’s warmer), and then add different weight fleece over that for cooler conditions. What I love about the wool, is now I can strip off the drysuit, and leave my wool layers on and not stink! Wool socks too under my drysuit booties.

For multiple day trips or paddling when there’s no time for laundry in between, the wool really shines over the capilene as I can wear that stuff over and over again and not dread putting it on.

I love wool! (and I really appreciate when my paddling partners wear wool, too! LOL!)


i have a bpod and i use a IR union suit
Love it…you get into the suit via the neck so it makes it very easy to relayer with dry layers when needed…


also it works great for skiing/snowshoeing too…

heck you could put on sweat pants and sweatshirt if you wanted,as long as it wasn’t cotton. A few times I went out with a cheap poly sweat pants, poly underwear and poly pullover. Whatever you wear there are some areas that will compress and lose insulation, wearing sweaters can make your arms too warm. I put on a wool vest once because my lats and edge of shoulder blades got cold from cold wind.

It’s worth having one pair of farmerjohn underwear to cover any gaps around the waist.

I layer with Icebreaker merino wool NM

Second the Wool
I am in love with my Smart wool underoos. The fleece is probably a little warmer, but I like “no stink” of the wool. Depending on conditions, I have worn my street clothes. I hate to admit this, but one time last spring in a hurry, I wore blue jeans and a cotton tee shirt and had a swim on a class III on the St. Francis and ended at the take-out by removing my drysuit and putting on tennis shoes and heading home…perfectly dry. DRYSUITS ROCK!!


Attention Walmart shoppers

– Last Updated: Aug-17-07 4:20 PM EST –

I have poly pro, smart wool, Polartec - you name it.

For late fall - early spring in New England I have found that this one top from Walmart hunting section which is all synthetic and has a double layer of fabric keeps me dryer than anything I've tried. When people say wicking, the wicking fabric has to have something to wick to. The fabric has to be touching a fabric to wick or it just gets saturated and wet.

Nodays, wicking and decent synthetics are everywhere - ski shops, bicycle shops and Walmart hunting section. I like Polartec for the insulating properties but this double layer long john top from Walmart has become my favorite 1st layer. You have to experiment a bit with your own body and various conditions.


– Last Updated: Aug-17-07 3:16 PM EST –

Malden Mills markets many name and material variations of Polartec base and insulating layers . . . 100,200,300, Thermal Pro, WindBloc, Aquashell, WindPro, PowerDry, Powerstretch, etc. Numerous outdoors companies use these in their own product, i.e. Patagonia R.5 is PowerDry, Mysterioso M-Tech uses Powerstretch, etc.

Of the many I've owned, I have never felt drier and more comfy than with Powerstretch material. My favorite but tends to be more expensive.


Patagonia Capilene
I also use the Patagonia Capilene as a base layer. I then wear a pair of what is usually called expedition weight pants. This is really more of a light fleece. On top, I also have a layer of this lightweight fleece that I’ll wear if it’s below freezing, otherwise I’ll wear a synthetic wicking t-shirt over the long underwear top. This combination is warm enough for me on Lake Superior. Everyone is going to be different and you need to find that combination that is warm enough for immersion, but doesn’t overheat you while paddling.

As far as smell, again, I think everyone is different. I have been using some Capilene that I got over ten years ago and it still smells fine.

The Smart Wool stuff is really nice. I have a top, but I save that for wearing on shore as It’s too nice for under the drysuit.

Also, I don’t know if this is really a problem, but I avoid wearing any of the turtle-neck with a zipper styles as I worry that the zipper might poke the neck gasket. But I might just be paranoid.

Chartreuse Leotards
would be my choice…but hey, thats me…


Really though, I start with my Kokatat one piece Union Suit in mild conditions down to 60 degree water and then once it gets colder just add fleece pants/top to that as appropriate. Just keep it all non-cotton items is all.

But really, what I WOULD like to have is a full SpiderMan suit…

heh heh heh


second / third capilene
key is a thin wicking layer all the time, then vary the thickness of the insulating layer. most drysuit manufacturers make both light and heavy layering garmets. i use a ravenspring farmer john plus a ravenspring top when it is really chilly, lightweight polypro when not. great to see you planning ahead.

thin base?
I am searching fo such a thin baselayer but can only find mid and heavy weights. Suggestions?

Silkweight Patagonia Capilene

i like
capilene best