Who Make The Best AquaShell Wetsuits

I own a Rapid Style wetsuit of Polertec’s Aquashell material. Unfortunately, the area around the seat of this particular suit started to delaminate at around eight months and now, after two years, its almost ready for the trash bin.

The material used by RapidStyle is described as “skin coating with spandex fleece”.

A little research revealed that the Mountain Surf farmer john style is also fashioned out of AquaShell, but the material they use is described as a “tricot spandex / spandex velour” mix.

Has anyone worn the Mountain Surf model as an outer layer and if so, how did it hold up? Since Polertec presents the two different styles of AquaShell as “water proof” (RapidStyle) vs. “water repellent” (Mt.Surf), how well does the latter of the two prevent water transmission while in the water?

I own a velour aquashell suit

– Last Updated: May-01-05 8:09 PM EST –

and am a huge fan. I've had it for 4 years. While it does not have the sex appeal of a skin coated suit, the fact that the laminate is between a layer of nylon and the velour protects it well. Certainly comparable to a 2.5 suit for warmth. I love mine it is way comfy on hot air temps. I own a drysuit for when the water is seriously cold, this wetsuit from aeroskin and a dry top. I can pretty much have reasonable protection and great comfort in any air/water temp combination I find in southern New england Although I feel funky if the water temps are under 58 or so and I am wearing the drytop/aqushell wetsuit combo (if the air temps will not allow the drysuit, lets say 75 degrees or more) I still use it. To some degree my immersion protectiion scheme depends on wher I am paddling and the company (or total lack of it). Both mountainsurf and aeroskin do a good job I'm sure as could any person with access to a 2 way ziper and competance with a sewing machine. If you want to go funky with the nylon faced aquashell you dont even have to finish the edges; it will not fray.

if you search the archives forr the last month on aquashel you would find this link:


The rapidstyle survival hood should be in every sea kayakers pocket it is skin type but does not see so much abrasion. Never know when you or a buddy might need it, even in the summer.

AquaShell and variants
I have 2 Traverse Bay Farmer Jane shorties made from AquaShell, as well as their long jacket. This material is the classic Polartec fleece on the inside with a shiny smooth outer face. There is some kind of rubber somewhere (don’t know if it’s impregnated in the skin or bonded to the nylon face), but the surface definitely makes water bead up, plus it is windproof. So windproof that these garments are clammy from sweat in air temps over 65 deg. (My Gore-tex drysuit actually has a wider comfort range due to its breathability.)

I bought the first suit in 2001 and am still using it. Color stripe has faded but the material works the same and there is no delamination. The fleece inner face is less fleecy than it used to be (expected with all fleece products).

My big gripe with the Aquashell products is that their necks, armholes, and sleeves let too much water in. Whoever makes the garments would do well to use sharkskin neoprene with adjustable Velcro closures there instead of plain nylon lycra.

I also have a pair of tights made by Splash Gear (Wyoming). They seem to be a variant of Aquashell, but with an abrasion-resistant outer face that is almost like a fine weave of stretch Cordura. The inner face is a thin fleece. This material breathes better than AquaShell. I have used these pants for fall and spring paddling in a SOT with a very wet ride, and I stayed warm despite the pants being soaked. If they made a Farmer Jane or full wetsuit I’d buy it, but I can’t find any of their products any more.