The Ultimate Buying Guide for Drysuits: Stay High and Dry

In a Sea of Drysuits, How Do You Find The Best One For You?

If you’re someone who loves to spend time in the water, whether it’s surfing, kayaking, or scuba diving, you know that choosing the right gear is crucial to staying comfortable and safe. Two popular options for protective gear are drysuits and wetsuits. Both of these suits serve the purpose of keeping the wearer protected and warm in the water, but they function in very different ways.

In this discussion, we’ll explore the differences between drysuits and wetsuits and help you determine which one is right for your watersport activities. So, let’s dive in and learn more about the best kayak drysuits, paddle boarding, diving, and canoeing!

What Are Drysuits?

Drysuits

Typical drysuits consist of waterproof and breathable material, such as Gore-Tex, that covers the entire body, including the head, hands, and feet. The suit is usually worn over insulating layers of clothing, such as thermal underwear, to keep the wearer warm in cold water and cold temperatures.

The suit is typically equipped with watertight neck seal, wrists, and ankles to prevent water from entering the suit, and a heavy-duty rear entry zipper allows the wearer to put on and take off the suit easily.

Features of Best Drysuits for Watersports

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Material

The material of the drysuits is critical. Look for suits made from high-quality, durable materials like Gore-Tex, which is waterproof and breathable. This will help keep you dry and comfortable, even during extended periods of use.

Fit

A proper fit is crucial to the effectiveness of the drysuit. Look for suits that are tailored to your body type, with a snug fit that allows for easy movement and flexibility. A well-fitted drysuit will help keep you warm and comfortable in the water.

Seals

The seals on a drysuits are the areas where the suit attaches to your body, such as the neck, wrists, and ankles. Look for suits with high-quality seals that provide a watertight barrier to prevent water from entering the suit.

Zippers

Zippers are an essential component of a drysuits, as they allow you to put on and take off the suit quickly and easily. Look for suits with high-quality zippers that are easy to operate and provide a watertight seal.

Pockets and Accessories

Depending on your specific needs, you may want to look for drysuits that come with additional features like pockets, reinforced knees, or integrated boots. These features can enhance the functionality of the suit and make it easier to use in a variety of water conditions.

Durability

Drysuits are an investment, so look for suits that are built to last. Look for suits made with high-quality materials, reinforced seams, and heavy-duty zippers that can withstand the wear and tear of regular use.

Read More: Kayaking Clothes: What to Wear Kayaking?

6 Best Drysuits for Watersports | Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Canoeing


NRS Men’s Axiom Gore-TEX Pro Drysuits

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The NRS Men’s Axiom Gore-TEX Pro Drysuits are a top-of-the-line option designed for serious water enthusiasts who demand the best. It is made with a 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro fabric that is both waterproof and breathable, providing superior comfort and protection against the elements. The suit features a front relief zipper, latex neck and wrist gaskets, and waterproof zippers.



Kokatat Men’s Hydrus Meridian Drysuit

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The Kokatat Men’s Hydrus Meridian Drysuit is a mid-range option that offers great performance and value. It features a 3-layer Hydrus fabric that is waterproof and breathable, providing reliable protection from the elements. The suit has a front relief zipper, latex neck and wrist gaskets, and waterproof zippers.


Gill Junior Pro Front Zip Drysuit

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This is a great option for kids or smaller adults. It offers breathable fabric and a front zipper for easy on and off..


Stohlquist Amp Drysuit

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This is a high-end option that offers a stretchy fabric and reinforced seat and knees for durability. It also has a relief zipper for convenience.



Meridian Drysuits (Gore-Tex Pro)

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This is a top-of-the-line option that offers the best waterproof and breathable fabric available. It also has reinforced knees and elbows for added durability. However, it comes at a premium price.



Crewsaver Atacama Sport Drysuit

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The Atacama Sport Drysuit is designed for a range of water activities, including kayaking, canoeing, sailing, and stand-up paddleboarding. It comes in a range of sizes to accommodate different body shapes and sizes.


What are Semi-Drysuits?

Apostle islands kayaking

A semi-drysuit is a type of wetsuit that provides more insulation and protection from water than a standard wetsuit but not as much as a fully sealed drysuit. A semi-drysuit typically has tighter seals around the neck, wrists, and ankles than a standard wetsuit, which reduces water exchange and helps keep the wearer warmer.

Additionally, semi-drysuits often feature a waterproof zipper and/or additional sealing materials to further prevent water from entering the suit. While not completely waterproof, a semi-drysuit provides better thermal protection than a wetsuit, making it a popular choice for diving in cooler waters or in situations where a drysuit may be too cumbersome or restrictive.

Read More: Kayak Accessories That Make Kayaking Even Better

Wetsuits vs. Drysuits for Watersports

Apostle islands kayaking

Material

  • Wetsuits are typically made from neoprene, which is a type of synthetic rubber. It is designed to insulate the body and keep it warm in cold water. 
  • Drysuits, on the other hand, are made from materials like Gore-Tex, which are waterproof and breathable.

Function

  • Wetsuits are designed to keep the body warm by trapping a thin layer of water between the suit and the skin. The body heat then warms up the water, creating a warm layer around the skin. 
  • Drysuits, on the other hand, are designed to keep the body completely dry, even when the wearer is submerged in water.

Temperature

  • Wetsuits are suitable for use in water temperatures ranging from 50°F to 78°F, depending on the thickness of the neoprene. 
  • Drysuits, on the other hand, are typically used in colder water temperatures, below 50°F, where the body’s warmth alone may not be enough to keep the wearer comfortable.
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Mobility

  • Wetsuits are designed to fit snugly against the skin, which can restrict movement somewhat. 
  • Drysuits tend to be bulkier and offer more freedom of movement because they don’t cling to the skin as tightly.

Maintenance

  • Wetsuits are relatively easy to maintain and can be rinsed with fresh water and hung up to dry after use. 
  • Drysuits require more care and maintenance, as they may need to be periodically checked for leaks and repaired if necessary.

What To Wear Underneath A Drysuit – Best Drysuits Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Canoeing, Diving

Base layer. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer made of synthetic materials like polyester or nylon. Avoid cotton as it retains moisture and can make you feel cold.

LAPASA Men’s Ultra Heavyweight Thermal Underwear Set

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NOOYME Thermal Underwear for Women

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Insulation layer. Depending on the water temperature, you may want to add an insulation layer such as fleece or synthetic down. This layer traps warm air close to your body and provides additional insulation.

Socks and gloves. Wear insulating socks and gloves to keep your feet and hands warm. Neoprene gloves and dry socks are a popular choice for their thermal protection and water resistance.

WEIERYA Ski Socks 2 Pairs Pack

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Blueseventy Thermal Swim Socks

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Hat. A hat made of synthetic material can help keep your head warm and reduce heat loss.

CosiePod Surf Bucket Hat

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THE NORTH FACE Class V Sunshield Hat

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Quiksilver Men’s Bushmaster Sun Protection

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Read More: Kayaks for Sale: The Best Markets To Buy Kayaks

Wetsuits vs. Semi-drysuits vs. Drysuits – FAQ

Do drysuits keep you warmer than wetsuits?

Yes, drysuits are designed to keep the wearer completely dry, which provides better insulation and warmth than wetsuits. Wetsuits allow water to enter the suit and form a layer between the body and the suit, which the body then heats. Drysuits, on the other hand, keep the water out entirely, allowing for a warmer and more comfortable experience in cold water.

What is the purpose of drysuit?

The purpose of a drysuit is to keep the wearer completely dry while in the water. This is important for activities like scuba diving, kayaking, and other water sports, especially in colder water temperatures.

Do drysuits keep you dry?

Yes, drysuits are designed to keep the wearer completely dry, unlike wetsuits which allow water to enter the suit.

Do you wear anything under a drysuit?

Yes, it’s important to wear insulating layers of clothing under a drysuit to stay warm in cold water. Typically, thermal underwear is worn under the suit to provide insulation.

Do you need a drysuit to kayak?

It depends on the conditions you’re kayaking in. Drysuits are recommended for kayaking in colder water temperatures or for extended periods in the water. In warmer temperatures, a wetsuit may be sufficient.

Is a wetsuit or drysuit better for kayaking?

A drysuit is better for kayaking in colder water temperatures, as it provides better insulation and keeps the wearer completely dry. Wetsuits are better for warmer water temperatures or for activities where the wearer is not submerged for extended periods.

What is a drysuit for kayaking?

A kayak drysuit is a type of protective gear worn by kayakers to stay dry and warm in cold water. The suit is made of waterproof and breathable material and typically includes watertight seals at the neck, wrists, and ankles.

How long does a kayak drysuit last?

The lifespan of a kayak drysuit depends on the frequency of use, care and maintenance. A high-quality drysuit can last for several years with proper care and maintenance.

Is a drysuit worth it?

It depends on the individual’s needs and circumstances. For activities like scuba diving, kayaking, and other water sports in colder temperatures or for extended periods in the water, a drysuit is highly recommended. However, for activities in warmer water temperatures, a wetsuit may be sufficient.

What are the prices of drysuits?

The price of a drysuit can vary greatly depending on the brand, quality, and features. Generally, a good quality drysuit can cost anywhere from $500 to $2000 or more.

Is a drysuit better than a wetsuit?

For activities in colder water temperatures or for extended periods in the water, a drysuit is better than a wetsuit because it provides superior insulation and keeps the wearer completely dry. However, for activities in warmer water temperatures, a wetsuit may be sufficient.

Is it hard to dive in a drysuit?

Diving in a drysuit requires some training and adjustment compared to diving in a wetsuit. The drysuit adds extra buoyancy, which requires the diver to adjust their weighting and buoyancy control. However, with proper training and practice, diving in a drysuit can be comfortable and enjoyable.

How long should a drysuit last?

The lifespan of a drysuit depends on the frequency of use, care and maintenance. A high-quality drysuit can last for several years with proper care and maintenance.

Do you get wet in a drysuit?

No, the purpose of a drysuit is to keep the wearer completely dry while in the water.

What is the purpose of a drysuit?

The purpose of a drysuit is to keep the wearer completely dry while in the water. This is important for activities like scuba diving, kayaking, and other water sports, especially in colder water temperatures.

Which is better wetsuits or drysuits?

For activities in colder water temperatures or for extended periods in the water, a drysuit is better than a wetsuit because it provides superior insulation and keeps the wearer completely dry. However, for activities in warmer water temperatures, a wetsuit may be sufficient.

Do you wear clothes under a drysuit?

Yes, it’s important to wear insulating layers of clothing under a drysuit to stay warm in cold water. Typically, thermal underwear is worn under the suit to provide insulation.

Can you swim in a drysuit?

Yes, you can swim in a drysuit. The suit is designed to keep the wearer dry and provide insulation in cold water, but it does not restrict movement in the water.

Can you dive in a drysuit?

Yes, drysuits are commonly used for scuba diving because they provide better insulation and keep the wearer completely dry.

Is drysuit diving worth it?

It depends on the individual’s needs and circumstances. Drysuits are highly recommended for scuba diving in colder water temperatures or extended periods in the water. However, for diving in warmer water temperatures, a wetsuit may be sufficient.

What is better a drysuit or a wetsuit?

For activities in colder water temperatures or for extended periods in the water, a drysuit is better than a wetsuit because it provides superior insulation and keeps the wearer completely dry. However, for activities in warmer water temperatures, a wetsuit may be sufficient.

What temperature do you need a drysuit for the kayak?

The temperature range where a drysuit is recommended for kayaking can vary depending on the individual’s tolerance for cold water, but typically a drysuit is recommended for water temperatures below 60°F (15°C).

Should I wear a wetsuit or a drysuit for kayaking?

It depends on the conditions you’re kayaking in. Drysuits are recommended for kayaking in colder water temperatures or for extended periods in the water. In warmer temperatures, a wetsuit may be sufficient.

Are Level 6 drysuits good?

Level 6 is a reputable brand of drysuits and is known for producing high-quality, durable suits. However, it’s important to do your research and choose a suit that best fits your needs and budget.

Which is better for kayaking wetsuit or drysuit?

For kayaking in colder water temperatures or extended periods in the water, a drysuit is better than a wetsuit because it provides superior insulation and keeps the wearer completely dry. However, for kayaking in warmer water temperatures, a wetsuit may be sufficient.

Can you float in a drysuit?

Yes, you can float in a drysuit. The suit is designed to keep the wearer dry and provide insulation in cold water, but it does not affect buoyancy or the ability to float in the water.

Read More

Conclusion | Wetsuit Vs. Drysuit, who won? 

I hope this has given you the information you need to find the appropriate kayaking clothing. For most cold-water situations, I prefer drysuits. I only wear wetsuits on days with mild marginal temperatures. The ability to do watersports in cold weather and cold waters opens up a whole new world of paddling possibilities. You can take advantage of these opportunities by ensuring that you are dressed appropriately for the weather. 

If you’re a watersport enthusiast, a drysuit can be a game-changer for your aquatic adventures. These specialized suits provide superior insulation and protection from the elements, allowing you to stay comfortable and warm in even the coldest waters. Whether you’re diving, kayaking, paddleboarding, or engaging in any other water activity, a quality drysuit is an investment you won’t regret. With so many options on the market, it’s important to choose a suit that fits your needs and budget.

Remember to also wear appropriate clothing underneath for maximum comfort and insulation. So what are you waiting for? Get ready to take your water adventures to the next level with the best drysuits for watersports!

If you want to know more about kayaking and other water activity sports, follow us on our social media pages, Facebook and Instagram. We hope to hear more from you! Happy Paddling!

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Review written by: Tom

Hi! My name is Tom. During the year I try to be on a paddle board as much as possible. By reading this blog you'll stay updated on everything I test on the water :)

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