If you want to enjoy water adventures year-round, you’ll need proper protection from freezing water during the winter months. In situations where a wetsuit doesn’t cut it anymore, a well-made dry suit steps in. Whether you’re diving, kayaking, or wakeboarding, a dry suit will make sure that not a drop of water reaches your body.
Drysuits aren’t something you buy every day, so you need to make sure that it fits you well, provides a good seal, and it’s fairly easy to use. To help you decide, this article will take a look at the best drysuits and their features so you can get the perfect one for any type of water activity.
How To Choose a Dry Suit – Buying Guide
The material used to make the best drysuits significantly impacts their performance in the water. The most common materials used are membrane (nylon laminate), neoprene, and Gore-Tex.
Membrane shells usually consist of several layers of laminated material, with a nylon layer on top and more breathable layers underneath. They are completely watertight, dry fast, and are easy to clean. Unfortunately, they aren’t warm and can be pricey.
Neoprene shells are similar to wetsuits but significantly thicker. Compared to a membrane, they are much warmer but not as efficient at keeping you dry. They can also be much harder to get on.
Gore-Tex shells are made of sophisticated materials that completely block water out while releasing water vapor so you don’t get sweaty. However, they are better suited for kayaking than diving, and the price can also be a huge downside.
When it comes to size, you should pick a dry suit with a slightly looser fit. This will make the suit comfortable and give you freedom of movement. In addition, it also allows layering underneath. While the suit should be relaxed, the seals around the neck and wrists should be tight to prevent leaks.
As you’ve had the chance to see, drysuits for diving can have either a front or rear entry. A front entry dry suit usually has a diagonal zipper across the chest. It’s convenient to use on your own, but some people find it uncomfortable and restricting.
A rear entry dry suit has a zipper on the back, which stays out of your way while your active. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use it on your own, and you’ll need a buddy to help you zip and unzip it.
You could argue that the zipper is the most important part of a dry suit. After you get in and zip it up, it needs to be completely watertight.
The most common zipper materials are metal and plastic. Metal zippers can be hard to pull, but they last very long with proper maintenance. Plastic zippers are more user-friendly, but break down faster.
A lot of waterproof drysuits come with some kind of foot cover to keep your feet warm in the water, whether it’s a type of sock or a hard boot. A sock might be more comfortable to wear, but semi-rigid boots have rubber soles that make walking easier. Both will completely seal off your feet, so the choice makes no difference from the functionality standpoint.
When you’re in the water, the air inside your dry suit can cause you to float. Because of this, many suits have exhaust valves that let you release the excess air. On the other hand, some models also feature an inflator valve that allows you to add air to the suit.
The seals are an essential part of diving drysuits – they prevent the water from getting in around your neck or wrists. Besides keeping you dry, the cuffs also need to be comfortable and not cause chafing or skin irritation. Three materials are most commonly used here – neoprene, latex, and silicone.
Neoprene cuffs are the most comfortable and durable, but can leak and stretch over time. Latex seals are less comfortable and harder to put on, but they provide a very good seal. Silicone seals are a good alternative for people with a latex allergy, and they also provide a good seal with somewhat higher elasticity.
While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when choosing a waterproof drysuit, having cargo pockets can actually be quite useful. The pockets are usually located on the thighs, but some models have them on the chest or arms. Cargo pockets can be dry (waterproof zipper) or wet (velcro), and it’s a plus if they have loops inside for securing your gear.
Q: How Do I Pick A Dry Suit?
The most important thing is getting the right fit – a dry suit should be comfortable and not restrict your movement. At the same time, it shouldn’t be too tight around the neck and wrist to cause discomfort. You should also consider the type of entry (front or rear), as well as whether the suit comes with socks or boots.
Q: What Is Better A Dry Suit Or A Wetsuit?
This depends on the circumstances and your own preference. A dry suit keeps you completely dry inside, allows layering, and works better in freezing water. However, it can be bulky, restrict movement, and cost too much.
A wetsuit, on the other hand, allows better freedom of movement and costs less to buy and maintain, but won’t be suitable for very cold conditions.
Q: Can You Swim In A Dry Suit?
Yes, you can swim in a dry suit. However, if you want a suit for this purpose, make sure that it’s not too baggy and that it allows you to move. For swimming purposes, a low-profile pressed neoprene suit does a better job than trilaminate. However, a wetsuit is always a much better choice for swimming if the water isn’t too cold.
Q: How Warm Is A Dry Suit?
On its own, a scuba drysuit is not very warm. However, unlike a wetsuit, it stays dry inside and allows you to wear undergarments. It’s these undergarments that provide warmth and insulation, which is why dry suits are preferred for diving in very cold water.
Q: How Long Do Dry Suits Last?
While this depends on many factors, well-maintained scuba diving dry suits can last for over 10 years. It largely comes down to how and where you use the dry suit (fresh or saltwater) and how well you care for it. Seals and zippers are the weak points on any dry suit, so pay attention not to damage them.
Q: Do You Wear A BCD With A Drysuit?
Yes, most scuba divers wear BCDs with their dive dry suits because they find it easier to tweak the buoyancy that way. While some people use the air in their suit for this, we think it’s much more reliable to use a BCD, especially if you’re an inexperienced diver.
Q: Do You Wear Anything Under A Drysuit?
Yes, if you need additional warmth. Drysuits for scuba diving won’t really keep you warm on their own, they will just keep the water out. While you can wear pretty much anything, it’s usually best to go with undergarments made of fleece, polypropylene, or wool so that you stay warm and insulated even if they get wet.
Globo Surf Overview
Adding the best dry suit to your equipment allows you to enjoy your favorite activity year-round. Besides keeping you dry, it allows you to wear extra layers and stay warm in the water. We hope that our reviews and guide have pointed you in the right direction, so you can get a dry suit that you can trust every time you get out on the water.