When seasons change and both air and water temperatures get colder, you may find it difficult to go kayaking without additional equipment to keep you warm and dry. This is why, if you want to be active year round, you should invest some money and buy a drysuit.
Drysuits are specialized clothing that is designed to keep water out. They achieve this because of the special materials used for making them, zippers that seal perfectly, and also thanks to the gaskets that fit tightly around your neck and arms. Their main purpose is to keep you warm and dry but you still will need to wear layered clothing underneath in cold conditions.
We’ve selected some exceptional products for our drysuit reviews, and presented their particular characteristics. To learn more about the different features that will help you choose the best drysuit for kayaking, please read our buying guide below.
Let’s get started.
How To Choose The Best Kayak Drysuit – Buying Guide
A drysuit is a very important piece of equipment for anyone who goes kayaking in colder conditions. However, the best drysuits for kayaking are pretty expensive, and you should know what to look for when buying so you really get most for your money. There are suits designed for men or women, with different materials, gaskets, zippers and additional features. All of this influences the total price in one way or another. Take a closer look.
Obviously, materials used should be completely waterproof. However, not all of them are the same. Most drysuits are made using Gore-Tex fabric or special nylon fabric. Even though Gore-Tex is more expensive, it is very breathable allowing excess moisture to escape from your body. This means you will be more comfortable in your drysuit after longer time periods because you won’t get sweaty.
Nylon also efficiently prevents water from coming in, but it isn’t as breathable so the level of comfort may not be the same. In addition to this, some manufacturers include thicker padding on your knees and elbows to further increase the durability of the suit.
A drysuit should be comfortable when you put it on. This is because they are meant to keep you dry – which means that for warmth you will have to wear other clothing underneath. This is why it’s not a good idea to buy a suit which is too tight. They come in different sizes for men and women, and you should buy one which is the same size as your regular clothing. However, always check the size charts and if possible, try it on before buying.
Because this is not your typical piece of clothing, the entry points are strategically placed to add to the overall efficiency of the drysuit. Most often, the entry points will be either in the front across the chest, or through the back. If your drysuit has a front entry, you can zip it up by youself when you put it on. However, if it has rear entry, you may need another person to help you close it.
Seals and Zippers
Seals are the most important thing for the drysuit to function properly. Your suit will have gaskets around your neck, your wrists and sometimes your ankles. The best drysuits for kayaking have gaskets made from latex which is very efficient in keeping the water out. However, some people feel discomfort from latex gaskets around their necks. An alternative is a neoprene gasket which is more comfy but not as efficient. Whichever type you buy, you have to take care of your gaskets, because if they get damaged the suit gets compromised.
Zippers functioning properly is another vital part of keeping the water out. They can be made from metal or tough plastic. Often you will need to lubricate metal zippers to make sure they don’t get stuck, and also to increase their durability.
Some drysuits include a relief zipper in their design. It allows you to relieve yourself without taking the whole suit off. Many kayakers agree it is incredibly useful, especially if you plan on long hours in your suit. A relief zipper can be located on the front, or can be a drop zipper in the back which is more practical for women. This is a good option to have, but also adds to the total price of your drysuit.
Reflectivity and Color
This is something to think about when shopping. Bright colored suits can be more visible in every situation, making you safer and easier to locate. Reflectivity is an addition to this, making you noticeable in low light and bad weather conditions.
Design and Booties
Most suits come in one piece because this type of design is best for keeping the water out. There are also drysuits that come in two pieces which have a leak-proof connection but can also be used separately in other occasions.
A very useful feature are the included socks (booties). They are made from latex or fabric, and allow your feet to stay dry too. Socks made from latex are efficient but may be difficult to put on sometimes.
It is then recommended to wear some type of kayaking shoes on top to prevent damaging the socks and compromising your suit. Of course, these add to the overall price of the suit, and the more affordable suits are going to have gaskets around your ankles.
Sometimes additional features are included which increase both drysuit durability and comfort. A nice thing to have are cuffs over the latex gaskets. Because gaskets can get damaged by sun or cuts, a neoprene cuff over them will greatly increase their durability. The zippers on your suit are also exposed and susceptible to damage, so it’s good if there is a zipper cover included in the design.
Some drysuits have tunnels which are included in the top part of the drysuit. You lift it up, tuck the kayak skirt underneath and then pull it down and tighten it. This way you prevent excess water from getting into your kayak. Finally, some suits have hoods. Obviously this is useful to keep your head more dry. On some models hoods are permanently attached, while others have detachable hoods.
Q: What to wear under a drysuit?
Because drysuits are made to keep water out and not keep you warm, you will have to wear something underneath, especially in colder weather. It is advised to wear clothing that gives you good insulation even if you get wet. You might get sweaty or there may be a leak in your suit so you don’t want to feel uncomfortable and cold. This is why cotton clothing is not the best choice. Depending on the weather, your clothing should be layered appropriately.
Q: What is the difference between a wetsuit and a drysuit?
The difference is that a drysuit is designed to keep you dry, while a wetsuit is designed to keep you warm. A drysuit is loosely fit except in the gasket area, and the design prevents the water from coming in whatsoever. For warmth, you will have to wear a clothing layer underneath.
Wetsuits, on the other hand, don’t prevent the water from getting to your body. They are usually made from neoprene, which is a great insulation material but has some requirements in order to work. It allows a thin layer of water to get trapped between your skin and the suit. Then this layer, as well as the neoprene, prevent the heat from escaping your body. Neoprene wetsuits come with different thickness, which determines the warmth you will get while wearing one of these.
Q: How do you clean a drysuit?
To increase the longevity of your drysuit, you have to take care of it properly. Washing should be performed like it’s indicated on the label, but it’s usually done on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. Then you should hang it to dry – don’t put it in a dryer. Take special care of the zippers and gaskets. Remove any dirt from the zippers and lubricate them if needed. Gaskets can get damaged from salt and sunscreen so be sure to wipe them off after use.
Globo Surf Overview
To wrap things up, buying one of the best kayaking drysuits can greatly improve your kayaking experience. You will no longer be limited to warm weather and will be able to exercise your favorite activity year round. The products presented in our kayaking drysuit reviews are excellent, and finding the right one just depends on your budget and personal needs. In any case, we are sure you will be satisfied.
More Kayak Reviews:
- Recreational Kayak
- Lightweight Kayak
- Tandem Fishing Kayak
- Beginner Kayak
- Kayak Seat
- Motorized Kayak
- Fishing Canoe
- Ocean Kayak
- Folding Kayak
- Kayak Anchor
Have you tried a kayaking drysuit that made it onto our list? Did it keep you dry efficiently? Was it comfortable to wear? Let us now in the comment section below.