8 Tips for Choosing a Drysuit for Kayaking

01/24/2020

Paddling in cold environments can be challenging! It will inevitably limit your performance. You may end up being uncomfortable and unable to focus when you are kayaking. To keep you dry and warm, you need to invest in the best drysuit.

With too many options available, however, picking a drysuit can be an overwhelming task. Some people might decide based on costs, but that should never be the case. Do not hesitate to spend a bit more if this means that you can enjoy superior quality.

Need help finding the right drysuit for kayaking? Keep on reading and learn from the insights we’ll share.

1. Type of Drysuit

The first thing that you need to do is to choose the type of drysuit that is ideal for the kayaking environment and your personal preferences. You will have two choices – full drysuit and semi drysuit.

The traditional choice is a full drysuit, which is known for its latex neck gasket. It provides an excellent seal to keep you dry as you roll. However, if you are wearing it for an extended period, it might feel too tight and you may end up being uncomfortable.

In contrast, a semi drysuit has a neoprene gasket on the neck. It does not create a seal that is as tight as latex, but this is better if your priority is your comfort.

So, if your priority is to stay dry, go for a full drysuit. On the other hand, if you want to stay comfortable, pick a semi drysuit.

2. Type of Zipper

Aside from the neck, the zipper is another important part of the drysuit. This is important because it will have an impact on how easy or hard it will be to put the drysuit on.

The most popular drysuits have a zipper that will go all the way to your chest. The zippers are also usually made of metal. Although, for newer drysuits, it is common that you will find a plastic zipper.

There are also drysuits with zippers that go at the back. The problem with this it that it can be hard to zip and unzip it by yourself, so you might need a helping hand. There are also designs with zippers at the waist. At the end of the day, this boils down to personal preferences.

3. Type of Booties

Not all drysuits have booties. Some designs only have latex gaskets that wrap around the ankle. Most of the options, however, have booties that are made of either latex or fabric.

Latex has quite a bad reputation because it may be quite hard to put on. Fabric is a better material of choice. Latex is also more easily prone to deterioration because of sunlight, so that is one thing that you might also want to take into consideration. You also have to be careful during the application of sunscreen as it has components that can damage latex.

4. Hoods

The hood is an optional feature in a kayaking drysuit. The best option is one that comes with a detachable hood, which will offer versatility. It often comes with a zipper making it easy to attach or detach the hood depending on the environmental conditions when you are kayaking.

Choosing a kayaking drysuit with hood will be beneficial when you are in a place where there is a risk of rain. It also provides additional insulation to keep your head warm as you paddle.

When evaluating the hood of the drysuit, make sure that it is large enough to cover your head. However, see to it that it won’t limit your vision.

5. Material

The material of the drysuit is one of the most important considerations as you try to narrow down the possibilities. This will be highly influential in its price. In the same way, it can also affect your comfort and the drysuit’s durability.

If you don’t mind a bit of a splurge, go for one that comes with Gore-Tex, which is an innovative material that repels water while staying durable. This material is also known for being easy to maintain.

There are cheaper materials that are available, including those with reinforcements in key areas, such as the knees, elbows, ankles, and wrists. These are high-wear areas, so you need better materials to demonstrate durability.

6. Fit

A drysuit that is comfortable when worn by your friend may not necessarily be as comfortable when you wear it. This makes it important to consider how the drysuit should fit. It is good to have the option to physically try the drysuit so you will know how it feels like to be wearing it. It should not be too tight or too loose.

In most cases, the size of the drysuit will be the same as the shirt that you are wearing. When thinking of the fit of the drysuit, keep in mind that you might be wearing several layers underneath when you are in an extremely cold place. If that’s the case, there should be some allowance to be sure that it will still fit like a glove.

7. Thickness

This is related to the material that is used in the drysuit. Some materials will be thicker than the others. One of the benefits of choosing a thicker material is that it is usually more durable. It can resist wear and punctures.

However, thicker materials may also end up being quite stiff. This will have harm your comfort. Some people prefer thinner materials because it allows them to move freely. Nonetheless, when the material is too thin, insulation can be compromised, and it may be ineffective in providing the warmth that you need.

8. Warranty

Like with other products, warranty is important because it provides peace of mind. Within the warranty period, you can return the drysuit to the manufacturer in case it shows problems with craftsmanship.

The warranty offered will depend on the policies of the manufacturer. The best choices are those that come with a lifetime warranty against defects. Drysuits are expensive, so it makes sense to pick one that is backed by generous warranty coverage.

Be sure to read the terms and conditions of the warranty. If the problem is a result of your negligence, the warranty may end up being void.

Conclusion

From the zipper to the fit, there are several factors to consider when choosing a drysuit. You must decide beyond cost. Quality and comfort are more important considerations to have a good experience when you are kayaking!

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