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Best Drysuit For Kayaking

  • Kayak

Kayaking is an invigorating sport that can take you from scenic tours across beautiful lakes to high speed fun bouncing down a series of rapids.

Naturally, if you want to stay out on the water for longer, then you will need to find the proper clothing for staying warm and dry. Staying dry during a water sport may sound impossible, but with a good dry suit it really isn't. 

Some of you may be wondering why it is important to stay dry while kayaking. In the right weather, it is perfectly possible to get as wet as you want, while relying on the sun to dry you off.

However, in colder climates, a dry suit is absolutely essential. Without one, your clothes will be soaked in seconds, which will make you get cold much faster. 

The best drysuits are designed to fit snugly around your body so as not to restrict movement while paddling. This means they should have no loose parts, and should be fitted with an adjustable waist belt.

They should be well insulated to keep you warm, while also keeping the clothes you're wearing underneath completely dry. 

In this article, we will be looking at some practical and cozy drysuits for your next kayaking trip.

OUR TOP PICK

O'Neill Men's Boost 300g Drysuit

This is the perfect drysuit for anyone who wants to spend their time on the water in comfort and style. It features a soft neoprene neck gasket to prevent water dripping down your neck and inside the suit.

Since it is a loose fit drysuit, it is very breathable and shouldn't inhibit your movement much at all. 

The three layer nylon shell is highly waterproof, but provides plenty of air pockets for effective insulation. With a good fleece underneath this dry suit, you will be very warm and perfectly dry while out on the water.

Getting into it may be a problem for some since the zip is located on the back where you may need a second pair of hands to help you reach. 

Sizes range from XS to XL, which means you should be able to find a suit that fits you properly. As well as the neck seal, there are also ankle and wrist gaskets to make sure water has no means of getting into your suit.

The O'Neill's Men's Pro drysuit is ideal for those who want to enjoy their time on the water, and stay warm and dry while doing so. 

Pros

  • Stay perfectly dry with wrist, ankle and neck seals. 
  • Three layer Nylon shell for added insulation. 
  • Loose fit for facilitating free movement.

Cons

  • Zip is located on the back. 

Also Available At:

EDITORS CHOICE

Gill Dry Suit - Fully Taped & Waterproof - Black

The Gill Breathable 4 Layer Drysuit is a very popular choice among kayaking enthusiasts because it is highly effective at keeping you warm and dry. 

This suit is slightly more tight-fitting than the O'Neill one, which means you can still move freely without extra fabric getting in the way.

It is made from four layers of strong fabric to provide extra insulation and excellent waterproofing. 

There are elastic braces on the inside of this suit for getting just the right fit. It is made from a combination of nylon for the outer layers, with inner layers made of polyester for added flexibility, comfort and warmth.

The suit is available in any size between XS and XXL. 

Unlike the O'Neill suit we looked at before, the Gill Drysuit features a full length zip opening on the front, which makes it very easy to get into. This zip is completely waterproof to make sure absolutely no water can get inside.

There are also fabric socks on the bottom of the suit for keeping your feet as dry as the rest of your body.

Pros

  • 4 layers of fabric makes this suit great for colder climates. 
  • Elastic braces on the inside for getting the perfect fit. 
  • Fabric socks on the bottom.

Cons

  • Some retailers won't ship this item to the US.

Also Available At:

Gillmarine

BEST VALUE

Kokatat Men's Hydrus Swift Entry Drysuit-Tangerine-M

As its name suggests, you won't have any problem getting into this dry suit thanks to the large zip on the front. The Kokatat Men's Hydrus Swift Entry drysuit comes in two stylish colors, including vibrant tangerine and electric blue.

It is available in 4 different sizes, ranging from medium to XXL, which means it may not be suitable for smaller kayaking enthusiasts.   

The outer layer is made from nylon that has been DWR coated to make it extra waterproof. There are latex seals around the cuffs, ankles and neck which prevent water getting into any of the openings.

You can tighten these seals with drawstrings to make sure they  fit comfortably 

The Kokatat Hydrus drysuit is ideal for those new to kayaking since it is made from lightweight materials and is comfortable to wear.

It is also highly durable thanks to the DWR coating that makes the fabric resistant to abrasions as well as water.

Pros

  • Large zip in the middle for easy entry. 
  • DWR coated nylon is both waterproof and resistant to abrasion. 
  • Latex seals around the neck, wrists and ankles.

Cons

  • No small size.

Also Available At:

Kokatat

RUNNER UP

Crewsaver Atacama Sport Sailing Yachting and Dinghy Drysuit with Front Zip & Undersuit - 3 Layer Breathable Fabric All Over

The Crewsaver Atacama is an excellent suit for anyone working on a tight budget. It provides great protection against the elements while being very comfortable to wear.

With articulated arms and legs, you should be able to move normally in this suit while still staying warm and completely dry. 

This suit is made from three layers of Nylon with neoprene seals around the neck, wrists and ankles. The zip in the middle makes the suit easy to get into, and it is covered with a guard to prevent water leaking through it.

It is available in 5 different sizes including: small, medium, large, XL and XXL. 

One of the best things about this suit though is that you can make it perfectly fit your body for maximum comfort. This is done with elasticated straps on the inside for tightening the suit in key areas.

Thanks to this feature, you can make this suit very comfy to wear without inhibiting your movement while kayaking.

Pros

  • Affordable.
  • Zip guard and neoprene seals prevent water leakage.
  • Elasticated straps on the inside for getting the right fit.

Cons

  • This suit is not the most durable. 

Also Available At: 

Crewsaver

RUNNER UP

Pro-Tec - Ace Wake Helmet, Gloss Red, XS

This NRS Extreme SAR Drysuit is a high quality product built for those who want to take their water sports seriously.  

It offers excellent protection against the elements and comes highly recommended by experienced paddlers.

Manufactured from a mixture of neoprene and latex, this suit is incredibly waterproof and won't leak unless you are completely submerged. 

As well as a zip that crosses diagonally over the chest, this suit has pockets for keeping any valuables safe and waterproof. The NRS Extreme SAR drysuit is available in 3 sizes: small, medium/large and large/XL.

There are tough cordura pads on the knees, elbows, and seat of this suit to provide protection against abrasions and friction. 

Since this suit is designed for those in the coast guard and rescue professions, it is built for maximum durability. As well as being very waterproof, it is also warm and great for anyone kayaking in cold climates.

It even has a latex sock at the end of the legs for making sure that you stay completely dry from head to toe.

Pros

  • Includes pockets for holding valuables. 
  • Coruda pads for extra durability at common weak points. 
  • Latex socks.

Cons

  • Expensive

Also Available At: 

NRS

RUNNER UP

Kokatat Men's Idol Gore-TEX Pro Dry Suit-Tangerine-XXL

The Kokatat Men's Idol Gore-Tex Pro is the ultimate drysuit for kayakers offering excellent protection against the elements.

It has a zip that goes all the way around the waist, so you can wear it as two separate items of clothing or zip it up for maximum waterproofing.

To prevent water leaking through the zip, this suit has an elasticated belt for covering it and hugging the suit closer to your body. 

This suit is built with a Gore-Tex outer layer that makes it not only incredibly waterproof, but also a great windbreaker. There is a convenient pocket on the left arm which can be used to keep any valuables safe while out on the water.

The durable materials used to make this suit ensure it will last you a very long time provided you look after it properly. 

Since it is a premium product, it does come at quite a high price. However, you are paying for a versatile and effective dry suit that is suitable for wearing in any conditions, no matter how extreme.

It is available in two colors and three sizes, ranging from medium to XL.

Pros

  • Made from highly durable and waterproof material, Gore-Tex. 
  • Zip goes around the waist for easy entry and versatile wearing options. 
  • Includes an arm pocket for storing any valuables.

Cons

  • No small size.

Also Available At:

Kokatat

Buyer’s Guide

Buying a drysuit is not as simple as it may seem. There are many factors to consider before making your purchase if you want to get the product that works best for you. Below, we have listed some important considerations to bear in mind while you are shopping

Best Drysuit For Kayaking

Size

Before buying a drysuit, make sure that you buy one which fits you well. The size of the drysuit should match your height and weight. 

If you are unsure about what size suits you best, then try visiting a store where they sell drysuits so that you get a feel for how the different sizes fit. A suit that is too big, or too tight will greatly impede your movement which may affect how well you can control your kayak. 

Excessive loose material, tight joints, and baggy sleeves or legs are all things you will want to avoid when shopping for a drysuit. 

Material

A good drysuit will usually consist of two layers; a waterproof outer layer and a breathable inner lining. The outer layer should be able to withstand harsh weather conditions while the inner lining should allow air to pass through it.

Many suits will often have even more layers for improving the insulation. If you live in a warm climate, you will want a lighter, more breathable suit to prevent you from overheating.

On the other hand, those who live in colder areas will want as many layers as they can get to keep them warm as well as dry. 

Materials like nylon and latex are generally more affordable and should provide adequate waterproofing while kayaking. However, if you want a suit that can keep you dry even when fully submerged in water, you may need to spend a bit more.

Suits made from materials like Gore-Tex will be incredibly weather resistant and offer ultimate protection against wind, water and abrasions. 

Waterproofing

A drysuit can be used for both recreational and professional purposes. Whatever you plan to do with your suit, you will want it to keep you dry. 

The outer panels of a drysuit are always made from a waterproof material, however, there are always weak spots where water can leak in. Most often this is around openings such as the neck, ankles and wrists.

If you want to keep your feet just as dry as the rest of your body, then it could be a good idea to invest in a suit that comes with socks attached to the legs. 

Seals on the neck and wrists are also great for stopping the ingress of water, however they need to be made of the right material to be effective.

Collars made from neoprene or latex will work pretty well at repelling water, but they are far from perfect and if you are submerged underwater they will still leak a little. 

If you want something that will really keep the water out, then you will want to buy a suit with rubber seals and gaskets instead. 

How Easy Is It To Put On?

The best drysuit in the world will be absolutely no good to you if you can't get into it. How easy a suit is to put on will come down to the placement of the main zipper. 

The best option for most people will be zips that cross over the front of the chest, as they are easy to reach and will open up the suit enough that you can slide in and out with no problem. 

Beware any product that has the zip on the back, unless you have a friend you can rely on to zip you up before you get in the kayak. 

The Kokatat Men's Idol suit we looked at on this list has an innovative solution to this issue. On this product, the zip goes around the entire circumference of the waist, which means you can separate the suit into a jacket and a separate set of pants. 

These items can be worn separately or sipped together and secured with an elasticated belt for maximum waterproofing. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Kayak Drysuits Work? 

Dry suits allow you to be comfortable while being wet. They are composed of a waterproof outer material for keeping water out and preventing the clothes you are wearing underneath from being soaked. 

Meanwhile, the inner lining is made from a breathable material that allows sweat to escape. This prevents overheating and helps to keep people perfectly dry during water sports like wakeboarding, kayaking, and sailing. 

Other features of these suits include: ankle gaskets to prevent water from getting into the suit through the legs; wrist gaskets to block cold water from entering the suit when paddling; and neck seals to stop cold air from entering the suit. 

Drysuits often have padded knees and seats to resist damage caused by repeated friction against the boat. Some of them will also include dry socks, but these are not absolutely essential. 

Can You Swim In A Drysuit? 

Drysuits do not stop you from being able to swim, although they can be a problem if you don't squeeze all the air out of them first. 

This is because the pockets of air trapped in the suit will make you buoyant and more likely to float. 

Provided you do squeeze all the air first, these suits are perfectly fine for swimming in and shouldn't inhibit your stroke at all. 

Does A Drysuit Keep You Completely Dry? 

A good drysuit will keep you reasonably dry, but there aren't many out there that can keep the water out completely. 

This is because the inner layer needs to be breathable, which means gaps have to be left to let air in and out. 

Without a breathable inner lining, you would get too sweaty while wearing this suit, which is far worse than being a little wet.

That said, there are some drysuits designed for professional rescuers that are made from materials like Gore-Tex which are as close to 100% waterproof as you can possibly get.

Hi! My name is Adele Stevens, and I have a big passion for water sports. I love nothing more than traveling to my favorite kayaking spots on my days off and spending hours out on the water.

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