Best Drysuit For Kayaking
Drysuits can be useful for a variety of watersports, especially if you’re heading out in cold weather or cold water. But finding the right one for kayaking is not always easy.
Spoiler: We loved this Kokokat drysuit
What might be a good suit for one sport may not be suitable for another. But to give you an idea of what to look for when choosing the best drysuit for kayaking we’ve put together some information that might help.
9 Best Drysuits For Kayaking
1: Kokatat Men’s Gore-Tex Front Entry Drysuit (best overall)
This Kokatat Men’s Gore-Tex Drysuit is a durable, waterproof drysuit that features three layers of Gore-Tex fabric. It is made to keep you dry both by wicking moisture and sweat away from your body and preventing water from entering the suit.
It comes in a range of sizes from 35 inch chest up to 53 inch chest, so it can be ideal for a wide variety of paddlers.
The drysuit benefits from latex gaskets and neoprene collar and cuffs. The collar and cuffs also feature a hook and loop closure that can be adjusted.
Another advantage of this drysuit is the front zippered entry and the relief zipper. For added durability the knees and seat are reinforced with Cordura patches.
2: Gill Dinghy Sailing Drysuit
The Gill Dinghy Sailing Drysuit features four layers of nylon fabric with the exterior shell benefiting from a PU coating for improved abrasion resistance.
These four layers allow the suit to remain waterproof while keeping you feeling comfortable by removing moisture from the inner layers. It also benefits from fully taped seams.
The front diagonal zipper can make it easy to put on and take off, and the internal elasticated suspenders help keep it in place. The drysuit features fabric socks, an elasticated waist and reinforced knees and seat.
The Glideskin collar and cuffs are designed to stretch to fit, so that water doesn’t get through. Another handy feature is the small cargo pocket on the thigh.
3: Stohlquist Women’s Amp Drysuit (best for women)
This Stohlquist Women’s Amp Drysuit can be a great drysuit for kayaking as it features a front zipper entry so that it’s more comfortable to wear while you’re seated.
It is made for women so it can be a more comfortable cut and has better size options to suit women’s bodies. The relaxed fit of this drysuit means there’s room for you to wear layers underneath for added warmth.
The drysuit is made with four layer Twin Sensor nylon and it’s made to be waterproof but breathable. It has a neoprene coated latex neck, as well as neoprene coated latex wrist gaskets.
It comes in a bright yellow color and benefits from having reflective strips for added visibility. It also features a zippered pocket on the arm that can be useful for storing smaller items.
4: Stohlquist Ez Drysuit
The Stohlquist Ez Drysuit is a men’s drysuit that is designed to be comfortable and durable. It is crafted from a four layer Twin Sensor nylon that is designed to be both waterproof and breathable.
The inner layers are made to wick moisture away from your body while the exterior shell features a DWR water repellent coating for increased water resistance and durability.
Another feature of this drysuit is the front entry zipper that is positioned diagonally across the chest for convenience. There is also a relief zipper and reinforced knees.
For added safety and increased visibility, the drysuit has reflective accents that can be useful in a rescue situation.
5: Typhoon Women’s Ezeedon Front Zip Drysuit
This Typhoon Women’s Ezeedon Drysuit is made for women, with their smallest size being ideal for women of 5 foot 2 inches with a chest size of 34 inches. They also do plus sizes, with their LR size being made for women of 5 foot 8 inches and 46 inch chests.
It features a four layer fabric that is both waterproof and breathable. It’s also very lightweight for added comfort and ease of movement.
Another benefit of this drysuit is the water resistant clear pocket that’s ideal for maps.
To make it easy to get on and off, there is a diagonal front zipper and internal suspenders. The Glideskin neoprene neck and cuff seals add comfort and help to lock out the water.
It also benefits from PU reinforced knees and seat for added durability, which can be useful if you’re sitting or kneeling in your kayak.
6: Yak Vanguard Whitewater Kayak Drysuit
This Yak Vanguard Kayak Drysuit is a men’s drysuit that features a three layer shell that has taped seams for increased waterproofing. The suit also features latex socks.
Another feature of this drysuit is the internal suspenders, which can make it easier to put on and take off, as well as help to keep the suit in place. The neoprene waist band can also serve a similar purpose, helping to keep the suit from riding up during water activities.
The suit is designed to stay watertight with the help of the latex inner neck seal and the latex wrist and ankle seals.
While this drysuit doesn’t have a front zipper closure, it does have a horizontal back zipper across the shoulders. Additionally, there is a relief zipper on the front for when nature calls.
7: Kokatat Men’s Hydrus Swift Entry Drysuit (most comfortable)
The Kokatat Men’s Hydrus Swift Entry Drysuit features a breathable Hydrus 3.0 nylon which is a three layer waterproof shell that benefits from a water repellent coating.
It features latex on the neck collar, wrists and ankles, with hook and loop style closures at both the ankles and wrists.
The drysuit benefits from a durable front zipper that can make getting it on and off a little easier, and can also improve comfort levels when you’re seated in your kayak. It also features a drawstring waist so that you can tighten for a more tailored fit.
8: O’Neill Men’s Boost 300g Drysuit
This O’Neill Men’s Boost Drysuit is made from abrasion resistant 300g nylon, which is also breathable for added comfort. It features a three layer shell that is waterproof and benefits from taped seams. The loose fitting design also means there should be room for layers underneath.
The drysuit features integrated suspenders to make it easier to put on and the Smoothskin neoprene neck seal can make it more comfortable to wear.
It also benefits from wrist and ankle seals that are made from latex and it has a horizontal back zipper that is waterproof. The zip is located across the shoulders so you may need some help getting the suit on and off.
Why Do I Need A Drysuit? What Do They Do?
A drysuit’s purpose is just like it sounds: to keep you dry. This means that you can go into cold water and the water will not get through to your skin. Because of this you can layer up with clothing underneath your drysuit for added warmth.
If you plan to paddle in cold weather or in cold water, a drysuit can be an effective way of protecting yourself against the conditions. The layers of fabric help to trap air within the drysuit, which can help to insulate you. But this is not a substitute for clothing.
If you’re kayaking in conditions where the water or air is under 66 degrees Fahrenheit then a drysuit could be recommended.
So I Don’t Need A Wetsuit?
Wetsuits are designed to let water into the suit and therefore you will get wet, hence the name. Wetsuits trap a layer of water between you and suit, which is then warmed by your own body heat. And it is this layer of water that provides the insulation.
Video: How Do Wetsuits Keep You Warm?
A wetsuit can be ideal for a range of conditions but can be more suited to use in warmer water of up to around 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Buyer’s Guide To Kayak Drysuits
Drysuit Features To Look Out For
A front zipper can be useful, especially if you’re kayaking, as it can be more comfortable if you’re sitting down in your boat. It can also be easier to put on and take off because you can see what you’re doing.
Some drysuits may have back zippers. These are often located across the shoulders, rather than down the spine. Depending on the particular drysuit, back zippers could still be comfortable for paddling, but you might find them a little awkward to put on and take off by yourself.
A relief zipper can be a useful feature to look out for when you’re choosing a drysuit, particularly if you plan on wearing it for a few hours. The relief zipper is there so that you can relieve yourself without having to take off your entire suit.
The relief zipper is positioned horizontally.
However, on some women’s suits, the relief zipper is on the back and can also be called a drop seat.
Color may not matter to you too much but it can be important if you find yourself in need of rescue. Obviously brighter colors are generally more visible than dark ones. But sometimes drysuits may have reflective strips that can increase visibility.
The seals are there to keep out the water. They can often be made from either latex or neoprene. Neoprene can be softer and more comfortable to wear than latex but latex can often be better at preventing water from leaking into your suit.
You may sometimes find drysuits that offer a combination of latex and neoprene to give you the best of both fabrics.
When it comes to material, the best one will probably be one that’s waterproof. Drysuits are often made from nylon or Gore-tex or a combination of the two. The materials are layered to provide a waterproof shell and offer some level of breathability.
Generally Gore-Tex drysuits can be more expensive because Gore-Tex tends to offer an increased level of breathability.
How Do I Know If A Drysuit Fits Me?
Drysuits should be comfortable and generally loose fitting, not tight like a wetsuit. This is so that you have room underneath for your clothing. The gaskets and seals at the neck and cuffs should be tight but comfortable, so that no water can get in.
Because drysuits are usually one piece, it can be difficult to find the right size. Before you buy a specific drysuit, check the size guide for that suit, as not all brands and models will be the same.
How To Care For And Look After Your Drysuit
You should keep your drysuit clean and wash it with mild soap and water. Some drysuits may be able to go in the washing machine on a gentle/hand wash cycle but check the label before you do this. Otherwise, hand washing may be the best option.
After you’ve washed it, it’s recommended that you hang it up to dry and let it dry completely before you put it away.
It can also be a good idea to check your zippers and seals regularly for any damage and rinse them off after each use, especially if you’ve been near saltwater.
Do I Need To Wear Anything Under A Drysuit When Kayaking?
Yes, you should wear clothing under your drysuit. You may want to increase or decrease the amount of layers under your drysuit depending on the weather conditions.
How Do You Put On A Drysuit?
Put your legs into the pants one at a time and pull them up. If there are socks attached, pull them up first. Then put your arms into the sleeves one at a time before putting your head through the neck of the drysuit.
Video: How To Put On A Drysuit
Once you’ve done this you can close the zipper.
Is It Possible To Repair Drysuit Seals?
Yes, you can repair the seals or sometimes the manufacturer may be able to repair or replace them for you.
Apart From Kayaking, What Else Can I Do With A Drysuit?
There are various water activities you can do in a drysuit, such as sailing and boating, fishing, waterskiing, paddle boarding, surfing, diving, snorkeling and probably more.
Because of its high quality Gore-tex material we think the Kokatat Men’s Gore-Tex Front Entry Drysuit is the best drysuit for kayaking. It’s durable, breathable, comfortable and most importantly, waterproof.
The Stohlquist Women’s Amp can also be a great choice and is a close runner up. It’s designed to fit women’s bodies and benefits from having a front zipper, breathable fabric and even a little pocket.
Remember, drysuits are designed to be loose fitting so that there’s room for your clothing underneath. Check the size guides before you order and remember that what might be the best option for one person, may not be the best for you.