For colder water paddling or extended periods even in moderate temperatures, a full-bodied, waterproof drysuit offers wearer the best full-body protection against exposure. Full-bodied suits made from nylon or Gore-Tex fabric, are designed with latex gaskets at the neck, wrists and ankles to completely and comfortably seal the suit. Access and watertight seal into the drysuit can be either via a strong, waterproof zipper (across the front of the torso or across the upper back area) or from a roll-up closure similar to some dry bags tops. Some drysuit ensembles seal pants or bibs with a top.
Because they are waterproof, unless they are made from breathable material (Gore-Tex), perspiration can build up inside the drysuit. Also, drysuits are not insulated - to stay warm you need to add an under-layer such as a fleece liner or long johns. Some drysuits include booties/socks, either integral to the leg or added separately, sealed at the ankles. In many cases, top, pants and foot liners are worn as a base layer under the drysuit.
Besides the full-bodied suit are dry tops, bottoms and bib style. These have gaskets at the neck and wrist, or ankles, and typically a roll-up seal in the waist area to either join the two halves with each other or enable the wearer to seal the top with the spray skirt.
Whatever style you choice, it’s important that the drysuit does not restrict movement while paddling or performing other kayak maneuvers. There are both gender specific styles as well as unisex designs; some front-entry suits also offer a relief zipper to respond to nature’s call.
A few tips to remember:
For the fun of it:
While a drysuit is a serious, life-saving piece of gear, playing on the water wearing them is an extra bonus. When “inflated” by sucking air into the sealed suit, you can literally float on top of the water - bone dry and buoyant.